Shin Onigashima

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Shin Onigashima
Shinonigashima boxarts.PNG
Disc 1 box art (left) and Disc 2 box art (right)
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD
Pax Softnica
Director(s)Tatsuya Hishida
Producer(s)Hiroshi Ikeda
Shigeru Miyamoto
Composer(s)Koji Kondo
Platform(s)Family Computer Disk System, Game Boy Advance
ReleaseFamily Computer Disk System
Disc 1
  • JP: September 4, 1987
Disc 2
  • JP: September 30, 1987
Game Boy Advance
  • JP: August 4, 2004
Virtual Console
  • JP: June 19, 2007
Visual novel[1]
Mode(s)Single player

Famicom Mukashibanashi: Shin Onigashima (ふぁみこん昔話 新・鬼ヶ島, lit. "Famicom Fairytales: New Demon Island"), often simply referred to as Shin Onigashima, is an adventure video game title developed by Nintendo EAD and Pax Softnica and published by Nintendo. It was first released on two disk cards for the Family Computer Disk System. The first disk was released on September 4, 1987, while the second disk was released September 30, 1987. The driving force behind the series, Tatsuya Hishida of Nintendo EAD, was responsible for directing the game, creating the characters, and crafting the story line.


Donbe (left) and Hikari (right) in Shin Onigashima

The game is played by selecting commands which make the characters talk to, use, or examine various objects or characters. Progress is marked by changes in the illustrative image in the top-right corner of the screen. One of the most distinctive features of the game is the "Change Character" command, used to switch between the two main characters (Donbe, the boy, and Hikari, the girl). The characters can move through the story separately at times, and may be called upon to do tasks that the other main character cannot accomplish on their own. The use of this command in certain situations can trigger dialogue particular to each character, bringing out the peculiarities of each. This is essentially a form of zapping, but a similar command was implemented in the 1995 visual novel EVE Burst Error.

The game also utilizes the Disk System's feature of being able to exchange game discs while the device is powered on. The game is divided into two discs, and the player must exchange disks while the Disk System is still powered on in order to activate the second disc (note: Disc 2 is not playable without the first). This format was also used in the game's sequel Yūyūki and the Famicom Tantei Club series.


Once upon a time, there was an elderly couple living in Nagakushi village, a small village located far up in the mountains. The couple had no children, until one day, they were entrusted with the care of an infant boy and girl, as prophesied in a dream. The years went by, and when the two children were 8 years old, there was a terrible occurrence in the western capital. An evil dragon suddenly appeared in the city, turning humans into oni, ogres that suck away the souls of other humans. The oni advanced as far as Nagakushi village, stealing away the souls of the elderly couple. Fortunately the two children were left unharmed, and they set out on a quest to save their adopted parents, not realizing that this adventure would reveal the secret of their true origins...


The two protagonists are listed with their default names.

A small boy resembling a caveman with long blue hair that obstructs his eyes, and a teal robe. He was born from a rice bowl floating down the river. Not the most intelligent of children, but wields massive strength for his age. On the second disc, he undergoes an age change, looking more like a young teenager.
A little girl born from a glittering bamboo tree. Smart and resourceful, but physically weak. Acts as Donbe's older sister.
Elderly couple
The old man and old woman who raised Donbe and Hikari. Their souls were later stolen by the evil Oni.
A dog that was waiting for Donbe at the foot of the bridge. Loyal and obedient.
A monkey that joins the group at Kikaigamori Forest. Boisterous and sometimes disobedient.
A pheasant bird that joins the group at Shiraishi Spring. As the final member of the group, it uses its abilities to ferry the group over to Onigashima.
The narrator of the game. Appears as a merchant from a neighboring town within the storyline.
A mysterious English-speaking boy wearing sunglasses and a red haramaki. Guides the group along their adventure.
An odd-ball tengu who was hiding out in the oni fortress. He takes a liking to the two protagonists, and follows along with the group to Onigashima.
A god-like being who appears before the protagonists as a star. Hinoesama reveals the evil forces behind the terrible events occurring throughout the world, and entrusts the protagonists with the task of restoring order.
Evil monsters that steal the souls of humans to give to the dragon. They are actually humans whose souls have been stolen by other oni.
Ankoku no Keshin (The Avatar of Darkness)
An evil creature from the world of darkness. Appears in the form of a dragon to eat the souls of humans.
The legendary hero that sealed the Avatar of Darkness into a treasure box ages ago. She is also the princess of the Ryukyujin; a tribe living deep beneath the seas.


As indicated by the game's subtitle, the game borrows heavily from traditional Japanese fairytales such as Momotarō and Princess Kaguya. Most text-based adventure games of the time were written in the style of mystery novels, where the player had to solve a murder or crime of some sort, but Shin Onigashima's fairytale-like plot gave a much softer and accessible feel to the genre.

