Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Golgo 13: The Mafat Conspiracy for NES (1990)

Original advertisement published in VG&CE (June 1990)

Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

Adults-only game for your Nintendo with beautiful artwork

Japanese and American gamers are well known for having different aesthetic values, specially in video games. Most of those differences were molded by Nintendo themselves, since they held a rigid censorship system for games sold in the Western world. But some games were able to pass the big N’s censors and left the original Japanese game practically unchanged. One such instance in Golgo 13 (1988) and its sequel, which you see here.

A huge amount of text about Nintendo’s censorship has been written on the Internet. The more egregious instances were some instances of graphic violence were left unchanged include Bionic Commando’s exploding Hitler face. Castlevania showed repeated religious references, as well as statue-nudity. But the original Golgo 13 featured all of them, save for the religious stuff: graphic violence (headshots), nudity and sex, and even smoking. Somehow, the game was sold in North America without major changes. 

The sequel, subtitled The Mafat Conspiracy, however, scaled back on every instance to please censors. It did retain some graphic violence. The game was also particular in that it mashed side-scrolling, driving, first-person shooter segments and Ninja Gaiden-like cutscenes. Why was the game some violent? The source material is a very popular manga were the protagonist is a secret assassin during the Cold War. It could not be any other way.

The NES game was published and developed by Vic Tokai, which made games for consoles and the PC from 1984 to 1998. It now concentrates on Japanese telecommunications. 

Curiously enough, you would know nothing about those manga origins of Golgo 13 by the artwork you see here, which was also used for the American box art. The illustration was made by Lawrence Fletcher and it is indeed superb: handmade, with various layers and judicious color implementation that forces the magazine reader to start from the right, were the whitest objects are drown) and slowly move to the left while reading the copy of the game. A classic for graphic illustrators wishing to learn how to correctly depict every aspect of a product in one image.

Golgo 13: The Mafat Conspiracy for NES print ad copy

An encore performance!

Golgo 13 is back in The Mafat Conspiracy! Top Secret Episode knocked the wind out of you; this one will blow you away!

Vic Tokai

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