×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

River City Ransom: How an NES Classic Returned 20 Years On

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the if-courtesy-were-common dept.

Japan 39

An anonymous reader writes "River City Ransom: Underground is the latest high profile game campaign on Kickstarter but as an interview with the title's creators this week highlights, it's not exactly a new game. Rather, it's an official sequel to a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom classic, belt-scroller River City Ransom. Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon, aged six. 'I asked for the license and I asked Kishimoto-san if he had an interest in helping us make a better Kunio-kun game,' producer Daniel Crenna says. 'It's not particularly dramatic to say that, but I asked.' As the author points out, it's interesting to imagine what other games could be resurrected with a little bit of polite curiosity.""

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

39 comments

Happy Sunday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317397)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Sir, I think that your comment is off-topic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317459)

Good Sir,

I have read your comment in earnest, but I fail to see the relevance to the topic at hand.

In your comment I see no reference to "NES" or "Famicon" or "River City Ransom".

I hereby suggest to you that your comment is off-topic, and irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Regards,
Anonymous Coward

Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317441)

I don't know much about Japanese culture. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid it, because what I've seen of their comics and animations has been quite repulsive. So I'll need some help here.

Why does the summary give the creator's name as "Yoshihisa Kishimoto", but then one of the quotes then calls him "Kishimoto-san"?

Is "-san" a honorific? How much honor does it bestow upon a name? Is it equivalent to "Mr", or is it more like "Sir", or is it even as serious as "Saint"?

And on an unrelated note, can anyone who knows Japanese culture explain why the comics and animations are so terrible? The subject matter itself is quite disturbing in many cases (octopus molestation, and so forth), but beyond that even just the drawing or animation style is of such a low quality. Why is that?

This is a culture that one posed a significant challenge to the mighty United States military, and a culture that has since given us highly reliable automobiles, the world's fastest bullet trains, and extremely advanced electronics. Yet they can't master basic drawing or animation techniques developed 80 or 90 years ago? Why is that?

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317487)

I think that the "san" is an honourary title in the same vein as "Mr". So here, instead of him calling him "Yoshihisa" or "Kishimoto" he effectively calls him Mr Kishimoto.

Good to see that some kids have some respect for their elders. Now get off my lawn!

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45317507)

yeah it is.

they got some realistic style stuff too. but what do you expect, that the 1 cent comics would be drawn with same care as manara?

now back to the subject.. I didn't think that river city ransoms plot or world needed resurrecting. for the developers it just provided a venue to get some free press for their game - since there's soo many new games now made that there's real competition to get people even have a look at the game. so how many games could be resurrected by just asking? none - it needs someone to make a good game too... and if it's a really good game then the license is irrelevant.

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317531)

All the fallout from Fat Man and Little Boy bombs gave them super powers to see things no ordinary people can, thus you are only seeing the shadow of a reflection of what is actually in those media.

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (4, Informative)

Linsaran (728833) | about 6 months ago | (#45317585)

I know I shouldn't feed the troll, but I will respond to the first point. Adding -San to a name is somewhat similar to saying Mr. but Japanese honorifics tend to be slightly more nuanced than the Mr, and Mrs, style honorifics of English. In japan it's considered very impolite to refer to someone by their given name rather than family name, unless you are very close friends. Likewise it is considered impolite in Japanese to leave off any honorific again unless you are very close friends.

Generally adding -san to a name indicates that the person is someone you do not have a close relationship with, and denotes a respectful tone. Other honorifics commonly used in modern japan include -sama, which would be given to someone you strongly look up to or who is highly above your social station, it's roughly the equivalent of calling someone 'boss' but again is more nuanced and respectful than that, -kun is generally used to refer to someone who is below your social station while still being respectful, it's common that in a work environment for a supervisor to speak to a (generally male) junior with -kun, while the junior would refer to their supervisor with -san, while the president of the company would be -sama. -chan is the last commonly used honorific, and is generally used in similar situations where -kun would be used for females, it's also used to indicate 'cuteness' or for small children. A mascot character might be referred to as Mascot-chan if they're supposed to be cute or childish, and it is common for adults to refer to elementary grade or younger children with -chan.

There's more nuances to Japanese honorifics than I give here, but that's the long and short of it, if you're ever in doubt which honorific would be appropriate to a given situation, generally going with -san is a safe fall back.

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (1, Insightful)

Megol (3135005) | about 6 months ago | (#45317683)

But in _English_ text one uses _English_ conventions. I do not expect a Japanese person to write English text referencing a German, Finnish etc. national using honorifics of those languages. Using *-san in English texts is only used by wapanese morons!

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317883)

Foreign honourifics are fairly commonly used for adding some spice to text.

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about 6 months ago | (#45321877)

And yet plenty of Japanese people will use Mr. or Mrs/Ms/Miss when referring to, talking to or writing about someone whose native language is English.

