Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Video game textmode art part 24: Chinese Unicode, part II

Oh gosh, you folks have been waiting since April of last year for this cliffhanger to resolve: I showed you Chinese Unicode renditions of numerous different styles of gaming console hardware and company logos, but no art celebrating the actual games and their characters! I was going to break the overall pile into three pieces, but figured -- who wants a blog post consisting entirely of video game logos written in Chinese characters? (Actually, for all I know, many of these may also be Japanese... not that Japan's syllabary is unrelated to hanzi, and certainly Japan has been more of a hub of game development. To what extent there has been official localization is unclear, since my understanding is that traditionally the local market in China for legitimately licensed software has been essentially nil. But I digress.) In any case, I've lumped the logos in here like strange icing on a peculiar cake. (You mean to tell me this moon cake is sweetened with ... red bean paste?)

But first, a wicked awesome picture for the benefit of the auto-thumbnail algorithms! (Also, it gives you a taste of what to look forward to 8)

There you go, Capcom's unique Viewtiful Joe. Curiously, like the public domain ANSIs trapped at the 80x25 textmode resolution, these pieces of Chinese Unicode seem to also be constrained to single-screen canvases. Are longer works even possible or are there technical limitations holding them back? Further research is required. (By someone with local expertise 8)
So, you like Capcom, huh? Here, have the logo to Capcom's Onimusha series!
You can't read that, can you? (I sure can't!) I'm told it's the logo for Banpresto's Super Robot Wars. Less clear graffiti influence on Chinese textmode typography, that's for sure. (That actually opens up a very interesting question about Chinese graffiti that will simply have to wait for another post, ideally one by someone who is literate in Chinese and knows about graffiti 8)
I can't translate this effectively -- at one point I was told it read "Outer Magic Land", which ... is not an English-language franchise at all, nor one I have a name-translation for. So I can't tell you who made it, or for what platform. Sorry, every one of these hauls includes a few duds.
You love Sega's Shenmue, but do you love its logo?
This logo was from the PlayStation 2's Disaster Report / Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series.
Finally, a hint of pictoral representation! We're making it out of the woods! Again, I can't read this, but I'm told the translation of the characters comes out to "Paladin". (Maybe this?) Sure looks like it's setting the scene for a FRPG to me!
And here we go, back to something that looks like pictures. With its diagonal half-characters, it wouldn't surprise me if this Chinese Unicode (I recall mattmatt called it Big 5?) gives you better fine detail options at this small scale. Now, the Latin letters Sangoku tell you that whatever this is, it derives from the period in Chinese History described in the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". But I'll spoil it for you: the specific game in question here is Koei's Dynasty Warriors.
And this pair pump up Sega's Sakura Wars series:
(It's interesting to see the two different ways of drawing the same letters!)
OK, and here we are, once again delivered into the world of logos with Latin Characters. This is a logo for the PlayStation driving games Gran Turismo, the real driving simulator... or as the fixed-width characters will have it, THE REAL DRIVING SIMULATOR. (Fullwidth text: not just for Vaporwave song titles anymore!)
Game Arts' Grandia gets not only spelled out but also illustrated. Its characters have what could be described as "big hair".
And condensing down a whole lotta style into a very tight, low-resolution depiction: it's Sega's Jet Set Radio Future for the Xbox!
I don't know what those letters spell out but the picture tells me it's something along the lines of K-I-R-B-Y from HAL Laboratories, beloved of Nintendo platforms.
My notes suggest that this picture promotes SNK's series the King of Fighters, and that this kingly fighter himself is known as Caoti... or perhaps Cao Ti... and may be situated in or near Beijing. Problem being, I can find no record of any KOF characters going by that name! Perhaps in localised versions? After a painstaking visual search, Kyo Kusanagi (or one of his clones?) appears to come closest in appearance, and the name Kyo isn't so very far from Cao... (for the convenience of Westerners, we'll transliterate this name into English after translating it from Japanese to Chinese: fire up Babelfish!) I'm satisfied!
