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Ghostbusters Fans Hack Winston Into Classic Sega Genesis Game


Jul 20, 2022

A group of Ghostbusters fans is hacking the SEGA Genesis game of the same name in order to add Winston Zeddemore to the title’s line-up. The Ghostbusters franchise has a long and storied history in the gaming medium, but as with the films, Ernie Hudson’s character has sometimes gone overlooked.

The 1990 Ghostbusters video game, released for SEGA Genesis, is a side-scrolling shoot em’ up that tasks players with fighting off an invasion of ghosts following an earthquake. The game consists of six levels, with upgrades being for purchase available between each level. Crucially, of the four original Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler were the only playable characters, with Winston Zeddemore being totally absent. Winston has continued to make regular appearances in other pieces of Ghostbusters media over the years, with actor Ernie Hudson retaining a deep association with the franchise. Just last year, Hudson revealed that a sequel to 2009’s Ghostbusters video game was in development. The game, titled Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, sees both Hudson and Dan Aykroyd reprise their roles as Winston and Ray respectively, and is set after Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Now a group of fans is working to restore Winston to his rightful place amongst the cast of the 1990 Ghostbusters game. As reported by IGN, the in-progress ROM hack is the work of three modders: BillyTime!Games, Danilo Diaz, and Master Linkeui. Master Linkeui has posted images to Twitter showcasing the mod, and a similar video was uploaded to the Billy Time! YouTube channel. Winston is apparently more physically capable than his fellow Ghostbusters in the game, with a higher strength stat and being better at jumping. Winston doesn’t appear to be playable in the Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed multiplayer game, so this could be a great way for fans to get their fix of the character before that game releases later in 2022.

Although reportedly not quite ready for release, the mod is clearly well into development. Winston’s sprites are finished and fit in perfectly with the original game’s art style, and the recorded gameplay appears to be running smoothly. Also to be included in the mod are two new custom palettes based on the Ghostbuster uniforms seen in the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 movies, colored khaki and dark blue respectively. Winston remains conspicuously absent during the game’s recorded cutscenes, but a subsequent update on Twitter from BillyTime!Games has revealed that a portrait of Winston will now replace Egon’s for the scientist’s spoken lines when chosen as the player character. This mod not only makes Winston a playable character, but improves the functionality of the game with additional features.

This mod corrects a mistake made over 30 years ago. Winston should never have been excluded from the lineup of the original SEGA Genesis Ghostbusters game. However, it is good to see that he will at last be where he should be, battling paranormal threats alongside the rest of the paranormal eliminators. The team behind this mod are clearly very talented and working quickly to bring their project to fruition. Many mods can make impressive additions to games old and new, but it is rare to see a mod with quite this much cultural significance behind it. This is not just a case of a mod adding a new playable character, but one that rights a franchise wrong.

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