Of course, they will also use -san, -sama, -chan and -kun, depending on the situation, and the uses of these go far beyond what was outlined above, but for simplicity the stuff outlined above is fine ;)

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45318987)

lol weaboo faggot

Re:Help a poor, ignorant American out. "-san"? (2)

eyenot (102141) | about 6 months ago | (#45317669)

"san" just shows familiarity and endearment. Sometimes it's used ironically, or sometimes just to be familiar without the endearment attached.

Kishimoto is the guy's personal name, and Yoshihisa is the guy's family name.

The Japanese animation style is up for opinion. In my opinion it's meant to be drawn quickly and with a high level of conformity. This way you get similar quality across numerous hours of animation, with not much effort. "Cel shading" is used to give the most effect of depth and light with the least amount of effort and the smallest possibly palette of inks.

Also, again on the style, often Japanese animators like to include elements of "manga" comic drawing into their animated forms. "Manga" was designed around imparting the greatest sense of action, space (depth) and emotion possible using the least number of drawings and frames. Animators will sometimes use manga techniques just for a "roots" appeal, or sometimes because it would be more quick and effective to use a cartoonish looking manga image even in the middle of a "realist" animated sequence. This isn't always done just to save time drawing or to save ink -- typically it's done to maintain a speedy pace of the narrative, or to lend a character a diminutive cast by suddenly drawing them as a comic throwback in the midst of characters who are maintaining themselves better (and drawn in a cel-shaded, realist setting).

The resulting aesthetic has come to be loved and enjoyed by people around the world.

What techniques would you prefer they use? Do you prefer all of your animations rotoscoped or something?

(I got the usage of "-san" wrong) (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 6 months ago | (#45317697)

Oh, obviously I was misinformed about the use of "-san". But, I don't have a very deep or vested in interest in Japanese language or culture.

Reader, ignore my comments on the use of "-san". Others here have fleshed it out more accurately.

Re:(I got the usage of "-san" wrong) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45320535)

"san" just shows familiarity and endearment. Sometimes it's used ironically, or sometimes just to be familiar without the endearment attached.
Reader, ignore my comments on the use of "-san

Replace "san" with "chan" and you've got it right.

As you already noted, in Japan (and many other countries) the family name (surname) is written first.

As for the animation, there's actually several distinct styles. The most common is usually referred to as "Manga" or just "Anime", the other is called "Super Deformed" and is the type where characters are drawn with small bodies and overly large heads, similar to the English language comics you seen in the Sunday paper. The thing which largely distinguished Japanese animation from Western animation in the early days was the Japanese artists tended to over-emphasize the eyes. But over the last 20 years there's been a lot of cultural sharing in both directions, so it's not really easy to point to any particular animation style and call it "western" or "Japanese" any more.

What a waste. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317443)

It's a shame that everything about this new game looks rather terrible. The art assets look like one of those horribly insulting re-draws for western audiences, except this time it was the initial assets to begin with. A lot of what you see on the Kickstarter page looks like they've outright thrown out the entire sense and sensibilities of the Riki-Kunio series in exchange for what looks like a bad shareware clone made by fans.

BARF! (1)

randamon130 (3419077) | about 6 months ago | (#45317489)

Interesting how this article pops up now, as I was just thinking about playing it this morning! Sounds like things are in great hands. I will definitely be digging into the information more now that I know about this!

I remember this from Nintendo World Championships (3, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 6 months ago | (#45317497)

When Nintendo did their world championships, I tried a bunch of the games set up for display. I actually dodged SMB3 because the line was so long. Some of the games were fun, but I was blown away with River City Ransom. Wow that game was really good.

I think there is something magical about games with good action mechanics with a little hackney RPG thrown on top. Another good example is Zelda. The reason these games are fun is that it typically rides you in a perfect difficulty. If the game is too easy, you push far without grinding your guy for levels until it is tough. If the game is too hard, you keep trying over and over, and your guy levels up in the process. Eventually you get strong enough to beat the levels and bosses even if you don't have a great deal of skill.

I shudder to think what a MMORPG would be like if it was quality action oriented combat first and RPG stats second. Instead of coming into fights and pressing 1,2,3,4,5 over and over again, you'd be actually engaging your brain.

Re:I remember this from Nintendo World Championshi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45318173)

Try dungeons and dragons online, which is exactly this! If you're playing a melee class, it's got good action combat, where positioning and player-skill matter more than pressing the numbers... but it's got a crunchy RPG core based on the D&D 3.5 ruleset.

