Thursday, August 24, 2017

Manual Stimulation: Onyanko Town (Famicom)

My last post focused on Onyanko Town's lovely packaging. This one, as should be obvious (assuming you read the headline above), focuses on that Japanese Famicom game's manual.

Sadly, I can't say I find the Onyanko Town instruction booklet as stunning as its outer box or cartridge label. That's mainly because it's painfully short, but it's also because its small handful of pages tend to be covered in text and little else.

Thankfully, its cover sports a rather nice illustration of the game's main characters. Sure, the art was recycled from Onyanko Town's box front, but that's hardly surprising given we're talking about a 1985 release.

Granted, you could say it's hardly surprising given we're talking about a game, period. I mean, how many games released in recent years come with manuals that feature a unique piece of art?

Things take a bit of a dip once you venture inside the Onyanko Town manual, however. I'm not even sure what information its first page, below, shares with readers, to be honest, but even if it reveals the game's deepest secrets, it would be hard to argue it's anything more than visually boring.

The same is true of the next page, although at least it passes along some important info about the game's controls.

Should you ever play Onyanko Town yourself, here's how things work: your controller's directional pad moves the protagonist (Mirukii), while its A button causes her to jump and its B button prompts her to flip a nearby manhole.

Speaking of Mirukii, she's introduced on the third page of the Onyanko Town instruction booklet, as is her son, Michael (the kitten in the lower-left corner of the scan below), the "nasty dogs" (upper-right) that wander each stage and the fishmonger (lower-left) who chases you if you snatch one of his wares.

Unfortunately, that's all I can share with you about this game's cast of characters, as my understanding of the Japanese language remains limited. I can't imagine the blurbs to the right of their precious, hand-drawn portraits offer up anything interesting, though.

On a far more positive note, I can share with you what's said on the last page of the Onyanko Town manual (see below--and don't forget to click on that scan or any of the others included here if you want a closer look at them). Basically, it educates interested parties as to how many points they'll receive for completing various actions while playing the game

For example, if you cause one "nasty dog" to tumble into an uncovered manhole, you nab 100 points. Two nets you 400 points, and three awards you 800 points. (I'm guessing this is per dog, but don't quote me on that.)

Also, you earn even more points if you pick up some of the random accoutrements--such as the dress, shoes or ring depicted in the scan above--that pop up while scrambling around each stage.

Like I said earlier, the Onyanko Town instruction booklet isn't exactly amazing. It gets the job done, though, and also offers up some nicely realized illustrations along the way, so it's hard to complain about its ho-hum-ness too loudly.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts about the Famicom Disk Writer version of Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong, Mother (aka EarthBound Beginnings), Super Mario Bros. and Yume Penguin Monogatari

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Nice Package! (Onyanko Town, Famicom)

I've written about this Japan-only Famicom game a few times before. I first mentioned Onyanko Town last fall in this "Shall We Do It?" write-up after my maiden experience with it. Early this year, I brought it up again in a post about my five favorite Pac-Man clones.

So, why am I covering it once more? Because neither of the aforementioned posts included photos of Onyanko Town's adorable packaging.

By far the most appealing component of this game's packaging is its outer box--or at least that's my opinion on the subject.

I mean, you'd need a heart of stone to dislike the Onyanko Town logo, which is lovingly crafted out of yellow-orange bubble letters. The same is true of the so-cute-it-could-make-you-barf cover illustration that sits beneath that logo.

The characters showcased on the front and back sides of this Famicom game's box are the only ones you encounter while playing it, by the way.

The larger cat on the far right of its cover art, the one grasping a fish, is who you control once the game begins. As for the kitten she's holding with her other paw, that's her baby, Michael. He runs away (or something of the sort) at the start of every level, and then you, as Mirukii, chase after him and drag him back home.

The "nasty dog" depicted in the upper-right corner of the manual page below (see the whole Onyanko Town instruction booklet here) basically serves as this title's version of the ghosts that populate Pac-Man's pellet-riddled screens. A number of them stalk this copycat's levels. Should they catch you or your son, it's game over.

The fishmonger seen in the lower-right corner of the sample manual page above, as well as on the far left of the cart label below, also gives chase if you dare to steal one of his future fillets.

Thankfully, you can get these brutes off your tail by flipping the lids of the manholes that cover Onyanko Town's busy streets and sending them tumbling into their putrid depths.

This evasive action only offers a temporary reprieve, however, so keep that in mind if you ever decide to play Onyanko Town yourself.

With all that out of the way, this 1985 release's packaging is surprisingly nice, wouldn't you agree? Its key art is recycled a bit more than I'd like, I've got to admit, but other than that I personally think it's pretty sweet.

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts about the Famicom Disk Writer version of Bubble Bubble, Final Fantasy and Rainbow Islands