Friday, April 20, 2012

Nintendo Ultraman Game #1 (ウルトラマン ゲーム, 1966)

One of the commercially important licenses in Japan is the very popular Ultraman.


In 1966, Nintendo released a board game based on the original Ultraman TV series, which had started that same year.

Nintendo Ultraman Game (1966)

The game is called simply Ultraman Game.


Or 'Urutoraman Geemu' (ウルトラマン ゲーム) in katakana.


The box front makes it clear that it is no luxury to have a super hero around.


The city depicted is on the brink of total destruction. The standard law enforcement characters (in orange suits and white helmets) are barely coping, if at all.


Cars are ablaze, flying from collapsing freeways. Even worse: the local toys store is under threat as well.

"Please, take our women and children - but don't crush that toys store"

Luckily, Ultraman comes to the rescue. Without hesitation he will fight the hideous flying monster Chandlar (チャンドラー).


In the distance, the next opponent looms: scary Red King (レッドキング).


Ultraman Game is one of Nintendo's grey band games. It sold for ¥400.


The game bears the UltraQ (ウルトラQ) logo. UltraQ was the first of the 'Ultra' series created by Tsuburaya Productions and aired by the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS). It is the spiritual prequel to Ultraman.

Nintendo also released a board came based on UltraQ - called, you guessed it, UltraQ Game - as well as the Ultra Coaster.


The Ultraman Game box measures around 26 by 38 centimeters.


The cardboard game board folds out to twice that size: 38 by 52 centimeters.


The game comes with two spinners, a bag with plastic playing pawns and a pack of 20 cards.


The cards feature monsters from the Ultraman series, including such illustrious adversaries as Ragon (ラゴン), Garamon (ガラモン), and - my personal favorite - the space-monster with the scissor-hands called Barutan Seijin (バルタン星人).


The exact game rules are unknown, as the instructions unfortunately are missing from this set.


Players obviously advanced on the board by spinning the arrow in the left bottom corner. At some events during the game (when landing on the fields with 'guns'?) the other spinner was used. I am guessing this would determine which monster was defeated, earning the corresponding card.


Anyway, the board decoration is fantastic, showing air, sea and land battles. As well as an erupting volcano.


But do not worry. Not much can withstand Ultraman's 'Spacium Ray' (seen in action below), though I doubt if it is wise to use this kind of energy beam when standing waist-deep in salt water.


For fans of Ultraman in the 1960s - and there were many - this must have been a great game.

Around the same time, Nintendo also released a second Ultraman Game.

Both versions of Ultraman Game are quite rare these days. As a result of the enduring popularity of Ultraman, they also command 'ultra' high prices; easily ¥50,000 and up for a game in good condition.

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