Game Market 1983 - Chapter 26
“The current financial situation of Triangle Soft doesn’t seem too good. You’ve made four titles for our Family; however, there were no hit projects, so I came here to give you some technical help.”
“Ah, alright; however, I’m an outsider to game development, so you giving advice to me is a little… It would’ve been good if Kawaguchi was here at this moment.”
“Then, are you saying you know nothing about game development at all? And you’re the president of a software company?”
“Haha, isn’t Mintendo’s President Yamauchi also like this? I’m just recruiting talents who can program the game, paying for the labor.”
This guy has the mind of a thief, no? He’s saying that he’s going to sit around and do nothing while the employees do all the work, barely paying the production costs? I’m just baffled… Did the position of president of a game development company seem that simple?
“Do you have any idea how dangerous what you said is?”
“Excuse me…? What I mean is that my role is similar to President Yamauchi’s…”
“You must have a lot of money then, President Kudo? If you’re taking on the role as the president of a company, you should at least be able to inspect the marketability of the games that your employees develop. Don’t you feel suffocated when you see piles and piles of these cartridges in the office?”
“The thing about the game industry is that we can hit the jackpot in one shot. If just one would explode, then don’t you think it would be enough to cover our losses and more? Just like Phoenix’s Dragon Warrior.”
Oh my god…
Developing a game is not some kind of food stand in front of a subway; what’s this attitude of waiting until a title becomes a hit? I fear that I might get dizzy if I talk with him any longer…
I pinched my throbbing temples with my hand, and I closed my eyes. I’ve already overviewed Triangle Soft with the Game & Watch before coming here. The current Triangle Soft’s financial situation was in ruins, so I brazenly spoke:
“President Kudo, you took a second loan from a financial institution, right?”
President Kudo’s face was instantly drained of color; it was as if I had hit the bullseye. In actuality, Triangle Soft’s capital was drained even before the release of their recent game, King’s Quest. President Kudo must’ve even taken on a second loan with the mindset of almost trying his luck at a lottery. He started the funding for the production of the cartridges for King’s Quest, but it was ultimately a failure; he incurred losses again.
“How… did you?”
“I easily came to this conclusion from looking at the stack of documents in your office. The question is whether there is the capacity to create any more games or not?”
“Hmm? If your second loan fails, do you plan to borrow money from loan sharks?”
“President Kudo. I truly don’t think that’s right…”
In the end, President Kudo lowered his head with a depressed expression. I left him alone for awhile, and I looked around the office. The atmosphere of the company could be felt by observing the office…
The Mintendo HQ that took on the big cartridge production factory, and commanded their countless number of workers, had an organized and responsible atmosphere. In contrast, Phoenix Soft had a carefree family-like atmosphere. There was also Fox Soft, who lorded over its employees like a military, etc… There was a variety of different sceneries from various game companies.
From the list, Triangle Soft was the worst, and it had the weakest foundation out of all of the companies I had reviewed.
‘But the thing that I truly want is to own my own company…’
I briefly watched President Kudo’s reaction before slightly smiling, and then I spoke to him:
“President Kudo, then how about this?”
The authoritative position of this conversation was completely handed to me. President Kudo, who was drowning in the thoughts of his debt, made a half-collapsed expression while he looked at me.
“You should just hand over this company to me.”
“What did you say?”
“President Kudo, you know as well as I do that you don’t have the strength to develop games anymore, isn’t that right?”
“Bu-But handing over the company is a little…”
“How about this? I will pay off all of Triangle Soft’s debt. On top of that, I’ll pay you 30 million Yen.”
“3… 3… 30 million Yen!?”
30 million Yen was about 300 million in Korean Won. 300 million Won was a tremendous amount of money in the 1980s. From what I knew, the current debt of Triangle, from the bank, was 20 million Yen, so I would be swallowing a company for about 50 million Yen.
“But do you, as an international student, have that much money?”
“I have the funds. The problem is setting up a company from scratch by myself with the status of an international company.”
Thinking back, I made two huge mistakes when I first time-travelled to Japan in the 1980s. It was setting my age too young, and my status as an international student that just came to Japan. Because of these two obstacles, I was placed in a position where I was unable to do anything, even with the enormous sum of 20 million USD in my balance.
Why? First, no matter how much money I had, I lived in Japan for too short of a time; thus, I couldn’t register for a business.
For a foreigner to set up a new business in Japan, they had to have taken residence in Japan for a minimum of 5 years. They also needed experience in that particular field to set up a company.
In addition, it wasn’t clear whether the Japanese Government would accept it or not since it was pretty obvious that they wouldn’t give permission to a 21 year old Korean international student, no matter how much money he had.
