Tag Archives: persona

FGC #655 Final Fantasy 6: Part 2

Final Fantasy 6 is one of my favorite games, so we are going to have seven different articles about Final Fantasy 6 over the course of the next three weeks. We’ll have two weeks of articles on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and then the finale the following Wednesday (just to be confusing). The Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play will resume on July 17. Now we continue Final Fantasy 6 coverage with…

Sing alongPoints to the audience
“Okay! I need a place, and a profession!”
Makes an exaggerated “listening” motion with my hand and ear
“I think I heard ‘opera’ and…’magitek general’? Sounds good!”

Full confession: I have never much cared for the opera of Final Fantasy 6. I feel like I’ve been told, literally since its release, that Final Fantasy 6’s opera is the lynchpin of the game, and the central set piece of the whole enterprise. And… dang… it has just never clicked for me.


This game released when I was 12 or so. I remember being 12 and playing this game, so damn space and time if I was somehow younger or older at that point. And when I was 12, for reasons I do not immediately recall, I thought musicals were objectively bad. Again, no idea where this idea came from (though I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother’s love of Andrew Lloyd Webber was involved), but I was of the belief that if someone burst into song, the writers/producers/whatever were “reaching”, and this was their last attempt at holding the audience’s attention (it was a weirdly specific belief for a 12-year-old, but these things happen). So I distinctly recall being betrayed when I discovered (in the theater!) that The Nightmare Before Christmas was a musical, and similarly being upset at the opera of Final Fantasy 6. I was convinced that my favorite medium was now going to be all singing, all dancing, and I would be stuck on the outside of what was my only safe digital outlet. There are bad things coming!

I like knightsMind you, this was all BS from top to bottom. I eventually got over my distaste for the concept of musicals (mostly thanks to Sondheim), gaming and Final Fantasy did not become the last bastion of singing, and, amusingly enough, I’m pretty sure my favorite “forgotten” genre now is the narrative-based rhythm game (Gitaroo-Man! PaRappa! We need you now more than ever). Typing out this entire paragraph has been doubly amusing since devoting 1,000,000,000 hours of the last few months to Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, which… ya know. You can see the irony!

But my point is that, right from the beginning, this opera left a bad impression on my young sense of self.


Similarly, there is and always has been some broken part of my brain that is convinced I am going to be asked to be Tom Cruise sometime within the next five minutes. I blame the dang teevee, but I have always had a pathological fear of being The Best Actor Ever, but somehow flubbing/forgetting my lines. This is partially due to the fact that I have a lousy memory for objective facts (ask me to recite multiplication tables and I will punch you), and partially because of some internal fear that I could be really successful if I only could do one vague task. Over the course of the last nearly thirty years since Final Fantasy 6, I have been in less than five actual stage productions, starred in a whole one (1) play in high school, and I have never had any particular issue with “memorizing lines”. That said, there is still some version of that “underwear dream” floating around my head, and memorizing the script for Celes still causes anxiety. I used to know that libretto by heart… but now the Woolsey translation is out of date, and I still have anxiety to this day (well, like two days ago) about disappointing Locke and choosing the wrong text prompt. Oh! And then the part immediately after the singing! In the original, you have to dance with Dario, and I am still not 100% sure what you are supposed to do with the crosspad so it counts as “right”. In the Pixel Remaster, there is some kind of “press A now” prompt, and I guess you are supposed to press A immediately? Or maybe you’re supposed to wait? I just know I screwed it up on my first go on this playthrough, and I had to repeat the whole sequence from the start with no explanation of exactly what I did wrong.

Point is that the “gameplay” of the opera vexes me to this day for various reasons.


ShinyI don’t get the opera. Is the “fiction” plot of the opera supposed to somehow parallel the “real” plot of the game? The East vs West setting of the opera doesn’t seem appropriate; Final Fantasy 6 never has a clear “other” fighting the Empire aside from a loose collection of “Returners”. Every other country seems to be turtling in one way or another. The whole “woman waiting for her main to return from war” thing is weirdly unrelated, too, as I cannot immediately recall any prominent character in FF6 that fits that description, gender flipped or not. Maybe Locke? I mean, something that I latched onto like a baby lizard when I first played FF6 was that it wasn’t a typical love story, and the basic concept of Celes and Terra both trying to find if they even could love was a lot more appealing to me as a preteen (a kid that thought the concept of romance was for other, cooler people). Putting “Maria” in this position where she has loved and lost seems at odds with how the majority of the cast probably hasn’t even kissed anybody at this point in their lives.