Re:I remember this from Nintendo World Championshi (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 6 months ago | (#45318589)

I bought DDO when it first came out because I love Turbine as a company(In my book Asheron's Call 1 was way more fun than WOW). What I found is the same as in PNP D&D, clerics are just superior to fighters. They can do everything a fighter can, minus a few damage ticks per swing, but also have heals. I haven't picked it up lately, but I max leveled in well under a week and beat everything they have. D&D is good for Pencil and Paper, but doesn't make a hot MMORPG system. This is because you advance too rapidly in D&D. In PNP, advancing rapidly is balanced by permadeath, but I've even heard stories of where people "beat PNP D&D" because they had max level characters with so many magic items than no monsters or situation could pose a challenge.

Re:I remember this from Nintendo World Championshi (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 6 months ago | (#45318691)

Play Tera. The combat system is amazing. There are a handful of lock-on skills, everything else is a skill shot. You place your attack wrong, you wiff. On the flip side of the coin, you can dodge roll and backstep most boss mobs attacks and massive AOEs. The combat system places a huge emphasis on skill, with gear level coming in second (until late game). I main a tank (Lancer) in the game, and its unlike most other tanks in games I've played. I cant just shout, grab agro, and tank and spank. I have to chain my skills with perfect timing, watching the BAM to find out what he is going to do next, and throw up my shield block before I get hit so I can absorb the damage.

Manaya's Core Hard Mode run [youtube.com] - I love the art style they did in this game, as well. This is also by far the hardest instance in the game, even though its ilvl requirement is massively below the dungeons I run for my end game PVP gear. Anyways, I'd say check out the game. It went F2P recently, but most of the stuff you pay for is just costume stuff. The only real reason to get Elite Status is for more character/bank slots and to run twice as many in game dungeons for late game. Considering that the ones you need to run take 1-2 hours to complete, just casual playing end game you'd be fine without it. You can get instance reset scrolls dropped in game that let you go in twice a day if you want.

Re:I remember this from Nintendo World Championshi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45320583)

I shudder to think what a MMORPG would be like if it was quality action oriented combat first and RPG stats second. Instead of coming into fights and pressing 1,2,3,4,5 over and over again, you'd be actually engaging your brain.

That doesn't make any sense. The difference between a "pure" Action and a "pure" RPG is that in the action games, it's your skill as a player which matters and in an RPG it's the character's stats which matter. So really, in a "pure" RPG you don't engage your brain at all because it's all about the character, you just provide a broad direction and it does the actual work. It's the action game where the characters have no 'stats', and the difference in performance is solely based on player ability to think and act.

But most games are not "pure" in either sense, they are usually a hybrid system. Why? Because it's usually more fun that way.

Re:I remember this from Nintendo World Championshi (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 6 months ago | (#45321973)

Instead of coming into fights and pressing 1,2,3,4,5 over and over again, you'd be actually engaging your brain.

We'll see how The Elder Scrolls handles as an MMO. I feel like the evolution from Morrowind through to Skyrim has been smooth. They've kept the same basic mechanics for the most part, though things have been refined quite a bit.

They've really blended a lot of Fallout and TES together (Bethesda), but playing Skyrim feels like their intention from the beginning was to build a great MMO, and each iteration in the series was simply a step in that direction.

Can they really re-capture it? (5, Informative)

eyenot (102141) | about 6 months ago | (#45317537)

Part of the appeal of River City Ransom is just how much content -- quality content, much of it -- they packed into this little side-scrolling beat-em-up.

There are even weird hidden wonders like, if the enemy throws a baseball at your head but you deflect it with a stick, IT'S ON -- Stickball time, and you and the enemies get into formation and play a damn game of stickball.

And, it's a beat-em-up with role playing elements like items, skills, and stats. There are some other games like that for the same system (Little Ninja Brothers for example, with its Kung Fu Heroes style battle screens) but this game is modern and admittedly slick.

So, consider how powerful that was back in the 8-bit days, and consider how that still resonates as a "good game" today.

How in the hell do you capture that, again? You might say "well they are taking a good step in the right direction by retro-styling it as 8-bit", but is that all it is?

Think of it dynamically: there is potentially so much *more* that could be done with the game, today. This is the same problem all devs face when they're planning a franchise reboot from the 8-bit days to the modern, post-3d-playforming days. The devs have to ask "how much space of the new world of gaming should this game occupy".

I'm not saying that making RCR into a cartoonish Grand Theft Auto is going to somehow improve it, either. I'm saying that the envelope has changed.

The original game was explosive because it packed all of that game into that tiny 8-bit envelope, when there was nothing else to work with. Now, there's tons of other stuff to work with. You can still pack just as much game into just as small of a bit width, but the envelope is so much bigger, now, there's not going to be as much explosive force.

It's the big let down of retro-styled gaming. It seems like such an awesome idea to make more 8-bit games, as if the legacy didn't leave enough of them behind, but then you sit down and play it and your thumbs go "blah".

You're asking your thumbs to go back and enjoy tomato soup like they did back in the days when there was only tomato soup, only now they're more accustomed to gazpacho, borscht, and bloody marys.