A remake of the game titled Heisei Shin Onigashima was released for the Super Famicom in 1997 and 1998. It was also redone for the Game Boy Advance as part of the Famicom Mini series on August 4, 2004. The Virtual Console release came on June 19, 2007. The game was never released outside Japan.


The game's difficulty is rather high, as very few hints are given in solving mysteries, and many circumstances can lead to the "game over" screen. Even so, the game's warm graphics and plot consisting of numerous interwoven Japanese fairytales was positively received by fans and critics alike. The in-game music, written by Koji Kondo, is regarded in equally high esteem, and the game is considered an undeniable success as Nintendo's first text-based adventure game.

The 1989 "All Soft Catalog" issue of Famicom Tsūshin (now Famitsu) included Shin Onigashima in its list of the best games of all time. In particular, they gave it the award for the best "Adventure" game of all time.[2] In 2013, IGN noted similarities to later adventure games such as Famicom Tantei Club, Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward.[3]

Super Famicom version[edit]

Heisei Shin Onigashima
Heisei shin onigashima boxart.PNG
Developer(s)Pax Softnica
Producer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto Edit this on Wikidata
Composer(s)Koji Kondo Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)Super Famicom, Nintendo Power, Satellaview, Wii (Virtual Console), Wii U (Virtual Console)
ReleaseNintendo Power
  • JP: December 1, 1997
Super Famicom
  • JP: May 23, 1998
Virtual Console
Part 1
  • JP: May 25, 2010
Part 2
  • JP: June 1, 2010
Wii U
Virtual Console
  • JP: September 24, 2014
Mode(s)Single player

Nine years after the release of the Disk System version, BS Shin Onigashima (BS新・鬼ヶ島) (also known as Heisei Shin Onigashima (平成 新・鬼ケ島)[4]) was released on September 29, 1996, for the Super Famicom's Satellaview unit.[5] The game was broadcast via the St.GIGA BS Satellite, and was downloadable within the BS-X menu from the Broadcast Clubhouse (語り部の小屋, Katari bu no Koya).[5] BS Shin Onigashima takes its plot from the original version of the game, but is presented from the viewpoint of the three helpers who join the protagonists during the game (the dog, monkey and pheasant).[4] In-game music was transmitted via radio, and Ittaisan, the game's narrator, appears in-between chapters to sum up the storyline via SoundLink. The character of Ittaisan was voiced by Ichirō Nagai. The Satellaview version was well received by fans.[4][6]

The Super Famicom version uses the same command menu gameplay implemented in the Disk System version, but the "Change Character" command was not included due to time constraints. Satellaview games were only broadcast during a limited time period, and using the command would complicate the game to an unnecessary degree. New tweaks by the developers were to include platform-style action scenes, and to set time limits for choosing certain commands.

On December 1, 1997, BS Shin Onigashima was redone for a commercial release on the Nintendo Power, as Heisei Shin Onigashima (平成 新・鬼ヶ島, lit. "Heisei Era: New Onigashima") with the original Disk System version included as a bonus. Its popularity prompted a cartridge release on May 23, 1998. This version was also released in two cartridges, but unlike the Disk System release, it is possible to play the second cartridge without having finished the first one.


The Satellaview broadcast was divided into four chapters, and in the Super Famicom release,[4] the first two chapters make up the first disk, and the latter two make up the second. "Jizo Ittaisan" are placed throughout the game, which allow the player to save. There are no time limits for choosing commands, and a golden buddha statue in the likeness of Mario appears in the first chapter.

The original Disk System version is unlocked after all four chapters are completed. This was not a complete port of the original, as several changes were made to the text and in-game music. An opening demo of Donbe and Kintaro in a sumo match is added, and colors appear darker than the original.

Game Boy Advance version[edit]

Famicom Mukashibanashi: Shin Onigashima was released for the Game Boy Advance on August 10, 2004 as part of the Famicom Mini: Disk System selection series. Unlike the previous installations, the GBA version does not require changing between disks; the entire game is played on one cartridge. The game itself saw no major changes, but on-screen menus were fixed to accommodate the GBA. Load and save times were eliminated by the use of the faster cartridge, allowing the game to run without breaks.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Famicom Tsūshin, no. All Soft Catalog '89, 1989 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d 平成 新・鬼ケ島(前編・後編) (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  5. ^ a b Kameb (2008-02-12). スーパーファミコンアワー番組表 (in Japanese). The Satellaview History Museum. Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  6. ^ Kushida, Riko (ed.) (October 1998). お宝発見!!あんな名作!こんな傑作! (in Japanese). N.O.M.: Nintendo Online Magazine. Vol.2. p. 4.1. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

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