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XType Plus – an HTML5 Game for the Nintendo Wii U

For many Indie Game Developers getting your game on a real gaming console is something like the holy grail. At least for me it was. The entry barrier for any gaming console seems unequally high, compared to PC or mobile development.

Nintendo is trying to change that with their Nintendo Web Framework – it's essentially a WebKit browser for the Wii U but offers some custom APIs to interface with various controllers and Nintendo's online services. Nintendo also did a tremendous job of speeding up Canvas2D rendering on their console and providing excellent HTML5 Audio and WebAudio support. The result is a game development framework suitable for about any 2D game you can think of, but with an extremely low entry barrier.

Gameplay Trailer for XType Plus

A few years ago I made an HTML5 game called X-Type, built on top of the Impact Game Engine. It was mostly meant to test the rendering speed of Browsers at the time, but turned out to be quite fun to play as well.

In 2013 Nintendo invited me to GDC Europe where I presented a quick port of the game for the Wii U. The feedback I got at GDC Europe was extremely positive, so I decided push the prototype as far as I can, polish all the rough edges and make a real game out of it.

A prototype of XType Plus at GDC Europe

Today, XType Plus launches in the Nintendo eShop in North America, Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I'm very excited to see this come to life!

For the most part, porting the game to the Nintendo Web Framework was very straight forward. My Game Engine Impact worked without any modifications and now officially supports the NWF as well to tightly integrate the Wii U controllers and other platform features.

There were some rough edges, particularly with Nintendo's online services, but these have mostly been smoothed out in current NWF releases. Interfacing with the GamePad screen and various controllers was a breeze and most features supported by a "real" Browser work as expected in NWF. Canvas and Audio work exactly as in the Browser and the settings in XType Plus for instance are simply saved to localStorage.

Even with all the additions for the Wii U, the game still runs in a Desktop Browser as well. This made the debugging process of core gameplay features a very simple process.

Screenshot of XType Plus from the all new Plus Mode

If you want to know more about the creation process of XType Plus and the Nintendo Web Framework please have a look at the interview I did with back in Februray.

I hope to see your names pop up in the Highscores of XType Plus!

Thursday, July 31st 2014
— Dominic Szablewski, @phoboslab


#1 – Andrew Rabon – Thursday, July 31st 2014, 17:53

Very, very excited to see this.

Will official NWF support be available in a future release of Impact? Maybe an example project?

#2Nathan – Friday, August 1st 2014, 14:46

Is the NWF toolchain Windows-only or does it support OS X as well?

#3 – donn trent – Sunday, August 10th 2014, 09:05

Hi Dominic

are you able to assist with a word game for a children's site, for literacy. I saw your Ztype - can I run this on my site?

Kind Regards
Donn Trent

#4 – sebwin – Sunday, August 17th 2014, 22:37

Hi, Dominic
I bought your shooter a few days back and it really is an exciting little challenge for when you only have a couple of minutes to play.
What I am sorely missing is support for TV-off-mode, which seems like a somewhat glaring omission, considering the tightness and precision of the gameplay--the kind I find is best mastered on a handheld device--and that not much (if anything) is going on on the Gamepad during play.
It'd be really great if you could push an update that includes this feature!

#5 – Magz – Tuesday, August 19th 2014, 00:14

Love the game. Please add off-TV remote play.

#6 – Keith Randolf – Thursday, August 21st 2014, 00:57

Love the game man, major props and I got all my friends to purchase it after they seen me playing it at my house. Hopefully you put all your future projects on Wii U.

#7 – JohnBallard – Thursday, May 5th 2016, 07:47


#8 – Joshua Reid – Saturday, September 24th 2016, 14:36

Hey, man. I just discovered your z-type game, it really amazes me that extremely cool games like that are able to be made. I am 16 and I know and am learning a ton of languages right now. I am currently running my own website( And, I'd like your input. If you want to contact me just go to the contact page on it. I am adding games to it as fast as I can. You may notice there is a typing game on it, that was programmed by my friend who is a really amazing programmer himself. I created one game on it, COLOR BLIND. I actually have a couple other games created, but haven't added them yet. I'm thinking about using VB to make a couple of games on the site, I am not quite sure how I would add them though. You seem extremely experienced and I'd like your professional opinion.

#9 – Joshua Reid – Saturday, September 24th 2016, 14:37

Actually, I just discovered Phoboslab. Not z-type. I discovered z-type from coolmath. I just discovered the shortcut