Gaming Alexandria is a treasure, and lately it’s been uploading scans of 80s/90s Japanese game magazine PC Engine Fan to the Internet Archive! Even if you can’t read a word of it, the artwork and screenshots alone make it a joy for the eyes. If you remember and love the look of the early days of Nintendo Power, when its layout and illustration were done by Tokuma Shoten publishing, you should appreciate these.
The PC Engine, a.k.a. Turbo-Grafx 16 (a much worse name really), sits at a sweet spot between old-school pixel art and 16-bit splendor. It was arguably a less capable system than Sega’s Mega Drive/Genesis, but it could show more colors, and its games looked a lot more vibrant in print. To a kid in the U.S. at the time, it exuded a strong sense of anime coolness, and I can’t help but feel a bit of that old excitement.
I have to stop myself from filling this post with page after page. Here’s a few choice examples:
Games from the classic (Space Invaders onwards) and later eras of arcade machines tend to be preserved fairly well, or at least have MAME watching their backs, but there was a whole era of arcades before that time, that pose special challenges for preservation. Atari/Kee’s early release The Quiz Game Show, for instance, their first game using a processor, read questions off of special data tapes that may not even exist nowadays. Many games from that era had no processor, and were constructed out of discrete logic components.
When I wrote part one of We Love Atari Games, I was surprised by how many games from this era are so little known now. Atari’s Football, for example, sold extremely well, even keeping up with Space Invaders for a little while (until Super Bowl season that year ended), but I barely even heard of it before I started working on the book.
These games are important to preserve too, but the difficulty in emulating them, their great rarity, and the inescapable arrows of time and entropy present huge challenges. Please listen to the podcast for more information, from people who know much more about them than me.