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Retro Japanese Computing
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PostPosted: May 27th, 2013, 11:20 am 
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I alluded to it in this post, but I've finally launched my Kickstarter:

THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF JAPANESE GAME DEVELOPERS

It intends to facilitate interviews with as many Japanese developers as possible.

Although this is a small forum, with only a few regular members, in many ways it's the inspiration for this book. The adventures over the years have really fuelled my interest in Japanese computer games.

* Remember that time you guys tried to solve the game Yaiman from Treasure alluded to, which influenced Bangai-O? That was a priceless moment.

* The time I wrote that article in Retro Gamer magazine, with everyone's help? And then Kobushi helped me flesh it out for HG101. Well, he in fact turned it into an all new article.

* Or the time we tracked down the developer of Kagirinaki Tatakai, Professor Hiroshi ishikawa? That was probably the most fun I've had writing articles.

* or Macaw trying to track down Elysium?


I love this forum and what it does, and what it represents. It's really the only English source for a lot of this obscure information.

I hope if the KS succeeds I can produce a book which really smashes through the language barrier and cobwebs of history, to bring as much of this rare information to English speaking audiences as possible.

What do you all think?

If you like, feel free to ask questions, and we can chat about my various plans. if you notice on the KS page, I've already gotten hold of couple of new computer programmers from the early 1980s.

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2013, 2:08 pm 
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Best of luck!

Obviously, we hope that you'll mostly be interviewing people that were involved with the retro Japanese pc scene ;)


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PostPosted: May 29th, 2013, 12:56 am 
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Sounds like a great project! I'll chip in.

If I may suggest a couple of people to contact:

1) Koichi Nakamura. Besides that whole Dragon Quest thing, he's been involved on both the PC and console side of the business, and his work through games like DQ and the Mystery Dungeon series really helped introduce Western gaming ideas into the Japanese market. In a game design (rather than linguistic) sense, he is one of the greatest E->J localizers in the industry. He also seems like a genuinely nice guy, and does a lot of interviews.
2) Akira Yamashita. When he worked at Mycom BASIC magazine, he reported extensively on the Japanese computer scene. He visited developer offices, interviewed lots of people, peeked at original design documents and concept art, everything. Besides being full of stories himself, he's probably still got lots of contacts to the old computer gaming world. Try reaching out to him through his company: http://www.bent.co.jp/


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PostPosted: May 29th, 2013, 7:25 am 
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Thanks for the support!

I was worried that Nakamura-san would be difficult to get, though I do have one good contact who *may* be able to put me in touch. I don't want to use up that favour unless the project goes ahead though.

I've also tried to contact Yamashita-san! A couple of people recommended him, for various reasons, along with Shibao Hidenori‏. You're right, he was a key player. I emailed twice, though there only seemed to be one address on the site.

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PostPosted: May 29th, 2013, 9:19 pm 
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Good luck John. : )

I've backed this as well. Hope you are able to meet with as many Falcom developers as humanly possible. : ) I'd love to hear some good stories behind Xanadu: Dragon Slayer II, and Brandish in particular.

And the Xak series of course! : )
Game Design: Hideyuki Yanagishima
Graphic Design: Hitoshi Suengaga
Programming: Yasuhiko Nakatsu
Direction: Masanori Ohtsu
Art Direction: Etsuko Taniguchi

Oh and not sure if you saw yet, but I listed Kazuhiko Nishi's current whereabouts and possible leads of contact information over at the MSX Resource Center. Might be worth a shot. I sincerely hope he would do an interview with it being the 30th Anniversary of the MSX computer.

-Thomas

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PostPosted: May 29th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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A section dedicated to Enix wouldn't be a bad idea either :P

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2013, 12:28 pm 
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Quick note as I was away for a while, if there's a project to back, that's the one I pick.
I set this topic as a global announcement during the Kickstarter campaign.

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This project rocks more than Jesus riding a unicorn on a rainbow : The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers
Please back it and make history !


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PostPosted: May 31st, 2013, 9:24 pm 
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Ooh, a global sticky, many thanks! :)

EDIT:
haha, love the new sig!

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2013, 11:33 pm 
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Sad news,

It's announced that Kazuro Morita (who at the leftmost of the picture above) died on July 27, 2012, aged 57.

R.I.P. :(


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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2013, 1:13 pm 
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I came here to post the same thing. It's only become widespread knowledge now.

Twitter with newspaper clip:
https://twitter.com/mynavi_shogi/status ... 3716806656

More info:
http://book.mycom.co.jp/blog/shogi/2013/06/01/3063/

Some of his games listed here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_En ... uter_games

From what I've heard, speaking with colleagues, the man was a programming genius, writing some really brilliant Z80 code.

He also created what must be one of the first strategy games for Japanese computers: Morita's Battlefield.

Also, he played a role in Dragon Quest. Since I believe it was Morita's Shogi game, with registration card, that resulted in Koichi Sugiyama writing in and later joining the team.

The man was a legend, really.

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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2013, 2:51 pm 
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For some reason, I used to be fascinated by all Morita Shōgi games on consoles... and I still don't know how to play shōgi. Back in the days, I vaguely thought Kazurō Morita must have been a shōgi expert; but I didn't realize he was also a game developer. That's too young an age to die.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2013, 12:04 pm 
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In that Enix poster, who are the two standing gentlemen? The games they worked on are The Earth Fighter Rayieza (地球戦士ライーザ) on the left, and Arare no Jump Up (アラレのジャンプUP) on the right.

Unfortunately the Kanji in their names is beyond my abilities.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2013, 1:31 pm 
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Sad news about Morita :( RIP
Sketcz wrote:
In that Enix poster, who are the two standing gentlemen? The games they worked on are The Earth Fighter Rayieza (地球戦士ライーザ) on the left, and Arare no Jump Up (アラレのジャンプUP) on the right.

Unfortunately the Kanji in their names is beyond my abilities.

日高徹 Hidaka Toru

鈴木孝成 Suzuki Takanari (aka 芸夢狂人 Geimu Kyoujin)


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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2013, 4:47 pm 
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Thank you! According to Mobygames, Takanari Suzuki is a medical doctor in Tokyo. That's... strangely awesome.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2013, 9:42 pm 
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Prior to Enix, he's had quite a number of games published in I/O magazine in the early 80s - a couple of them were even ported to Korean systems ;)

An interview with him from last year: http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm17895120 (Japanese)

Also, he has a youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/suztax/ :P


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