Hello, everyone! Happy (Belated) New Year!
Shawnji here. I know it’s been a bit, and although I’m sure you’re all eagerly awaiting more news on the status of our other releases, please rest assured that progress is being made and we’ll have more to announce in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, a few of us with a bit of leeway have been putting in a little work on another PC-8801 classic that, until now, has never been available in English. I present to you, Falcom’s very first release… Galactic Wars 1 (or just Galactic Wars, if you prefer)!
Much of this game’s actual development history is still somewhat obscured, but what I can tell you is that it’s among the first few games Yoshio Kiya ever developed and is the earliest official release of any game in Falcom’s back-catalog.
The Falcom Museum suggests that the game was first released in June of 1982, which I’m sure is accurate for v1.00. However, it’s the reprint versions of the game that came later that are harder for me to pin down.
Forensic evidence found within the BASIC code of the most commonly available version of the game (the reprint version) points to December of 1982.
But at the same time, the title screen says “Ver: 2.1” and “Apr. 25th,” which naturally leaves me kind of confused.
I put a lot of faith in Airen, the individual who runs Falcom Museum, so I’m choosing to run with June 1982 as the initial release of the game, and I’ll just hope some other gaming historians or Kiya himself will be kind enough to shine some more light on the reprint situation for me somewhere down the line.
If you’d like to know more about this time period in Falcom’s history, you’re always welcome to check out our inaugural Falcom Classics article here or refer to any of the following resources:
- The Falcom Museum (Japanese Only)
- The Game Preservation Society
- The Early History of Falcom (YouTube Retrospective by Bowl of Lentils)
Original Release Date: June 1982
Author(s): Yoshio Kiya
Platform(s): NEC PC-8801, PC-9801, and FP-1100
Release Date: January 27th, 2024
Patch Platform: NEC PC-8801
Programming: Ribose, TWE
Testing & Feedback: Ribose, TWE, SlyGamer64, AnonymusAxolotl
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 disk 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 D88 Checksum:
Size: 348848 bytes (340 KiB)
A few very quick notes about the patch before you get started:
- In the interest of preventing the unnecessarily frustrating experience of ending up with a corrupted image of the game after running it in a different mode than intended, etc., our patch strips out the copy-protection code that was present in the original version of the game (while still leaving in the screen that’s visible upon booting up the game that mentions it) to preserve the same general experience, but without the frustration.
- Despite some of what’s written in the manual about enemy ships returning to the play field after they retreat, this seems to not be the case. Since we’re mostly interested in providing these patches as a form of historical preservation, and the game is still completable on all three difficulty settings despite this, we have left this “feature” in the game unaltered.
- PLEASE NOTE THAT THE GEOFRONT WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ISSUES RELATED TO THE USE OF THIS PATCH. BY DOWNLOADING, THE END USER AGREES TO ACCEPT ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE ISSUES STEMMING FROM ITS USE.
How to Play
First, you’ll need to find yourself a PC-8801 emulator (we’ll leave that part up to you) and make sure it’s set to V1(H) Mode at 4MHz. 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 disk images and select your newly patched .d88 file. Make sure to insert it into Disk Drive 1.
You should see a prompt on-screen that says “How many files?” Simply reset (but do not close) the emulator. If you continually get a blank screen, you likely do not have the proper BIOS files.
Once the system resets, the game should begin to load automatically. (NOTE: You may want to turn down the audio on the emulator before this happens, as the title screen can be quite loud.)
If you see some kind of an error and the game fails to boot, your patched version is likely corrupted. Please obtain a fresh file and try the patching process again.
The mechanics of the game are surprisingly complicated, and would be somewhat difficult to cover within the scope of this article. So, in lieu of that, we’ve actually decided to go further than usual and provide a fully translated version of the manual* that was included with the game. This should give you enough information to get started.
As an interesting tidbit, we didn’t actually have a physical copy of the manual to work from, so we had to recreate it based on images such as the one below that we mined from across the internet. I’m extremely pleased that we’re able to offer this kind of thing to fellow gaming history nerds, who I think will find it really fascinating.
*A translated copy of this manual is included with the .zip file containing the patch, but please see the “Translated Box Art and Manual” section below if you are using the Geofront Delta Patcher, or would simply like to download a copy of the manual by itself.
Translated Box Art and Manual
English Box Art Mock-Up and Manual Recreation Courtesy of Sorcerian
All Translation / Editing by Shawnji
You will likely note that the commands shown in the illustration on the back of the box are different from the text in the game itself. This is intentional and true to the original design.
Please do not repost elsewhere without permission.