To wit aside:

· Terra: No kissing
· Celes: No kissing
· Edgar: All talk, no kissing
· Sabin: No kissing (his own biceps do not count)
· Banon: Maybe had a wild youth, but I’m not buying it. No kissing
· Gau: Not unless it’s an enemy skill
· Cyan: Obviously had some kissing. However always had the weird overarching tone that he watched his entire family die on screen, but is still most often a comic relief character

Locke actually has loved and lost, and the game treats that seriously, but the finale for the opera seems to portray our favorite thief treasure hunter as someone more on the goofy side of things rather than the audience member that resonates with the story.

Good catfishingAnd once you get past all that, I keep coming back to the idea that The Opera’s “seriousness” was the Final Fantasy writers taking the piss out of other, older stories. Look! There is Celes playing the typical part of a damsel in distress, forced to marry another man while her warrior betrothed is lost on the battlefield. And you, audience, know we’re better than that, right? Celes is actually a kickass general! All of our women in FF6 are not pining “opera floozies” like Maria, they studied the blade!

As such, I get the impression that the authors either wanted to outline how “our heroines are different”, or (less charitable interpretation incoming) take a comical break to “embarrass” their Strong Female Character by forcing her to be a girly-girl for a scene or two (whether it is because she is “playing” the damsel, or she is doing this whole thing to somehow impress Locke). Either way, the only hypothesis that seems concrete is that there is a “couldn’t be more different” parallel between Celes and the character she is being forced to play.

Basically, this point is that I don’t get the point, and I never have. Or maybe I do get the point, and I don’t like it.

Note that I would still prefer this “version” of the opera to a hypothetical version that would exist if Final Fantasy 6 was somehow released later in the Final Fantasy lineage (like sometime after Final Fantasy 9), when, inevitably, the writers would just make “the opera story” a retelling of Final Fantasy 3 or something.

Additional Note: Don’t know if this is intentional on the latter game’s part, but this whole scenario reminds me deeply of the bit in Persona 5 where Ann finds her center and becomes a kick ass phantom thief… and the next scenario involves her male teammates practically selling her into a situation where she is forced to model for a creepy pervert-artist that is obsessed with her “aesthetics”. I don’t know. I hate the trope of “you’re a useful party member, but you’re the only one here with breasts, so suck it up, buttercup, time to be exploited”.


Another octo appearanceAll that said, I come back now to praise the opera. I love the Ultros segment. I love that they set up this whole silly scenario to “trap” Setzer who has already made it known that he is going to interrupt the proceedings, and, somehow, a malevolent octopus gets involved to further muddy the waters. So rarely do stories have the guts to just throw a bunch of random events together into the complete chaos that ensues. Does Setzer even notice that things have gone horribly awry while he is kidnapping “Maria”? If Ultros was successful, and everyone had to spend the rest of the night scraping Celes chunks off the stage, would Setzer kidnap the real Maria some other night? Are the rats in the rafters Ultros minions, or does this opera house have a serious problem with man-sized rodents? Everything ramps up to eleven immediately after the “serious” opera, and I sometimes wonder if that was the “point”. Final Fantasy 6 generally takes itself seriously, and the fact that you can “fail” the opera while playing as Celes tells me that the producers wanted you to pay attention for a serious opera here. But maybe that’s a feint? Maybe the seriousness is all setup for the punchline of Locke and Ultros becoming impromptu stars at the last minute? Whatever! All I know is that BBQing octopi on the main stage is a highlight.


And to say something unerringly positive about the whole affair: despite not personally liking it, I acknowledge that the opera scene is where Final Fantasy became Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 6 is a product of its time. And a significant part of that? Final Fantasy 6 is not comfortable when it isn’t a “battle game”.

