The Art of Rewriting Old Games

Take some of the 8-bit games you enjoyed as a kid and update them for the new generation.
A Call to Action

After a hiatus of over 20 years, Nellan Is Thirsty has gone from an obscure children's game remembered by only a handful of aging hobbyists to a fully modern program once again being enjoyed by kids around the world. We who remember these old games have a unique opportunity to preserve them for posterity. If there is a particular public domain game you enjoyed in years past, whether you were the original author or not, I invite you to seek it out and re-implement it for modern players. Let us continue the momentum begun with the resurrection of Nellan Is Thirsty. A veritable treasury of nearly forgotten entertainment software is out there, hidden from the masses only because they don't know where to find it. How many more Nellans are waiting to be rediscovered?

Geoff Draper first began writing open-source video games 18 years ago. He can be reached at



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Re: The Art of Rewriting Old Games

Anonymous's picture

The italian translation of Thirsty Nellan can be found
in (many thanks
to Geoffr Draper for the nice rewriting of the game).
It is also included in the live CD 'eduKnoppix'

Maurizio Paolini

Re: Thanks for the italian

Anonymous's picture

My brother (who lived for two years in the Philippines) claims to be preparing a Tagalog translation of Thirsty Nellan, but I do not know what the status is on that project.

Re: The Art of Rewriting Old Games

Anonymous's picture

Thank you, Geoff,
I am delighted to see my program brought up to date.
Details on the old version, if anyone is interested,
can be found at

Re: The Art of Rewriting Old Games

Anonymous's picture

When I was first introduced to Linux four years ago, I really learned to appreciate text-based games. I really enjoyed this article, and I now have a fresh copy of 'Thirsty Nellan' running on both my wifes W2K machine and my Linux box.

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