The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2 – Yakuza, Robots and the PC Engine – by John Szczepaniak
Exchange rates & inflation table
Martyn & Martin forewords
Author’s introduction & acknowledgements
Hideo NANASHI chapter
An interview which breaks so many NDAs, which is so dangerously explosive, it has to be published under a pseudonym. Secret details on Time Warner’s Batman license, an unreleased high-definition 2D Golden Axe remake, the politics behind various companies, and a kidnapping to prevent someone testifying in court. Has details on board members with missing fingers, yakuza and Korean mafia involvement with arcades, and information on Japan’s “isolation rooms”, a method of forcing employees to resign without benefits. This is going to rock the foundations of the industry. Supplementary interviews with Ste Pickford (Software Creations) and John Ray (Atari).
T&E Soft Chapter
Company history, name origin, magazines, Hydlide series, Undeadline series, Daiva series, Rune Worth series, golf games, unreleased games, early history of Japanese RPGs (before Dragon Quest), divergence between turn-based RPGs and Action-RPGs, Japanese computers (esp. PC-88 and MSX range), PC Engine Develo hardware, Sega Saturn, ZAS shmup on Game Boy, Virtual Boy origins, Red Alarm development (technical), other tech explanations. Interviews with:
Hudson Soft Chapter
Detailed origins of the company, its bee mascot, its early computer games, birth of the Japanese computer market, and Hudson’s attempt to enter the British computer market. Details on Bomberman, Lode Runner, Famicom BASIC, various Mario games on Japanese computers, special deals with Nintendo, Dezeni Land & World, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom, Ys for PC Engine CD-ROM and the series’ history at Falcom, plus Tengai Makyou II as one of the most expensive games in Japanese history. Also @N.U.D.E for Xbox. Tech talk on the PC Engine, its CD attachment and connections to the Philips CDi, the Nintendo/Philips/Sony deal, history of CD, a mysterious Hudson vending machine, and a game by students, with never before seen photos of Hudson staff. Plus a lot more! Interviews with:
Hudson Design School (Joseph Redon)
Sein Soft / Xainsoft / Zainsoft chapter
An interview with Kensuke TAKAHASHI. A world exclusive interview, detailing the mysterious Osaka based developer which twice changed its name, and had a reputation for being yakuza affiliated, physically beating its staff, and creating some of the strangest computer games in Japan. None of them reached the West, but they’re all fascinating, and have strong connections to Falcom. Detailed discussion on the creation of Dios, and what might be the only true PC-88 CD-ROM game in existence, which as yet has never been found.
Professor Hiroshi ISHIKAWA interview
A reprint from Hardcore Gaming 101, detailing Kagirinaki Tatakai and Brain Breaker for Japanese computers
Michitaka TSURUTA interview
Detailed history of Tehkan, now Tecmo, with info on Atlus and Westone (and Mr Tsuruta meeting Ryuichi Nishizawa). Swimmer, Bombjack, Solomon’s Key, Solomon’s Key 2 / Fire ‘n’ Ice, the Captain Tsubasa series of soccer games, the creation of Pitman / Catrap for Game Boy. Also amusing anecdotes on Imadoki no Vampire: Bloody Bride for PS1 and Willy Wombat on Saturn. Detailed technical talk on creating pixel art and graphics, the tools used at different companies, and the politics behind mandatory use of pseudonyms. Includes pages and pages of never seen before concept art!
Westone Entertainment chapter
A detailed look at the company’s history, including the Wonder Boy and Monster World series (and canonical Monster Boy sequel), plus titles like Dark Half, Willy Wombat, Appare! Gateball, Princess Maker 4 and Jaws (with Atlus secrets!). Discusses the company’s shift away from action platformers to focus on visual novels. Includes plenty of artwork by Ms Ohzora, including hidden graphics from Aurail, and a rare photo of Sega’s Digitizer machine, used to create graphics. Also a group photo and signatures from all staff before the company sadly closed. One for the fans. Interviews with:
Taito Wowow chapter
Reprint from Unseen 64. Interview with Taito R&D manager Yukiharu SAMBE, discussing the unreleased console.
Professor Yoshihiro KISHIMOTO interview
Namco and Koei in-depth, including world exclusive staff listing for all early Namco games. Details on how Namco operated, practical jokes by staff, location testing, computer history. Mappy, Pac-Land, Star Wars (with scorpion Vader!), Baraduke, Toy Pop, detailed Famista origins and history, Opoona on Wii, and a very important Namco obituary.
NCS & Masaya chapter
Over 40 pages of cognoscenti discussion. Early Taito graphics stations, early computer games, adult games, Last Armageddon, the unreleased Temple Master, Gynoug, the history of Assault Suits and how it directly ties in with Front Mission (with concept art!), Cho Aniki, Shubibinman, how to fake parallax scrolling and transparency on PC Engine, Resident Evil art, Culdcept series, pre-history and evolution of the Langrisser series, plus much more! Interviews with:
Masayuki SUZUKI and Satoshi NAKAI
Mike EBERT & Dean SHARPE (Metal Warriors)
Human Entertainment & Nude Maker chapter
At 48 pages this is the world’s most comprehensive history of Human Entertainment. Detailed info on the company’s sporting games, a roundtable discussion with three staff, plus everything about the Human Creative School (with photos!). Final Match Tennis, Formation Soccer, Septentrion / SOS, Clock Tower, The Firemen, Mizzurna Falls (like a prototype Shenmue!), plus unreleased games for Super Famicom and Virtual Boy. Also info on Steel Battalion, adult games, Infinite Space, and Kickstarter success NightCry. Interviews with:
Hifumi KONO, Masatoshi MITORI, and Masaki HIGUCHI
Irem and Nazca and Granzella chapter
Pre-history and evolution of Irem, which begot Nazca and Granzella (plus a major secret!). Detailed coverage on Kaitei Daisensou, Disaster Report series, and Steambot Chronicles. Trivia on a significant Metal Slug alteration. Interviews with:
Future Japan: Debunking the Downfall Myth
Introduction to a series of interviews which looks at both the history and future of Japanese games. Includes a list of 108 interesting titles from this previous generation.
Mysterious Apple Mac games, translating Operation Darkness for X360, details on Agatsuma, origins and development of Code of Princess, the international Nyan-Jelly experiment, problems with Nintendo region-locking the 3DS, and a supplementary interview with Rica’s son, Kazki MATSUMURA.
Did you know Nintendo co-funded development of an unreleased RTS game for Sony’s PlayStation, via company Marigul? Plus info on Kamaitachi no Yoru on Super Famicom, Shiren on Game Boy, and Code of Princess on 3DS.
All about Fill-in-Cafe and the creation of Umihara Kawase.
Mikito ICHIKAWA / Micky ALBERT
Working for Falcom aged 14, then at Dempa aged 16. Revolutionary patent disputes, real pinball, MaBoShi on Wii, Super Chain Crusher Horizon on PC (the second highest resolution game ever made), and the currently unreleased Space Invaders IBM (the actual highest resolution game in existence).
All kinds of Capcom details. Dino Crisis 2, Resident Evil: Gaiden, Steel Battalion, Viewtiful Joe, P.N.03 (detailed info!), Under the Skin, Killer 7 (all kinds of crazy secrets!), plus previously undocumented info on Dead Phoenix and Resident Evil 3.5, both unreleased. Also supplementary discussion on Mighty No. 9.
Details on how Unreal Engine is levelling the playfield for Japanese developers wanting to compete with the West.