Polishing A Turd: A Week Of Garfield NES ROM HACK

19 May
a week of garfield

The best thing about hacking a terrible game is that anything you do is an improvement. At least theoretically. At this point however I am not so sure.

A Week Of Garfield is a Japan-release only game by TOWA CHIKI Corp. The game was released in 1989, which makes it remarkably terrible considering that same year mind-blowing games like Ironsword, Castlevania II: Simons Quest and A Boy And His Blob were released. It feels like not so much of a coincidence that after A Week Of Garfield’s release in Japan, it never had an American release (despite being a popular American IP) because of “licensing issues” and NO OTHER GARFIELD GAME WAS RELEASED OR EVEN DEVELOPED ON THE SYSTEM.

So, the first thing I did was some palette work and redrew the sprites to actually look like Garfield. The original game’s character was a vaguely cat-shaped blob, colored an unsettling shade of peach rather than orange for some reason. Digging around in the graphics data, you can find truly hideous first-draft sketches of some of the enemies as well as even more off-model interpretations of Garfield himself.

The game also includes this cartoony font that I did some tweaking to standardize and actually make it look like all the letters were from the same font, which they definitely did not at first.

As far as coding goes, I did some really basic tweaks that are practically invisible but I will mention two in particular:

1) For some reason you originally didn’t start with a full health bar. That is stupid. The first stage of the game is where you should be most lenient with the player and give them a chance to screw up a couple times with little consequence to learn the game. So my hack starts you with a full health bar.

2) Screw those stupid keys. If you haven’t played the game before, at the end of every sub-stage is a door which you need a key to open. Thankfully all the keys are near the door, but they are invisible. You will notice this is not a gameplay feature that caught on, because it is stupid. I dug around to see if there was a flag I could set to make them visible at least. As far as I can tell, they are hard-coded so the game literally draws them when you jump over the spot where they are. Stupid. Garbage. So all the doors in my hack are unlocked.

All in all however, maybe I’m being hard on myself but this hack didn’t feel satisfying. Instead, I kinda feel like that lady who painted over the Jesus face in the cave. A Week Of Garfield was so terrible it was ART. Being hideous on top of unplayable really cements it as a special experience. The result of this hack is a game that is still pretty bad, but inoffensively so. If it was released like this, you couldn’t even get mad at it.

But I’m putting it out there so you can decide for yourself.


(This is not a game ROM, which I do not have the right to distribute. This is an IPS patch (created from A Week Of Garfield (Japan).nes) which entirely contains code and data I created. My preferred IPS patcher is Lunar IPS.)


I would be willing to bet that creating a stage editor for this game would be incredibly easy. There’s no abstraction to any of the code, it’s incredibly straight-forward. Someone who cares way more than I do would have to take that on tho. Not sure how many people are dying to create an OC game using the legendary A Week Of Garfield platform game engine however.

Kinda curious how much of this game engine wound up in Dragon Fighter, tho. Might explore that in the future.


AXENLEZE – Start With A Full Health Bar


0x00D4: Keys
0x0311: Day Of The Week
0x0315: Time
0x0318: Health
0x0346: Jump Height
0x0349: Enemy Collision Flag
0x0358: Bones
0x0359: Burgers
0x035A: Cheese

2 Responses to “Polishing A Turd: A Week Of Garfield NES ROM HACK”

  1. DFH89 May 16, 2022 at 4:30 pm #

    Oh, thanks for your work, honey ^з^


  1. May 23rd – Critical Distance - May 23, 2021

    […] Polishing A Turd: A Week Of Garfield NES ROM HACK | Rani Baker Digs You  Rani Baker sets about fixing a terrible game. […]

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