Long Live Monkey Magic!

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  • As a card-carrying member of the PC master race, it was a little surprising that, after Andre House, current CEO of Sony PlayStation, announced that the PS4 is entering the final stages of being phased out, I found myself taking a little trip down console memory lane.

    My first console was a Nintendo, a gift from my dad, but the PS1 was the first gaming system I bought with my own money. After what felt like ages mowing lawns, hoarding birthday and pocket money and scouring the stores for the best discounts, I was eventually able to buy that awe-inspiring, chunk of grey plastic. Sure my first few games were nothing more than demo discs that came with some gaming magazines I got with the console, but I was in young gamer-heaven.

    No PS1 library was complete without the stealth and stress of Metal Gear Solid, the endless hours spent making a turn after turn on Crash Team Racing, and the friendship-ruining moments spent smashing buttons on Tekken 3!

    All of these fantastic games filled many hours  – actually, who am I kidding, more like months, of my life.  More importantly, it was the PS1 that had introduced me to the magical world of Final Fantasy. The joy of running a party of heroes into fantastical worlds of magic, monsters, and evil bosses would ultimately inform my love of games like Baldur’s Gate and more recently, the Pillars of Eternity series and the Divinity Original Sin series!

    Most gamers would recognise some, if not all, of those games, but having watched the 2018 Netflix series, The New Legends of Monkey, I was reminded a game that I used to love but had almost forgotten about because of it being a side-scrolling action platform game rather than an RPG. The game is Monkey Magic, a spin-off of the anime of the same name, where the player gets to control your karate-empowered monkey, wield four magical spells (Fire magic, Ice magic, the ability to Shrink, and Blossom magic) to protect The Guardian from the machinations of the ruler of the Netherworld, Master Deathvoid!

    If this all sounds rather familiar, it’s probably because you’ve read or at least heard about a particular 16th-century Chinese novel titled Journey to the West. The novel was written by the Ming Dynasty novelist Wu Cheng’en, and is one of the four classics of Chinese literature. Over the years it has spawned and inspired an incredible number of games, TV series and novels.

    The original live-action TV series entitled Monkey, ran in Japan for two seasons, each with 26 episodes, between 1978 and 1980. The English dub was released in 1979 and was broadcasted in the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and even South Africa. In the early 80’s Monkey was dubbed into Spanish for broadcast in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, and Argentina.

    But it didn’t end there. In fact, this classical Chinese novel remains extremely popular to this very day. Just two years ago, Red Tiger Gaming released an online slot game based on the novel, called Epic Journey.  In fact, the description of the game is very similar to the plotline of Journey To The West:

    The theme and background of this Epic Journey slot is based on Chinese mythology. The myth talks of a legendary pilgrimage that one Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, undertook from China to the ‘West’. The West, in this case, is actually Central Asia and India. Xuanzang wanted to do this in order to obtain the Buddhist sacred texts. This myth is so famous, one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature is based on it. Now, to protect Xuanzang, it is said that the Buddha himself provided him with three protectors who wanted to atone for their own sins: the Monkey King, Monk Pig and Friar Sand. These three protectors are three of the most important symbols of the slot. – Casinos.co, casino review experts

    At the moment there are also several pieces of entertainment based on the classic novel on Netflix too. Their current Monkey King series is an original story focusing on the resurrection and rise to power of the Monkey King. However, this is a bit  “Americanised”, but if you prefer something more faithful to the original story, they also air The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven’s Palace.

    While I spend most of my time gaming on a sweet PC these days, there is no denying that my early years on the PlayStation shaped my love of fantasy, anime, tabletop games and so much more. Here’s hoping that PlayStation manages to stay true to the heart of gaming with their future consoles – whisking the player away to a fantastical world full of great stories and entertainment that creates lifelong dreamers and believers in a magical world.

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