Eat alongRecall “The Emperor’s Feast”. Something I always remember more fondly than the Opera is the bit after the Espers wreck Vector, and the Returners are invited to a dinner with Emperor Gestahl. This is fun and unprecedented in an RPG of the time, because, prior to Final Fantasy 6, if you had a problem with the evil emperor, you hit him with swords until he became a God of Hell. The concept that you are going to have a diplomatic meeting with a warring country is great, particularly when half your party seems to be kings and fallen kingdom survivors (And Gau. Don’t take him to dinner). The results of the dinner are organic with the plot (South Figaro and Doma are almost always liberated as a diplomatic showing of good faith), and you can even earn extra fun items if the Emperor “likes you” by the end. However, the whole sequence is super-duper videogame: before the dinner, you are asked to run around the castle and talk to soldiers, occasionally instigating fights. Once you are at dinner, you get a whole three questions in, and Gestahl asks if you want to take a break. If you take a breather, you can instigate another series of fights. And it’s a sign of the times that, basically, the producers only had full confidence that you were playing this game to engage with the (awesome) Final Fantasy battle system, and the idea of “talking” through an event was probably going to be ignored. This is in stark contrast to modern game design, where your average Persona title involves about seventeen hours of advancing conversations before your first battle, and dungeons are punctuated with opportunities to enjoy wannabe dating sims. Mind you, I’m just punching down to Persona again here, but Final Fantasy itself has gotten into a routine wherein you can go long swaths of game without what was considered “the game” back in 1994. And that wouldn’t be possible on the SNES just due to a lack of confidence that was earned here at the opera house. There is audience participation, and the timed battle event immediately thereafter, but the opera scenes are basically just “sit back and watch this part”, and that somehow became one of the most iconic parts of this game (if not the genre as a whole).

For better or worse, I don’t see the deep tales of Xenosaga or Final Fantasy 10 without the confidence earned here in Final Fantasy 6. There is a reason the characters of FF6 are shallow compared to their metaphorical descendants, and it is because every character-rich scene was only ever ten seconds away from a fight with lizard-chickens. The certainty of getting away from an RPG just being a battle-delivery service started with Celes in a fancy dress.

So, hey, sing it again, Celes.

Next time on Final Fantasy 6: We all make choices.

Another good scene

Year in Review: 2022

Disappointment of the Year: Pocky and Rocky Reshrined

Take a dipIt wasn’t bad! And it was even a pretty good Pocky and Rocky game! But, after decades without a Pocky or Rocky, it really felt like there could have been more done with the franchise. Or maybe the issue was simply that it was released right around the same time as Cuphead’s Delicious Last Course DLC, so Pocky and/or Rocky had to try to shine in the shadow of an amazing take on the shoot cute giant creatures genre. Whatever the case, this game felt like the sequel to a game from the 90’s that completely ignored the fact that there has been a whole heck of a lot of great games released since said 90’s. And that doesn’t make a bad game, just a disappointing one…

Compilation of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection

Do you recognize him?This was an amazing year for compilations and/or remakes. We got Capcom Arcade and Neo Geo Pocket compilations! A whole pile of Capcom fighting games! Klonoa! Artisanal Atari! Death Smiles for some unknown reason (also, that technically was released in 2021, but it was December, so I’m going to count it)! But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take the cake, because their compilation runs through such an unusual gamut of choices. You have beat ‘em ups! Fighting games! Action games! A Gameboy Metroidvania! All on one cartridge/disc/download, and all united by including games that feature Renaissance artists with Japanese weapons. And all the games included are at least passable! Except Genesis Tournament Fighters! Whatever! I can’t stop shouting! Cowabunga!

Remake of the Year: Radical Dreamers

PointyI have spoken of this at length already, but the fact that we now have a playable, English Radical Dreamers is amazing to me. This slot was going to go to Live-a-Live, which seemed like an equally unlikely SNES English rerelease that by all accounts has the objectively better graphical upgrade… but screw it. I gotta go with my gut on this one. I had been waiting for Radical Dreamers since before I ever saw a Nintendo 64, so finally playing it on my Nintendo Switch was a surprisingly significant experience. And it included an unexpectedly friendly goblin, too. Can Live-a-Live say that?

Title of the Year: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Burst Forth!! Choro-gon Breath

This award is traditionally granted to a game that is playing it straight and just incidentally thinking it was a good idea to include the word (?) “UnderBirth” in its title. However, this year we have a comedy game based on a comedy series featuring comedic characters, so it is entirely likely this title is intentionally funny, too. That said “choro-gon breath” is complete nonsense, and there is no universe where that joke lands in any way. I did a google search! The only result for “choro-gon” is this game! What does it all mean!? Can someone help me with this shouting problem!?!

