Phantasy Star II

The protagonist and Nei face off against two species of biomonster

Phantasy Star II brings players back to the Algol solar system more than 1,000 years after the first game in the series, with all the technological and social improvements one might expect from such a period of peace. Rather than a revolutionary seeking revenge for a murdered sibling, the main character of the second game in the series is a secret agent working for the solar-system-wide government – a government headed by a supercomputer named Mother Brain.

In contrast to the somewhat clichéd “defeat the evil king” plot of Phantasy Star, the overall plot of PSII begins in a mystery. At the start of the game, the main character is sent out to discover the source of the recent outbreak of attacks by genetic mutations – called “biomonsters” – that have been plaguing the otherwise tranquil planet of Motavia. Continue reading “Phantasy Star II”

Phantasy Star


Due to the massive popularity of the original NES and the relative obscurity of Sega’s eight-bit console, the Master System, most gamers today assume that Final Fantasy was the progenitor of all console RPGs.

They, as some of us know, are wrong.

Although the original Final Fantasy was released before Phantasy Star was received by the masses, it’s important to remember that, in this case, “before” means “three days before.” Literally. It was the difference between December 17 and December 20, both in 1987. Continue reading “Phantasy Star”

Segata Sanshiro: The Legendary Unknown


Most video game consoles find a mascot to represent the company and sell their product—this idea is nothing new. Established franchises tend to take the stage and sell based on brand identity. However, not every mascot originated in this way. In fact, one of my favorite advertising campaigns of all time involves the use of a completely unknown actor to sell its product. The video game console is the Sega Saturn and the mascot I speak of Segata Sanshiro.

I first encountered this mysterious character when I was watching a subtitled Dragonball Z on VHS about seven years ago. I was really excited about the upcoming brawl between Majin Buu and Vegeta, but that momentum was slowed by a very odd commercial. In the commercial, a man was kicking a soccer ball at a goal. The goalie, a large man in a karate gi, gave a shout and lifted one side of the enormous goal. He lifted the goal onto its side so that the ball passed by the net. The voice announcer then launched into the promotion for a soccer game, but I paused the tape to absorb what I had just seen. I was in total awe of this odd man and the catchy music that accompanied his appearance. It wasn’t until many years later that I rediscovered this odd fellow and learned more about him. Continue reading “Segata Sanshiro: The Legendary Unknown”