2.27.2006

Sin & Redemption 5

Sin & Redemption 5
By: Karl Castaneda

The R Stands For Rareware

Throughout the existence of the company, Nintendo's always had fair warning of threats coming their way. They should have known that Sega would eventually be a force to be reckoned with; nobody else has ever failed that much and kept on trucking, all in the pursuit of victory. And with the Genesis, Sega showed it knew how to rumble. With mature titles and a knockout sports selection, it was able to eventually grab the leading market share in the United States. Nintendo was stunned.

How could this company, the same company that had the ineptitude to showcase a mediocre franchise (at best) as their mascot (Ed Note: Alex the Kidd, for those of you wondering), overtake the largest and most successful supplier of video games in the world? I'll tell you how. Sega saw that as gamers grew up, they wanted dark, moody content that would satisfy their at-the-time-untapped teen angst. Games like Altered Beast, Shining Force, and the breakout hit Sonic the Hedgehog are still known as classics of their respective genres. Sega came a long way since the SG-Mark III, to say the least...

Luckily for Nintendo, they had an asset that would bail them out of their doom.

Ultimate Innovators

Chris and Tim Stamper were just a couple of game-crazy teens in England when Space Invaders was a massive hit, but even then, they were gathering information and experience, readying themselves for what was to come. Then, in the early 80's, they broke out as Ultimate - Play The Game, a trading name for Ashby Computer and Graphics, their small personal business. Mostly working off of the Sinclair Spectrum, they had amazing success; their first game ever, Jetpac, sold 300,000 copies.

Obviously, when the NES was released, the Brothers Stamper were interested in seeing what they could do with it (much like our fabled tech junkies of old, Argonaut). Now operating as Rareware, they released such classics as the insanely difficult Battletoads, RC Pro-Am, and Marble Madness. In all, Rareware produced almost 60 titles on the NES, which of course caught the attention of Nintendo of America President, Minoru Arakawa, who had already been impressed with the boys' work. When the SNES was revealed, Rareware went to work on a game that would change gaming forever...

Dig This Monkey Rap: Money Money Money

To be truthful, the Stampers and Co. didn't release that many SNES games; this wasn't due to a lack of interest though. It was because they were trying to seek out the system's true potential, which they ultimately found and perfected. This, crossed with the idea of translating high resolution graphics to the SNES, amounted to an impressive visual representation; pre-rendered polygons allowed subsequent games to appear much more advanced than anything Nintendo had done before, even surpassing Argonaut's Super FX chip. So what did they use it for? As if you didn't know...

DKC was, obviously, a huge success, selling eight million copies. Along with the seminal fighting game Killer Instinct, Rareware had proven that it could hang with the big boys at NCL. Not only had they produced sine of the best 16-Bit games ever, the success of said games propelled the SNES back into a clear #1 spot in the West.

Seeing their worth, NCL bought a 25% stake in the English developer. And for good reason; they had saved Nintendo. And when the N64 hit, they would time and time again with hits like Banjoe Kazooie, Perfect Dark, GoldenEye, and Conker's Bad Fur Day. It was meant to last, though, because in 2002... well, let's tell that story another time.

Switching Gears

In case you haven't noticed, this series has dealt a lot with Nintendo in the West; their dealings (or lack thereof) with Atari, their partnership with Argonaut, with Rare, and the Genesis beating them out for Top Dog in said territory. But now it's time to head back in time a little bit; it's time to switch over to Japan.

They say that every action has an equal and oppossite reaction. Well, if there was ever a reaction to the tyranical rule of Hiroshi Yamauchi, it was dealt by a college dropout named Hironobu Sakaguchi and his Final Fantasy...

Next Time: The RPG That Broke The Dam: Final Fantasy VII

See Also
Sin & Redepmtion 1
Sin & Redemption 2
Sin & Redemption 3
Sin & Redemption 4

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