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45317617)

8 bit? ain't nothing 8 bit about it.

but if you can make a sidescroller beat'em'up and want someone to buy it, you're going to need a catch of some sort. because there's really a lot of competition in that. multiplayer just doesn't do it.hell, "retro" graphics wont do it. there's even a bunch of mmorpg's which are basically sideway beat'em'ups(not all of them localized for west tho..)

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 6 months ago | (#45317743)

8 bit? ain't nothing 8 bit about it.

Really?

(from the linked page) >> The original River City Ransom was an instant hit when it debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, and Underground promises to pick up directly where it left off, complete with a banging chiptune soundtrack, beautifully rendered 8-bit sprites and frantic button bashing action as you plugh through River Cityâ(TM)s different street gangs with little more than your fists.

You were saying?

Also, the "MMORPGs" you refer to are often rendered in Flash. Yes, I've played some of those dubiously labeled "RPGs" and "Games".

In those cases, what is clearest about those "games" is that the programmers are pushed to their limits in coding a side-scrolling platformer taken straight from a tutorial. And, also, so is Flash for that matter (pushed to its limit). Those games are the way they are purely because of two things: skill and deployment.

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45318117)

Also, the "MMORPGs" you refer to are often rendered in Flash. Yes, I've played some of those dubiously labeled "RPGs" and "Games".

I think he's talking about games like maplestory

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45319567)

Yes, really. The sprites are far away from 8-bit, though I personally think they're good and nicely animated. 8-bit doesn't just mean 'pixely.'

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45317871)

Come on, nobody gets used to gazpacho!

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (2)

kartaron (763480) | about 6 months ago | (#45319645)

I have to thank you for being the only poster that ive seen actually refer to the game and the article and not some comment on grammar or japanese etiquette. Gameplay should be important to this remake/sequel. The game was an absolute blast to play. Like a fun metroid. Or castlevania even.

Re:Can they really re-capture it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45319775)

None of that matters. They can remake the game for modern systems/devices, sell it for a few bucks a pop and it would have been worth doing.

But did they use a GREEN crayon? (1)

pla (258480) | about 6 months ago | (#45317937)

Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon, aged six.

Uhhh... What???

I don't normally kibbitz over the typical low quality of our FP summaries suck, but I can't even parse that.

Re:But did they use a GREEN crayon? (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 6 months ago | (#45318897)

First paragraph from TFA: "In a way, this was what the brothers were always meant to do. They coded their first game aged six; as a kid, Dustin would post crayon drawings of game designs to Atari (which always politely rejected them). Decades later both were still working in games, Dustin as a freelance sound designer with credits on hits including Halo 4, BioShock and Battlefield."

But we already have an official sequel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45318029)

Two of them, at least..

Not much they can do.. (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 months ago | (#45320469)

... to modernize the game given how unknown the game is to most gamers and how they barely scraped by with their kickstarter. It would have been nice to modernize the game but it is an old game that no one knows about or is really that interested in.

Re:Not much they can do.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45330201)

... but it is an old game that no one knows about or is really that interested in.

I grew up with the NES and River City Ransom was awesome. But I will agree that it's not a game on many favorites list because it just wasn't very popular. And it's fairly unforgiving in the early stages of the game. I'm actually very surprised they were able to completely fund the project.

(Timberland Shoes) $60, (NFL New Cap) $12, (-1, Offtopic)

shuuisoy (3419951) | about 6 months ago | (#45325089)

Hello, everybody, the good shoping place, the new season approaching, click in. ( http://www.shoesctv.com/ [shoesctv.com] ) (Discount jordan shoes) $42, (Discount Air Max shoes) $43, (Discount shox shoes) $42, (Discount AF1 shoes) $42, (Discount Dunk shoes) $45, (Discount DG Shoes) $46, (Discount LV Shoes) $45, (Timberland Shoes) $60, (NFL New Cap) $12, (NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL)Jerseys $25, ( http://www.shoesctv.com/ [shoesctv.com] ) ( http://www.shoesctv.com/ [shoesctv.com] )

Oh, PLEASE bring back Autoduel. (1)

ulatekh (775985) | about 6 months ago | (#45342259)

It amazes me that no one seems to remember Autoduel [wikipedia.org]. It was a free-roamer, way before the Grand Theft Auto series. It was sent in a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" sort of world. It was made by Lord British, the same guy that brought us the Ultima series. You could design new cars with an incredible level of detail, balancing features and power with weight. I spent months of my life on that game.

In modern times, there was Auto Assault [wikipedia.org], but that was one of those stupid MMORPG things. As if I want to hear 12-year-olds mouth off. Give me that game with a deep single-player experience, and I'll probably forget to go to work! Hell yeah.

Granted, you can download the original [myabandonware.com] if you want, but I'd rather see a modern version.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...