HouYi Shot the Suns

“What if one day the suns were to rebel against the earth?” 

Watch the HouYi Shot the Suns Commercial

Background Information:

HouYi Shot the Suns is a modern interpretation of several ancient Taiwanese / Chinese myths relating to the adventures of archer HouYi and moon the moon goddess Chang’E. As the theme for Byte Off IV for this year was “new frontiers”, we decided to interpret the meaning in two ways:

  1. The game should take place in an unexplored realm and should when being played should feel as though the protagonist is going on some sort of epic odyssey.
  2. How could we make the game unique, i.e. a new frontier for Famicom games?

To address the first point, we decided to start the game out on an unnamed island on Earth, though with careful exploration one can watch as a whole new world opens up around oneself – first while taking to the seas on a raft, and secondly when exploring the moon and outer space, high above our realm.

The second point was a bit trickier, but that is when the storytelling comes into play. A lot of the familiar bits from the HouYi / Chang’E legends are present in the game. One can help Wu Gang cut down the osmanthus tree, the hero reaches the moon by drinking a special elixir and floating upwards, and there’s a scene at the end where the protagonist can shoot the suns. Even the beloved moon rabbit, YuTu, makes a cameo.

As a way of focusing on the storytelling, we decided to do something bold and get rid of most of the enemies. Whether hanging and watching the koi swimming in the river, or riding around aimlessly on the raft, we want the player to just take the time to relax and observe, to get lost in the atmosphere despite the graphics being of a mediocre quality.

Furthermore, we decided to use a constructed language we had created a few years ago, Wan Khu, and use it for some of the text on the moon. I think this is likely the first time a full / working constructed language has been used in a Famicom / NES game, and it was added to give the feeling of being in a new and foreign land.

We also have some of the wine as mentioned in the game (without liquids from tigers, however) and anyone who comes out to my area can stop by and try some, if interested in drinking a delicious homemade fruit wine.


  • A new game about the legend of HouYi and Chang’E
  • Learn about the Moon Festival celebration
  • Free Wu Gang by chopping down the osmanthus tree
  • Participate in the Hop Olympics
  • Raft around uncharted waters
  • Collect Jade Bananas
  • Shoot down suns to stop a rebellion
  • Fill in as a pianist in a bar full of bunnies

Who knows, you might as well just jump off the moon too!


This game was primarily tested on a Micro Genius (Xiao Tian Cai) IQ-501 Famiclone and with the Mesen emulator; however, it should be compatible on other hardware too.

HouYi Shot the Suns is a game that was initially developed for Byte Off IV. There are a few known bugs that we are aware of, and a few things that were cut due to time constraints, though this game demo gives a decent idea of what we were aiming to do. If anyone wants a physical copy of the game demo (Famicom cartridge), just message the author for details. The full game should be available in time for Moon Festival, 2024.

The development journal can be found instead of a manual.

Please note: all music was created previously and was used in previous games and projects.

Role Name
Concept and Design Kiki Wang
Music Richard Miao
I'm amazed how there's two games about HouYi and Chang'e this year! Its a Zeldaesque adventure game that's less about combat and more about exploration. Nice way to learn about this Chinese legend.
I really enjoyed playing Houyi shot the sun,difficult but very interesting game ,i played for around 20 minutes,but i lost on the second trip in space,i will come back and play again later .Good work!
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