While most of its games are praised as being universal, Nintendo has rarely ever created a title that was not intended to please the people in its home country of Japan. If Japan likes it, “Great! We’ve done our job!” If the rest of the world likes it, “Great! Added bonus.”
Very rarely has the company ever put out a video game that was not intended for release in Japan but, today, we have one of the major exceptions to the rule: the NES cult-classic StarTropics. This Zelda-clone for the Western world was specifically designed as a title that North Americans and Europeans could gather around. The only problem was that it came out in 1990 at roughly the same time as the Super Nintendo, so not a lot of Nintendo owners bought into it.
And if you think that’s bad, its sequel was release deep into 1994, when rumors of the Nintendo 64 had already started spinning!
StarTropics was also left in the capable hands of Genyo Takeda, one of the most senior “fellows” at Nintendo. The game stars a young man named Mike who searches for his uncle on C-island. His only means of defense against the monsters that plague his paradise is a yo-yo provided by his uncle.
Of course, because Nintendo’s Virtual Console plans make no sense, the game and its sequel are available now for the Wii U but not the Nintendo 3DS. Someday, Nintendo is going to catch on to the idea of “convenience” and “cross-buy” when it comes to these retro releases. In the meantime though, it has no problem spreading these games out and making it as complicated as possible, letting it charge you twice for the same game on different platforms.
Both StarTropics and its sequel Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II are available today.