What was the reason you developed the Touhou Project NES Demakes?
The first five Touhou Project games were previously made on the PC-98 in the late 1990s. Since the PC-98 appealed only to a niche section of gamers in Japan and internationally, there weren’t many opportunities for fans to play them without configuring an emulator on a modern PC. We wanted to provide an environment that could be easy for long-time fans and newcomers to Touhou Project to play the original five titles by remaking them on the most commonly used platform today.
Why did you choose to emulate the NES graphical and sound hardware?
As the name suggests, all of the sprites have been redrawn to fit the graphical limitations of the Nintendo Entertainment System. All BGM tracks across all five games were also given new arrangements, and we wanted to do them in a way that didn’t change or damage the image fans have of the original versions.
Everything was done by Susumu Takajima, the same person who also created the Chuhou Joutai series. We went this way because we wanted it to appeal to gamers who are fans of Nintendo or have had experience playing NES titles, whether it be the original hardware, the now-defunct Virtual Console for the Wii, or the current Nintendo Switch Online.
Are these ports of the originals?
These are essentially remasters based on the original PC-98 versions. While no changes have been made to the main stories with the exception of simplifying the endings, we set major overall tweaks and adjustments to the game balance. The graphical user interfaces have been completely overhauled to make these versions easier to play, especially for first-time gamers.
On top of that, additional features have been added. For example, Chuhou Joutai fan-favorite Kagami Ochiai appears in three of the games, via a boss, playable character, and cameo.
Is the Music Room still there?
You can freely listen to the entirety of music tracks in the games. The sound player also has infinite repeat playback. You do not need to beat the game with all characters and shot types to unlock different tracks, and you can listen to them from the start.
What was the reason these games were made for modern hardware?
Up until the release of their respective games, it was possible to play the PC-98 Touhou games on a modern PC using an emulator. Due to the complexity of having to configure these emulators to run properly (especially if you’re choosing to play the games in English), we decided to create remakes of these games so that players can play these games straight out of the box.
How come the demakes aren’t available on Steam?
Due to the limited use of the free license available from Team Shanghai Alice and since these are based on five of the official games, we were only allowed to release them on itch.io. If we’re able to obtain a commercial license from Team Shanghai Alice, we may explore the possibility of exporting the games to Steam and the Nintendo Switch, but Nintendo may have to take that responsibility for their Switch ports.