The Death Trap

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The Death Trap
Cover box for The Death Trap
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s) Square
Platform(s) NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801,
Fujitsu FM-7
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Interactive fiction
Visual novel
Adventure game
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 514-inch DD floppy disk

The Death Trap (ザ・デストラップ?) is a video game developed and published by Square for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, and Fujitsu FM-7 in 1984. The game and its supporting computer platforms were only released in Japan.

The Death Trap is the first game developed by Square, created before they were even an independent company. At the time, Square was a software branch of Den-Yu-Sha, a Japanese power line manufacturing firm; it was not until 1986 that Square Co., Ltd. was independently established. Square followed up with a sequel to The Death Trap in 1985. The game is titled Will and subtitled The Death Trap II.

Gameplay[edit]

The Death Trap is an interactive fiction game, which relies on simple command lines from the user's input to progress through the game. As opposed to most "text adventures", with only text as output, The Death Trap provides graphical feedback using still pictures.

The game's plot is set during the 1980s. In the game, the Cold War has become tense, and many countries have begun to prepare for a global-scale war, working on new weapons. One of such countries is the mysterious "B country" in Eastern Africa, which in an attempt to create biological weapons kidnaps the famous scientist Dr. Gitanes. An agent named Benson is sent to B country in order to rescue the doctor and avert the new threat to world peace.

Development[edit]

The Death Trap was the first game developed by Square, a computer game software branch of Denyūsha Electric Company. Masafumi Miyamoto, who founded Square in September 1983, believed that it would be more efficient to have graphic designers, programmers and writers work together on common projects. Upon Square's inception, Miyamoto initially hired university students Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hiromichi Tanaka and three others as part-time workers.[1] They shortly began work on The Death Trap.

Sakaguchi and Tanaka were friends at their university, often playing the Apple II game Wizardry, and computer games designed by Nasir Gebelli (of whom which would work for Square later on). Sakaguchi had developed an interest in game development based on American games for the Apple II, and created games with similar aspects.[1] They shortly began work on The Death Trap. He held the position of producer and scenario writer. Harunobu Kato held the position of programmer, which was shared with Tanaka. Other scenario writers were 雪ノ浦美樹, 林明弘 and 鈴木尚志. The graphics team consisted of Hiromi Nakada, 雪ノ浦美樹, 今泉美保 and 斉藤智子. Lastly, 井出康代 held the position of data editing.[2]

The game was published in Japan for the NEC PC-8801 in October 1984. It was later released for the Fujitsu FM-7 in December 1984.[3]

Reception[edit]

Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hiromichi Tanaka, Harunobu Kato and Hiromi Nakada continued producing games for Square, while the rest of those credited left.[4][5]

Will: The Death Trap II[edit]

Will: The Death Trap II
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s) Square
Platform(s) NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Fujitsu FM-7, Sharp X1
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Interactive fiction
Adventure game
Visual novel
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 5¼-inch DD floppy disk

Will: The Death Trap II (ウィル デス・トラップII?) is a video game developed and published by Square for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Fujitsu FM-7, and Sharp X1 in 1985. The game and its supporting computer platforms were released exclusively in Japan. Will is the sequel to The Death Trap, and was Square's second release.

Much like its predecessor, Will is an interactive fiction game, which relies on simple command lines from the user's input to progress through the game. As opposed to the earlier "text adventures", with only text as output, Will provides graphical feedback by using screenshots. Square recruited a postgraduate student from Keio University to program the bitmap graphics of Will. The game is considered one of the first animated computer games.[6] Will sold 100,000 copies in Japan, which, while less than its predecessor, was a major commercial success at the time of its release.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Love, War and Fantasy - The Life of Square ::: Kombo.com - Video Games, News, Zelda, Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto, Mario, Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  2. ^ Oh!FM-7:スタッフリスト/ザ・デストラップ
  3. ^ Oh!FM-7:アルファ(スクウェア)
  4. ^ Oh!FM-7:スタッフリスト/ウィル
  5. ^ Oh!FM-7:スタッフリスト/アルファ
  6. ^ a b Fujii, Daiji (January 2006). Entrepreneurial choices of strategic options in Japan's RPG development (pdf). Faculty of Economics, Okayama University. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-26. "To solve this problem programmatically, the team employed a postgraduate student from Keio University—one of the best private universities, located in Tokyo and Yokohama—and Japan’s first animated PC game, Will, was released in 1985. One hundred thousand copies of Will were sold, which was a major commercial success at the time." 

External links[edit]