Over 8 million people purchased Halo 3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold a whopping 12 million. And Nintendo can’t defecate out Pokémon and “Wii Insert Random Thing To Do Here” games fast enough to completely satisfy the masses. But with all these amazing successes, there have been numerous games and even complete series that have fallen to the wayside. Remember: for every Super Mario Bros., there’s a Shutokou Battle 2: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh. As a proud gamer, I feel that it is my privilege—nay, my duty—to take some time and offer a brief glimpse at many of the games that disappeared into bargain bins and trash bins alike due to overshadowing from more prominent titles, as well as titles that will forever remain sequestered within one region of the world. You’d better be prepared to be educated a little, because there is much that you haven’t seen.
July 2011: Maison Ikkoku: Omodie no Photograph
MAN, IT SURE IS HOT OUT.
You’re telling me. It’s actually the hottest day on record thus far today.
THE HEAT MADE MY DAMN ICE-CREAM DRIP ALL OVER MY ARMANI SUIT!
What were you doing wearing an Armani suit on a hot day like today? …Or while eating ice cream, for that matter!
I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE, ‘CAUSE I’M ALWAYS JAM HOT, Y’AWL! …UNNNH… BUT EVEN IN THIS SWELTERING HEAT, I WISH I COULD BE COOLER.
Have no fear, my finely-tailored associate. I’m sure you could stay cool in my maison!
MAISON? WHAT IS THIS, FOURTH-GRADE FRENCH CLASS? JUST SAY IT’S A HOUSE.
Sorry, but it’s not a house at all! It’s a maison!
ALL RIGHT, I’VE BEEN IN THIS LOUSY MONTHLY COLUMN LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THIS IS A SETUP TO SOME STUPID GAME. WELL, MAKE IT QUICK. I’M STARTING TO LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS.
Ah, you caught me! Indeed, it’s a game I am seguing into, this one called Maison Ikkoku: Omoide no Photograph, made for the Famicom. I’ll get into the game shortly. But first–
AW, DAMN, SOMEONE GET ME AN ICED COFFEE!
–a little background on why this game has come to exist is necessary. Maison Ikkoku is actually a manga from Japan, created by the same person behind such other famed classics as Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha, though Maison Ikkoku didn’t have the major overseas support that those ones did. This manga (and short-lived anime series) contains an odd storyline about a boarding house of college students and their attractive, young (but widowed) landlady, Kyoko Otanashi. It feels like a bad episode of Beverly Hills 90210, but I’m sure those folks got into some CRAZY situations! Maybe a furniture dispute or something…
YEAH, YEAH, WHAT ABOUT THE GAME?
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Well, you see…errr…
SPILL IT, BOY!
All right! I admit it! I don’t know how to play the game! It’s all in Japanese! But I can tell you that it plays very much like one of those text-based classic adventures such as Shadowgate or Deja Vu. I can tell that you start out in a schoolhouse, but it’s been quite difficult to get farther than that. I managed to open a window in the bathroom and crawl out, but that’s about as far as I could get.
If you can read Japanese, maybe, or if you are an avid fan of the Maison Ikkoku manga. Otherwise, you’d probably prefer a Toaster Strudel.
NOW YOU’RE MAKING SENSE! LET’S GO GET ONE NOW!
Sure thing. …Wait a minute! I thought you were saying it was too hot!
IT’S NEVER TOO HOT FOR A TOASTER STRUDEL!
So true…so true…