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Topics - wyldephang

Retro News & Chat / Evolution of a Logo: Resident Evil
August 14, 2014, 08:54:47 AM
I'm not sure if anyone will find this interesting, but as I was looking through my collection, it occurred to me that Capcom had changed the logo for their Resident Evil series several times over the years.

In Japan, the game is known as Biohazard.  The original logo for the 1996 PlayStation game was not incredibly fancy or stylized, but attention-grabbing nonetheless.

When Biohazard was localized in the West, the name was changed to Resident Evil due to copyright concerns, but the minimalistic logo design remained the same.

This logo would more or less define the series through the '90s.  It appeared once again on Code Veronica (Dreamcast), and was utilized for a number of offshoot titles, like Resident Evil Survivor and Gaiden.  It was reused for the Resident Evil comic books, toys, and novels.

The "classic" logo underwent a minor transformation for Resident Evil 2, where the R and the V are stretched slightly below the baseline.

The next game, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, featured an even more stylized version of the logo.  Though you can still make out the original font in the word "Resident," it's clear that they were experimenting with a different effect.

In 2002, the first Resident Evil movie hit theaters around the world, and with it came a new logo.  Incidentally, this logo would remain consistent for all theatrical releases.

Around this time, Capcom decided to integrate the movie logo into their latest Resident Evil offshoot series, Outbreak, which focused on online play.  Both Outbreak games recycled the logo from the films.

In 2002, when Biohazard was remade for the GameCube, the Japanese logo was revamped with a new look.  The subsequent games, including Biohazard 0 and Biohazard 4, kept the same design.

Meanwhile, the West got localizations of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0 on the GameCube with this "typewriter" style logo.

It wasn't until Resident Evil 4 was localized in the West that the logo finally matched the Japanese design.

The latest games, including Resident Evil 5, Revelations, and 6, have adopted this design, which appears to be the new standard.  If you ask me, it's a bit plainer looking than earlier iterations.

I had this idea to put together a collage depicting the evolution of RPGs, but I feel the story of the RPG is as interesting as the games themselves, so I took the liberty of completing a write-up.  Because my history lesson became much longer than I anticipated, this will be a multi-part overview of RPGs from the 1970s to the present day.  It might only appeal to those of you who are interested in RPGs, but I hope everyone will read at least a little, as the genre and the folklore surrounding it have become fixtures of gaming culture.  And for anyone who is new to the RPG, I hope this inspires you to pick up one of these games.

[align=center:1a20w6fs][size=140]Genesis of RPGs; computer RPGs[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

[align=center:1a20w6fs][size=80]Ultima, Wizardry[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

The video game genre known as the role-playing game had its start in the 1970s with tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.  Computer hobbyists with a passion for D&D would be the first to digitize the rules and make it possible for tabletop games to be played on the computer, but it wasn't until Richard Garriott released Akalabeth in 1979 that the true potential of computerized RPGs was seen.  This is the genesis of the role-playing video game, or CRPG (computer RPG).  Early titles like Ultima (1981) and Wizardry (1981) featured very basic graphical interfaces and ran on a text-based system wherein players would input commands into the console to move around the world, attack enemies, or speak to non-player characters (NPCs).  While crude by today's standards, Ultima and Wizardry offered a lot of variety in how parties could be customized; most of these games featured several different character classes, allowing players to have a fresh adventure each subsequent playthrough.

[align=center:1a20w6fs][size=80]Adventure, Dragonstomper[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

Early on, the games had their greatest success among hobbyists and in university computer labs.  But it wasn't long before the games began to appeal to a wider audience, and even reached Japanese markets for the first time.  Console gamers might have been the next obvious target for the growth of CRPGs in the early 1980s; games like Adventure (1979) and Dragonstomper (1982) for the Atari 2600 tested the waters for the potential of these types of games.  But around this time, the industry was ravaged by the great crash of 1983, and it wouldn't be until a new champion hailing from Japan, Nintendo, emerged that video games would get a fresh start.  We're well acquainted with the success of the Mario games and the Zeldas.  But what some gamers might not know is that the RPG was one of the greatest sources of revenue for video games in Japan.  In fact, the genre spawned Japan's single greatest video game celebrity, Yuji Horii.

[align=center:1a20w6fs][size=140]Early console RPGs[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

[size=80]Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

Horii was a great admirer of the Ultima and Wizardry games, and sought to design a console-based interpretation of his favorite CRPGs that utilized the same gameplay elements, only streamlined for the Nintendo Famicom.  His vision came to life with Dragon Quest (1986), which birthed one of the most successful game franchises in Japan.  Riding on the waves of Dragon Quest was Hironobu Sakaguchi's intended swan song Final Fantasy (1987).  These early Famicom RPGs standardized random enemy encounters, which were generally triggered by a step counter, and a system of leveling wherein experience points were pooled together and multiple stats were raised all at once.  While DQ featured battles in a first-person perspective, FF implemented a horizontal view of the battlefield, allowing players to see every action play out in 8-bit splendor.  More importantly, the Japanese RPGs put a greater emphasis on storytelling; with each subsequent DQ or FF game, the plot would become more complex, more integral to our enjoyment of the game.

[size=80]Dragon Quest III, Final Fantasy III[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

Famicom RPGs arguably hit their peak with Dragon Quest III (1988) and Final Fantasy III (1990).  At this point, it had become fairly obvious that Horii's and Sakaguchi's games were vastly different from each other.  Whereas the DQ games provided fairly consistent gameplay each time around, the FF games introduced radical new concepts in every new installment.  FFII saw the integration of a controversial new leveling system; in FFIII, new character classes (jobs) were introduced, changing the way players approached the game.  This sense of constant reinvention became one of Final Fantasy's selling points, especially as it made a successful transition to Western shores in 1990.  In contrast, Dragon Quest--known as Dragon Warrior in the West--saw dwindling North American sales despite a massive Nintendo Power campaign.  When the 16-bit generation arrived, neither of the two Super Famicom Dragon Quest games made it to Western markets.

[size=80]Sword of Vermilion, Phantasy Star II[/size]

[size=80]Shining Force, Landstalker[/size]

[size=80]Phantasy Star IV[/size][/align:1a20w6fs]

RPGs in the 16-bit generation got off to an auspicious start with Sword of Vermilion (1989) and Phantasy Star II (1989) on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.  Featuring enhanced music and graphics, the 16-bit RPGs brought a greater degree of artistic verisimilitude to the genre as it became possible to animate characters and articulate emotions in new ways.  Storytelling became more physical and realistic: if characters needed to cry, they could cry; if they needed to slump over in pain, they could do so.  Other prominent Mega Drive/Genesis RPGs include the tactical RPG Shining Force (1993) and the isometric action/platformer RPG Landstalker (1992), but the genre reached monumental proportions with Phantasy Star IV (1993), featuring an elaborate plot, energetic soundtrack, and a cinematic style of storytelling.
Introductions / New member intro
June 22, 2014, 06:26:43 AM
Hello!  I'm a grad school student from Maryland with a love for video games.  I made my first foray into gaming when I was only two years old, playing games like Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man 2.  The passion just grew from there; we got a Super Nintendo in 1992-93, and I started to appreciate the beauty and art of video games.

I learned about RVG from Trek, who referred me here when I inquired about his reviews.  I mentioned to him that I'd like to become involved in submitting reviews to the website sometime down the road.  So, if there are any opportunities to contribute in the way of SNES reviews, or N64 and PS1 reviews, I'm willing to help in whatever way I can.  :1: