Phantasy Star

Year: 1987
Genre: JRPG
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platform: Sega Master System

Phantasy Star has an odd legacy. The series is generally remembered for its (admittedly amazing) online outings. ┬áThe original games Phantasy Star Online was spun-off from, however, are secretly very important to the evolution of Japanese Role-Playing Games as they are today – for better or worse.

On December 20, 1987 – just two days after SquareSoft bet the future of their company on a little game called Final FantasySega released Phantasy Star for their Mark III console, which would later come to other territories as the Master System. Phantasy Star begins on planet Palma (sometimes localized as Palm due to character limits) in the Algol star system. The heroine, Alis Landale, watches as her brother is left bloodied and dying on the pavement by Stormtrooper look-a-likes for attempting to meddle in the ruler, King Lassic’s affairs. With his last breath, Nero tells Alis to seek out a man named Odin and put an end to Lassic’s tyranny. The intro alone has a narrative both more in-depth and prominent that the contemporaries of the time, Dragon Quest I and II, which hardly had plots outside of “there is an evil thing, please end it”. Also notable is its use of a female protagonist. There had been a couple up to this point, namely Metroid‘s Samus Aran, but it was still rare.

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