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'Retro City Rampage' melds 'GTA' and the NES

The long-awaited tribute to "Grand Theft Auto" done in 8bits is finally in the home stretch. Arriving sometime in May, the already announced versions for WiiWare and Xbox Live Arcade will be joined by editions for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PC.

"Retro City Rampage" has been in development for quite a while, and has become a staple at trade shows and conventions in recent years, to the point that many were wondering if a finished version would ever come to light. Even though an exact date has yet to be given, simply having a timeframe is good enough for those who have been waiting patiently since day one:

The game originated in 2002 as "Grand Theftendo" a homebrew project that sought to re-invent "Grant Theft Auto 3" for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. As development proceeded, and the platform shifted towards the PC, creator Brian Provinciano began adding elements from other games, resulting in an original title that pays homage to 80's pop culture.

It's currently available for pre-order for $15 via the official site. In addition to both a Steam and a DRM-free version, one can also nab a mini soundtrack, a digital box and cartridge label, so diehards can adorn a stock NES game to look like a store bought version of "Retro City Rampage," and a 20 percent coupon for related merchandise.

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Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.