Game Most Recklessly Encouraging Obesity: Kirby’s Dream Buffet

Go Kirby!In a weird way, it is a shame that Kirby’s Dream Buffet is just a silly little racing game. I love it! But it is bite-sized, and even my Kirby-loving heart was only able to wring a few hours out of the experience of gradually earning Kirby more and more hats through gluttony. Regardless, it is likely my favorite surprise experience of the year, one of two remarkable Kirby games, and is worthy of Master Hand and Crazy Hand clapping for the Kirb blobs.

Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Such friendly friendsDon’t get me wrong, I am happy to see any “retro” game released on modern consoles, particularly a fighting game that is reliant on online matchmaking. Ain’t nobody suplexing robots back on the Playstation 3 anymore. That said, March 2022 was a weird ass time to see this game resurface. There were rumblings (now coming to fruition) of “back” Persona titles being released on the Nintendo Switch, which is practically the best system in history to host a Persona game (chat with buddies on the big screen, go to portable mode when you must stalk through 50 floors of a dungeon). We had just seen at least two releases of Persona 5 on other systems, and we even had that dancing game or the beat ‘em up to keep us company as vaguely new content. And then we have the Persona 4 fighting game. Not Persona 5, currently featured in Smash Bros, but Persona 4. And the majority of this playable cast was already available in Cross Tag Battle, a game currently continually on sale for two bucks. And… what was the point of all this again?

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, you were always a great fighting game, but your release date in 2022 was a rainy day.

DLC of the Year: Guilty Gear -Strive-

Did you see that?I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but mankind knew they could not change society, so instead of reflecting on themselves, they blamed the beasts. And, sometimes, that beast is DLC. The current state of gaming is one where DLC is often promoted longer and harder than its parent game. Every announcement has to be an event, and every new stage, character, or mode has to be the greatest thing to happen to the genre since the last time someone asked you to get excited about the same guy you’ve been seeing since 1994. That said, the DLC for Guilty Gear -Strive- has done something no other fighting game has done with its DLC: it made Bridget a girl. And good for her! Sora in Smash Bros. is important or whatever, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time DLC has made a person come out. Testament being nonbinary is also a nice bonus. They like potatoes. They just think they’re neat.

System of the Year: Xbox X|S

Hack away!Xbox quietly took this title for 2022. I now have all the current generation systems (thank you Stranger of Paradise for inspiring that Playstation 5), and, while the only unique game for the Xbox X|S that has struck my fancy has been a pretty standard flight simulator, it is also the only system that currently goes back four generations with its game library. So I can play some crazy ray-tracing adventure with a fox that looks like Link, or I can go back into the archives and easily play the likes of Final Fantasy 13, Jade Empire, or even just Xbox Midway Arcade Classics. The other systems play some oldies, but, as someone who has been accumulating a terrible collection of games that go back to the Atari, the ability to instantly boot up titles I purchased opposite the Playstation 2 or Gamecube is amazing. I now actually regret buying many games on something other than the Microsoft console du jour, as (miraculously) it seems like it is only the Xbox that genuinely cares about backwards compatibility, and not just reselling the same game over again. And it can play all sorts of Toejams & Earls. Worth the price of admission right there.

Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Let's JamI have a lot to say about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and you will read that meandering essay on this site eventually. But in the meanwhile, just be aware that this game managed to soak up approximately 90 hours of my life, engage my imagination, and be a fun-to-play game all the while. My general enjoyment of Xeno-titles has been extensively documented on this site, but I need to make one thing abundantly clear: this is the first Xeno-game I can recommend without hesitation. After decades, they finally got it right! And the characters, plotting, and general tone are only, like, 5% embarrassing. Max. I cannot even say that about Elden Ring and its silly little horse man! Oh, and this is also a game I never expected to be anything better than general “good, but not amazing” Xeno quality, so that probably gave it a rank up, too. Look, it’s just a good game that came out of nowhere (“nowhere” being “literally years of experience and anticipation”), so it wins. It just plain wins.

Oh, and best soundtrack of the year, too.

