Game Market 1983 - Chapter 10
As the screen turned on, along with the playful music, we played around with the cross-shaped controls to get a sense of familiarity first. It seemed like the game was split into 1P and 2P, so two players would be able to enjoy it, concurrently.
“Mmm~ My first impression isn’t bad? Start it.”
I pressed the start button, for the 2 player mode, and I started up the game. After a brief moment, two characters, each with 3 balloons attached to them, appeared on the opposite ends of the screen.
“It looks ordinary?”
I lightly pressed the A button, and I let the character hover in the air. After levitating up in the air, the character subsequently descended down like it was actually hung on the balloons. As I continuously pressed the button, it *boinged* up and further up into the the sky; with a bow in the character’s hands, it started to defeat the incoming enemies.
“So it’s a shooting game… Why is it so hard to move the character?”
I answered with a bright smile.
“I don’t know. The controls are hard to move around; it’s as if they are attached to real balloons?”
“Why is it that it doesn’t move properly even after I press the controls!? Arghhh~~”
In the end, Shigeru-san’s character lost a balloon after colliding with an enemy.
“The operation got even harder after losing a balloon~!!”
However, I was nimbly moving about and shooting down the enemies with my arrows. I played this game a lot as a kid, so the controls weren’t particularly hard.
The point of ‘Balloon Fight’ was not to spam the buttons and fly as high as possible, but to find a suitable momentum and keep the balloons bouncing.
“Kang-kun, aren’t the controls hard for you!? How are you so good at this game?”
I grinned and ignored Shigeru-san’s question, and I focused on controlling my character. After a while, one of my arrows missed its target and pierced through Shigeru-san’s balloon.
“What!? It bursted after being hit by friendly fire? What the hell is this bullshit?!”
“Mmm~ It only makes the game more fun for me?”
“What!? No!! Kang-kun~!! Don’t COME NEAR ME~!!!”
After I dodged every arrow that Shigeru-san shot at me, I collided with his character and popped the balloons. The results showed up in the blink of an eye, and it was a GAME OVER for Shigeru-san.
“Hey, let’s have a rematch. To kill an ally, you bastard.”
This was the uniqueness of ‘Balloon Fight’… That evening, the employees from our Invention Department went completely crazy from taking turns enjoying ‘Balloon Fight.’ The fact that you could pop an ally’s balloons gave a unique kind of enjoyment. In the end, the key to surviving was to avoid friendly fire rather than defeating the enemies.
“Ah~ Why is this so fun? ‘Balloon Fight’ would become an incredible game after we tweak the awkward operations a bit~!!”
One employee exclaimed in pleasure while he enjoyed ‘Balloon Fight.’ However, my thoughts were different.
“I actually feel that the controls are what’s multiplying this game’s entertainment?”
Shigeru-san, who was watching the gameplay from the side, opened his mouth while he stroked his chin.
“The controls are definitely difficult; however, somehow it feels incredibly natural. It almost feels as if one was controlling a real life? How would that work?”
At that moment, I dodged an arrow that was flying towards me, and I rapidly spam-clicked the fly button; my character, who was attached to the balloons, started to rise quickly into the sky. At that moment, Shigeru-san’s eyes flashed with a shining light.
He finally figured it out… However, the fellow Invention Department employees couldn’t understand Shigeru-san’s word.
“What? What do you mean by that?”
“They’ve implemented an accelerometer to the movements!! That’s right! When the speed reaches its highest point, and you press the opposite arrow key, you can feel the natural ‘Pop’ recoil from the inertia. That’s why we find this natural reaction to be uncomfortable. To think someone was able to simulate inertia in a program. Where was this game made!?”
“It was made in the HEG Research Facility by Kawata Satoshi??”
“I’m going to make an appointment with him immediately. Kang-kun, you should come with me.”
Now I’m meeting Kawata Satoshi, what an unexpected surprise? I nodded my head to Shigeru-san, and I swiftly put on my suit.
Kawata Satoshi. This man, who passed away before I travelled to 1983, would be the 4th president of Mintendo. As the CEO of Mintendo, as well as a game developer, he was a hero that saved Mintendo from the 2000 crisis. In addition to that, he was the brains responsible for bringing mobile devices to be the leading figurehead of Mintendo.
The games that he made – such as Balloon Fight, Karby, Father – were recorded into the annals of art, and he would eventually make a countless number of games along with Shigeru-san.
“But, Shigeru-san, this address seems to be in an office in Chiyoda Ku, Tokyo!?”
“It does not matter, let’s move to Shinkansen in the evening.”
Shigeru-san seemed to have found the answer to the problem he had while making Marigee. I followed behind his zealous back, and we headed to the Tokyo Station.
“Should we have just slept early and come back tomorrow?”
“That’s what I was trying to say…”
Sometimes, someone’s overexcitement could make others suffer like this…
The next day.
After staying at a hotel for the night, we woke up early and headed straight for the software inventions office in the HEG Research Facility. The office that produced ‘Balloon Fight’, that managed to enamor Kumamoto Shigeru-san to this extent, was laced with a very stern atmosphere as it was a place where simple programs for electronic calculators and printers were made.
“Excuse me, who did you come here for again?”
“We’re looking for Kawata Satoshi, is he not present at the moment, perhaps?”
