The Black Onyx

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The Black Onyx
MSX Black Onyx front.jpg
European cover art for the MSX version of The Black Onyx.
Developer(s) Bullet-Proof Software
Publisher(s) Bullet-Proof Software
Designer(s) Henk Rogers
Programmer(s) Eiji Kure
Platform(s) Game Boy Color, MSX, Famicom, PC-6001, PC-8801, PC-9801, SG-1000
  • JP: January 1984
  • JP: March 1985
  • JP: March 1987
  • JP: July 14, 1988
GB Color
  • JP: March 2, 2001
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

The Black Onyx(ザ・ブラックオニキス,Za Burakku Onikisu) is a 1984 role-playing video game released in Japan, developed by Bullet-Proof Software, with development led by Henk Rogers. [1] It was one of the first successful Japanese-language RPGs, having sold 150,000 copies, and helped familiarize the Japanese public with RPGs. [2] [3] It was originally released for the NEC PC-8801, and ported to several other platforms. The Famicom version featured completely redesigned gameplay, a new map, and was retitled Super Black Onyx (スーパーブラックオニキス). The Game Boy Color port was developed by Atelier Double and published by Taito. The Game Boy Color port added enhanced visuals and included an option to play through the game with the original game's visual style. [4]

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Blue Planet Software, Inc., is a video game developer and publisher. Established as Bullet-Proof Software, Inc. Blue Planet Software became a separate company founded by Henk Rogers in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1996. Maya Rogers became CEO in 2014.

Henk Rogers Dutch computer programmer

Henk Rogers is a Dutch video game designer and entrepreneur. He is known for producing Japan's first major turn-based role-playing video game The Black Onyx, securing the rights to distribute Tetris on video game consoles where the game found popularity, and as the founder of Bullet-Proof Software and The Tetris Company, which licenses the Tetris trademark. Nowadays, he serves as Managing Director of The Tetris Company.


Because of memory limitations, another part of the game was released separately on some platforms as The Fire Crystal(ザ・ファイアクリスタル) (which added a magic system). Two other parts were announced, The Moonstone(ザ・ムーンストーン) (which allowed the party to explore the wilderness), and Arena(アリーナ) (which allowed the party to take part in Arena battles).

The SG-1000 version was one of the last releases for that console, succeeded by Portrait of Loretta. [5] An English-language fan-translation was made available for the SG-1000 version by back-porting from the abandoned source files for a similar hobby conversion project for the ColecoVision system. [6] A group called Team Pixelboy then later on used those same source files to complete their project and released an unofficial English-language ColecoVision game in 2013. [7]

SG-1000 video game console manufactured by Sega

The SG-1000 is a home video game console manufactured by Sega and released in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other regions. It was Sega's first entry into the home video game hardware business. Introduced in 1983, the SG-1000 was released on the same day that Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan. The SG-1000 was released in several forms, including the SC-3000 computer and the redesigned SG-1000 II released in 1984. A third iteration of the console, the Sega Mark III, was released in 1985. It provided a custom video display processor over previous iterations and served as the basis for the Master System in 1986, Sega's first internationally-released console.

ColecoVision home video game console released by Coleco

The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries' second-generation home video-game console that was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered a closer experience to more powerful arcade game systems compared to competitors such as the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200, along with the means to expand the system's basic hardware.


The player can create a five-member party (4 members on GBC), or can ask friendly encounters to join the party to fill empty slots. The party will explore the dungeons under the town of Utsuro (ウツロ) to obtain the legendary Black Onyx. Doing so will break the curse which binds the town in eternal night.

The combat system has no concept of distance, so there are no bows or similar missile weapons. There are melee weapons, shields, and armor, however. The hospital in town can offer "examinations" which display the PCs' stats.

Statistics Study of the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data

Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, displaying, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model to be studied. Populations can be diverse groups of people or objects such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. See glossary of probability and statistics.

There is a bank in town where the heroes can deposit money. This protects money from thieves; but there is no interest on the deposits, since there is no time system.

The labyrinth under the town has several entrances, each hidden in one of the locations of the town. The labyrinth has six floors corresponding to the six colors the computer can display. These must be solved in the proper order (which depends on the platform) in order to create the stairway to the Black Tower, where the Onyx resides.

A computing platform or digital platform is the environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or other underlying software, as long as the program code is executed with it. Computing platforms have different abstraction levels, including a computer architecture, an OS, or runtime libraries. A computing platform is the stage on which computer programs can run.


The Black Onyx was adapted as a manga titled Susume!! Seigaku Dennou Kenkyuubu (進め!!静学電脳研究部,Shiawase no katachi), published in the Gamest Comics collection from April 1999, drawn by Kouta Hirano.

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  1. Jeremy Parish (2014-08-18). "Daily Classic: The Black Onyx, Japan's Role-Playing Game Missionary". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  2. Edge Staff (2008-03-06). "THE MAKING OF... Japan's First RPG". Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  3. Chester Bolingbroke (2015-02-16). "Game 175: The Black Onyx (1984)". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  4. "The Black Onyx". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  5. Marley, Scott (December 2016). "SG-1000". Retro Gamer . No. 163. Future Publishing. p. 60.
  6. Dylan Cornelius (2014-12-12). "The Black Onyx". Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  7. "The Black Onyx (ColecoVision game)". 2013. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
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