Secret Messages In X68000 Phalanx Chart A Descent Into Crunch-Induced Madness 1
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It's not uncommon to find hidden messages and easter eggs in the data of video games, and in Japan, this practice was often a way for downtrodden staff to blow off steam and have a little fun.

However, a file on disk one of the Sharp X68000 version of Zoom's 1991 shmup Phalanx offers one of the most bizarre and unhinged examples yet seen.

Named FUCKME.KMN, the file contains messages from the developers behind the game, and is full of lewd notes, complaints about overwork and admissions that "dreams and reality are all mixed up."

The file isn't a new discovery, but it has been translated via AI by Devin Monnens. "These types of documents were snuck in many Japanese PC games," he explains. "Some of them have really juicy stories. There's a lot of complaining about crunch, which is common. What's interesting about this is they started typing the document at 5 am on May 5 (during Golden Week, which is the big holiday in Japan), and they had everyone in the office add to the document, one at a time. By the time they get to the end, it's the evening!"

The entire document is too large to include in full here, so we've got some edited highlights below.

Are you in good health? We have a stomach ache. Our life expectancy is shortening again. After 3 weeks of staying at the office, the office is like my home. The new office is so comfortable that we have settled in. But the mornings and nights are so reversed that I don't know what's going on. The sun is so dazzling. Nature is wonderful.

I wonder if other software houses are the same way. But we haven't had a Golden Week for a few years now. My boss says he hasn't had a golden week for more than 10 years. He says, “A man is a man when he takes a day off to play during weekdays when other people are working."

By the way, there are a lot of hidden things in this software. After all, they are panties, mister. They are panties, you know. Finally, the zooming has entered into eroticism. This is all thanks to the efforts of Naoki Ueto, 21 years old, single, a.k.a. “Nure Nure Graphic Machine,” a.k.a. Uecchi. He's got it. I'm going to have to check this guy out from now on. Depending on the situation, I'm prepared to produce erotic graphics. I'm not going to do it, though.

It's 5 o'clock. It's kind of documentary style, isn't it? You never feel like looking at this kind of writing afterwards. It brings back the fatigue I felt when I wrote it. I want to go away. I want to go far away. The off-road bike I bought is rotting away. I hope this hard work will pay off.

Then I got a warm phone call from the president at 6:00 p.m. telling me to stop sleeping, so I went to the office, but everyone's eyes were piercingly cold. Oh, it was my fault for sleeping at home for four hours. I'm sorry, Y-jiri-san. But still, it's hard not being able to take a bath for three days. And I'm not so sure if I should have taken a shower at work. Because then I would have no reason to go home. Not being able to go home has many negative effects.

I've been staring at the monitor for more than 30 hours, and my dreams and reality are all mixed up. I am afraid that I am beginning to realize that this is quite a pleasant feeling.

My life has been a wreck since I met X68. I spend precious time of this once-in-a-lifetime life... What are you doing? Well, I'm not doing anything. But I am known as a professional when it comes to making plans for fun. The first thing I'm going to do is to turn that damned CEO's office into a video game arcade. As soon as the development of the Phalanx is finished, the best of the Super Monaco Grand Prix and Outrun would be nice. And I would like to have about 20 boards. And now, I know it's too late, but I want a billiard table, a ping-pong table, a balance beam, a pommel horse, and an iron bar (Bish!)! (Fukuda appeared.) “What are you talking about? What are you talking nonsense? If you have time and money to do such a thing, why don't you lower the price of the software or raise my salary?"

Damn. It's 6:00 in the evening. How long have you guys been writing? I've been asleep all night. Twelve hours. I was hungry. I'm hungry. Let's go out to eat, boss.

In case the name seems familiar, Phalanx was also released on the SNES – it's the game that had an old man playing a banjo on the North American cover.