Jimmy Hapa

A Retrospective of the 1st RPG on CD-ROM

In 1988, Hudson and NEC introduced CD-ROM technology to the world of video games with its CD-ROM ROM System add-on for the original PC Engine. This allowed games to store exponentially more data than ever before, opening the doors to seemingly endless new possibilities in gaming in terms of graphics, sound and scope.

Image showing the PC Engine, Super CD-ROM ROM and PVM monitor showing Tengai Makyou ZIRIA's title screen.
Tengai Makyou ZIRIA for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM ROM System was released on June 30th, 1989.

In order to show the world just how much of a game changer compact discs would play in gaming, Hudson needed a “killer app” that could wow the consumer, which would come in the form of Tengai Makyou ZIRIA, the first ever RPG on CD.

Image showing a scene from Tengai Makyou ZIRIA's opening cinematic.
While Tengai Makyou’s gameplay was similar to other popular RPGs of the era, it featured voice acting and detailed animated cutscenes.




This video, the first part in a planned retrospective series about the Tengai Makyou aka Far East of Eden games, frames the this title’s release in the context of the time period it was developed, exploring the ups and downs of the development, the gameplay and story, and its legacy as a trailblazing role-playing title, one which often gets overlooked or under-appreciated as a Japanese exclusive video game.  It was the biggest RPG of its time, it was RED Company’s (now RED Entertainment) first game project, it was the first RPG to include voice acting and even had a few fully orchestrated tracks contributed by famed composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Mr. Yoshiteru Tsujino talks about the Tengai Makyou series in an interview.
Far East of Eden series artist Mr. Yoshiteru Tsujino talks about the game’s difficult development history.

Exclusive interview segments featuring Tengai Makyou series artist Yoshiteru “Torajirou” Tsujino help tell the story of the game’s history and concepts straight from the mouth of one of the people most closely involved in its making. It was a pleasure and a privilege for Mr. Tsujino to give his insight and recollections of a period that took place over three decades ago.

While many game fans may are aware of the Tengai Makyou/Far East of Eden games, the story of how the series began and/or why the series was such a big deal in Japan is less known.  If you’re interested in the PC Engine or RPGs, or are just curious about the genesis of the series and have 40 minutes to spare, this might be the video for you.

(Thanks for letting me post this here, Bob)

An image of the three heroes of Tengai Makyou ZIRIA.
The heroes of Tengai Makyou ZIRIA. From left to right: Tsunade, Jiraiya and Orochimaru.
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