Although I began the 16-bit generation favoring NEC's and Nintendo's machines over Sega's, that's not how I ended it.
OK, so I wouldn't say the Genesis (or Mega Drive, depending on your preferences) wound up being my favorite of that era's consoles, but I'd definitely say I grew to love it every bit as much as the Super Nintendo and TurboGrafx-16 (or Super Famicom and PC Engine, respectively).
This game is hugely responsible for that change of heart. I distinctly remember reading everything I could about its Japanese release in 1992 and swooning over practically every screenshot and piece of concept art I came across along the way.
That's understandable, right? I mean, Yoshitaka Tamaki's character designs, showcased in the Japanese box art seen above, are beyond fabulous, in my humble opinion.
Shining Force's in-game graphics are just as wonderful, of course. Also wonderful: the title's epic soundtrack, tactical gameplay and likable cast of characters.
In fact, I found all of those things so appealing then, and still find them so appealing now, that I wouldn't hesitate to call Shining Force one of my all-time favorite games.
I also wouldn't hesitate to call Shining Force's Japanese packaging an all-time favorite.
After all, not only is its outer box a stunner, but so is its cartridge. (Seriously, I've always loved the sexy, rounded carts that contained Japanese Mega Drive games.)
Unsurprisingly, its manual is well worth ogling, too, as the photo above should prove.
Don't worry, I'll try to scan and share the entirety of Shining Force's instruction booklet in an upcoming installment of my "Manual Stimulation" series.
In the meantime, please enjoy the snapshots shared throughout this post. (I especially like this last one, by the way. There's just something about its layout that rubs me the right way.)
Also, if you, too, are a big fan of the original Shining Force--or any of this long-running series' releases--let me and others know in the comments section below.
See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts