Article 20—Golgo 13 Poster (1988)

Click to View: Poster

One of my all-time favorite video games is Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode for the Nintendo Entertainment System, from publisher Vic Tokai. When I first read about the
game in Nintendo Power magazine, I didn’t know it was based on a popular manga series that started in 1969 and continues to this day. It just looked like it would be fun to play…and it was! I became such a fan of the game that I actually had “GOLGO 13” vanity license plates on my car for several years.

At the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in 1989, I wandered over to the Vic Tokai booth to see if they had any new games that could compare to my beloved Golgo 13. (I shouldn’t call it a “booth,” because at the time, Vic Tokai was one of the many third-party publishers who displayed their new games in cubicle-style stations within the 50,000 square feet of floor space reserved by Nintendo.) While approaching the company’s cubicle, I spotted a large, shiny rectangle with Golgo 13’s face on top. When I got close enough to examine it, I realized that the object was actually a stack of metallic gold Golgo 13 posters, lying flat on a pedestal! I casually flicked up the corner of the stack until I had two or three
sheets between my fingertips, then quickly rolled them up into a cylindrical shape and walked away. It’s a minor miracle that I still have one in my possession, since I carried the posters around all day with no rubber band or cardboard tube to secure them. I remember riding home on the bus that day, trying to hold on to them without crushing them.

I love the way the poster describes Top Secret Episode as an “Extra Dimension System Highround Action Game,” even though I don’t know what that means. I love how the poster’s designer used straight phonetic translation to spell “Vic Tokai” with a “u,” even though I’ve never seen it written this way anywhere else. And I especially love the drawing of Golgo 13 done in traditional Japanese sumi-e style. Vic Tokai must have loved it, too, because this same image was used in 1990 as the box art for the Japanese release of the sequel, Golgo 13: The Riddle of Icarus (known as The Mafat Conspiracy in North America). In fact, after seeing that box many years ago, I assumed that this poster must have been created to promote the second Golgo 13 game, not the first. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the 1988 copyright date and realized that the logo does say “Kamigami no Koukon” (the Japanese subtitle of the first game) and not “Icarus no Nazo” (The Riddle of Icarus).

© 2011 Chris Bieniek. Certain video game images, characters and logos on this Web site are copyrighted or trademarked by their respective publishers.