A commenter asked a good question as I come up on my 6th anniversary of this project — why the blog?
This can be answered in several ways. Why play all these games in chronological order? For some reason I like doing stuff like this; before I did this blog I was playing all the Super Robot Wars games in release order and I have other projects like this that aren’t video game related. I’m not entirely sure why I like doing this kind of thing.
Next — why do something like this site rather than just playing the games? I like having a record of what I did that I can look back on later. I was just looking back at my Dragon Quest V posts in preparation for making the first DQ6 post this weekend and it was fun. I wouldn’t have remembered all the things I wrote down. Plus I like getting comments from people.
Finally, why a blog? Why not a twitch stream or a youtube channel? The main reason for this is that it’s the least effort — the relatively low amount of effort the blog posts take is the main reason I’ve been able to consistently update almost every week for the whole 6 years I’ve been doing this. I never wanted to get into a situation where I was backed up on things, with the blog or channel 10 games behind where I actually was. So I never force myself to write more than I want. This means my posts aren’t as good as someone like CRPGAddict but at least I can keep the consistency.
I don’t know much about video editing so I would have to learn a lot to make youtube videos and it would take more effort than I’m willing to put in given the (probable) low viewership of the videos.
I did actually twitch stream for a little bit, but this is just too niche to attract even retro gamers who probably don’t want to watch games in Japanese. Plus, for several reasons I hardly ever play a game for more than an hour in a sitting, which isn’t good for streaming.
So the blog is the best way to record my progress in a way that’s convenient for me (I also like revisiting blog posts more than youtube videos).
I had a strange occurrence when I got back from vacation. I took my laptop along but I couldn’t find any convenient place to set it up so I played Another Eden (as I said in my last post). When I got back and tried to play RS3, my save file was gone or had been overwritten by the emulator, and all the emulator settings were gone as well. I’ve been using the same laptop and setup for all 5 years I’ve been doing this project and this has never happened before — I was still able to load save games from the other games I played before.
Although RS3 was coming along OK, I wasn’t enjoying it enough to want to start all the way from the beginning, so I’ll move along to Dragon Quest VI instead — I’ll post a final update about RS3 this weekend.
For now I thought this would be a good place to collect a list of the Super Famicom games that I have either skipped or not finished. First, these are the games that I started to play but did not finish:
SD Gundam Gaiden Knight Gundam Story – This game is a combined port/remake of several Famicom games; I found the game slow and boring and so stopped playing on the grounds that it was a port.
Dragon Ball Z – I had reached a point where I could not beat a boss and it looked like I would have to start over from the beginning; since there is a patch for this I moved on.
Romancing Saga – I reached a point where random encounters were giving me game overs and I was not confident in my ability to finish the game even if I did grinding.
Cyber Knight – The game was not fun and I was losing badly even in regular encounters.
Romancing Saga 2 – Basically the same reason as RS1; I didn’t want to do the amount of grinding it seemed like it would take to win.
Wizap! King of Darkness – Technically I “finished” this game but I got a bad ending that didn’t require me to actually accomplish anything. I couldn’t figure out how the game worked without a manual or guide.
Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes – I finished two of the routes, but it looked like the other 6 routes were basically the same game with slight differences, and there was no bonus for doing all of them, so I moved on.
Mahoujin Guruguru – This isn’t really an RPG in my eyes, so I played it until it got annoying and grindy.
La Wares – This game was awful, has a patch, and once again was going to take a ton of grinding to beat.
Ruin Arm – Also not really an RPG by my standards.
Demon of Laplace – This game was OK but not great, and perhaps I skipped it too easily on the excuse that it’s a port.
Dunquest – Same as Guruguru and Ruin Arm, not really an RPG to me.
Romancing Saga 3 – Save game deleted, unwilling to restart.
Now here is a list of games that I skipped because they have official English releases (E), are ports of games from other systems (P), or I’ve already finished it before starting the blog (F):
Ys III (EP)
Final Fantasy IV (EF)
Dungeon Master (EP)
Super Chinese World (E)
Soul Blazer (EF)
Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes (P)
Ultima VI (EP)
Shin Megami Tensei (F)
Lennus/Paladin’s Quest (E)
Elnard/7th Saga (E)
Wizardry V (EP)
Final Fantasy V (F)
Might and Magic II (EP)
Spike McFang (E)
Legend of Heroes II (P)
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (EF)
Secret of the Stars (E)
Ys IV (F)
Dragon Quest I&II (P) – I feel like I should have played II, at least. I’ve beaten I for the game boy, but never II for any system.
Eye of the Beholder (EP)
Final Fantasy VI (EF)
Ultima Gaiden (Runes of Virtue II) (E)
Super Drakkhen/Dragon View (E)
Ultima VII (EF)
Chrono Trigger (EF)
Princess Minerva (I played the PCE version)
Emerald Dragon (same)
Brandish 2 (E)
Wizardry VI (EP)
This leaves a few more: Shodai Nekketsu Kunio-kun, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are both only marginally RPGs I think, and Jojo has an English patch. The Barcode Battler game can’t really be played without the unsupported peripheral. All the games relying on the BS modem hookup have content that can’t be emulated.
It’s possible that some day I may come back and do some of these games I skipped. I have an idea for what I want to do once I finish the SFC library, and that could include some revisits of these games.
Happy new year! I haven’t been playing RS3 at all on vacation because it’s inconvenient to set up my laptop, so instead I loaded up Another Eden for the first time in over a year. I’m doing the Tales sidequests. I’ve always thought this game is pretty good for a F2P mobile game with gacha elements — my main complaints are that the main story characters are worthless compared to what you get even just from normal gacha pulls, and the equipment is too hard to forge. Apparently I’m way behind now because I’m only on main story chapter 31 but they are up to 90-something now.
Here’s a reminder of the remaining games upcoming for the current year:
When I made my full SRPG game list I included Atelier games, which caused some comment — they are not Strategy RPGs, certainly, but I would consider at least the earlier ones to be Simulation RPGs. Plus I like the series so I put it on there so I could play more of the games.
The long running series began in 1997 and currently has 23 main titles and around 15 side games, plus a number of remakes. The first five games are primarily simulation games where you control a young alchemist trying to achieve some mild goal (like pass an exam or bring prosperity to your village). There is usually a basic “good” ending that’s quite easy to get, and then a number of other endings that are more difficult. As the series progressed, they put more and more RPG elements in — by A5 (Viorate) you had explorable dungeons, a complicated weapon and armor crafting system, and five different bosses. However, the game could still be completed without doing much of this, and the focus was on running a store and crafting items.
A6 (Iris) was a straight RPG (with a crafting system), and the next 4 games after that continued that trend. I first played the series when Iris had just come out, and there was a lot of uncertainty whether the series would ever return to the simulation roots.
But A11 (Rorona) did go back to the earlier style, although the RPG elements seemed more prominent. I haven’t played anything past A13 (Meruru) but from what I hear the RPG elements have become more and more dominant as the series has progressed.
The side games include some games that aren’t RPGs or simulation games, but also a few games for Nintendo portable systems that look like they may be the more traditional games.
I am at least going to post about A1-A5 when I get to them, but after that it will depend on how I feel and what kind of game they are. I’ve already played Marie and gotten all the endings, so I won’t be replaying it here, but I’ll write a bit about it.
Atelier Marie (マリーのアトリエ～ザールブルグの錬金術士～), released 1997/5/23, developed by Gust
The first game in many ways is a tentative beginning for the series — if you’ve played any of the later games almost everything is in a very simple form, which perhaps makes it a good starting game? Apparently the game was originally planned as an SRPG but the director thought that there were too many big name RPGs already out there, and so decided on a new type of game. The game was regarded as a side project for the company but it was so popular that it quickly became Gust’s main product.
The main character is Marlone (nickname Marie), a not-so-great student of the alchemy school in Zalberg. Apparently a normal girl was chosen as the main character because the developers felt that women were starting to play games more — the female main character became a mainstay of the series. Marie’s on her last chance at the school, and she has five years to make a good item so that she can pass the exam and graduate.
This imposes a 5 year time limit on the game. One of the core elements of the early games is the time limit; everything you do takes time, and part of the game is learning to use your time wisely. (I’ve heard that recent games have gotten rid of the time limit; I’m sure this is more popular among casual players but it’s a bit disappointing.)
The dialogue is fully voiced, and the graphics are quite nice. The music is also exceptional; I place Gust second only to Falcom for consistent high quality music in almost every game they release.
The game has no real story. There are some characters like Schia (above), Kreis (a good student at the academy), Ruven (an adventurer), and others. Many of them can join your party for a price to help you out when you adventure outside of the town. They also have some events and small story events, but nothing much.
Basically everything in the game is optional. There are several endings — the basic ending is to craft a level 4 item to pass the exam. This is quite easy and can be done even if you barely know what you are doing. But the fun of the game is that you can replay to try to get some of the other endings — there’s one for levelling Marie to 50, one for beating an optional boss, one for crafting all items, etc.
The core of the game is the item crafting. Marie can learn recipes for items, and then if she has the right ingredients, she can craft them. The difficulty and time it takes depends on Marie’s level — unlike later games there is no separate alchemy and adventurer level; you gain XP for crafting items and for killing monsters. Marie can also buy tools that will either be necessary for the crafting, or make it less likely she will fail.
Later games introduce more complexity to the crafting system, but in Marie you just combine the ingredients into the final item.
How does Marie get the items? Two ways — she can either buy them, or she can go out to the field and collect the items. Buying items of course requires money; the main way to get money is to take jobs at the pub. By turning in certain items Marie will receive money. However, it’s also necessary to get some items by leaving town.
At the start of the game Marie can only access a few locations close to the town, but as the game progresses you gain access to more areas with rarer items. When you reach a location, you simply press the circle button to search for items, which costs a day.
You may also encounter monsters.
The battle system is very basic; characters can attack, use a special move, and Schia and Marie can use attack or healing items. Marie by herself will die (at least at the beginning) so you need to hire some adventurers (which costs money).
So the game is essentially a loop of taking jobs for money, getting the items to craft, buying new books to learn how to make items, and activating events — some events open up when you pass a certain time, and others are only available for a certain time each year.
As I said above, even if you have no real idea what you’re doing, you can easily get the basic ending — as long as you can read the game’s text you would have to try to fail, I think. The extra endings are more difficult but not to a great degree. I was able to get all the endings in one playthrough with just a list of the endings and some information on a few events that activated at certain times. But there was something fun about the simplicity of the game.
The game was later released for Saturn as “Atelier Marie 1.3” with one additional ending and some new events, and some minor things based on the Saturn’s internal clock (like if you play the game on Christmas she’ll wish you Merry Christmas). This version was then ported to the PSX as Atelier Marie Plus, which is the version I played. There’s a later release for Game boy, and then a combination release for PS2 of Marie and Elie. You would think that’s the definitive version of the game, but the designers made the bizarre decision to get rid of the 図鑑, a place in the main menu that shows you all of the items you’ve crafted, monsters you’ve found, and endings you’ve gotten.
The next game for the series is Atelier Elie which came out in 1998, which I have not played.
As I mentioned last week I’m in a busy part of the fall. Next week will most likely be a quick post on Final Fantasy Tactics, and then hopefully I will have finished Seiken Densetsu 3 by the following weekend.
Hello, happy weekend. First, I appreciate everyone who comments. I love reading the comments, and even if you comment on something from 4 years ago I will see it.
There are two issues I’ve had with comments, though. First, I have the setting on where I need to manually approve your comment if it’s your first time posting. For some reason, this doesn’t always work and I sometimes have to manually approve comments even if they’re not first-time posters.
