Author Archives: BClarkOMP

Famitsu Special Report – The Mystery of TOSE

Features
The Mystery of TOSE
(The following is a translation from the 04/13/2017 issue of Famitsu magazine) This is the real story behind TOSE: The game development company that's been making games for nearly 38 years (since 1979), but hardly any gamers know.

The Story of the Biggest and Most Beloved Japanese Contract Development Company That's Worked on 2257 Different Games

TOSE logoBack in February, Editor in Chief and author Hayashi went to an office in a business district in the Karasuma area of Kyoto. His destination was the biggest Japanese game development company, TOSE: An independent contract development company. Particularly amazing was the materials room hidden within, shown to us by CEO Shigeru Saitou: The over 1000 games that TOSE developed (excluding digital games) were all lined up in that narrow space. Saitou remarked "It's unfortunate that we can't show everyone all of the software that we've developed". As previously mentioned, TOSE develops games under contract from publishers, so they're rarely able to publicize the games that they develop due to contracts with their clients. Even editors in video games media don't know very much about them. Our Editor in Chief even remarked "Huh? TOSE made that game too?!" several times. What lied there was truly a new history of video games from the Famicom era to the present, unknown to anyone. Continue Reading

Double Dragon

Reviews
Double Dragon Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
06/1987 (Japan), 1987 (US), 1987 (PAL)
双截龍 (ダブルドラゴン)
Yoshihisa Kishimoto and his team significantly evolved the beat-em-genre with Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade in 1986. Technos Japan naturally wanted them to make more of these games, so they were tasked with just that. June 1987 would be the arcade birth of not only an even bigger success for Technos Japan than Kunio kun, but also the birth of another beat-em-up franchise and further evolution of the genre: Double Dragon. Originally envisioned as a direct sequel to Kunio kun, Kishimoto was given two mandates: This game should allow for 2 players simultaneously and have a bigger international appeal. Given that Kunio kun had to be visually gutted in order to sell it overseas as Renegade, a direct sequel was pretty much out of the question. So instead of taking inspiration from the Tsuppari genre and his own high school fighting experiences, Kishimoto pulled from another source that was dear to him: Bruce Lee. He particularly loved "Enter the Dragon", and so he came up with not only the title of the game but also the names of the protagonists (Billy and Jimmy Lee) from these sources. Continue Reading

Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun

Reviews
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
05/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US)
熱血硬派くにおくん
Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio
Renegade
Delinquent high school students talking tough and beating each other up in school uniforms while sporting distinct hair styles is probably not unfamiliar to those who enjoy Japanese media. This genre, called "tsuppari" (or "yankii"/"yankee" as we got into the 90s), was very prevalent in from the 1970s through the 1990s. Technos Japan's Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun ("Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio") was the video game front runner for this genre, proceeding even one of the most well known representations of tsuppari, a manga series called "Crows". It's unclear how much inspiration was actually taken from other media, but in a 2013 interview director Yoshihisa Kishimoto said that the game reflected his own high school experience. Continue Reading

Choujikuu Yousai Macross

Reviews
Macross (Arcadia) - Title Screen
Arcadia
05/1983 (Japan)
超時空要塞マクロス
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
The very first Macross home console game appeared on the short-lived Bandai Arcadia, the Japanese variant of Emerson's Arcadia 2001 console that was released in the Japanese market by Bandai. This game is believed to have been released in May 1983 at a retail price of 3800 yen, though no official data seems to exist to support this. This was likely released around the same time as the Arcadia Gundam game, and while Gundam had been popular for a longer period of time (the TV series had begun airing in 1979), this was probably the ideal time for a Macross game since the first TV series was just about to wrap up. And though neither title was a particular impressive one, this Macross title may have come out on top. Continue Reading

Kidou Senshi Gundam

Reviews
Gundam (Arcadia) - Title Screen
Arcadia
05/1983 (Japan)
機動戦士ガンダム
Mobile Suit Gundam
The very first Gundam home console game was released in the height of Gundam-mania: A few years after the original TV series had wrapped up, approximately one year after the third and final compilation movie had hit theaters, but still a few years before Zeta Gundam (the second major TV series in the franchise) had begun. It debuted on a very unconventional piece of hardware for a Japanese game: The Bandai Arcadia. This was the variant of Emerson's Arcadia 2001 console that was manufactured by Bandai for the Japanese market (each country had its own version of the hardware, manufactured by a different company). The release date is believed to have been sometime in May 1983, and the retail price 3800 yen, though no official data seems to exist on either of these points. This was still a pre-Famicom market in Japan, and release dates weren't as carefully tracked. Continue Reading