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Thread: Behind the Design: Phantasy Star

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Master System Behind the Design: Phantasy Star

    The four core Phantasy Star games comprise one of the most legendary RPG franchises in gaming history, breaking conventions and seemingly defying hardware limitations. It all started on Sega's 8-bit Master System, and we take a deep look at how the first game came together. Read the full article for all the details.

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    Master of Shinobi midnightrider's Avatar
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    Guess that explains the Master Systems port of Quartet's cast .

    I actually beat this one a month or a few weeks ago, then IV[I hope there's one of these coming that one] wasn't too long after that. The first time I played it was with the fan translation, which leaves me wondering if it was accurate(took a more feminist approach to the Odin/Tyron rescue scene, whereas the localization made him sound more reasonable, and badass, at the same time).

    Another thing that makes the series stand out is that it has a darker approach to it's stories, whereas Dragon Quest/Final Fantasy have a more happy-go-lucky "let's go save the kingdom/world" vibe about them. The goal of first game in the Phantasy Star series is basically bloody revenge, and then you consider that it starred a female protagonist with such a dark goal.

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    Wildside Expert Ken's Avatar
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    When it was released on December 20, 1987, Phantasy Star took the collective breath of gamers away with its lush and colorful worlds, catchy soundtrack, and brutally challenging dungeons. The game arrived only a week after Enix’s Dragon Quest debuted on the Famicom in Japan, giving the wallets of RPG lovers a two-hit combo that they gladly absorbed.
    Dragon Quest came out in 1986 not 1987. Did you mean Square’s Final Fantasy which came out two days before Phantasy Star?

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    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Master of Shinobi NeoZeedeater's Avatar
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    Great article!

    Strong female characters were not a widely-accepted concept in video games in 1987. There had been a few, such as Toby Masuyo in Namco’s 1985 arcade game Baraduke, which many consider to be the first game with a human female protagonist. Other would name Nintendo’s Metroid (1987) as the first. Both answers would be wrong, and Sega actually beat them to the punch in arcades and on consoles. In arcades, Ninja Princess (known as Sega Ninja in the West) appeared almost half a year before Baraduke, and Yuji Naka’s SG-1000 debut, Girl’s Garden, was released in 1984. It’s not entirely clear if that game was the first overall, but it definitely preceded Nintendo’s efforts.
    On this note, there are some that predate 1984:
    Avatar (PLATO, 1979)
    You can choose your gender. There might be earlier mainframe RPGs and adventure games that do that but I don't recall.

    Crazy Balloon (Arcade, 1980)
    The Japanese flyer for Taito's Crazy Balloon shows a female main character but the in game graphics are too primitive to tell.

    Wabbit (2600, 1982)

    Halloween (2600, 1983)

    Bachelorette Party (2600, 1983?)

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Dragon Quest came out in 1986 not 1987. Did you mean Square’s Final Fantasy which came out two days before Phantasy Star?
    D'oh! Yeah. I was thinking Square/Enix and mentioned the wrong game. Fixed!

    Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

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    Zebbe's Avatar
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    Great read. The concept art was a joy to see.

    Two decades later, the brightness of the Algol star has not faded from the gaming sky.
    Three. Time flies...

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    WCPO Agent parallaxscroll's Avatar
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    Phantasy Star turns 30 years old on December 20th.

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Fuck, now I feel old.

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    Zebbe's Avatar
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    A lady at my job was born during World War I. SHE is old.

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    Master of Shinobi Blades's Avatar
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    Terrific article.

    I would love to read an article about the influences and development of the black sheep of the series, Phantasy Star III.

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    I plan to do one on each game in the series. I have enough information for the 3 Genesis sequels, so eventually, we'll get to it.

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    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Terrific article.

    I would love to read an article about the influences and development of the black sheep of the series, Phantasy Star III.
    Although I'm sure thst Melf has a lot more in the works, there were some interesting interviews about it in English magazines bitd.

    They actually led me to expect a much different game. :P
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert
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    This was a nice little article. Thanks for sharing, and I'm looking forward to the others in the future!

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    Formerly known as 5233 Master of Shinobi Jeckidy's Avatar
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    Playing this game on Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection...

    SEGA succeeded at usurping Square and Enix in nearly every way that mattered, and more. The first Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy were acceptable debuts for what would (for a time) become respectable franchises, but this one kills both of them, and yet never gained the kind of popularity of the others.

    The smooth pace of combat, graphics, character designs, sound/music, variety of interactions (both first person and in the overworld), not to mention a vast universe to explore in an 8-bit nutshell... The story was also above and beyond its contemporaries.

    While the class system of FF may be considered one of its merits over Phantasy Star, I would counter by saying that the characters in PS, each having individual abilities and styles, acts as its own sort of class system and in a much more balanced way than FF. Therefore, Phantasy Star could be said to be a stronger RPG series debut than the first DQ and FF.

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    Master of Shinobi Blades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Tiger View Post
    Although I'm sure thst Melf has a lot more in the works, there were some interesting interviews about it in English magazines bitd.

    They actually led me to expect a much different game. :P
    Share please?

    I love PSIII.

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