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I love the look of PC98 games aka the Anime PC game machine

Acosta

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I wanna say this is X-Girl from Fairytale Redzone. I've seen my fair share of eroge screens.
It is, sorry for not indicating it (if you go for a search, it´s NSFW).





I have never played it myself, just a fan of how it looks.
 

RedSwirl

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Really it's just the 90's anime aesthetic, mixed with hardware that could display very high resolution images for the time. The real problem is that we almost never get Japanese games with this kind of dark aesthetic today, especially not visual novels (that I know of). The closest might be... Kinu Nishimura's 999 illustrations?

I kind of have a similar interest in the aesthetic of Japanese dungeon crawlers of the same era, but we at least still get a few games these days approaching that look or something clearly descended from that look, mainly because Atlus is still making dark fantasy dungeon crawlers.
 

Jazz573

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Really it's just the 90's anime aesthetic, mixed with hardware that could display very high resolution images for the time. The real problem is that we almost never get Japanese games with this kind of dark aesthetic today, especially not visual novels (that I know of). The closest might be... Kinu Nishimura's 999 illustrations?
As someone who knows a ton of eroge, I can assure there very much are still VNs like this. Hint. Nitroplus.
 
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Some classic NEC gaming right here in these GIFs:



Lyrane, Glodia (makers of Emerald Dragon), PC-88, 1986



Tokio, Artdink (makers of A-Train), PC-98, 1992



The Alien Island 3D-Version, Nobuhisa Fujinami (doujin proto-FPS game), PC-8001 (better video options vs. MZ-700 but not by much), 1985


Really it's just the 90's anime aesthetic, mixed with hardware that could display very high resolution images for the time. The real problem is that we almost never get Japanese games with this kind of dark aesthetic today, especially not visual novels (that I know of). The closest might be... Kinu Nishimura's 999 illustrations?
Definitely a good example. The art for Brandish: The Dark Revenant and The Last Story also captures some if not a lot of the same zeitgeist, albeit undithered and not as crispy. You have to dig deeper than ever to find out where the Japanese PC developers/artists get their work these days.
 

Chacranajxy

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Yeah, I don't know what it is about the low-color, dithered visuals, but they just look amazing. There's really nothing like it. And that old-school anime art style doesn't hurt, either.
 

Empty Space

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Are these games mostly just visual novels? The only one I recognized was Policenauts? If not what did most of these games look like in gameplay? They all have a great look!
 
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Couple of GIFs I made of Falcom's Brandish:





Game's a real piece of work for a 1991 PC-98 game. High-resolution dungeon-crawling at some of its finest, at least until the sequels came.

Are these games mostly just visual novels? The only one I recognized was Policenauts? If not what did most of these games look like in gameplay? They all have a great look!
Look at the animations I've posted so far and tell me these games are all just visual novels.
 

Jazz573

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NAY, I SAY! I will not forgive
the removal of the adventure gameplay combined with pointless scenes of incest and characters being stupid (Why would you free Ryuuzouji like that you idiot)!
Nope. Epilogue was the best part imo.
 
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Time for maximum boost Sharp X68k graphics!



Star Cruiser (one of Kamiya's all-time favorite games!), Arsys Soft, multi-platform (X68k version shown), 1988 (X68k in 1989)



Buster, E. Hashimoto (doujin platformer), X68k, 1995




Square Resort, YAMACO (published by Family Soft), X68k, 1992
 
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Jazz573

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Time for maximum boost Sharp X68k graphics!



Star Cruiser (one of Kamiya's all-time favorite games!), Arsys Soft, multi-platform (X68k version shown), 1988 (X68k in 1989)



Buster, E. Hashimoto (doujin platformer), X68k, 1995




Square Resort, YAMACO (published by Family Soft), X68k, 1992
Just discovered the music for Square Resort. Was a nice surprise to find out who the composer was.
 

