Hi Five – The Japanese Year of the Ox4 minute read

Hi Five looks at five games released during the Japanese Year of the Ox

Welcome to 2021 where the Japanese Year of the Ox begins! The second symbol in the Japanese zodiac comes in the form of the Ox, after the scheming rat snatched first place in the race to God. In Japanese ox is ushi in Romaji and written as 牛 in Kanji. In the zodiac it is written as 丑.

As a celebration of this new year Hi Five looks at five games that were released during the Japanese Year of the Ox.

Disclaimer – these are my top five and are in no way to be considered an official list.

5 Space Race (1973)

Space Race, released by Atari in 1973 was the companies second game after the release of Pong in 1972. It was the gaming industries first arcade racing game ever, allowing two players to each control a ship in a bid to become first to reach the top of the screen.

The game began development in 1972 under the name Asteroid. It was not a commercially successful game, being less popular than Pong, and Midway stated that the release of the game violates the companies’ mutual contract for the game Asteroid, causing Atari to forfeit all royalty payments for the title.

4 Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Super Mario Bros. is a title that everyone is familiar with. It is the first game in one of the largest gaming franchises in history, featuring one of the most iconic characters in the entire industry. Further more Super Mario Bros. is considered one of the key factors in the industry being regenerated after the crash in 1983.

The game came before tutorials were a feature within a video game. Miyamoto said that the design behind the initial level 1-1 was to help the player understand the game. “World 1-1” to contain everything a player needs to “gradually and naturally understand what they’re doing”.

3 Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985)

Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Japanese: 魔界村, Hepburn: Makaimura, lit. Demon World Village) was developed by Capcom and released in 1985. It was the first game in a growing franchise and has since seen ports from its arcade roots to multiple platforms.

The game has always been well received, but is also considered as one of the hardest games of all time.

2 Grand Theft Auto (1997)

The first instalment of the critically acclaimed series Grand Theft Auto was released in 1997 on the Sony PlayStation. it was due to be released on the Sega Saturn as well as the Nintendo 64 but these versions were never finalised.

The game was originally being developed as a game named Race’n’Chase but due to production issues this plan was scrapped and Grand Theft Auto was born. The game received mixed reviews but spawned into one of the largest gaming franchises on the planet.

1 Minecraft (2009)

Minecraft was released by Mojang in 2009. It was created by Markus Noch Persson in Java the programming language. It’s initial 2009 release was a paid public alpha for the PC which was prior to the November 2011 retail version.

The game has since been ported to several platforms and now has sold more than 200 million copies, making it the best selling video game of all time.

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