It's not every day a Japanese game from 1984 gets added to Steam

One of the first games I ever played as a kid was Montezuma's Revenge, an early 80s adventure platformer made for the Atari and various PCs. I spent a lot of time jumping over snakes and rolling skulls, and searching for keys to unlock color-coded doors. I'm reminded of it when I look at The Demon Crystal, a Japanese PC adventure game from around that same time. I wouldn't expect a 35-year-old game made in America to suddenly pop up for sale on Steam in 2019, much less one made half a world away, but here we are: The Demon Crystal is coming to PC on March 28. That's pretty cool!

The Demon Crystal was actually ported to the Nintendo Switch last year, but there's something especially cool about seeing it arrive on Steam. It was originally developed for Japanese PCs like the MSX, and that's pretty much all I know about it. The Steam page, in slightly broken English, claims "The Demon Crystal, produced in 1984 by YMCAT, achieved great success as the pioneer of the action RPG genre and became a nation-wide hit. The first game in a trilogy, it is known as a 'legendary game."

The gist is you climb your way through houses, picking up keys to unlock doors and throwing bombs at enemies like ghosts and spiders. Perhaps my favorite thing about it is that it says "I WISH YOU SUCCESS...." on the title screen.

This new release has been translated into English, Spanish, and French, though you could probably play it without needing to read, anyway.

If you, like me, got curious about the oldest games on Steam after reading about The Demon Crystal, the answer is probably something from the 70s in the Atari Vault. Dragon's Lair is there, of course. But there are some Japanese classics, too, like the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms from 1985 and Nobunaga's Ambition from 1983.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).