Second, I have Akismet’s free spam filter on. Sometimes legitimate comments end up there, and it’s happening consistently with two commenters who have been around since the very early days of my blog (cccmar and Kicksville). I don’t know why this is happening and since this is just the free version of Akismet I can’t tweak the settings. However, I do manually check the spam filter every couple of days and so if your comment ends up in there I will manually approve it.
I just wanted to post this in case people are seeing their comments disappear or getting notifications that they need approval.
Some people from outside the US reported they could not see the images on some of the posts — I believe this was caused by Jetpack (a wordpress plugin) putting images on i0.wp.com. I turned off the option that did this.
Can everyone see that image?
It looks like the previous posts should be working now as well — let me know if you can see the images on Shiki Eiyuden and such.
It’s been five years since I made my introduction post on the Super Famicom blog. I’m about 60% finished with the Super Famicom library, but it will be another few years until I play the last game on that list. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented over the years.
Tomorrow or Sunday I will post Harukaze Sentai V-Force, a (barely) strategy RPG that tries to use lots of anime sequences to tell the story, but leaves them with no much room to make a game.
Then will come Rejoice: The Reaches of Aretha Kingdom, an action RPG, and then La Wares, a regular RPG that is known as a kusoge.
Thank you for visiting; this is a blog that chronicles my playthroughs of various Super Famicom, PC Engine, and general strategy RPGs. Feel free to respond here to introduce yourself, let me know what your favorite SRPG is, whatever.
I generally update on Saturday or Sunday. I play one strategy RPG, then two Super Famicom (or PC Engine) RPGs.
I’ve now finished the links to all the previous posts, so you can use the links at the top to see the full list of played games so far. Also, if you are only interested in certain types of posts, you can filter by categories (see the bottom of the sidebar). The three categories are Strategy RPGs, Super Famicom RPGs, and PC Engine RPGs.
I’m on the last chapter of Vandal Hearts so I should be back here next week. Until then, a short post continuing my “old RPGs” sequence — this time the Famicom Disk System game Deep Dungeon.
This is the first of four first-person dungeon crawler games for the Famicom (the first two for the disk system). It’s the first attempt to transfer the Wizardry-style gameplay to a console. It is considerably simpler than its inspiration; you control only one character who is just a fighter — you can buy items and use them to cast spells by spending HP, but other than that it’s just attack.
The story is pretty simple — a princess has been captured and you have to go into the underground dungeon (just like Wizardry) to find her. There are 8 floors about the same size as Wizardry ones. The game is also quite similar to the first Wizardry in that the main activity of the game is making maps of the dungeon. There is very little to find in the dungeon — for instance, the first floor has a couple of places where you can find gold, and one message. There are some places with guaranteed encounters and adventurers, but other than that the maze is empty. This is something that I found fun when I was a kid and hadn’t played many of these games, but now I feel like there has to be stuff to find in the dungeons or it’s not fun just to wander around.
One other clear indication of Wizardry’s influence is that you have to press a button to kick a door down rather than just walking through it.
Saving requires you to switch sides of the disk, which takes a long time (of course in a modern emulator you can just use a save state).
I wandered around the first floor for a while. The encounter rate is very low, but the main character has a hard time surviving. There’s also a certain sluggishness to the whole game, which is not that surprising from this era.
There is a translation patch (and a full set of maps on GameFAQs) so this can be played, but it’s hard to imagine many people finding it fun. I think I would have enjoyed it in 1986 when it came out, because these kinds of RPGs were still fairly new. But I can’t see playing it now except for some kind of masochist completion.
The series takes steps forward in successive entries, by adding multiple dungeons, more characters. The second game came out about 6 months after this one, suggesting that like Dragon Quest I this was more of a trial run and the next game is a more polished entry. If I keep doing these early games now and then we’ll see Deep Dungeon 2 before too long.