I Hacked The Video Game That Made Hayao Miyazaki Hate Video Games
Shit was rough for Hayao Miyazaki in the 1980s. Nobody seemed to know what to do with his more personal, more revolutionary work. Besides ruin it, that is. A lot has been written about Warriors Of The Wind, the butchered 1985 US adaptation of Nausicaä Of The Valley of the Wind, to the point where even the exact minutes shaved off from the original have been tallied up in detail. No sense dwelling on that story, except to note yet again that his producer once sent a sword to Harvey Weinstein in a polite but menacing manner because of it, and that rules ass.
What also rules ass is the multiple video games based on Miyazaki’s previous film Lupin III: The Castle Of Cagliostro. While not a commercial success initially, the film caught the attention of Toshio Suzuki, then working as editor for the Tokuma Shoten magazine Animage. He encouraged Miyazaki to pitch story ideas to them, which led to the creation of his manga Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, later adapted to film. The Castle Of Cagliostro inspired several video games, mostly side-scrolling arcade action but also one in the emerging adventure/dungeon-crawler genre catching on in Japan, on the NEC PC-8801. Clearly based on the mechanics of Spy Daisakusen (Mission Impossible), it’s a solid game for fans of extremely old-school JRPGs.
Unfortunately, Nausicaä fared as badly in video game adaptations as it did in mid-80s direct-to-VHS US localizations. While the ground-breaking film’s influence can be seen in actual good games like Crystalis/God Slayer for the NES, at the time there were three official licensed video game adaptations and one looked like this:
Another (slightly better, to be fair) looked like this: