Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Role Playing (Games) NES (Games)

How Role-Playing Games Arrived In Japan With Black Onyx 50

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the traIlblazers-don't-always-win dept.
eggboard writes "Henk Rogers was a Dutchman who arrived in Japan in the 1980s following a girlfriend (later, his wife). An inveterate D&D player, he became enthralled with the NEC-8801, and nearly killed himself trying to create a D&D-like world that he released as The Black Onyx. No one initially knew what to make of it, and the game sold slowly at first. Through savvy pricing, packaging, and press attention, sales grew, and the game jumpstarted RPGs in Japan. Rogers got left behind, though, as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy hit a local nerve better than his efforts. 'I also realized that I didn't quite understand the Japanese aesthetic and way. These games were quite different to mine, and just struck a more effective cultural chord.' Rogers went on to license Tetris to Nintendo, though, so he did just fine."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Role-Playing Games Arrived In Japan With Black Onyx

Comments Filter:
  • License? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by o_ferguson (836655) on Monday January 27, 2014 @08:15PM (#46087305)
    "Rogers went on to license Tetris to Nintendo, though, so he did just fine." That's the most interesting part of the story - how the best video game product of communism got sidelined into the capitalist computer paradigm.
    • by Jonner (189691)

      "Rogers went on to license Tetris to Nintendo, though, so he did just fine." That's the most interesting part of the story - how the best video game product of communism got sidelined into the capitalist computer paradigm.

      That's a very odd way to put it. Most of us would never have heard of Tetris if it hadn't been "sidelined." It's not as if the Soviets were exporting copies of Tetris all over the world to support the global struggle against oppressive capitalism. Also, the use of the word "best" implies there was some competition. Can you name any other "video game product of communism?"

  • I don't feel bad for him, he made his fortune from Tetris
  • by Hahnsoo (976162) on Monday January 27, 2014 @08:20PM (#46087335)
    There was an episode where Robert Picardo's holographic Doctor introduces an entire planet to music. He becomes a celebrated singer, and even attempts to stay on the planet, but finds out at the end that the "music" that the aliens ultimately enjoy turns out to be far different. He starts a musical revolution, but is "left behind" at the end.
    • Yes, I remember that episode and it's a good analogy. Off topic, but that episode (baring the odd acting) was one of the better ones from a xeno-culture-clash perspective.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      What happened to good TV, and that was even from an episode of Voyager.
  • by Majutsushi (205979) on Monday January 27, 2014 @08:55PM (#46087517) Homepage

    RPGs did not "arrive" in Japan with The Black Onyx, that is just a popular myth. Here is an attempt to chronicle all of the JRPGs that came earlier:

    http://blog.hardcoregaming101.... [hardcoregaming101.net]

    • by identity0 (77976) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:30PM (#46087701) Journal

      This, pretty much. The Black Onyx was a 1984 game, but it's well known that 1981's Wizardry had a much bigger impact in Japan.

      They even made DS games on the Wizardry franchise because it's so famous over there [amazon.co.jp]

    • by Megane (129182)

      Admittedly this seems to have derived from a quote from the guy himself. Wizardry was mentioned, but with no acknowledgement that it was in Japan. On the other hand, I can't quickly find any dates on when Wizardry hit Japan, other than it had a mediocre translation.

      “Next I looked at what kind of games were doing well in Japan,” he says. “It was immediately obvious to me that the core difference between the two markets was that there were no computer role-playing games in Japan. The US had Ultima and Wizardry. But there were no such adventures in Japan. I thought, I could do that.”

      Perhaps part of the problem was that his lack of understanding the language made it harder to see what was already there. A quick look at that blog implies that a lot of those came out in 1983, so it was already starting to happen at the same ti

    • by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @09:09AM (#46090269)
      If you had read the article...

      The first Dragon Quest team went on the record praising Black Onyx as the influence for them investigating other western titles in the genre (specifically Wizardry). And so the RPG hacked and slashed its way into the Japanese videogame industry and consciousness.

      The Dragon Quest team themselves credit The Black Onyx with causing them to investigate RPG titles like the earlier Wizardry, which is the reason why Dragon Quest even exists today. Just because Wizardry existed first doesn't mean that it had some universal impact throughout Japan.

    • by Megane (129182)

      I think the reference to BO in this particular article is relevant. It also mentions the edge-online article. http://blog.hardcoregaming101.... [hardcoregaming101.net]

      I'm getting a strong feeling of all these things happening at the same time. BO had a few innovations (apparently pioneering the health bar), but it was no genesis of JRPG on its own. Also, BO was (IIRC) a 3D-maze-view game like Wizardry, while JRPGs generally went the Ultima way with a top-down map view, though I remember that Phantasy Star I had a top-down overwor

  • Better article (Score:4, Informative)

    by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:13PM (#46087605)

    One of the other external links from the Wikipedia article has more information: http://www.edge-online.com/fea... [edge-online.com]

    (I added the other one mentioned in the summary to the Wikipedia page, though.)

  • by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Monday January 27, 2014 @09:56PM (#46087829)
    says hi.
    • by abies (607076)

      I suppose you mean this to indicate that Wizardry predates his work, so Black Onyx is not first computer RPG. Nobody claims that - if you would read TFA:
      It was immediately obvious to me that the core difference between the two markets was that there were no computer role-playing games in Japan. The US had Ultima and Wizardry. But there were no such adventures in Japan. I thought, I could do that.

  • by MrL0G1C (867445)

    Black Onyx:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

    Looks pretty boring to me. Bards Tale - far better:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • Clearly, the article says "RPGs arrived in Japan with Dungeons and Dragons", not with Black Onyx. Black Onyx came later.

    The article title should reflect that.

  • Henk Rogers is one of the co-founders of The Tetris Company LLC, a company which asserts -- and has successfully defended -- copyrights over any and all video games involving falling n-ominoes. So if you ever wrote a Tetris clone, you owe him royalties.

    I'd say he's doing all right for himself.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...