This picture stumps for NCSoft's South Korean MMORPG Lineage.
Lookout, Luigi! You're trapped in a mansion plagued with ghosts in the Gamecube title Luigi's Mansion!
And here, the craggy face of Solid Snake representing Konami's Metal Gear Solid:
Buoying up this alphabetical island of AAA titles, here's Samus from Nintendo's Metroid Prime for the Gamecube:
And Sega probably hoped you would grin (not grimace, right?) as much as this guy while playing Phantasy Star Online:
Here's one I hadn't heard of before: Capcom's Product Number 03 aka p.n.03 for the Gamecube:
And speaking of Capcom (is there an echo in here?) I hope you like Rockman (MegaMan) because... here he is, three times!
Here's a logo that goes way back to Square's Romancing SaGa:
And here's a little splash for Rune (aka Lost Kingdoms) for the Gamecube. (Funny how often they assert not merely which game, but on which platform! In some cases, it's a platform exclusive -- so it's implied. In other cases... gameplay is assumed to be much the same between versions, so why brand your fanart with only one of them?)
Haohmaru from SNK's Samurai Spirits (aka Samurai Shodown) takes a rest between bouts:
You want to play some Super Smash Bros? First you'll have to select a fighter: I can see Mario, Peach, Starfox, Kirby, Captain Falcon, Link, Ness, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Yoshi, Ice Climbers, Bowser, Pikachu and Samus.
I take it on faith that this font will ultimately resolve to spell out Namco's Soul Calibur:
And for the Gamecube (or is that a Borg Cube?), it's Rare's doomed Starfox Adventures!
Now (if my sources are correct) it's time for Konami's Suikoden:
Looking like a total badass here we have Joe Musashi from Sega's Super Shinobi:
It's writ very small, but here we have Namco's Tales of Symphonia, for the Nintendo Gamecube.
Compressed to the point where the picture becomes iconic rather than representational, it's Namco's Tekken!
Here you go, without a doubt it's Tobal No. 1 for the Sony PlayStation.
And here, Enix's Valykrie Profile for the PlayStation:
This little character is the hero of 1997's Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer for the Nintendo DS. Nice to see the handhelds getting a little love!
And here we have Media Vision's 1996 game Wild Arms, a Western for the PlayStation.
Huh. In Asia, Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series is known as Winning Eleven. Now you know! (That's a cute little Konami logo!) 
This piece celebrates Square's 1998 Xenogears for the PlayStation. I think that a bit of Babelfishing has gone on here also -- looking for a transcript of the text, I found only a near miss: "I loved one woman, no matter the day, no matter the era. That did not change, nor did her name."
OK, you almost made it through all of this stuff that I could find by randomly querying their database! Now are you ready to celebrate with some Legend of Zelda?
That's a good start, but Link looks a little smug. Could you punch up the logo a bit, maybe replace the art?
You know, the series is called the Legend of Zelda, but it always shows Link. Can we get a little Zelda up in here?
Right on! Now, let's close with some Wind Waker sailing action:
No no no, not over there, over here! Toward the Gamecube logo!
Aaaaand we're done. (Alas, a missed chance to make a joke about Hyrule flipping horizontally along with southpaw Link for the Wii version of Twilight Princess.  But... Wrong game.)

But wait! As a closing bonus, you can enjoy Erik from Blizzard's The Lost Vikings!
It's been an interesting exploration. These sure aren't advertising BBSes so I wonder if they were drawn for any ... purpose... other than the sheer joy of celebrating great video games?

The Sega Saturn, Playstation 1 and Nintendo Gamecube sure seem to have been more popular consoles over there among textmode artists than here! (Its time period seems offset from that of the ANSI artscene as well by at least 5 years, judging from the games and platforms represented.  No Sonic?!)

Not that I would know one if I was looking straight at it, but I couldn't find any signatures or credits for the artists at all... how curious!  It's tough having so many questions I'm utterly unable to have answered, I feel like a Vandal barbarian sacking Rome (or actually, like the PC party on the 1st Edition AD&D Player's Handbook) plundering treasures with no appreciation of their context  

Also, I get the feeling that the colour palette is, while similarly limited relative to ANSI, a little different... their off-tone for sickly flesh is a little bit different from what I might expect!

OK, I'm really done. Thanks for joining me on this trip into the unknown, by which I mean topics I know and love, interpreted through the lens of a totally foreign culture.