“Kawata? Hmm, Kawata… Oii, was there a person named Kawata Satoshi in our office?”
A big burly man who seemed to be an office employee asked the worker next to him. The male employee who was looking through a report replied annoyedly.
“Ah, he’s that part-time student.”
The burly man slapped his hands and nodded his head as if he finally remembered. He’s saying Kawata is a part-timer here? Then that means he’s not even an official employee. I turned my head and Shigeru-san, he couldn’t contain his stunned expression either.
“Yes, he should be arriving at 2 P.M.”
“Ah, then we will visit again in the afternoon.”
If it was going to be like this, why did we even suffer through that entire ordeal last night? We could’ve just left this morning… After we came out of the office, we stared at each other with a blank face. Where would we spend the rest of the 2 hours? At that moment, a man in his mid 20s walked past us and headed for the HEG Research Facility. Huh? This person looked incredibly familiar…?
Having a 5:5 hair-splitter-line ratio with an appearance that was not ordinary, he was not much different from the someone I remember in 2015.
“Excuse me, Kawata-san!?”
“You are Kawata Satoshi-san, right?”
“Yes, that’s me? Who are you?”
We found him!! Shigeru-san and I briefly took turns looking at him and asked Kawata-san with a confused expression.
“Were you the Kawata Satoshi that sent ‘Balloon Fight’ to Mintendo?”
“Ah~ it was sent over there that fast. Haha~ How was it? Was it fun?”
He had an ordinary and professional image, but his 4th dimensional creativity skills allowed him to take the position as the CEO of Mintendo without being related to the previous CEO in any way. I met another 24 year old prodigy that would lead Mintendo in the future.
“Ah~ so what you’re saying is that the point of the game was, after repeatedly clicking the button more and more to increase the speed of the character in a certain direction, you would forcibly decrease the reaction time and simulate inertia.”
Programming was like reenacting reality with numbers. If Marigee started running at the speed of 1, after two seconds, the speed would increase to 2, then 3.
Jumping in such a situation would cause the system to calculate the distance by taking into account the current speed.
‘However, if the player suddenly moved in the opposite direction, the speed variable would not pummel down to -1 immediately, but slowly decrease from 4 to 3, 2, 1, 0, and finally -1’ was the explanation given by Satoshi.
“My mind is finally becoming clearer. Kawata-kun, you’ve been a really big help. About your Balloon Fight, what do you say about coming into our company and working on the game together? It will definitely turn into an amazing project.”
“Thank you for asking, but I have some things left to do at the HEG Research Facility.”
“Really? That’s a shame. However, if you ever happen to change your mind, give us a call back.”
Shigeru-san gave his business card to Kawata-kun. During the train ride back, Shigeru-san couldn’t sit still as he was hyped about returning and fixing Marigee’s movements as soon as possible.
Now, the prerequisite to the making of Super Marigee was all met. The product would be finished soon, but there is the cartridge production time. Super Marigee would debut in 1984~?
It was a project that would be released in 85, so it was pulled forward by 1 year…
Gunpei-san’s mobile gameboy seemed like it would be released faster than the original release date too; I felt that history was being sped up after I arrived in this period.
Although I would have to wait a little more to see if all of this was the right decision to make…
“Everyone, good work. Toast to the completion of Super Marigee, Kanpai~!!”
24, December, 1983. Christmas eve.
The video game industry’s first Side Scrolling technology was integrated into Super Marigee. The Marigee Brothers that was released last September was already sweeping a storm, so there was a lot of anticipation for this year’s Super Marigee.
Yamauchi-san was tremendously happy, as well, to the news that the Family console was selling like hotcakes due to Donkey Kom and the Marigee Brothers. If he wasn’t this ecstatic, would he still be happily chattering away at the Invention Department’s celebratory party?
“Look here Shigeru, how many copies do you think your new game would sell!? Mmm? 1 million!? 2 million?? Wahahahahaha~~”
It was a bomb that would sell 10 million copies worldwide. I brightly smiled in my mind and took a gulp from the beer bottle.
“Mr. President, I didn’t make this alone. In all honesty, if it wasn’t for Kang Junhyuk-kun, there was no way I would’ve made Super Marigee this quickly.”
“Right, right. Hey~yo, Kang-kun~!! Where are you!?”
“Here I am.”
“Good, good~ that’s right, stay there. I’ll come over~!!”
President Yamauchi was already piss drunk so he lumbered over to me with a weird dance.
“Kuhahahahaha~ Where did this gem of a worker roll over from and make me so happy~!!”
Heh~ He was no different from a drunkard… I slightly stepped away from the intoxicated alcohol-smelling President Yamauchi and awkwardly smiled.
“Kang-kun… it was a fortuitous accident meeting you. If I had not stepped out to buy a packed lunch before boarding the train…”
“Shaddap Gunpei!! I heard that story from you over a 100 times!!”
3 months after entering Mintendo, I was adjusting well to the life in 1983. The employees at the Invention Department were very friendly, and there was no one who held a grudge against me yet. I had no time to spend money as well, so my account balance was currently soaring sky high.
I had no worries as everything was going well. Let’s keep this atmosphere going and end 1984 on a happy note~ At that moment, President Yamauchi looked at me with quite a serious expression, and he spoke.
“Now that I handed you a weapon, isn’t it time for you to go to America?”