GSQ5: Microsoft’s tenuous NES connection

This article is about games that appeared on both the MSX home computer in Japan and the NES. It is not comprehensive! I think. While searching for images to use for this link header, I had the following conversation.

Me: What the heck? I did an image search for a computer, and one of the top results was this naked woman.
Cat: Is there a computer in her breasts or something?
Me: No, but I think her breasts are made of silicon(e).

See, it’s funny because of the ambiguity between “silicone,” a material used to augment breasts, and “silicon,” a material used to create computer processors. Yep.

26 thoughts on “GSQ5: Microsoft’s tenuous NES connection

  1. Not to be anal, but calling MSX1 & MSX2 (plus MSX2+ & MSX Turbo) games as just “MSX” is as infuriatingly wrong as calling GB, GBC and GBA as just “GB” or Playstation 1, 2 & 3 as just “Playstation” :)

    If you would like to expand that list, let me know. There are quite a few interesting ones.

  2. Oh, I forgot to say, there are 2 versions of 1942, one for MSX1 and one for MSX2. And amazingly, the MSX1 version kinda looks better.

  3. This article almost refutes my demand for an MSX centric retronauts podcast, ALMOST.
    But seriously, great article as always. The fact that a Microsoft overseen computer that had worse specs than a nintendo machine, was only really popular in japan, and was at once manufactured by Sony and yes makers of hit consoles 3DO and “The Jungle”, Panasonic, is all kinds of ironic fun.

  4. Interesting read. Wasn’t so familiar with it all.

    SNK: I’m not sure if the past is bizarro world, or we’re living in the bizarro future, but yeah… the story behind this machine is a lot of fun.

  5. Always thought you had rose tinted specs for the NES Metal Gear. I played it first and thought it was a horrible game that was nigh on unplayable thanks to the awful maze sections. Then I played the 2 MSX games are it was a revelation. They are still playable and brilliant games

  6. Great article, but disappointed about the conspicuous lack of the wildly divergent Gradius/Salamander conversions.

    The Final Fantasy port was handled and IIRC published by a different software house.

  7. I know I’m going to come off as nit-picky, but whatever. I’ve always get annoy when people refer to the NES port of Metal Gear as the “U.S. version”. Yes, it was only the version of the game that was available in America up until the PS2’s Subsistence port, but that version of the game was also released in Japan for the Family Computer, as well as in the PAL region. It’s not like Snatcher, where the Sega CD version was the only overseas release, as well as the only one not released in Japan

    I don’t know why Snake’s Revenge is continually referred as a “callow action game”. While I’m bit biased for the game, and at the same time I will admit see that it’s not exactly flawless, but I never got the feeling it was a mindless shoot-’em-up as many make it out to be. If anything, it was even more stealth-oriented than the first NES game, seeing how unlike the first NES game, it actually had the double exclamation mark alert phase where the enemies will chase the player from corridor to corridor. Sure, it had side-scrolling segments, but these were more Rush’n Attack-like than Contra-like and still involved some element of stealth.

  8. @ jonny2x4
    But snakes revenge wasn’t blessed by his holyness kojima. How dare you praise such an unholy travesty you vile demon worshipper?
    I also enjoyed Snakes revenge too, orange jumpsuits and all. Why must it only be either the MSX or the nes games? Can’t we like them both, or just love some more than others?

  9. The best part of the MSX incarnation of Bomberman is the incredible soul-scarring horror that is 3-D Bomberman.

  10. Always loved the spectrum name for Bomberman: Eric and the Floaters. Remember having a schoolyard argument with a friend telling him he was full of shit when he said there was a spectrum game just like super bomberman. I should apologise.

  11. The boss battles were terribly handled in Snake’s Revenge, but otherwise it’s probably even closer to the original MSX2 game than the NES port of Metal Gear.

  12. I still don’t think snakes revenge was any good. What really annoyed me was that if you walked on to the next screen in the wrong place you would be instantly seen and it was basically a game over. It was just horrible game design. It just kills the game for me and I can’t find any enjoyment from learning the best places to walk to the next screen from.

  13. Yeah, Snake’s Revenge mimicked many of the mechanics of Metal Gear, but it was clearly put together by people who didn’t quite get why the original game worked. And those side-scrolling sequences are god awful. Almost as bad as the stupid final boss of MGS4. I say this as someone who has been playing the game very recently.

  14. I’ve always been sad that MSX VC wasn’t outside of Japan. TO be honest, it doesn’t seem that great, but it still has some interesting titles that I’d like to buy.

  15. Wow at that 3d Bomberman vid. Were they intentionally going for horror?

    Space Manbow seems pretty neat. I understand that it’s enhanced when played in MSX2+ mode or higher, giving it smooth scrolling (!) and evidently more colors.

    You know what was another intriguing NES/MSX counterpart story? Zanac. The MSX version was completely choppy and low color, and inexplicably got two fillerish sequels. At the same time though, Compile went back to the drawing board and created Zanac EX for the MSX2, which is right up there with, if not superior to the NES original.

  16. @SNKrenaissance – The odd thing about Kojima’s opinion about Snake’s Revenge is that when he was asked about it around the time the original Metal Gear Solid came out, he said it was “faithful to the Metal Gear concept”. It wasn’t until recent years that he began to call it a “bit of a crappy game” (or chotto kusoge as he would say in his native tongue). Perhaps he always disliked the game, but wasn’t as open to say out loud back then as he did in recent years. But then again, he has always stated his dislike for the NES version of the original.

    My evaluation of the original Metal Gear games goes as followed:
    Metal Gear 2 >> Metal Gear (MSX2) >> Snake’s Revenge >> Metal Gear (NES)

    @discoalucard – I agree. The Tank boss was probably the cheapest, since it can run you over and kill your character in a single hit, followed by that one boss who impersonates one of Snake’s comrades, where you have to deal with a large gap at the middle of the room. Heck, even the football-like cyborg soldiers at the end of the first base were pretty cheap.

    @retr0gamer – It doesn’t become that bad once you memorize the patrol patterns of each level, but yeah Snake’s Revenge does over-rely on knowing what’s ahead in each area if you want to screw. For example, if you miss out the mine detector during the sinking ship area, you won’t be able to get when you need it later in the game.

    @Parish – I agree in that sense, that both NES Metal Gear games, failed to capture what Kojima set out to do with the MSX2 games. I guess which of the two NES games failed the worst really depends on how you view each game. The first NES game was a so-so port of a great MSX2 game, while the second was a so-so sequel to the same. I think the flaws in Snake’s Revenge are more forgivable since they were making a new game from scratch instead of doing a port.

  17. So, which other MSX versions (aside from Metal Gear 1 & 2) were superior to their NES counterparts? Maze of Galious, certainly (Famicom counterpart, I should say, in that case): the NES version had a bigger maze and more worlds (it remains my favorite of the old school Metroidvania-types, much better than Metroid imho). Eggerland maybe – the MSX version did have a complete level editor, after all (ah, the hours of fun that provided). I’m partial to Nemesis and Salamander as well, though I definitely see how someone would prefer the NES versions.

  18. I also forgot that Contra had an MSX2 port as well. It was very different from both, the arcade and NES versions, and nowhere near as good in my opinion.

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