Youkai Tantei Chimachima

New game for me tonight. Never even heard of it before! It’s called Youkal Tantei Chimachima (perhaps we can translate it as Chimachima – The Tiny Apparition Investigator). The gameplay seems very unique to me, but possibly there is a similar game in the West?

First, the music is simple but nice and creepy. Really adds to the environment.

You have to kill monsters, nothing unexpected there, but if you attack directly, you’re gonna die. You actually control a little fireball and it explodes in four directions, if possible. If it can only go two or three directions, it has a longer explosion in the available directions. But if you think you just need to worry about the fireball, you’re gonna die. Your movement slows down, but you still move, so you have to track both. No enemies nearby? You’re gonna die, maybe. Enemies appear in fixed locations, but there are quite a few, so you have to be on the lookout. I think the houses shake a bit when something is getting ready to appear. Stay clear!

At first, I thought the game was fun but there was only one level. However, I noticed level three (not pictured) had a yellow flame in the middle of the maze (bonus points) and a large house at the border. And after level three, I got to a bonus level (pictured). And later I noticed, just once so far, on level two, a fire engine quickly scrolled past, outside of the playing field. I saw on YouTube there was a 33 minute long play of the game, so there may actually be a lot going on in this game when I get better.

Right now, I kill myself far more often than the enemies kill me!

Also, I don’t know if the first picture has anything to do with the game or not!

Hanafuda

Tonight on the X1 for a pretty uniquely Japanese game called Hanafuda. I am drawn to it because it reminds me of the card game from Heaven and Earth, a game I used to play on DOS. But I am not really ready to play this game because I don’t have much knowledge about it yet! But I used to spend hours on the Heaven and Earth card game, so I’ll probably look at a play guide at some point so I can avenge tonight’s humiliating defeat.

I don’t really know the details, but I seem to make matches when cards are visually similar, and I seem to win sometimes if I collect more birds and dangling pieces of paper, so that’s what I shoot for. I am captioning the photos to “help” you understand how badly I am doing.

Music Tools

Sharp X1 music tools. It includes a tone creator, music composer, music player with a visualization, and a program to link your creations into, if I recall correctly, your programs. It is one of few programs that was made available on 5.25″ HD floppy disks for the system, most used 5.25″ DD disks because it was the lowest common denominator in the X1 series. It also ran at 640×400, which was not so unusual because there were two generations of their systems that could use this higher resolution.

Title screen

If you thought my art was crappy, I’m far less talented in music. First was the tone creator. To create tones, I think you need some particular kind of understanding of math, or at least an understanding of how to work with the building blocks of synthesized sound. In any event, I had no idea what I was doing.

The music compisition went a little better, but not much. I was able to generate the notes necessary for a single instrument rendition of Mary had a Little Lamb, but if I tried to add a bass line to it, it refused to play? It probably explains well in the manual, it’s very detailed, but I don’t think this is really ever going to be my strong point!

This is no fault of the X1 Turbo (Z), though. They have great sound, quite sophisticated for an 8-bit computer. It produces music by either PSG, FM, or there are even some games that use both.

The music player is pretty cool. Too bad it has such a small stock library but I guess they were counting on you making your own music! I imagine there were magazines with type-in songs, BBSes with downloadable songs, etc. I’m probably a tad late for all that.

There were around ten default songs, most recognizeably “Invisible Touch” by Phil Collins. The other song I uploaded, Oteyoman, is a kind of funky song. The others that I’ve listened to tend to be more mellow songs, undoubtedly to appease their conservative user base.

Rally X

Tonight we play Rally X! I was disappointed because after my first play tonight, I broke the default high score, which triggered the high score screen, but I failed to take a picture in time. But the next play, I got 2.5x that score!

If you happen to never have heard of or played this game, but you have a nagging feeling that it looks familiar, you may be thinking of Radar Rat Race. In fact, HAL Laboratory apparently made Rally X for the Commodore VIC-20, but failed to get permission (oops?) so they were made to discontinue it, making it a rare game. HAL re-tooled it to be Radar Rat Race and it continued to be released on the MAX Machine and Commodore 64.

Galaxian

Another classic for the evening – Galaxian. The X1 really shines with arcade ports, they have such crisp graphics.

Part of the reason for that is the PCG (programmable character generator). The video shows the PCG in action, as it appears to be loading the full-color characters in real time over the garble that initially fills the screen to create a cleaner loading screen.

The PCG is interesting in that it doesn’t seem to wipe clean if you perform a reset. I’m not sure if you can actually save the data for use elsewhere or not, though.