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Gotham Knights, God of War Ragnarok, Bayonetta 3, Sonic Frontiers, Stray

Look, it seems like a lot of games came out in the October-November window. I know that happens a lot, but it still hit like a ton of bricks this year. I know I will at least get to the Sonic game. God of War is a firm maybe… After I play the last one… that came out four years ago…

Also, I looked back at previous years’ “games I will play eventually” lists, and I just got to a 2017 game this year…

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2022

AgreedThis was a weird year for a lot of reasons, but the “arc” of the site was particularly surprising. I tried to dial it back a little and exclusively focus on the Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play for the Summer, but then I wrote FGC articles while I was on the break, started publishing them in the Fall, and had enough of a “backlog” that I could produce new content easily for the rest of the year. And then I started writing about the Even Worse Streams videos (thanks to having a lot to say about Chrono Cross), which has become a consistently weekly thing in an effort to finally post those Xenogears videos from 2021. So now the site is consistently updating three times a week for the first time since Spring of 2018, and it is during a time I was trying to “cut back”. Guess time makes fools of us all… or… something…

Regardless! Here are some favorite FGC articles of the year:

FGC #618 Body Harvest
FGC #625 Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
FGC #628 Popeye
FGC #630 Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
FGC #634 Martial Champion

And that’s ignoring everything from this year I already linked.

Here’s to 2023! The year I end the FGC!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… E.V.O.: Search for Eden! Speaking of games featured on Even Worse Streams, it is time to look at the tale of a fish becoming a human despite the fact that monkeys still exist. Please look forward to it!

Xenogears 09: Question Not Thy god

Let's have a good laughFaith is important, but it is not everything.

Jessie B. Black, once known as Jesiah Blanche, was never a man of faith. While his son was dedicated to Ethos and the church, Jessie always believed the local religion to be a lie, and struck out on his own frequently. While this wreaked havoc on his family (his daughter became a mute, his wife became dead), Jessie persevered, and stayed true to his own principles. He fought the forces of Solaris in his own way, and did his absolute best to accomplish his goals… even if that often put him at odds with his son.

But Billy and Jessie teamed up when the nefarious Bishop Stone attacked. Bishop Stone (aka Isaac Stein, aka The Red Skull) had been granted -the power-, and was practically invincible thanks to his Gear’s ability to channel raw hate into an etheric barrier. While basking in his own invulnerability, Stone revealed he was personally responsible for killing Jessie’s wife/Billy’s mother, and threatened to destroy the Yggdrasil and everyone aboard. Billy is particularly perturbed, but Stone’s menace aimed at an entire ship full of people made this situation dire for more than just the Black family. But Jessie has a plan! He can use the Buntline Gear to transform into a gun, and Billy can shoot the Buntline “bullet” to destroy the barrier! We’re going to be okay!

Except about a minute after Billy fires the Buntline, Citan, the Gear’s creator, informs Billy that the pilot of the Buntline is killed in the process of shooting that Gear-bullet. Oopsie!

This should end wellBut, as Jessie said when he became a human projectile, “Question not thy god, for thy god doth not respond.” Jessie survived the Buntline, but not because of his faith. Citan was a genius, but Jessie was capable of improving the Buntline personally, and made it a Gear that was not suicide for its pilot. The Buntline could now fire Jessie an infinite number of times, and the worst that would come of it all was a headache. Jessie did not simply hope he would weather his own annihilation, he made his survival a priority, and did everything in his power to guarantee that. And this faith in himself was rewarded when Bishop Stone was defeated, and Jessie’s daughter, Primera, finally spoke to her father.

Everything was good for the Black family, and it was all thanks to Jessie finding the god within himself.

And then everybody climbed a tower or something because Jessie met a dude in a cave one time. Just how these things go…

