Episode 1: The Post-Pokémon Gold Rush

May 12th, 2020     

On this inaugural episode of Obscuriosities, we talk about mon games – games inspired to ride the coattails of Pokémon’s creature-collecting craze. But of course, unlike a Digimon or a Monster Rancher… these games didn’t make it big.

Kotobattle: Tengai no Moribito; lit. Kotobattle: Protectors of Heaven’s Outskirts

March 9th 2001; developed and published by Alphadream for the Game Boy Color.

Cover of Kotobattle Screenshot of Kotobattle
Screenshot of Kotobattle
"…I'm thinking of establishing a kingdom just for cats."
Screenshot of Kotobattle
The overworld.
Screenshot of Kotobattle
A boss battle.
Screenshot of Kotobattle
The battle interface – currently selected is a combo of the kanji "medicine" and "poison".

Cards

A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle A card in Kotobattle

Kanzume Monsters; lit. Monsters in a Can

Kanzume Monsters

Kanzume Monsters developed by KID and published by I’MAX for the Game Boy on March 27th, 1998.

Kanzume Monsters: Parfait developed by KID and published by Starfish Inc. for the Game Boy Color on June 24th, 1999.

Cover of Kanzume Monsters Cover of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
For the original game, just imagine the rest of these screenshots were monochromatic.
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
Kanzume Monsters Parfait!
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
"Choose a can!"
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
"I'm Cool Joe, the humble janitor of this here circus…"
Screenshot of Kanzume Monsters: Parfait
My darling Shumai battles an enemy Pocky.

Lil’ Monster; JP: Gem Gem Monsters

Published by KID on July 30th, 1999 in Japan, and by Agetec in August or September(?) 2000 in North America; developed by KID for the Game Boy Color.

Cover of Gem Gem Monster Cover of Lil' Monster
Screenshot of Lil' Monster
Screenshot of Lil' Monster
That stands for "deck".
Screenshot of Lil' Monster Screenshot of Lil' Monster Screenshot of Lil' Monster
Screenshot of Lil' Monster
Cool Joe is BACK!

Kaseki Sōsei Reborn; lit. Fossil Genesis Reborn

Kaseki Sōsei Reborn

July 17th 1998; developed by Freeqsoft and published by Starfish Inc. for the Game Boy.

Cover of Reborn
Screenshot of Reborn
Screenshot of Reborn
"They're creatures unlike anything we've ever seen."
Screenshot of Reborn
Screenshot of Reborn
Could that be a turtle?
Screenshot of Reborn
No! It's a UNICORN SEA OTTER!
Screenshot of Reborn
"Tomate attacks. Palm slap!"
Screenshot of Reborn
The dungeon map uses sub-tile graphics – each square is 4×4 instead of 8×8 – which is quite rare on Game Boy!
Screenshot of Reborn
"Crawls along the ground and is hard to spot. Usually timid, but is fearsome when angered. Its legs double as fins."
Screenshot of Reborn
Surrounded by three enemies who all do battle with you simultaneously – a bad situation to be in.

Kaseki Sōsei Reborn II: Monster Digger

February 12th, 1999; developed by Freeqsoft and published by Starfish Inc. for the Game Boy Color.

Cover of Reborn II
Screenshot of Reborn II Screenshot of Reborn II Screenshot of Reborn II
Screenshot of Reborn II
The character designs in Reborn II are a bit more kid's show-like; a bit more "out there" in comparison to the sober faces of the original.
Screenshot of Reborn II Screenshot of Reborn II

Music used in this episode

  • Kotobattle: Tengai no Moribito – Dekakeyō (lit. “Let’s Go for a Walk”)
  • Kanzume Monsters – Hoshi ni Nare! (lit. “Become a Star!”; idiomatically “pass away”)
  • Kanzume Monsters – Sleep
  • Lil’ Monster – Battle Kids
  • Kaseki Sōsei Reborn – Opening theme
  • Lil’ Monster – You got monster