So hey! Gustavo Duarte, who you may be familiar with from his webcomic Pilli Adventure, might end up illustrating the manual eventually. For those of you who aren't familiar, he really does have that '80s manga style down pat.
Some time ago, I wrote an article on the history of console RPGs, and the careless fashion in which the genre as a whole has changed elements of the basic formula without stopping to think about how everything fit together. For instance, several years ago it was generally agreed that boss fights should be the only time characters should seriously face heavy resource depletion and death, yet we still have all the hundreds of random encounters whose original purpose was to pose a challenge in themselves, draining resources and encouraging the player to hone their tactics and explore in an efficient fashion.
This project is hopefully the starting point for a long-term project where I will retrace the history of the genre, first by turning back the clock to 1987 and creating a game that could have been made with nothing to inspire it but Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy, and the first two Dragon Quest games, and perhaps a little influence from the early Ultima games. The goal here is not so much to create an homage, but to create a fun original "oldschool" game without incorporating concepts that were introduced later on as these series matured. If there's enough interest, I will then proceed through the years, incorporating more and more of the new concepts that came along over the years, while trying not to forget any of the core fundamentals that made me fall in love with the genre in the first place.
On that note, with this first game in particular, I sincerely hope I am making not just a weird little personal experiment as a starting point for a playable history lesson, but a solid RPG in its own right. Hopefully this game will reintroduce old fans of the genre to things they've lost over the years. More importantly, I hope that relative newcomers who never had the chance to play the games which inspired this one when they were first released will be able to use this as an introduction to the roots of the genre, picking up the skills and mindset needed to appreciate these early classics the way I do.
Moon Serpent was originally released in Japan for the WDL-1000. While only able to display 16 colors at a resolution of 256x192 pixels, it had no limitations on how many colors could be used in a single sprite. While actually lacking a unique controller of its own, it featured the same 9-pin connector as most gaming hardware of the era, with most players opting to use either an Atari joystick, or the Nintendo-inspired controller from Sega's SG-1000 (Master System).