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.

Bokosuka Wars

X1 game spotlight – Mother’s Day edition. Actually nothing to do with mothers or the holiday. Tonight we have Bokosuka Wars. Keep your king alive while advancing into enemy territory. You have an army of knights and peasants to sacrifice, I mean, assist you in your quest. It adds some challenge because of the way the characters move, which characters can cut through which obstacles, trying to surround your king by your army so you don’t risk dying, etc.

Apparently this game is unpopular on the NES? It seems subtly different in gameplay on the X1, but I quite like this game! Not amazing or anything but definitely worth a replay!