Game Market 1983 - Chapter 36
“Mmm~ I have to admit, it did feel awesome. The reception was also great… From what I see, people seem to be more enthusiastic than Super Marigee 3…?”
A few Mintendo employees nearby had turned their gazes to Junpei. Afterall, to the developers at Mintendo, Kumamoto Shigeru was almost a god-like existence…
Junpei dodged the eye-bullets aimed at him and spoke to me.
“Sh…Should we go outside for a walk? Maybe a cigarette?”
“Yeah, let’s also get some coffee.”
After coming out of the headquarter building, Junpei let out a long sigh with a relieved face.
“Puah~ That atmosphere was lively.”
“So why did you say that in the first place~ Keke”
“I mean, I spoke it as it was. It’s not like my eyes are blind, it was obvious that Psychic Battle was more popular, right?”
“You can stop talking now, someone might hear.”
As the vending machine spit out a cup of coffee, Junpei put a cigarette in his mouth with a dejected mood.
“Hey Junhyuk, about Psychic Battle, you said it was a multiplayer-action when you were introducing it but the playstyle doesn’t differ much from other shooting games that much? The command system was fascinating though…”
“Oh, that’s… it’s still in the alpha stage; I’m going to be adding a multiplayer interface to it.”
“Ah~ alright. Also, aren’t there too little playable characters? There are only three choices to choose from…”
“After the second stage, bosses will have psychic powers like the characters and they will be unlocked as playable characters after you defeat them. A total of 6 playables will be added to the roster.”
“So your group will grow with the development of the game~!! That’s brilliant.”
Junpei nodded his head continuously and flashed a grin. At that moment, a familiar voice was heard from behind the vending machine. The owner of this voice was Mr. Shige.
“Kang-kun, a game developer shouldn’t lie to the players.”
“Here you were, Mr. Shige. But what do you mean by me lying?”
“Your Psychic Battle… An endless barrage-type game of that level, there’s no chance it would be acceptable with the current Family standards, am I right?”
Junpei was startled at the sudden appearance of Mr. Shige, so much that he almost burned his hands with the lighter while trying to put his hand over mouth. As the old saying went… A bird will overhear at sunrise, and a rat at night…
Different from his usual self, Mr. Shige was wearing an extremely stern expression on his face. He must’ve been affected by the reaction of the participants in the conference afterall.
“I can make it.”
“It’ll take a bit of time, but I will be able to make it.”
“How would you…?”
“Mmm… I can’t tell you right now, but it’ll be wii”
“Yeah? Then should we make a little wager?”
“Your Psychic Battle and my Super Marigee 3, which title will sell more?”
Phew… what’s with this infighting…
“Hey, have you tried out the Psychic Battle that time? Director Kang’s game is truly incredible. It’s on a completely different realm..”
“In any case, it’s a shooting game. I think Super Marigee 3 that also came out is the best. It’ll definitely be a giant hit this time around too.”
“ ‘In any case, a shooting game’? So you haven’t played Psychic Battle, haven’t you? The level of immersion is no joke, I tell you.”
I was taking a brief respite out of my day- drinking coffee in the breakroom- when two male employees walked in following a clamor.
“Ah, Director Kang…”
The two were taken aback after seeing me and bowed their heads.
“Hello, are you guys here for some coffee?”
“Ah… yes. It’s our break time…”
“Same with me. Here, take a seat. I’ll make the coffee for you guys.”
“N-No thank you, You don’t have to do that.”
“Colleagues should be able to drink coffee with each other. It’s nothing much, here, take these.”
The two men were at a loss and repeatedly stood up and sat back down with awkward postures as I handed them coffees from the vending machine. Why so skittish… Are they new recruits?
“Are you guys new?”
“Um…? Ah, we both joined two months ago at the same time.”
“For two whole months…? I’m sorry. I’m frequently out on outings, so I have no time to recognize faces…haha.”
“Not at all, you’re preparing for the release of the new console on top of game development… you must be incredibly busy.”
They’ll be wasting their precious break time and not be able to talk if I’m pointlessly near them… I exchanged a few more brief words and left the break room after telling them to work hard.
As I closed the door, I heard the voice of one of them through a slight opening.
“Kyaa~ Director Kang is awesome. That fox.. He looks to be the same age as me but he has an aura of the elite.”
“From what I heard, he made a huge contribution when he was working in the American branch. He seems to be on close terms with Mr. Shigeru and Mr. Gunpei too~ Ability and social networking… Nobody is on the same level as him among his age group.”
‘Mmm~ So that’s my image to new employees…”
After the presentation of the new game titles, peculiar happenings were revolving inside Mintendo; Mr. Shige and I had friction with each other over which of our projects were better a while ago. This kind of atmosphere isn’t good for games being released at the same time from the same company. It’s resembling a battle-to-the-death rather than a friendly competiton.
It was getting increasingly more awkward to develop these two games in the same development room, so I gathered as much man-power as I could and moved over to my New Console Development department. Due to that, our office was a bit disorderly compared to other departments.
As soon as I sat down, the manager in charge of the controls for the New Console, came up to me and asked a question.
“Excuse me director, I brought the concept for the new controller model. Would you take a look?”
The draft for the new controller concept that Kimura handed to me felt similar to NEGA’s controllers rather than our own Family.
“It’s not bad, but can you modify it a bit? We still have some time left, so I will wait until your design team comes up with a more creative concept.”
“Understood. Do you have any suggestions in mind, Director?”
“Let’s… increase the button count?”
“Buttons? Our team discussed this and as a result, we already increased upped the number from 2 keys to 4…”
“The game will become increasingly complicated in the future. There’s only basic functions like jumping and attacking right now but more functions will be needed as this genre grows.”
“Then have do you have any thoughts on the set number of buttons?”
“How about a 6-button system? I visited an arcade recently and saw a violent bone-destroying action game there.”
“A bone-destroying action game?”
Year 1987. A problematic title that caused the owners of arcades to have a headache was released.
Why was it a problematic title? That was because the game broke the rules that were set in stone in those arcades.
An arcade was by definition, a place where commoners went to enjoy games, so it was coined the term “Game Center” in my country.
The word “Game” originally had a positive connotation, however Game Centers had leeched off the money of teenagres so it was associated as a negative place now.
But even for all that, I, who loved games, rushed to game centers the moment I had pocket change…
Anyways, near the end of the year 1987, various Game Centers started displaying discomfort. The reason was because of the game, “Street figher” that utilized 6 buttons, had been released.
Why did players feel discomfort in playing fighting games that required a coin input? That was because of the number of buttons.
For the generic arcade game, 4 was the most number of buttons that could be found.
No, 2~3 was usually enough so even 4 was outside of the comfort zone for many players. But one fighting game appeared out of the blue that utilized 6 buttons, so Game Centers had no choice but to import specialized machines.
However, the controls were riddled with bugs so “Street Fighter” quickly shrunk in popularity after its release.
There was definitely skills like the force palm and uppercut that could be executed, but no matter how hard you turned the lever, the skill did not fire.
Additionally, players weren’t able to digest the new (Strong, medium, light) system that adjusted the power of attacks.
In the ehd, the sequel completely overhauled the first release and was able to garner a staggering amount of popularity.
“Director, are you perhaps suggesting a 6 button system because of Street Figher alone?”
“Why? Is there a reason I can’t? Haha…”
“Of course there isn’t, but putting 6 buttons in the front might overwhelm the children…”
“Who said the 6 buttons had to be in the front?”
“What? Then where would the rest of the buttons…”
Fortunately, there was a Family controller laying on my desk so I handed it to Kimura as I spoke.
“Try holding it.”
“Yes…? Ah, okay.”
Kimura received the controller in his hand and both his index fingers naturally shot up at the top of the controller. I grinned and continued.
“Stop~! Exactly right there. We’ll make a button in the part your index finger is touching.”
Kimura wasn’t able to answer and repeatedly nodded his head and returned to his seat.
Now~ This task is finished. Is Psychic Battle next on the list? I stood up from my stat and walked up to Morita who was busy working on mapping pixels.
“Morita, how’s illustrating going?”
“It’s going smoothly. The work is enjoyable. I’m almost shouting in wonderment at your making the characters all girls, Director Kang~!!”
“Is… Is that so?”
“I believe, that one day, anime girls and sexy-concept characters will dominate the gaming world~!!”
Oddly enough, illustrator Morita’s undying passion for seeing ahead of the era almost made me wonder if he was a true pioneer. (He never draws male characters.)
His ability to flesh the unique traits of individual characters in pixels was also a huge help.
“Yo Morita, Can you shut your mouth and get back to work?”
“Sorry Hayashi, I must’ve distracted your coding session…”
Hayashi, who hadn’t responded to Morita’s apology and went back to coding, was an incredible worker bee who was unmatched in coding. But he had a bit of social networking problems due to his personality…
He wasn’t a fit for Mr. Shige’s casual-family working environment where joke popping was frequent. Hayashi had an obsession to see the completion of every projects like the sharpness of a chainsaw and couldn’t bear to see other employees slacking. That was the reason why he had dissension with Shige’s development team.
So I took these two top grade otakus under my wing.
One was a pixel drawing machine who couldn’t stop his obsession with fantasy girls, the other was a coding machine who couldn’t stand imperfection…
“But Director, will it really be alright to develop according to your script? It would overload the family console, it would never be able run it…?”
“It doesn’t matter. Leave the backend to me and focus on finishing the coding.”
Thereafter, Morita asked me a question.
“Director, the idea that you talked about before… Are we really going through with that?”