The most interesting thing in Yuzo Koshiro’s office

Pretty much any game development studio (or publisher, or localization company) has somewhere in the public-facing portion of its offices a showcase of their projects. Depending on the company in question, this showcase may consist of a single shelf, or it can span an entire wall.

Today I was fortunate enough to interview legendary game composer Yuzo Koshiro for a second time, meeting up with him at the headquarters of his development studio Ancient. Ancient’s obligatory showcase boasts an impressive assortment of CDs (containing Koshiro’s work through the years) and a variety of games (some of which Ancient developed, and most of which Koshiro composed for). Nothing too surprising there, though my eyes did light up at the sight of The Scheme tucked away on the bottom shelf — I’d never heard of that particular work until putting together last week’s Game Boy World episode, but it caught my attention for being a PC88-based proto-Metroidvania action game. And now, here it was, in the flesh: The first game Koshiro composed for after leaving Nihon Falcom in the late ’80s.

That wasn’t the most unusual thing in Ancient’s display case, though. This was:

It’s a tape cassette case whose label claimed to contain a game… for Windows 7, 8, and 10. This was something to puzzle over while waiting for Koshiro to arrive at the interview — what could this possibly be? What kind of modern Windows software could you possibly store on a tape cassette!?

As it turns out, none whatsoever. In Koshiro’s words, this is a “small joke”: A mock-up for a physical release of a game released to Steam last year under the name of Cosmic Cavern 3671. Koshiro’s friend produced it, and he himself composed the music for it. Cavern is actually a remake of an old Japanese PC game called Chitei Saidai no Sakusen, which you can read about at Hardcore Gaming 101; despite debuting in 1980, it bears an uncanny resemblance to 1982’s Dig Dug. To commemorate the recent Steam remake for Ancient’s display case, Koshiro says a friend of his put together a fake cassette tape of the game, with a label designed to resemble what an MZ-80 tape release would look like in this day and age. It’s a pretty interesting little bit of video game ephemera!

(Of course, you can expect more about my meeting Koshiro in the coming weeks.)

5 Comments

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5 Responses to The most interesting thing in Yuzo Koshiro’s office

  1. dc12

    Wow, it’s only $5, which isn’t bad. http://store.steampowered.com/app/496980/
    That would’ve been interesting to see a tape release of CC3671, as you’d have to find a reader and a way to connect it to a modern computer.

  2. Stephen

    Very, very excited about you meeting Yuzo Koshiro. One of the first composers I could recognize a signature style from even when I was too young to pay attention to credits.

  3. Wow. Koshiro’s such a laid back and cool guy, too.

    I used to email him way back in the 90s and he was respectful and receptive. Very awesome stuff.

  4. Such a great composer. I used to have the Streets of Rage soundtrack in my car. It doesn’t feel like a Genesis game soundtrack, it feels like authentic techno!

    I look forward to reading or listening to the interview.

  5. Nathan Daniels

    Ditto. I’ve been a fan of Koshiro’s work since the first time I heard Revenge of Shinobi’s muffled drums; ROS’s Chinatown is still one of my favorite VGM tracks of all time. I was also a fan of Y’s for the Master System, although I wasn’t aware of his involvement with the score at the time(and to be honest, I’m still not sure how much of the original Y’s was his work). In any case, he seems to be a pretty interesting fellow. I can’t wait to find out more.