Even if I immediately started a console company, would a console developed by a Korean be successful in the Japanese market? Especially in the period right after the Atari Shock incident? A beginning without any preparation was the road straight to failure… First, I had to build up a career that no one could disrespect.
So, I decided to use Mr. Gunpei.
I used him to gain entrance into Mintendo, who would revive the game industry from the 80s all the way through to the 90s.
In this period of time, the qualifications needed to become an employee weren’t as harsh as I thought, so I was easily able to gain entrance to the company by becoming friendly with Mr. Gunpei, who had gotten a position within the company due to the popularity of his Game & Watch.
In addition, the fact that he introduced Mr. Shigeru to me became the driving force behind my success in moving forward.
Thanks to that, I was able to gain a certain amount of credit from President Yamauchi…
Thus, I was able to gain the status of a contributor of an industry, and the rest would be taken care of by the flow of time. However… I had no clue that this bastard President Yamauchi would fly me over to America.
In the end, I spent a one year period of time in America, but the experience wasn’t bad either. On the contrary, I became a figure that rivaled Mr. Gunpei and Mr. Shigeru inside Mintendo, and my path of direction became a bit more stabilized. In the end, I was able to plan the development of new consoles.
The current New Console Development Department was analyzing the current specs of the devices on the market and an elite engineer, who had developed the original Family console, was assigned to work with me.
In other words, I was able to take on a position as the director of the New Console Development Department that would allow me to poach core engineering talents. If I was playing poker with President Yamauchi, Mr. Gunpei, and Mr. Shigeru, the cards in my hand would be comparable to a royal straight.
“What do you think? Do you like my proposal? You could set up a new company similar to this one with that money, President Kudo.”
“O-Okay. If it’s that much, I will hand over my Triangle Soft to you, Mr. Kang.”
“Ah~ but I have one condition.”
Looking at President Kudo’s face, that immediately turned white from my one comment, I could see that his accumulated stress was not something to joke about. I gave a slight smile towards him, and I opened my mouth:
“Would you like to go on a vacation out of the country after you finish the paperwork? Mmm~ How about one year? Ah, of course I’ll pay for the travel fees.”
“W-What’s this about traveling…?”
“You know what a Kagemusha is, right? President Kudo, you would have to be registered as a ghost president for about a year…”
It was a term referring to the Edo era when substitutes for authoritative figures, who donned the exact attires and had similar facial features, were put in the original person’s place to prevent assassinations from the enemy. For example, it did not matter if a company that was started by a Japanese was handed over to a foreigner.
It was just that I could buy it with money after my residency period of 5 years.
January of 1987.
I cleared the Triangle Soft’s office free from the littered boxes, and a new name for the company was hung at the front of the office.
From the original Triangle to the making of a 5-sided figure by drawing two more dots, I changed the name to Pentagon to reflect that. I shook away the dust on my hands, and I proudly looked at the new company name that was neatly hung up.
‘I paid for his unpaid wages, so he should be showing up by now?’
At that moment, a voice of a man sounded behind my back.
“Who… are you?”
As I turned my head, the question-filled face of Mr. Kawaguchi was staring back at me.
“Oh? Are you perhaps the Mintendo employee that I met from Dragon Warrior’s event?”
“Hello, Mr. Kawaguchi.”
“Why are you…?”
“I came here to give technical support. Trian… no. I came here to give help to Pentagon Soft’s new project.”
“Is President Kudo inside?”
“Ah~ the president said he would be leaving for a hiatus overseas… Mr. Kawaguchi, we are essentially alone.”
President Kudo took care of his debt with the funds that I wired to him, and, after completing the necessary documents with an attorney, he left for a vacation to Europe.
“What did you say??”
“So you’ll temporarily be in charge of this Pentagon Soft, Mr. Kawaguchi.”
Mr. Kawaguchi stared at me with an incredulous expression. As I lightly pushed the office door open and went inside, Mr. Kawaguchi, who was following behind me, was shocked, seeing the renovated interior.
“Is this really Triangle Soft?”
“No, this is Pentagon Soft now. Instead of a hierarchy with an emphasis for authority, it’s now a place where all of the employees can gather at the respective edges of the Pentagon and collectively discuss ideas to make the greatest game possible. Of course, the main director that’ll temporarily be in charge will be you, Mr. Kawaguchi.”
“When will President Kudo come back?”
“It should be for a fairly long time… About one year? Or would it be a little longer than that?”
“I just came here to see if the company situation got better, after my overdue wages were paid…”
“The malicious inventory has been cleared off. There should be plenty of potential to develop a new game. What do you think? The fantasy game that you were developing as your last title… what do you say about developing that game here? I will also give my all, and I will help you out.”
“The title of the new game will be Final Frontier. As a game developer, I will pour my soul into this final effort.”
This was the birthplace of the masterpiece of an era that any gamer would remember.