I still remember the first time that I saw a Japanese Roleplaying Game (JRPG). Like many people of my generation, it was a Final Fantasy game, though not one so obvious as Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VI (or Final Fantasy 3, if you’re familiar with the North American naming scheme), or Final Fantasy VII. No, it was Final Fantasy Legend II in all of its monochromatic glory on the Nintendo Game Boy.
I was at a friend’s house, and his cousin was also visiting. I’d never met the cousin, but he had a Game Boy (like me), so I liked him almost instantly. But, where I was eradicating (or, more accurately, being eradicated by) the Footclan in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or dodging winged-Moai statues in Super Mario Land, he had this slow, boardgame-like game, with numbers, equipment, a map, and so many other elements that I was unfamiliar with. In particular, I remember a fight with a tiger. The one pictured here, in fact. As I think back on it, I can only assume that it’s a low level enemy, fought in one of the early game environments. At the time, however, it was something different. Something frightening.
If you do your homework, however, you’ll quickly discover that my first experience with Final Fantasy was, in fact, not with Final Fantasy at all, but with Akitoshi Kawazu’s infamous SaGa series. See, when Square the developer of the Final Fantasy series, wanted to bring over Kawazu’s zany Makai Toushi SaGa, the first in the SaGa series, to North American shores, they decided that it made more sense to release the title under a respected and successful brand, Final Fantasy, rather than attempting to sell something new. It was the right decision. Final Fantasy Legend II became Square’s first million-selling product. Read More »
Buy Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris: Book/eBook
Seth Rogen, best known for those movies you either love or revile (there seems to be no middle ground) and longtime-collaborator, Evan Goldberg, are working on a film about the great Console Wars of the 1990s. Now you might be wracking your brain, trying to place the great Console Wars of the 90s, and how they resulted from the end of the Cold War and the Gulf War… but you’re overthinking it. We’re talking about the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega, two of the great videogame developers and publishers of that decade. Rogen and Goldberg acquired the rights to “Blake Harris’s Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, an upcoming behind-the-scenes oral history of the classic gaming industry battle,” explained Kwame Opam of The Verge, based on the original report from The Collider. Rogen and Goldberg provided a foreword for the book.
Hoping to follow in the steps of The Accidental Billionaires, which spawned Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, a semi-ficitonal biopics about the creation of Facebook, Harris’s Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation is “a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.” Scott Rudin, producer of The Social Network will serve as executive producer.
The big question is who Rogen will cast as the legendary, inestimable Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Japanese businessman who, as the third president of Nintendo, turned the company from a small playing card manufacturer in the ’50s into one of Japan’s most successful multi-billion dollar companies, and defining the childhood’s of millions of people worldwide in the process. Any videogame fan above the age of 25 lived through that golden age of the industry and likely knows how fascinating the industry was during the mid-90s, as it continued to recover from the devastating crash in the 70s and began planting the roots of what would eventually become the goliath we know today.
Unfortunately for Rogen, we all have the benefit of hindsight and know that the eventual winner (and objectively more awesome/superior) game console is Nintendo’s SNES. So, uhh… spoilers for the film, I guess?
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation is available on May 13, 2014. There is no release date for the film.
Since the Fall 2012 release of the Wii U, Nintendo has been trying to convince gamers to make the switch from their tried-and-true PlayStation 3s, Xbox 360s and Wiis, for a new, shiny Wii U. The problem, those systems are already in gamers living rooms/dens and have a ton of good games, many still to come. It’s never safe to count Nintendo out, especially when you’re an long time fan of their mainstay franchises, and they’ve certainly taken a big step towards winning over gamers with today’s announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a full-HD remake of the classic Nintendo Gamecube game. Unlike many HD ‘remakes’ release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which are little more than uprezzed versions of classic games, with little attention to detail given to updating the gameplay for a new audience, this appears to be a full remake. Think, if you will, the remake of Resident Evil released for the Gamecube, rather than the recent remake of Okami for the PlayStation 3. Both are terrific games, but the ideals behind the remakes are entirely different.
These screenshots are gorgeous. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is known for its bold and (at the time) divisive art style. Though it’s 10 years old, the original release holds up better graphically than games released five years afterwards. To see Nintendo giving such care and attention to the game makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. The bloom lighting is a little much, but I’m banking on the idea that it will look more organic and impressive during gameplay. I’m waiting anxiously for video of this remake.
Art by Akira Toriyama
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The best news last week was that a 65 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian in an upcoming film. The best news this week? Dragon Quest VII, a much debated and eternally long volume in the much-loved RPG series, will be coming to Nintendo 3DS early next year. In Japan.
Even the synopsis, taken from the original Playstation release, is charming:
You play the role of a 16 year old boy who lives in the village of Fishbell and aspires to be a great fisherman, like your father Borkano. Once The Hero and his friends Keifer and Maribell start exploring Estard Island, they discover that there used to be more to the world than just their small piece of land. The trio will have to collect ancient tablet shards and use them to revive the lost continents, uncover why they were lost, and who erased them to begin with.
This immediately leaps to the top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on the above scan, the release appears to be a full-on remake, much needed for one of the ugliest (if charming) games of all time. Though this has only been announced for a Japanese release, the previous Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest‘s 4-5 were well received in North America and sold respectably, suggesting that an announcement of an overseas release is likely an inevitability. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
Because I’m currently nearing the end of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and also recently completed The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the nth time, I’ve got Zelda on my mind. So, a gallery of some of my favourite Zelda-inspired fan art:
Where able, I’ve sourced the original artist. What are your favourite pieces of The Legend of Zelda fan art?