Friday, January 13, 2012

Only in Japan: Naming Your Video Game After Jesus

Jesus Kyoufu Biomonster is probably one of the better known Famicom-only releases whose fame is solely attributable to its name.

It is a text heavy RPG, which means that I don`t like it as a game, though it does have cool theme music. The Box art is cool too:
I like this game for a couple of reasons, neither of which relate to its gameplay. First it demonstrates the fact that naming your game after a famous celebrity like Jesus won`t necessarily make it a great game. This follows a trend established in Major League Baseball by the pioneering outfielder Jesus Alou:
Despite the killer first name and fantastic mutton chops, his .280 career batting average and lack of power prevented him from ever being a serious Hall of Fame candidate. If there was a hall of fame for Famicom games, I think the Jesus Biomonster game would likewise fall short.

Actually Alou`s first name uses the Spanish pronounciation and has a little accent above the `u`, which Topps was apparently unable to put on the above baseball card, but the Famicom game is pronounced in the English way as made clear by the kana below it (Gee-zaz).

The other thing I like about it is the clash of cultures it represents. A lot of stuff gets made in Japan that just wouldn`t go down at all well in North America or Europe. If you were to include the name Jesus in an American video game it would only be in something like`Bible Adventures` for the NES:
This game has so many strikes against it I just don`t know where to begin. No wait, I do know where to begin:

Strike 1: Its an educational game.

Strike 2: Its a Christian educational game.

Strike 3: Its a Christian educational game that is a `poorly coded piece of crap`.

I think Rod and Todd Flanders would have been the only kids in the world who would have been pleased to unwrap a Christmas present containing this game. For everyone else giving this as a present would really have constituted a mild form of child abuse.

Jesus on the Famicom though? No, he is totally badass:
Educational games are for sissies. This Jesus means business. Even though its still a crap RPG, I give them credit for that.


  1. Oh, Bible Adventures. A game so bad it wasn't even licensed by Nintendo. If anyone reading this hasn't seen it yet, they should watch Angry Video Game Nerd's "review" on it.

  2. I`m going to have to watch that review now. Did you ever play Bible Adventures?

  3. So, is the Jesus in this game supposed to be, you know, the *real* Jesus? If so, that's awesome! I never realized he looked like any old anime dude, though :P Anyway, it's really too bad this has to be a text-heavy RPG. If it was, say, a platformer, I'd totally pick it up -- especially for that box art!

  4. Sean: I will admit AVGN's humor isn't for everyone, but anyone who likes retro games should find it entertaining enough. His review of Action 52/Cheetahmen is probably my favorite.

    I think I played a ROM of Bible Adventures once just to see how bad it is... it's pretty bad.

  5. Bryan - I don`t think its supposed to be the actual Jesus, though that would be cool (kind of like Weird Al`s version of Ghandi in UHF).

    Nate - cool,I will check it out (and Action 52/Cheetahman). Er, the review, no Bible Adventures that is!

  6. I've actually always wanted to play JESUS, but seeing as I don't speak a word of Japanese, it won't happen any time soon. It's originally a PC-88 game and apparently it features a space station named JESUS (what?). Hardcore Gaming 101 wrote a short paragraph on the game in the recommendation of old Japanese PC games:

    It's also the first Koichi Sugiyama (of every Dragon Quest game) soundtrack. They released a CD of the original PC music in Japan and I found it on a forum. Get's regular play on my daily drives. He even re-used a song from JESUS to make the iconic Dragon Quest theme: (skip to 4:10 and at 6:12 is my favorite track on the CD).

    Also, I don't know what the background of Bible Adventure is, but I've seen it several times at different Goodwills around town. I emulated it once and couldn't make it past five minutes. Every few seconds it tosses at you another arbitrary Bible verse and is so dull. When is the next-gen Noah game going to come out already!?

  7. Interesting history of the music from this game, thanks Mark! I`m also surprised that Bible Adventure is such an easy to find game. I had assumed that owing to how much it sucked (and the fact that Wikipedia says it was only stocked in religious stores) that it would be hard to find. Guess not!

  8. Haha, it is indeed a cool name and cover! Is the 'Biomonster' in question Satan? That would lend even more credibility to the name :)

  9. I`m not sure who the biomonster is. It could indeed be satan though.

  10. as long as its not bible adventures, id play this