kusoge

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Tao

Tao is an infamous game in Japan, and came out in 1989.  While I can’t read the commentary about it that well, many people say it’s attempting to force a political view on the player (which seems to fit the ending,) and that it’s a kusoge.  The developer was Pax Softnica who worked on a wide range of stuff including Mother, Wrecking Crew, and Ice Hockey.  The publisher was VAP (NTV).  VAP, thanks to ties with Nihon Television, did a lot of anime tie in games, and from what I can tell, didn’t seem to publish great games.

The hero, in red in the upper left, finds a church in Crosston.

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Mirai Shinwa Jarvas

Mirai Shinwa Jarvas is a 1987 Taito game.  You can tell what you’re in for as soon as you google the game, since many Japanese players compare it to Hoshi Wo Miru Hito / Stargazers and call it a kusoge.  It plays a bit like a Zelda clone, but has a layer of baffling user interface issues.  The translators were aishsha and Pennywise.  Ignoring some missing punctuation, they did a pretty good job.

At the start of the game, the astronaut hero finds a tile to his right that he cannot walk on.

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Maka Maka

Maka Maka was developed by Office Koukan and published by Sigma Enterprises.  It’s infamously terrible.  Of course you can’t entirely blame development, since due to bankruptcy, it was published without bug testing.  These bugs range from the unsurprising memory overflow bugs to a bug that results in unreadable end credits.  It came out in 1992.

The town graphics are plain, but there's worse out there. The hero looks very annoyed.

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Idea no Hi is called a kusoge online.  It’s not that surprising, really.  The game came out in 1994, but the graphics are definitely pretty rough for the era.  There’s muttering online that Shouei System (the publisher) or Office Koukan (the developer) had troubles during the development.  The artist and main story writer was Koji Aihara who’s pretty well known for doing comedic comics that often have sort of an adult dark humor to them.  Enemy designs often are comedic, and there are some pretty goofy elements in the game.

Demoku is an early villian in the game. Here, he's summoning a wiggling circle of hearts to confuse the party.

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Tecmo brought this game out in 1993 in Japan, and 1995 in the US.  This game is a prime example of not understanding the language making the game more interesting.  The game itself has a pretty bad English translation, and the sprite work definitely isn’t more amazing in the Japanese version.  Still, there’s some confusing sprite changes that give it a bit of mystery.

A pig king and a dragon thing are fought.

An awkward "damages" isn't the worst part of the translation.

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Grandmaster

Grandmaster was published by Varie in 1991.  It’s more of an action RPG than a proper JRPG, but it is an interesting game.  It’s often called a kusoge mostly due to the difficulty level.

A knight protects a princess.

The dramatic introduction of the game shows the capture of the princess.

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Maten no Soumetsu came out in 1993 from Kodansha.  Kodansha also published Blue Almanac, another RPG for the Genesis in 1991.  Maten no Soumetsu is a game I’d define as another kusoge.

Graphically, I would say it is ambitious mostly due to a day night system that results in shifting colors across the game.  Since there are so few Genesis RPGs out there, it’s hard to condemn one for having unattractive graphics.  Maten no Soumetsu has bright colors, minimal badly used dithering, and some complexity in the sprites used.

Three beds, some pots in a side room, and the mom.

The inside of the Hero's home.

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There’s a meme in Japan about games called “kusoge” or more literally “shitty game.”  Sometimes these games are just dire, and other times, they’re laughably bad.

Hoshi wo Miru Hito (Stargazers / Those Who Seek the Stars) came out in 1987.  Dragon Quest II came out that year, as did Final Fantasy.  It’s so bad that it almost starts to become hilarious.

A sea of bushes on a MS-Paint quality town.

A plot important bush to the left of the hero.

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