39 years ago, Yuji Horii created one of the most influential video games ever

The most important video game you never played deserves more love. You might never have even heard of it — debuting in 1983, this game was never released outside of the creator’s home country, Japan.

But even the least well-known of video games can have an enduring influence on the stories, character arcs, graphics, and challenges of the games that have come since. Not to mention its effect on the fans who have played the game: Some loved it so much, that they spent a decade translating the game to English to widen its limited reach. The game inspired developers, too, including the legendary game creator Hideo Kojima.

So what is this mysterious hidden gem of a game? Scroll on to read today’s newsletter to find out.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Monday, July 11, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

Welcome to Inverse Daily! I’m your host, Claire Cameron. We’re going deep into a topic we know and love here at Reverse in today’s newsletter — video games. Let’s level up.

GTA fans may welcome this move by Rockstar.NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Recent leaks corroborated by Kotaku suggest Rockstar may have shelved two planned remasters, which suggests the developer may have learned a tough lesson from recent misfires.

According to the leaks, GTA 4 and Red Dead Redemption remasters are off the table as part of Rockstar’s effort to focus on the development of GTA 6.

This news comes by way of GTA leaker Tez and Kotaku. Both suggest the remasters were shelved due to the poor reception of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, a package that was marred by a slew of technical problems and bugs. Despite the seemingly sad news that both remasters were canceled (at least for now), this could bode well for the future of Rockstar.

According to Kotakusources from Rockstar itself said the company is “hoping that folks will forget about” GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Editionwhile the renowned developer shifts its focus towards working on GTA 6.

How it could boost Rockstar.

Portopia box art.Enix

The Portopia Serial Murder Case is a game that we don’t hear about much in the West. Created by Yuji Horii, who would go on to develop the hugely influential Dragon Quest role-playing series, this pioneering narrative adventure was first released in 1983 for the NEC PC-6001 computer and later ported to the Famicom (Japan’s name for the NES) in 1985.

Portopia was far ahead of its time in its experimentation with narrative devices and mechanics that have become standardized and widespread today. If you have searched through the crime scenes of Ace Attorney or questioned the residents of Danganronpa, you will likely already be familiar with foundational elements of the game’s design.

Many prominent Japanese developers have cited Portopia as inspiration for their works, including the visionary game director Hideo Kojima, creator of Metal Gear Solid series. Kojima said in a 1999 interview with NiceGames (via shmupulations) that Horii’s game changed his ideas about what games could be.

Uncover this hidden gem.

The rich historical stories of Bengal are woven into this new D&D offering.SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Writer Mimi Mondal reveals how ancient Bengali cultures inspired her Radiant Citadel adventure “In the Mists of Manivarsha.” Mondal is one of the sixteen writers of color who contribute to the upcoming Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel anthology.

Together, these writers created 15 unique human civilizations and 13 short adventures to explore myths and legends that have been passed down through generations — both within the D&D multiverse and here in the real world.

Built upon the ancient corpse of an unknown primordial being, the bustling Radiant Citadel also serves as a spiritual nexus for these cultures. In the Preserve of the Ancestors, wandering spirits form sentient crystal clusters that become Dawn Incarnates, mythical beings that pass on ancient knowledge from eons past to each new generation. A tone of optimism, hope, diversity, and peace permeates throughout the book, particularly amongst the Shankhabhumi.

Speculative fiction author Mimi Mondal penned the level 9 adventure “In the Mists of Manivarsha” and created the nation of Shankhabhumi as a reflection of ancient cultures in Asia.

Mondal reveals her inspiration.

What’s first on your list?Shutterstock

A recent PlayStation Indies showcase revealed a lot of exciting indie games coming in the next year.

One of the indies to watch for? Cult of the Lamb. It releases in exactly one month’s time, on August 11, 2022. Part Animal Farm and leaves Wickermanthis game looks as adorable as it is weird.

Check out all seven intriguing PS4 and PS5 games before they launch!

Debut the 7 games.

Pivotal moment.Square-Enix

The “You’re Not Alone” scene in Final Fantasy IX still holds up as one of the most memorable, and heartwarming, scenes from the entire series.

If you let the main menu of Final Fantasy IX sit for a bit, it plays a sequence of quotes for each character, with Zidane’s being “you don’t need a reason to help people.” That’s how the character approaches everything throughout the narrative. Zidane doesn’t think twice before jumping in to help people, something that even gets him into trouble multiple times. Still, the valiant thief leaves a lasting impression on the rest of the party, even the stickler knight Steiner who is a stickler for rules.

You see Zidane’s personality start to chip away at everyone’s shells, and from the very first minute, it’s clear Zidane has an extremely strong sense of self. That’s what makes one of the revelations near the end of the game so heartbreaking when Zidane finds out he’s essentially a synthetic being created to be an “Angel of Death.”

As Zidane grapples with his very existence he pushes his friends away and treats them like garbage, something wildly uncharacteristic of his character. At this point, it’s important to point out the song “You’re Not Alone,” a phenomenal track composed by Nobuo Uematsu that plays in only this scene, and can’t be found anywhere else in the game.

Here’s what the song reveals about the game.

Laurence Olivier in hair and makeup for Titus Andronicus in 1957.Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

About this newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to newsletter@inverse.com.

  • On this day in history: On July 11, 1989, Laurence Olivier, one of the greatest actors of early cinema, died.
  • Song of the day: “(I Blame) Society,” by Titus Andronicus.

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