Snatcher is a well known game, both in gaming culture and in cyberpunk fandom. Hideo Kojima’s classic adventure game is inspired by beloved properties like Blade Runner and Akira after all. And it’s considered one of the best and most influential games in the adventure genre.
Snatcher was originally released on NEC’s PC-88 home computer. The PC-88 never gained much traction outside of Japan, despite NEC’s efforts to market versions of it in North America. The game was subsequently ported to other popular platforms but in Japan only. So chances are if you live outside Japan, you’ve never played one these.
One of the platforms Snatcher was ported to following its PC-88 success was the MSX home computer. Like the PC-88 and despite being developed by Microsoft, the MSX thrived in Japan but not in the West. It was frequently targeted for development from Japanese software companies. Konami especially loved it.
Instead, in an effort to garner interest around it in the West, Konami ported Snatcher to Sega CD (Mega CD). This version of the game remains the only English-translated port of Snatcher to date. Which is kind of strange, given it’s cult-classic status and dedicated fan base.
And while it’s easy to find information about the original PC-88 version of Snatcher, finding anything on the MSX port is much more difficult a task. Fortunately, retro gaming blog Games from the Black Hole has written what is possibly the most in-depth informational article about the MSX port of Snatcher that I’ve yet seen. I mean, I’ve never seen any. But this article is still extremely good.
What Games from the Black Hole discovered while examining MSX Snatcher was pretty fascinating. The game was unfinished, cut short due to memory limitations of the platform. This is apparently something that is well known amongst those familiar with the port’s release back then. Visually, it looks like it holds up as it appears graphically identical to it’s PC-88 counterpart.
Despite being unfinished, it sounds like it even surpasses the PC-88 original in some ways. If you’d like to know exactly how it stacks up or if you’re interested in a little niche cyberpunk history, check out the article. It’s very well written and features tons of tasty Snatcher screenshots. I appreciate the time and effort they put into researching a generally unknown port of one of the most beloved entries in the cyberpunk world.
Also, if you’re a fan of retro gaming in general, stay there a while. It’s a fantastic blog, full of interesting little tidbits about relatively obscure old games. They post a new blog every Sunday about an old game. Probably one you’ve never heard of!