Wowfunhappy

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So, was there something about the hardware in this machine that made it easy to create games in an "anime" style, or is that just what this platform happened to build an audience around?
 

Jazz573

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So, was there something about the hardware in this machine that made it easy to create games in an "anime" style, or is that just what this platform happened to build an audience around?
Not really. I mean some of these were ported to IBM PC DOS in the west, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and even Japan. An IBM PC could most certainly produce graphics of that quality.
 
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seeing this run on a mega drive is hyper impressive
Most of the projects Arsys Soft did were hyper impressive. I need to make a GIF of Reviver, a 1987 Sharp X1 Western-inspired adventure game that feels like a missing link between Japanese and non-East Asian adventure games of that vintage. Game even came with a built-in windowing system and GUI, plus changing day/night and NPC behaviors. I've heard mixed opinions about the game's quality overall, but it's exactly the kind of innovative, almost forgotten milestone unique to J-PC game libraries.

So, was there something about the hardware in this machine that made it easy to create games in an "anime" style, or is that just what this platform happened to build an audience around?
The PC-98's hard 16-colors-on-screen limitation (in the most used video mode(s)) meant that developers had to get creative with dithering no matter what. Niche audiences were already playing anime-influenced/-based games on the PC-88 when they migrated to PC-98, and so the eroge boom happened as soon as companies like elf figured out how to properly scan their artwork onto PC-98 workstations, render them in as high a quality as possible, and then make first-generation VNs which have a little bit more complexity than you'd expect. All the common development tools were coded and possibly distributed in mind for making these colorful, high-resolution adventure games first and foremost, while anyone making action games likely made their own engines and tools separately.

Just discovered the music for Square Resort. Was a nice surprise to find out who the composer was.
Now you can hear where Umemoto got his bass guitar chops from. I actually prefer his work (alongside TOYO Kusanagi) on Family Soft's War-Torn Versnag.
 

Dio

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So, was there something about the hardware in this machine that made it easy to create games in an "anime" style, or is that just what this platform happened to build an audience around?
The vast majority of Japanese games in the 80s and 90s on any system were "anime" style. The PC-88/PC-98 had thousands of titles, from strategy RPGs to dating sims, et cetera.
 

Jazz573

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Most of the projects Arsys Soft did were hyper impressive. I need to make a GIF of Reviver, a 1987 Sharp X1 Western-inspired adventure game that feels like a missing link between Japanese and non-East Asian adventure games of that vintage. Game even came with a built-in windowing system and GUI, plus changing day/night and NPC behaviors. I've heard mixed opinions about the game's quality overall, but it's exactly the kind of innovative, almost forgotten milestone unique to J-PC game libraries.

The PC-98's hard 16-colors-on-screen limitation (in the most used video mode(s)) meant that developers had to get creative with dithering no matter what. Niche audiences were already playing anime-influenced/-based games on the PC-88 when they migrated to PC-98, and so the eroge boom happened as soon as companies like elf figured out how to properly scan their artwork onto PC-98 workstations, render them in as high a quality as possible, and then make first-generation VNs which have a little bit more complexity than you'd expect.
The graphics thing did also apply to IBM PC games of the time. And funny you mention elf (may they rest in peace), because they are one of the examples of the eroge devs that brought their games to DOS/V.


Now you can hear where Umemoto got his bass guitar chops from. I actually prefer his work (alongside TOYO Kusanagi) on Family Soft's War-Torn Versnag.
I like both of them. Umemoto was a great composer, but so was Kusanagi (who I feel is very close in style to Umemoto), although Kusanagi doesn't do game music anymore.
 
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Scanning and dithering artwork cheaply and effectively was essential for the eroge VN industry to start and continue on classic Japanese PCs and then Windows, but yeah, what they were doing wasn't hugely different from techniques and focuses used by MS-DOS and Amiga developers. The 16-bit J-PCs's strengths and weaknesses forced certain styles and genres to the forefront because of how they best fit respective hardware and developer conditions.
 

Velkyn

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Thanks OP, this is an amazing thread, I immediately want to play all of these games. The look of them is just amazing.
 
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I'm gonna guess very little of this left Japan. Sucks, cuz the whole 80s and 90s J-PC segment are "here be dragons" for most beyond Japan outside of what few console ports exist like Faxanadu.
lol, Faxanadu's an original game by Hudson. I won't deny it and Drasle Family share things in common, let alone classic Xanadu, but still.

Refuge.tokyo is still the best overall database for looking up J-PC games w/screenshots and the occasional detailed write-up (in Japanese).
 

Empty Space

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Couple of GIFs I made of Falcom's Brandish:
Look at the animations I've posted so far and tell me these games are all just visual novels.
Besides the game that looks vaguely like a city builder none of the GIFs you've posted have the art style of other stuff in the thread. How am I supposed to infer your GIFs are representative of the things in the OP in terms of gameplay? You could very much have just been talking about old Japanese computer games in general.
 

Aeana

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It's weird seeing some of this stuff again. Back in the day, we had a PC98 and my uncle's friend had a bunch of games that we would go through and borrow. He never even bothered to remove the adult games, so I ended up playing a lot of these despite being a preteen at the time. In some of them there wouldn't be any indication that they had adult content until a ways in. At least I could always rely on Falcom and Glodia for good stuff.
 

Jazz573

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lol, Faxanadu's an original game by Hudson. I won't deny it and Drasle Family share things in common, let alone classic Xanadu, but still.

Refuge.tokyo is still the best overall database for looking up J-PC games w/screenshots and the occasional detailed write-up (in Japanese).
If it's a VN, VNDB also is quite good. I would know because I made some of the contributions. Believe it or not Wikipedia has a wealth of information. Also a website named after a certain famous Shogun. Not sure I should actually say the name.
 
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This dancing boy's from a 1986 FM-7 sound card demo. When I saw it in motion on Nico Nico Douga I knew I had to get footage of this for lulz.



You could very much have just been talking about old Japanese computer games in general.
Granted, I didn't know you were being that specific and excluding the stuff I was posting. There's a bit of game mechanic variation between the games OP posted but not too much, and at least half of them are eroge.

Tokugawa Corp and MobyGames have done a lot to help me identify a number of old games and let me focus instead on looking out for real oddities like the CRPGs Michiaki Tsubaki designed/wrote.
 

Vlaphor

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Sound like you have a love for classic Japanese Cyberpunk (as all good people should). I'd recommend this tumblr here

http://rekall.me/

as that's pretty much what it's about. It's not all Japanese or classic, but about 98% of it is, and it is wonderful.

Sometimes (thought rarely), it can also be a bit NSFW, as was not uncommon in such art.

Seriously, whenever I look at this tumblr, I just get all warm and giddy inside.
 

Jazz573

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Granted, I didn't know you were being that specific and excluding the stuff I was posting. There's a bit of game mechanic variation between the games OP posted but not too much, and at least half of them are eroge.

Tokugawa Corp and MobyGames have done a lot to help me identify a number of old games and let me focus instead on looking out for real oddities like the CRPGs Michiaki Tsubaki designed/wrote.
MobyGames is a bit lacking sometimes for classic Japanese PC games I've found. Especially Win95 and 98 games.
 
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MobyGames is a bit lacking sometimes for classic Japanese PC games I've found. Especially Win95 and 98 games.
Actually I'm really impressed by that Israeli contributor who's done a lot of entries, mainly for xRPG titles. Windows entries are definitely lacking, though, yet it's not easy even for me to get info on all that stuff.
 

Jazz573

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Actually I'm really impressed by that Israeli contributor who's done a lot of entries, mainly for xRPG titles. Windows entries are definitely lacking, though, yet it's not easy even for me to get info on all that stuff.
Heh. I've used some of his screens for my VNDB contributions. :p