Game Market 1983 - Chapter 22
“Oh~ Phoenix Soft created Dragon Warrior.”
“Yes, that’s right. They informed us that they’ll be starting cartridge production starting next month; however, since the company is a major player in the field of consoles, it’d be good for Mr. Shigeru to go there and personally oversee the inspection process.”
“That’s right, that’s right~ That way we can release the 3rd edition of our Family, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to show our faces there. Shige really thought this through. Well then, Kang-kun, have a great time there~”
President Yamauchi was grinning like a maniac after seeing all the royalties from the game developers pouring in each month. The business model for Mintendo’s stock had done a complete 180 flip recently. Mintendo switched every production line, from toy manufacturing to family consoles, to change the company image from a toy maker into a game company.
After the Family’s launch three years ago, the current Mintendo maintained about 30% of Japan’s economy. In other words, Mintendo was one of the three big players in the playground.
Additionally, there were a few instances that became not-too-funny because of the sheer size of its popularity; after the new consoles were shipped, they would clear out within a week; this caused the Family to become a fairly rare item in small cities.
What the children wanted was the Family, but adults who didn’t know that often gifted the NEGA Disk that was easier to find; however, that resulted in the ensuing rage of kids. Consequently, NEGA suffered a massive headache due to the ever increasing number of returns.
It’s understandable, my parents were like that too when I was a kid. All games would look the same to adults.
I remember feeling a great deal of frustration and shock upon being gifted a NEGA Disk when I was young, I even started crying due to it. I had specifically told them to buy Mintendo’s Family back then, but my parents bought the domestic version of the NEGA Disk.
They must have paid for the expensive item and expected me to be happy, but I felt sorry now for only showing vexation and tears back then. I’m missing my parents now… I wonder if they’re doing well?
“I’ll leave and come back later.”
I left the headquarters building after saying goodbye to President Yamauchi. I had to travel by subway because Phoenix was located in Tokyo; moreover, I was just too tired to drive there myself. Plus, it usually took longer anyway, so I mostly used the subway.
Because of the flourishing competition in this period, many new startups located themselves in Tokyo. Thanks to that, I was taking a business trip of two days to reach the Tokyo headquarters.
It would be easier if Mintendo also moved their headquarters to Tokyo; however, Mintendo was set up by President Yamauchi’s ancestors in 1889, and it was almost approaching the 100th anniversary.
Moving a company like this was impossible from the start…
As per usual, I boarded the subway and ate a packed lunch. After I finished eating, I stood up and looked for the rest area in the train to aid digestion with a smoke. I don’t enjoy smoking, but I puff a cigar every once in awhile, after a meal. Why do I want to smoke a cigar whenever I board the train?
Cell phones haven’t come out yet, so there was not much to do sitting down; additionally, I was already familiar with the story of the currently trending Dragon Ball, so it wasn’t fun. New projects that debuted in the 1980s were not enough to interest me.
‘Director Kang, you always seem to have an amazing fashion sense.’
A Mintendo employee said this to me quite some time ago. Now that I think about it, Elise said this to me when I was in America as well.
From my point of view, I was just wearing the style that I enjoyed wearing in 2015; I heard many compliments about my fashion. A salesman from the 80s always wore a jet black suit and a dull-colored necktie as formal attire; however, I wore a business casual suit with a slightly brighter tone, so it was eye-catching.
In the beginning, President Yamauchi ordered me to wear the same attire as the other employees; however, recently my business trips outside have become more frequent. Most importantly, President Yamauchi placed the most value on a person’s ability, so he didn’t try to berate me anymore. It was not like I wear anything outlandish anyway~ Plus, there were cases where he made exceptions for employees that came back from working overseas…
I sat down on the table in the rest area, and I lit a fire for my cigarette. As I looked around at people, be they an adult or a child, everyone was holding their Game & Watch, focusing intently on the screens. The game that they were currently playing was the Game & Watch edition of The Legend of Karin.
When the GamBoy project was completed, it would probably spell the end of the Game & Watch. At that moment, the Game & Watch that I received from the old man in the arcade store came to mind. I carried it around with me just in case something happened, but I barely played it in recent times.
There was already enough money in my bank account to last me a lifetime, even if I didn’t play the ‘Employee’s Game’, and, as I was already familiar with the executives inside the company, networking naturally followed; thus, there was no need to use the GPS function of the Game & Watch.
“I’m bored. Should I have a go at playing it again?”
