NARRATOR: It all began with an idea.
[DR. JOHN CARLTRON, Distinguished Emeritus Chair of Interactive Media History at Southern Michigan University, appears in an excerpt from an interview]
DR. CARLTRON: The name of the Musjido Co., Ltd. has long been the subject of speculation; the official company line is that it is a contraction of the Romanji phrase “Musekinin-Jigoku-do,” roughly “let the irresponsible ones be banished to hell.” Reportedly coined in response to the firing of Musjido’s first batch of employees for laziness, the name stuck. The company was a small regional developer of pachinko machines before the war, and it entered the lucrative home arcade market in January 1984 with its “Home Electronic Pachinko Computing Engine.” Retooled as a cartridge-based game system for a worldwide release, the redubbed Musjido Multimedia System (MMS) was an astonishing success.
NARRATOR: For the 30th anniversary of the Musjido MMS, Kyoto Processed Ricepaper Concerns Films (in association with Liberty Pictures) presents Behind the 8 Bits: a documentary event reuniting Musjido employees, fans, stars, and more.
[ROBERTO, star of Musjido’s breakout hit Roberto’s Adventure, appears in an excerpt from an interview]
ROBERTO: But-a moreso than the-a fame, it’s-a really the-a memories that-a I cherish. For-a my first title on-a the-a MMS, I had-a to punch salamanders on-a my way to-a fighting Yukke the-a Salamander King. I still-a remember screaming when I got-a their slime all-a over my gloves the-a first time!
[The scene shifts to footage from Roberto’s Adventure while ROBERTO continues to speak. Highlights include Zone 1-1, fighting Yukke in Zone 8-8, and dying in multiple ways to 8-bit salamander attacks]
ROBERTO: You would-a think that-a my fondest memory would-a be punching Yukke into-a the lava for the first-a time. But-a no, it-a is still the-a first salamander I punched. It’s-a been 30 years, and-a I’ve punched millions more-a, but you never-a forget your first.
[MONDO MAN, cyborg star of the multi-platinum Mondo Man series from Rockcom, appears in an excerpt from an interview]
MONDO MAN: Before the release of the MMS, Rockcom only made arcade games. End of line. But the success of the platform led to them starting the series with me. End of line. The original game was programmed by three college kids, but it’s still the template for all games of the same sort ever since! End of line.
[The scene shifts to a montage of Mondo Man gameplay, mostly from Mondo Man 2. Clips include the legendary spike drop in Spike Man’s stage, the notoriously difficult block-jumping segment of Lava Man’s stage, and a montage of 10 different ways to die in the first Doctor Vile stage]
MONDO MAN: How do you choose a moment that stands out from the MMS era, with ten games in ten years? End of line. I could mention the fight against Mushroom Man in Mondo Man 6 or the introduction of the dash mechanic in Mondo Man 4, or even the Mondo Jet I was able to ride in Mondo Man 5 through Mondo Man 10. End of line. I can only say that each time I defeated ten evil cyborgs, unmasked the villain to be Doctor Vile in disguise, and demolished his Vile Fortress, it felt like the very first time. End of line. I’ll always be grateful to Musjido and the MMS for giving me the chance to shine before my developer all but abandoned me. End of line.
[More clips of interviews and gameplay continue to scroll silently in the background, including F’SCOT from Fitzgerald’s Quest, AREOLUS from Subterranoid, and FIGHTER/MAGE from Dragon Fantasy I]
NARRATOR: Behind the 8 Bits, coming this fall from Kyoto Processed Ricepaper Concerns Films in association with Liberty Pictures.
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