Trying something a little different here in-between my bigger articles, to help keep a flow of content going a little more steadily here. Something a little quicker that won’t be in the marquee on the front page, so if you spotted this from the front page? Good on you!
To kick things off, here’s a video from a friend of mine featuring an awesome puppet named Roger. He’s looking at a 1989 Famicom game that feels heavily in the vein of Castlevania called Holy Diver as part of their “Nintendo Entertainment Celebration”:
I have to say, this game looks really nice. It’s truly a shame that it didn’t come here for one reason or another, and I doubt it was the difficulty, particularly as it seemed Japanese publishers were developing a penchant for making — even altering — games that couldn’t be beaten in a rental period. After all, “challenge” used to be a criteria upon which games were rated, just like graphics, sound, and play control. Ah, how times have changed.
Regarding the game that would become known as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, it wasn’t the fact it was hard alone that kept Nintendo from releasing it, but also Nintendo of America’s desire to protect the Mario brand as still being welcoming and friendly while still being challenging — two check boxes that installment completely missed.
If I had to guess, it might have been the religious aspect that kept the publisher at bay on this one. It’s games like this that the Virtual Console service is perfect for now, since standards have changed, but alas — no sign of it yet. And it’s probably not forthcoming, as Irem had all their Virtual Console titles removed from the service some years ago, though a few returned… under the Hudson Soft banner, which belongs to Konami, and… yeah.
Short of a miracle, I don’t think Holy Diver has much of a prayer of ever getting an official western release.