Hello, everyone, and welcome to a new section of the site dedicated entirely to the oldest jewels in the Falcom crown!
The goal of these releases is twofold. First, we want to introduce you, the curious Falcom fan, to some of the company’s long-forgotten titles from the pre-Dragon Slayer era, and second, we want to provide you a little something with which to wet your whistle whilst you weather the wait for bigger releases like the forthcoming Dinosaur.
To kick us off, today we have a translation patch for the much-ballyhooed Computer the Golf. It’s a rather straightforward golf simulator, but a surprisingly competent one; especially when taken in the context of 1983 when it was released.
As you might already know, Falcom didn’t start out as a game development company. Masato Kato founded it first as a computer consulting business in March of 1981, and then transitioned the company into a retail outlet called Computer Land Tachikawa in July of that same year. As his most frequent customers began to take an interest in making their own software, he saw an opportunity to branch out; offering to pay these budding developers a flat fee for the rights to publish their work. He even put out ads looking for people willing to sell the rights to their creations.
Computer the Golf was among the first of these acquisitions, but because of its relative rarity, few people outside of Japan have ever played it. The Geofront was very lucky to acquire a copy of the game recently, and though generally there is still very little known about the circumstances surrounding its development, we did learn a few things.
When we extracted the BASIC code from the game’s cassette tape, we found a name. The author seems to be someone by the name of Norihiko Yaku, who doesn’t appear to have been credited on any other Falcom titles. We also know that the code itself is dated May 8th, 1983, but whether this is the actual date of release, the date on which the code was completed and sold to Kato, or some other date entirely is uncertain.
While there’s very little other information on offer, we do have some translated box art for you to enjoy down below. With that said, The Geofront is very proud to present you with this little piece of history, and we hope you’ll all look forward to the next installment of Falcom Classics!
Release Date: Sometime Between May and October of 1983 (Sources Vary)
Author(s): Norihiko Yaku
Platform(s): NEC PC-8801, Fujitsu Micro 8 (FM-8)
Release Date: July 14th, 2022
Patch Platform: NEC PC-8801
Testing & Feedback: Addaberry
Art Correction and Design: Sorcerian
How to Apply the Patch
As always, The Geofront does not condone piracy, and although the title in question is one that many would consider abandonware, for numerous reasons that should likely be self-evident, we are still going to leave it up to you to procure a copy of the cassette tape image for yourself.
Once you have the image, you’ll need to make sure that it’s appropriate for patching by confirming the checksum.
Input T88 Checksum:
Size: 23624 bytes (23 KiB)
As with our release of Ys vs. Trails in the Sky, we’ve provided a patcher program (it’s a slightly updated version of that one). Of course, you can also simply download the standalone xdelta file and patch it using your desired program if you would prefer.
How to Play
Before you get started, you’ll first need to find yourself a PC-8801 emulator (we’ll leave that part up to you) and make sure it’s set to V1 (S) Mode. This is typically selectable from the emulator’s “File” menu, but is also sometimes found elsewhere depending on which one you’re using. After that you’ll need to find the emulator’s option for loading tape images and select your newly patched file.
You should see a prompt on-screen that says “How many files?” Just hit Enter to bypass this. If you see a different prompt, or no prompt, just reset (but do not close and restart) the emulator. If you continually get a blank screen, you likely do not have the proper BIOS files and will need to obtain them somewhere.
Once you’re at the prompt, type “MON” and then press Enter. Another prompt will appear. Type “R” and press Enter again. This will activate the emulator’s virtual tape drive and begin reading the data from the cassette tape image.
If this fails, the virtual tape may need to be “rewound,” in a manner of speaking. To do this, remove the tape from the virtual drive, put it back in, and try the steps above again.
Once the game loads, you’ll automatically be greeted with the title screen and a tutorial. Use the 4 and 6 keys on the numpad* to select your desired club and press Enter. Once your club has been selected, the wind and directional gauges will appear. Use the 4 and 6 keys again to aim your shot, then press Enter to begin the windup for your swing. Hit Enter yet again once the purple shot meter reaches the desired level to finish your shot. The same controls apply when you reach the green, but the wind meter will change to a slope meter to represent the degree of incline present.
It should be noted that this patch should be usable on authentic hardware as well by converting the patched tape image to a wave file, and then recording that wave file to a cassette tape, but this is a somewhat complex process that goes well beyond the scope of this article.
*This patch will also allow you the use of the left and right arrow keys, or even A and D, instead of the 4 and 6 keys. This was not possible in the original version of the game without special emulation settings.
Translated Box Art
English Box Art Mock-Ups Courtesy of Sorcerian
Please do not repost elsewhere without permission.