My Game & Watch was only different in color from The Legend of Karin’s Game & Watch edition, so it shouldn’t stand out too much… Even if someone asked about it, I can just say it’s a new model in its testing period. I turned on the Game & Watch to relieve my boredom, not to make money. A moment later, my face hardened as I stared at the game screen.
‘The game… It changed…’
The Game & Watch had transformed itself to the latest model with a touchscreen, 3D screen, and it displayed the words ‘Sponsor Game’ on the screen.
-Press the Start Button to begin the game-
‘Sponsor Game’? It was a completely different game from the previous ‘Employee’s Game’? I had a strange sense of anticipation as I pressed the start button; a simple prologue started up. Thereafter, I learned that the main character in the game was me.
The prologue told the story of a character that time travelled to the past to save a Game Company in turmoil. The funny thing was that the game companies inside the game existed in real life; a click showed all of the characteristics of the game company such as their operation status, capital, and the current titles that they were developing.
As an experiment, I clicked on the Phoenix company that I was currently heading to, and a notice popped up about the game, Dragon Warrior 2, undergoing its last inspection. The internal situation of the company was very stable, and the morale of the employees were high. Was that because they were a major-league game developer? Seeing how this information would currently be impossible to poach from Phoenix employees, perhaps this device would be very useful for diplomatic purposes?
Fox Soft’s ‘Full Metal’ was currently 52% completed, so it was progressing relatively well; after, Mr. Hojima was appointed as the main director, the development speed definitely increased; Next, I took a look at Triangle Soft that I had lately shown interest towards.
-Director Kawaguchi’s ‘King’s Quest’. 5200 units in the market. No games in development. Soon.-
5200 units was a total deficit. This was prior to Triangle Soft making the popular title ‘Final Frontier’, so they were in a difficult situation with each game resulting in a sales slump.
However, seeing their current company situation, I could understand the sentiment of putting the word ‘Final’ in ‘Final Frontier’ that they would later release… ‘Final Frontier’ would go on to be a figurehead that would lead the era with its diverse graphics. After playing the ‘Final Frontier 7’, that was released in SenSony’s Playstation, my heart almost froze…
For everything, a ‘classic’ possessed a miraculous effect. The first Family’s RPG game, ‘Dragon Warrior’, was coined the game of the nation, and the sequel to it was already approaching cartridge production, in the near future.
If the first game in the series was about a single brave warrior rescuing the princess, the following sequel would include a party system for friends to join each other on a journey to defeat the Demon King.
On top of that, the sequel was directly related to the original game, so the warriors that would fight against the Demon King were the grandsons and granddaughters of the original Dragon Warrior… Gamers that had immensely enjoyed the first game were eagerly anticipating the sequel.
If the current situation continued, even if they released ‘Final Frontier’, it would get swept under the rug by ‘Dragon Warrior 2’.
I could help them out right now, but now was not the right time. Not yet.
Should I phrase it as finally aiding them when they were at wits end? Just like how hitting rock bottom was the driving force for characters in comics.
Anyway, a ‘Sponsor Game’… To think I would be able to view information about the industry at a glance… This was very interesting since what I needed now was not money, but human capital…
That evening, I arrived at the Phoenix company, and I was directed by the employees to the Dragon Warrior 2’s development department.
“Hello. I am Mintendo’s Kang Junhyuk.”
“Ah~ Mr. Junhyuk!! Welcome~”
The atmosphere of Phoenix’s development team was vastly different from Fox Soft. The development was already finished, and they were awaiting the cartridge production that was just around the corner; thus, the office atmosphere was very calm.
“Thank you for personally coming here for the inspection. It looks like we’ll have fewer difficulties.”
“Not at all. For cases like Dragon Warrior, President Yamauchi gave a quick approval for production, knowing this title brought additional traction for our Family console sales.”
“We can feel the love Mintendo is showing towards our company, haha.”
“Of course. We also have high expectations for the upcoming ‘Dragon Warrior 2’. Customers would also line up to buy it this time around, right?”
“The release of The Legend of Karin was a sensation. I heard that the limited edition marketing strategy was thought up by you, Mr. Kang Junhyuk. You’re accomplishments are incredible at such a young age.”
“That’s an overstatement… Haha…”
How long are pleasantries going to go on for?! In the end, I could finally start the inspection after exchanging pleasantries with the development team for ten minutes.
As the nostalgic theme tune and the Dragon Warrior logo appeared on the screen, I unconsciously drew a proud smile on my face.