Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we know iteration is the key to success. Last week, we took a look at the early history of the tactical RPG genre, covering the origins of many of its core concepts through to what is generally considered to be the game that established the genre, Nintendo's Fire Emblem. In that article, I also listed some features that I consider to define games in the TRPG genre, so I strongly encourage heading back and reading that piece before moving on with this one. In this week's article, we're picking up from where we left off last time and covering the genre's explosion in popularity in the 1990s. Both the East and the West (and by extension the console and PC sectors) would see little cottage industries spring up around their respective takes on the genre. Perhaps most remarkably of all, these two flavors of TRPG appear to have formed virtually independently of one another.
Despite their common origins, the console and PC game markets have, at times, been quite far removed from each other. The 1990s were perhaps the peak example of this separation. PC gaming was largely dominated by Western developers and publishers who only rarely bothered with console releases. Console gaming, on the other hand, was largely the province of Japanese developers and publishers whose forays into the PC end of the pool were even rarer. There are a lot of reasons why this separation occurred, such as language barriers, the sheer number of incompatible computer formats in the 1980s, cultural differences, and economics. It's a topic all of its own, frankly. For our purposes, it's simply important to note that heading into the 1990s, Japan was almost entirely on the console wagon, Europe was riding the home computer train, and America housed both, albeit with a thick wall between them. Things were very different from today.
Daisenryaku & Famicom Wars
While both branches of the TRPG genre can trace their root...