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Famicom titled Dead Zone gets an English fan translation

A classic text adventure

Fan translation group Stardust Crusaders put together an English translation for Dead Zone, a Famicom Sunsoft text adventure from all the way back in 1986. The game focuses on Cark, a space colony builder who is transported to an underground robot graveyard. Cark sees a beam of light that tells him to visit to a space station to see his girlfriend Mary. It's up to Cark and his robot companion Carry to find their way out of the current situation.

Shigesato Itoi recalls his initial pitch for Mother/Earthbound Beginnings to Nintendo, and how it left him depressed and in tears

A fantastic story from the man himself

An absolutely fascinating interview with Shigesato Itoi, the creator of Mother/Earthbound has surfaced, and it includes a very detailed look at how the original Mother/Earthbound Beginnings game was pitched to Nintendo. Check out a summary straight from Itoi himself below, which is just a small snippet of the full interview.

“I owe a lot to Mario. I have asthma, and I start coughing when I lay down. I’ve always had a hard time sleeping, and for a while I had to sit up at all times or else I just couldn’t stop coughing. The only things I could really do while sitting up at night were read a book or play a game. So I’d wake up and grab a controller, and Mario would see me through my asthma at night. ...It’s more like I felt indebted to Nintendo.

...one day I finally started playing a copy of Dragon Quest that someone had given me. It’d been sitting around for a while, but it was raining and I had nothing better to do. ...I started it with pretty low expectations, and before I knew it, I was having a great time.

...It was fun. At first I was simply enjoying the game, but then it occurred to me that there’s someone out there who’s entertaining me through this game.

Yeah, it’s like laughing at a comedian’s joke and realizing, “Hey, that person on stage is the one making me laugh!” After a while I found myself thinking about what kind of things I’d do if I made the same sort of game. I wondered why all the role-playing games that were popular at the time had swords and magic.

Games were more unpopular back then. I was defending them on TV, saying something like, “Manga used to be taboo — you’d be scorned for having manga as a college student. Video games are in the same position today, and although it sounds a little extreme, I think games will eventually be an even bigger part of our culture than manga.”

People at Nintendo wondered who I was after that, and Yamauchi said he wanted to meet me. They invited me to their office to ask me what I thought of a game, and after that, we chatted for a while. That’s when (Shigeru) Miyamoto came in. We ended up becoming really close — we got along quite well from the start. I told him I actually had an idea of my own, and pulled out some copies of the notes I’d taken, asking him if he thought it would work as a game.

I pictured them jumping up from their chairs, saying, “Wow, what an idea! We must try it!” It was a dream of mine that they’d make a game using that idea, but instead the conversation just kind of stopped at Miyamoto asking me how serious I was about it. Itoi, how involved do you plan on being in it? Being totally involved in a project can be very demanding.” He sounded very solemn.

He probably assumed I wasn’t interested in being involved. Plus the extent to which he warned me ended up being on a totally different level than the extent to which I assumed it would be demanding. ...From Miyamoto’s perspective, it’s easy for someone to say they want to make a game. It’s the ‘making’ part that’s incredibly difficult. Just like it’s easy to say, “Some old guy in overalls is gonna jump around and save the princess.”

...I knew I wanted to make a game, but when my resolve was questioned, I was very sad about it. ...I went back to Tokyo totally crushed. I thought Miyamoto and I had hit it off well at first, but then I was like, “What a taskmaster.” (Laughs)

He did say to me, “Give me some time to figure this out and see how we can get a team together.” So he was earnest in making it happen. But from my perspective, since he didn’t say how interesting it looked, I’d assumed that meant he didn’t like it. ...I’d never made a game before, so I interpreted his response as, “Well, it’s not great, but if you’re going to keep insisting on it, I guess I’ll think about whether we should bother putting a team together. As someone without any experience, it was easy to get paranoid.

He was kind enough to take it seriously. I didn’t know anything, so I just mumbled a thank you and quickly headed home. They gave me a ride in a black car and treated me well, but I just got more and more depressed. I’d been expecting a torrent of praise, but by the time I got on the bullet train back to Tokyo, I was actually in tears.