Even Worse Streams presents Xenogears
Night 9

Original Stream Night: March 30, 2021
Night of the Soul Edge

Random Stream Notes

  • We took nearly the entire month of March off thanks to a fundraising stream and a honeymoon, but we’re back in the Xenosaddle!
  • Kishi is here practically from the start this time.
  • Kishi asks about my trip to St. Augustine, Florida (which is where I was the previous Tuesday). The fact that it was so familiar after a couple decades away eventually inspired an article.
  • Let us talk about Gundam and Toonami doing its best with the concept of Gundam Wing being popular.
  • “I’m gonna die, but I wanna die awesome.”
  • And I died again. I really must remember to buy gear for the Gears…
  • If this has not been noted before, Kishi is disgusted by the fact that I am cheating and still losing.
  • We take a quick moment to look at the debug items I have cheated into the game.
  • Look at youPersona 3 would like you to dance while I put you in a trance.
  • So we equipped accessories to pump up Elly’s ether stats for her super Aeroid attack… and it heals the boss. Okay!
  • Thank God, we won.
  • Street Fighter characters speak whatever language they want
  • Welcome to the Tower of Babil! Why isn’t Fei doing any damage…
  • Fanboymaster and Kishi agree that the Mega Man franchise is mostly not great. I take personal offense at this.
  • Ninja Gaiden Z should never be mentioned again.
  • The Tower of Babil is awesome from a design perspective… and awful from a gameplay perspective.
  • Hoggish Greedly should not hang out with Ed Asner. He liked meat too much.
  • We are the archetypal dads. Note: none of us are dads.
  • “According to this Tripod.com fansite…”
  • This will end wellFanboymaster points out that the modern equivalent of the dad working on an old car in the garage is a raspberry pi aficionado continually tinkering on the perfect build, and this fact hurts my brain.
  • As we scale the tower, there is talk of that one Castlevania game with Trevor… Or maybe Ralph…
  • As always, please enjoy my inept platforming skills. I swear I am not this terrible when not on stream…
  • We finally get to the top (ish) of the Tower of Babil to find our classic robot boss.
  • BEAT claims he is not paying attention as we see the TV orb again. We know!
  • And we close out with a brief mention of that one dungeon in Xenosaga Ep 2. It looks like Shevat!

Next time on Xenogears: Stormy Pinkness.


FGC #605 Curses ‘N Chaos

Let's rockSometime around the 14th century, the Black Death was ravaging the European population. Given this highly lethal plague was on everybody’s mind (how could we ever hope to understand?), this seems to have been the time that the anthropomorphism of Death manifested in the public consciousness. As anyone that has ever visited a Spirit Halloween is aware, Death is generally visualized as a skeleton in a black robe wielding scythe. To elaborate for anyone from a foreign culture, the scythe is supposed to symbolize the literal harvesting of souls, and the skeletal body is supposed to be symbolize how bones are scary. Beyond that, ol’ Death is a pretty fundamental part of Western culture, and it is unlikely anyone reading this has missed his familiar iconography.

But what does it mean when Death makes an appearance in a videogame? Well, let us look at how Death has worked his digital magic through the years.


Midway Games

Throw some papersWhat’s happening here: Near as we can tell, the first appearance of an active Death in a videogame was in Paperboy. A grim reaper is one of the many, many obstacles that this young boy must face on his way to delivering newspapers to the least appreciative neighborhood on the planet.

Describe your Death: We have a traditional black cloak and scythe here, though it is difficult to tell if we are dealing with a legitimate skeleman. One would suppose this emphasizes the “unknown” nature of Death.

What does it all mean? 1984 was a time for “suburbs fear”, wherein parents were convinced razors were being hidden in Halloween candy, and a scary man in a trench coat was assumed to be on every corner. It was all total nonsense, but it does explain why one would expect to see Death out and menacing an innocent paperboy. Everything wants to kill our innocent young paperboy, why would Death themself be any different?


Midway Games

BEHOLD DEATHWhat’s happening here: Death is one of the many monsters that stalks the world of Gauntlet. They will drain 100 health from a hapless adventurer, and is resistant to all attacks, save the mighty magic bomb. They are not a common creature, but they are a threat every time they appear.

Describe your Death: OG Gauntlet is not exactly known for its huge, expressive sprites, but Death at least has the ol’ black cloak here. If you were to claim this Death was a ninja, you wouldn’t have to change a single thing about their appearance.

What does it all mean? In 1983, Patricia Pulling founded Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD), and significantly contributed to the myth that Dungeons and Dragons was seducing our innocent children to the dark side. This led to years of general concern over D&D, so it was only natural that Death would be haunting dungeons in 1985 videogames. It’s Death! They will kill you! Because of what you are doing! Stay out of fantasy realms, children!


Nintendo Entertainment System

Sorry SimonWhat’s happening here: Death’s multiple appearances in the Castlevania franchise may be the most iconic in gaming, and it all started here. You can’t have a decent Castlevania game without Death! Eat it, Haunted Castle, you barely get a Frankenstein.

Describe your Death: Skeleton? Check. Scythe? Check. Black cloak? Well… Death has decided to go with something more fuchsia here, but we’re going to allow it. NES color palettes are not kind to classical iconography.

What does it all mean? We will address Death as a greater presence in the franchise soon enough, but this Death is little more than one of many “movie monster” bosses in his first appearance. Apparently he was just a dude in a pink costume going by the pseudonym of Belo Lugosi. That is almost a real person’s name!

1986 also had another familiar Grim Reaper…