Friday, 16 June 2017

Curiosities Vol. 11 - Tarot Uranai (3DO)

Although they've been around since at least the mid-80s, you'd think that tarot computer programs would be pretty useless to anyone. If you don't believe in cartomancy, then any kind of tarot, digital or otherwise, is a total waste of time, and if you do, then you'd also presumably know about the various taboos and traditions regarding the touching of cards, and how they're meant to come into the posession of the reader, and so on. But they do exist, and I'm pretty sure they're still around on things like the soon-dead X Box Live Indie Games marketplace, and on mobile phones and the like, too (Though I haven't actually checked, it seems like a safe bet).

Tarot Uranai has something over any of the other tarot programs I've seen, though: production values! Every other example I've seen has either been a very low-fi pixel art dealy on 8-bit formats like the MSX or Game Gear, or maybe even just a secret mode in a proper game like the Playstation port of Puzzle Bobble 4. But Tarot Uranai is on the 3DO, and of course that means FMV and pre-rendered CGI!

So yeah, there's a nice, short CGI intro showing some trees, and then you're presented with a room with three doors, representing three different options. The left door has a cross on it, and takes you to a traditional kind of reading, where a bunch of cards are drawn and laid out in a specific pattern. The middle door has a kind of magic circle design on it, and takes you to a big crystal with the works love, money, business and health. You pick one, and the cards are shuffled, then placed in a big circle, from which you pick one, which I guess reveals your future in that aspect of your life. The final door has a book on it, and contains a little tarot database, where you can look up all the cards and their meanings and such. Whichever option you pick, everything is presented and explained by a Japanese woman with a scarf covering her face speaking in front of bluescreened-in CGI backgrounds.

Like I said earlier, Tarot Uranai is a program with no real utility to anyone, especially people who can't read or understand Japanese. But it's not completely worthless! It does have a great aesthetic that perfectly marries early 90s CGI and a kind of vague pseudo-mysticism in a nice way, that feels like it could have been used as part of the plot-of-the-week in something like the live action Eko Eko Azarak TV series.

1 comment:

  1. I love this kind of stuff -- thanks for covering it! The 3DO has so much weirdness in the back corners of its Japanese-exclusive library.