Noah’s Ark, an old NES platformer never released in the US, is now on Steam

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Released in Europe in 1992, Noah’s Ark was one of the very few religion-themed games to officially hit the Nintendo Entertainment System. Playing as Noah, you travel the world collecting animals for your ark in places like ancient Rome, Egypt and China. It was a pretty straightforward 8-bit platformer with one fairly crucial (and annoying) twist: water automatically rises as you traverse the levels, and the higher the water level gets, the harder the game is.

It’s definitely a relic of its time, with its strong Mega Man and Ghosts ‘n Goblins vibes. But if you reside in America you probably never played it, thanks to Nintendo of America’s then ban on in-game religious references. Nintendo wasn’t quite as restrictive in Europe though, and publisher Konami had success getting the game released in that market with the ‘Original Nintendo Seal of Quality'.

The good news is that if you’ve ever harboured a desire to play Noah’s Ark, it’s on Steam right now. It looks like a fairly straightforward port with no bells and whistles: it vigilantly maintains its old 4:3 aspect ratio, and there’s not much evidence of any other improvements or changes, save the box art now adorning the sides of the 4:3 gameplay window.

It’s probably not a whole lot of fun, but it is an interesting time capsule, being one of the only religious games released commercially for the NES. Nintendo of America’s policies were so restrictive that it inadvertently spawned an underground market for unlicensed religious games, most notably those developed by Wisdom Tree of Super 3D Noah’s Ark fame. Coincidentally, the 2015 PC reissue of that game is published by Piko Interactive, the same publisher who brings us Noah’s Ark in 2021. 

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.