Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodbye 1988, Hello 1989: Blog Updates

So, we've already finished a full year of games. Not all that impressive seeing as how we're only two games in, but definitely a time to reflect on the past month of blogging.

First, some bad news. The mapping software is going to take longer than I thought, and I'm still holding out hope that a better option will present itself. Mostly this is bad for me, as I'll have to stick with paper for now. It's turning out that the small prototype is slower than plain old paper and pencil.

Next, some more bad news. If you haven't noticed, I've stopped posting videos to YouTube. Honestly, they weren't getting a lot of attention, or generating interest in this blog, and they took a lot of time to push out in an organized fashion. If anyone wants to watch videos of previous playing they're available on the streaming page for at least a week.

Lastly, it was pointed out that "Making the Cut" comes off as confusing, so I'm going to change it. However, I haven't fully decided to what, so I have a new poll up. Help me decide on a name for the series of posts. Comment here to suggest more names (the theme is to keep the word 'cut' in the title). Currently I have:
  • Cut Short
  • Cut and Run
  • Cut Down
  • Below the Cut
  • A Cut Below
With that out of the way, here are the highlights of 1989:
  1. Ultima: Exodus
  2. Hydlide
  3. Dungeon Explorer
  4. Dragon Warrior
In this year we have two seminal games, Dragon Warrior and Ultima: Exodus. Dragon Warrior is one of the most popular CRPG series next only to Final Fantasy, and I've played the heck out of both. Ultima: Exodus has its fame tied to computers, but the console port didn't fare as well. It's probably most famous for starting off a slew of poor PC RPG ports to the NES. With it next up, we'll learn what held it back.
Out of all of these though, the most reviled is Hydlide, which I had weighed as a 10 on the RPG scale, but after looking it over again, I'm fairly certain it falls short. I'll take a closer look at it after Exodus.

The remaining titles this year are a slew of action-RPGs with the most questioning being Dungeon Explorer. This game is described as similar to gauntlet, but with RPG elements. Lucky for me this TG-16 game (along with Ys) was released on the Wii Virtual Console, so I'm able to play it without the original system or game.
Source: Wikipedia.org

Also of note in 1989 we have the release of the Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and Game Boy. Even with the 2 year lead over the Super Nintendo, Sega struggles to over throw Nintendo's install base, and the SNES does just as well when it's finally released.

We see some CRPGs (well action-RPGs) released with the TG-16, which is rare for a new console; however, this was probably due to it being in production in Japan already. The Genesis does get out Phantasy Star II within the first 6 months, but I'm not sure how much this bolstered sales. Commercials for the system only showed action a slew of action and arcade style beat'em ups. One of the things that didn't interest me in the system was the lack of console RPGs. Now I'll finally get the chance to play through those games I missed out on.

Lastly, we have the Game Boy. This system probably went a long way to endear Nintendo to the millions of fans it had with the NES that followed them to the SNES. Being the first handheld game console it was a marvel for the time. True to form, Nintendo once again gets first mover advantage. Unfortunately, we won't see the first CRPG for the system until next year's games.

The name Atari still strikes fear in the hearts of Americans, and being priced at $100 more, the Lynx fails to compete with the Game Boy. We'll see other handhelds enter the market, but nothing has dethroned Nintendo as the leader here.


  1. Atari strikes fear in us? Why fear?

    I liked reading this lil' bit of history. :)

    1. Mainly for them getting most of the blame for the console crash of the 80s. My claim comes from baseless facts and rumors, so don't take it too seriously. ;)

      Although they're currently (in 1988) 2nd in the console market, somehow they lose all steam; their following consoles Lynx and Jaguar fail to make much of an impact. Combined they sell less than 1 million units. Whether this is due to high price points, lack of games, or some other factor, I can't say for certain.

      I'm glad you liked it. I got (stole) the idea to do this from Wingnut, a fellow blogger that I now see I failed to added to my list for reading. In fact, I just noticed that I very blatantly ripped off the title for the post as well, sorry Wingnut! *Something about imitation being the highest form of flattery...* I hope you don't mind.

  2. Wow, I must be catching up!
    Dragon Warrior is probably the only RPG you'll play that I've beaten, on the Gameboy Colour as I recall. Never beat Dragonwarrior II or III, though I had the cartridge with both on it.

    Chrontendo reviewed Hydlide and found that it was a CRPG, and not NEARLY as bad as people say: It seems they played it as a Zelda type game, and not a CRPG that requires care & mapping. I think that is Hydlide, the one with the orbs and the castle, right? Bunch of people (Seanbaby, Angry Video Game Nerd) call it the worst ever?

  3. Dragon Warrior is the first game I played so much that I hit max level. I actually enjoyed grinding. Yes, I was a weird kid.

    I note your other comment, and continue to wonder what game you may have been talking about that AVGN called the worst ever, but Dr. Sparkle rather enjoyed.

  4. I believe I was thinking of Deadly Towers. http://cinemassacre.com/2008/08/19/deadly-towers/

  5. Ah, okay, I thought I was missing a game. I've already cut that game out. Did Dr. Sparkle call it a CRPG in the episode? He doesn't seem to do that in the post. Looks like he's redone a lot of the early episodes as well, maybe I should start over with it again...

    1. No- He said it was based on Zelda, and it looks more like action-adventure then an RPG. I think I was mixing bits of the two games in my head.

    2. Also: As far as I can tell they are the same episodes, just with better audio and video: Remasters I think.

  6. The Genesis did lack console RPG's. Honestly, all I remember are the Phantasy Star games and Sword of Vermillion. There are also some strategy RPG's (Warsong/Langrisser, Shining Force). I guess there's also Shining in the Darkness and Rings of Power, both of which, in different ways, take more from PC RPG's than console RPG's.

    Still, Phantasy Star 4 is worth it on its own. I still think it's a stand out RPG from the period, even if the SNES games tend to get more attention.

    1. Crusader of Centy was nice Genesis Action RPG game.



      I realy enjoyed in this game. It was near Zelda experience on Genesis-

    2. This is on my list, although it does seem to lack the same RPG elements the original Zelda did. At least there are NPCs to interact with.

  7. It makes me curious how Traysia, Sorcerer's Kingdom, and Shadowrun will compare since they're often not on people's radar. My guess is most of these lesser known games are average, but I hope to find a rare gem or two.

  8. Shadowrun has a fun setting at least. I don't know if you play tabletop Rpgs at app, but it is a long-standing game that mixes Cyberpunk and Fantasy.

  9. Shadowrun may have been the first tabletop RPG I played. I only remember one or two sessions, and I don't quite remember why we stopped. My dad bought it to play with us I think.

    I was also part of an RP group that played different games. Mostly D&D, but I also remember Crimson Cutlass, Vampire: The Masquerade, In Nomine, Paranoia, GURPS, and others I have less memory of (a ninja game, super heroes, and an anime one). Also, there were spattering of others as the group was approached a couple times (to my knowledge) to play test new RP systems.

    That's about as far as my history goes with tabletop RPGs, and I didn't play them for more than about 4 years. It's a fun time to remember though, so thank you for the excuse.

    The short answer, yes I know what Shadowrun is, and I'm looking forward to playing both games. If the Sega CD game were released in the states, then I'd be all over that as well. The PC/Xbox 360 game is a joke.