An Unreleased PS1 RPG Has Resurfaced After 22 Years, and You Can Play it Now
Posted by Paolo Arciga January 19, 2021

Indie games and homebrews have been around for as long as computers could be tinkered with by consumers. In the iconic “Heart of a Gamer” keynote presentation by the late, great Satoru Iwata, he told the story of how his first game was a baseball game made on a modded calculator. Iwata, like many developers of early video games, started out making games on devices not meant for them.


When video game consoles entered the market in the 1970s, homebrewers finally had game-specific computers they could modify to create their own games. You could say that it was this time period that led to the eventual birth of the “indie game.” Official support for indie game production, however, still had a long way to go.


It was in 1996 when Sony launched the Net Yaroze (ネットやろうぜ![lit. “Let’s Net!”]) project in Japan, followed shortly by its launch in Europe in 1997. The Net Yaroze project made PlayStation development kits available at an affordable price to homebrewers, and it acknowledged the talent and potential of indie game developers. 


Countless games were born through Net Yaroze dev kits, though not all of them quite made it to release. In 1998, a game called Magic Castle was being developed by a Japanese team headed by K. Matsunami (now a game designer at SEGA) and PIROWO. It was a fantasy action RPG that featured a rotatable, isometric camera and “rogue-like” gameplay. Due to financial constraints and a lack of manpower, the game never got out of its early development stage, despite Matsunami and PIROWO having spent eight months working on its concept and first playable iteration. 



For the next 20 years, Magic Castle remained an unfulfilled dream and a painful memory for its developers, but the gaming community at large never even knew that such a game existed. In February 2020, PIROWO uploaded the original VHS tape of the game’s demo to his personal YouTube channel (embedded above), and the game’s existence was made known. But at this point, it was just a video: there was no playable copy of the demo to be found anywhere.


As it turns out, the upload of the game’s original demo was a teaser for the eventual announcement of the game’s release. In December 2020, PIROWO announced on Twitter that they had finally finished a full, playable version of Magic Castle.



In Magic Castle, you can play as one of four different classes to explore 20 floors of a castle, slaying enemies and collecting loot and upgrades along the way. Each class has different abilities and proficiencies that allow you to take a different approach each run, effectively making Magic Castle one of those rogue-lites that are so popular these days. It even completes the rogue-lite look with an isometric camera angle.


You can play Magic Castle through an emulator, or even through a PS1 if you can figure out how to burn its ISO onto a CD. It’s a cool piece of PlayStation history that the public hadn’t known about until just last year, and it’s a great example of the creativity fostered by Net Yaroze and other official projects in support of indie game development. 


You can read more about K. Matsunami’s and PIROWO’s thoughts on the game, as well as download the game on the Magic Castle page in the unofficial Net Yaroze Europe Archive.



For more news and stories on the past and future of gaming, make sure to stay tuned to our website and Facebook page. 

Now Reading: An Unreleased PS1 RPG Has Resurfaced After 22 Years, and You Can Play it Now
You might like these...
Five Must-Watch Movies for Fans of the Yakuza Games
All the yakuza action minus the running around Kamurocho.
Geeks and Gamers Guide: Meet our Resident Gamer/Architect, Lyka Mea!
Meet one of our geeky, gamer guides, Lyka!
More from GG Network
ASUS Lifts the Curtain on Their New Roster of Gaming Laptops in CES 2021
ROG joins the 2-in-1 fray with their new slim laptop.
The Anime Worth Checking Out for Winter 2021
Winter 2021 is full of returning seasons for fan-favorite anime.
Marvel Studios Unloads New Releases for 2021 and Beyond
Marvel Studios is going all-guns blazing with their slew of releases for 2021 and beyond.
Spelltable Lets Us Play With Our Nerd Cards Again
Magic back in the menu, boys!
Cyberpunk 2077 is Out Now Globally!
The future is now.
Chess in 2020: How One of the World’s Oldest Games is New Again
This is one 2020 curveball that we’re happy to catch!
Everything We Know So Far About the Upcoming Demon Slayer Game
Demon Slayer’s video game adaptation is being made by anime game veterans.
Square Enix Expands FFVII Series With New Games, Update
The world of Final Fantasy VII has gotten a lot bigger.
Blizzard Teases More Details for Overwatch 2
We’re back in the fight! Blizzard teases more details in line with the much-anticipated FPS game Overwatch 2.
Rainbow Six: Siege Year 6 is Kind of InsaneㅡExplosive Drones, Streamer Mode, and Jill Valentine Skin Incoming
Siege gets Attacker Repick, Jill Valentine Skin, and a Board Game?!
Hearthstone’s Year of the Gryphon Kicks Off with A Ton of Major Announcements
Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion Forged in the Barrens, is but one of many updates coming soon to the game.