[SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

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layzee
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[SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

Postby layzee » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:48 pm

On a whim, and because this is one of my favourite games of all time, and because it probably hasn't been done already, I thought I'd translate a short interview with Mariko Ohara, the writer of the Super Famicom game Gaia Gensouki (successor of Soul Blader/Blazer, predecessor of Tenchi Souzou/Terranigma).

Click here: Mariko Ohara Interview (Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia Scenario Writer)

Not really any earth-shatteringly amazing revelations but it did inspire me to watch the "Stand By Me" movie which was based on the Stephen King novel "The Body". I was on the lookout for similarities the whole time. The most obvious one being the general theme of a group of boys going on a journey (albeit more local than international like the Gaia crew) and dealing with adult matters the best a young person can deal. Others include them playing cards early on in the film at their treehouse hideout vs Gaia's seaside cave, Teddy Duchamp's mentally unstable father vs Rob/Lance's mentally challenged father, and a reference to vampires on a magazine (Gaia has a pair of boss vampires), and maybe a few minor things I forgot. Granted, I'm not an expert movie analyser so I'm sure others will be better at connecting the dots between the movie and the game. Doubly so comparing the book with the game (since I haven't read it). Now that I think about it, female characters are glaringly absent in the movie and probably book, so perhaps Ohara was also conscious of this as she penned Illusion of Gaia's story?

Disclaimer: Translation may or may not be accurate. Most of it/the general gist should be okay though.

PS. For my buddies at Gamengai only, here is a full size photo of the translation page. Feel feel to compare and don't be afraid to critique my translation. If necessary, I will also fix up anything that needs fixing. I do have a few questions if anyone's Japanese here is better than mine.
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Re: [SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

Postby sven666 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:02 pm

..one of your favourites of all time? haha maybe i should give it a go.. had this game for ages just never got around to it.. how would you rate it amongst the other top tier snes games and has it aged well?
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Re: [SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

Postby layzee » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:17 pm

Although Soul Blader/Blazer, Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia, and Tenchi Souzou/Terranigma are separate games, they were developed by the same company and share similarities so they are unofficially known as the Soul series.

And that is exactly the reason why Gaia Gensouki (and Tenchi Souzou) are some of my favourite games: because they have soul (and I'm an atheist that doesn't believe souls exist so this comment should not be taken lightly!). When I say the game has soul, I mean that it is the sort of game that has, in my view, a deep story dealing in myriad themes. The type of game that keeps you thinking, even after you finish it. So to me, the "soul" of the game is secondary to the playing of the game itself. Oh and the game ain't half bad either so that helps. On the other hand, this was a childhood game for me so maybe it's just nostalgia talking.

sven666 wrote:how would you rate it amongst the other top tier snes games and has it aged well?


The best comparison would be with The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods/A Link to the Past.

    LoZ is non-linear, IoG is linear (not too much backtracking).
    LoZ has a fairly thin plot with not too many characters. IoG has a full cast of characters and there is much more dialogue.
    LoZ has more action in the gameplay (special moves, tools etc). IoG has less variety (some special moves, two extra playable characters).
    LoZ has puzzles in its dungeons. IoG not so much.
    LoZ's setting is your fairly typical medieval ages world. A lot of IoG is based on real life locations (Great Wall of China, etc).
    I'd say graphics wise, LoZ is more polished but IoG's are quite good and each area has its own personality, with little to no palette-swapped dungeons.
    It's fun exploring LoZ's world map, but with IoG, you get more of a sense of going on a journey (similar feeling can be had in PS1's Grandia).

To answer your question, you could (I wouldn't) say the gameplay, graphics, etc hasn't aged well. But the themes and topics raised in the story has not and are still relevant to this day.

So if you liked LoZ but you wished for more plot in your A/RPGs (they often don't), then IoG might be worth a shot. Tenchi Souzou improves in every way though so if you haven't played that, then play IoG first. Other comparable games: Alundra (more puzzle-oriented, also has a darkish plot).
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Re: [SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

Postby EOJ » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:49 am

I bought this at an Electronics Boutique store soon after it came out (in '94?) and thought it was pretty average. I think I finished it anyway, but I can't remember any more. Would be interesting to play it again and see if my impression is changed.

Nice little interview, though, and I love the artwork on the guidebook!

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Re: [SFC] Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia - Mariko Ohara Interview

Postby layzee » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:25 pm

I bought this at around release date too. As an RPG fan those days (and in that country i.e. Australia/PAL - I'm sure other Europeans can relate), there was a severe RPG shortage. I'm fuzzy on the memories, but the only other RPGs available were Lufia/Estpolis 2, Secret of Evermore, Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu 2, Legend of Zelda 3, Breath of Fire 2... and that's about it I think? There were no PAL Squaresoft games (apart from FFMQ), no Lufia 1, no Breath of Fire 1, etc. And definitely no Chrono Trigger nor Final Fantasy VI. Shame. So ample time for whatever RPG game I could get my hands on to make an impression.

Also, since translating the interview, it has come to my attention that the "Stand By Me" movie is more popular in Japan than I thought. Popular enough that various games reference it: http://legendsoflocalization.com/qa-doe ... and-by-me/

From a subtle reference in the mid-1990s Pocket Monster GB games to a specially arranged version of the "Stand By Me" theme song for 2016's Final Fantasy XV (whose main cast consists of 4 males - no coincidence), is proof of that movie on the Japanese zeitgeist. In the case of Illusion of Gaia, it's less a reference, and more a direct inspiration.
プロジェクトさいさいへい -まるごと埼玉最終兵器- All About S.S.H.
~Project SaiSaiHei - The Saitama Saisyu Heiki Fan Site~


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