...It turned out that it was all in my head. He put together a team for me. Their internal teams had their hands full, so he went to the trouble of reaching out to a company that would help me make the game. ...I met up with the development team at a tiny Japanese restaurant so that they could gauge how involved I’d actually be in all the hard work Miyamoto had warned me about, and so we could get to know each other.

This interview, conducted by Game Center CX, gives an extremely personal and interesting look at Itoi's work with Nintendo, as well as Itoi himself. Make sure to take some time and read the full thing.

A look back at the Sharp Famicom Titler, a piece of hardware that lets you edit NES videos

1989 was an amazing time!

Costing 43,000 Yen, or roughly $400 at the time (now approximately $800), this is the Sharp Famicom Titler. An NES/Famicom combined with a Genlock system, so that you can edit videos, or combine other input sources, 1989 STYLE.

Thanks to ibbsters for the heads up!

1989 Famicom title Desert Fox gets a fan translation

All the way back in 1989, Kemco released Desert Fox for the Famicom. A localized version of that game did release as Desert Commander. The thing is, that localization changed quite a bit of content from the original. Now, thanks to fan translation group Stardust Crusaders, people around the world can now check the game out as it originally was.

The big difference between Desert Fox and Desert Commander is the historical background setting, as the original game was themed after the North African theater of World War II. Most of these references were removed from the localization, but have now returned with the fan-translation.

Famicom game 'Gunhed: The New Battle' gets a fan translation

An untranslated movie game gets its day in the sun

Gunhed: The New Battle launched for the Famicom back in 1989, but never saw an official localization. 30 years later, fan translation team 'filler' has taken on the the task of making the game playable in English, and they've just wrapped up work on the project. Perhaps now the game can find a whole new life with English-speaking audiences.

Gunhed: The New Battle is based on the 1989 film of the same name. The year is 2040, and a battle on 8-JO is about to begin, waged by a new set of people out to get the Texmexium that was previously found on the island. In this game, you'll be taking on the island's defense forces by building mechs with parts scavenged parts.

Dragon Quest I/II/III official Japanese site open

Square-Enix has opened the official Japanese website for Dragon Quest I/II/III, which gives a quick look at each game. Remember, there's going to be an Asian physical release for these titles, and it includes English translations! Check out the official site here.

Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha and Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo remakes announced for Switch

Two Famicom classics remade

Nintendo and Mages are teaming up on remakes of Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha and Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo for Switch. Both titles are set for release on Switch in 2020. No word on a localization at this time.

Famitsu reader survey shows Mother 2 as the series' most popular, players reveal the order in which they played the games

Ness does it best

As was covered a few weeks back, Famitsu held a survey about the Earthbound/Mother series. All in all, Famitsu got 2,528 responses to the survey, with 1,679 males and 690 females, with the split being 1,314 Japanese, and 1,176 from overseas. Check out the results of the survey below.

- 562 played 2→1→3
- 472 played 2→3→1
- 402 played 1→2→3
- 271 played 2→3
- 239 have only played 2
- 136 played 3→2→1
- favorite game in the series is MOTHER2 with 1,361, followed by MOTHER3 with 827, and MOTHER with 273
- 67 people were undecided on their favorite installment

Take a detailed look at the Konami QTa adapter, a very obscure piece of Famicom history

What the hell is this thing?!

Here's a piece of hardware about the Famicom you've most likely never heard of. Way back in the day, Konami made something called a QTa adapter, which was an accessory for the Famicom to play carts made by Konami and Japanese media giant NHK. There weren't many games made for the accessory, outside of some educational games.

If you're curious to learn more about this odd accessory, the video above is an absolute goldmine of details. Not only does it show off the QTa adapter, but a handful of games as well! The video might be in Russian, but just click over to English subs and you're good to go!

Gaming hardware artist gives the Famicom a classic computer redesign

Games as art

We've featured the work of Swedish designer and craftsman Love Hultén in the past, and today he's back with a rework of the Famicom. He calls this piece the FC-PVM, which combines a Famicom with a Sony Trinitron monitor. The result is something that lets you enjoy the Famicom as an all-in-one, and it also hearkens back to classic computer designs.

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