So, about that one time Shin Megami Tensei debuted in the U.S. on Virtual Boy...

...that was pretty weird, right?

Hey, you know Shin Megami Tensei, right? Atlus' sprawling madhouse of a role-playing franchise, spawned in the 1980s and still running strong as ever with the likes of Persona 5, Strange Journey, Persona Q, and the enigmatic upcoming Switch release Shin Megami Tensei V? The games share a few things in common: Cataclysmic storylines involving the conflict between gods, the ability to battle it out by recruiting and upgrading demons, and a fairly grim tone.

The SMT series had been around for the better part of a decade before it finally reached the U.S., in large part because those early games had been on Nintendo platforms in Japan and Nintendo of America looked at the series' proclivity for sex and demons and hardcore role-playing and said, "Ummmmm... hard pass." So in a goofy twist of fate, the first SMT game to make its way to America was nothing like any other entry the franchise had seen before or has seen since: Jack Bros. 

The series debuted in America on Virtual Boy, of all damn things. No wonder it was so slow to take off here.

Despite its esoteric platform and equally unconventional design, Jack Bros. is pretty great! And it does very little with 3D visualization—certainly that would prevent it from being wholly playable on a standard screen. Which means Atlus really needs to dredge this one up from the archives and put it on Switch or something. We have consoles with dual-stick interfaces now! It would be better than ever! Start your letter-writing campaign today, folks.

Thanks to Chris Kohler for lending his copy of the game to this project.