Game Market 1983 - Chapter 13
It has been almost four months since I arrived in America. After the phone call with the President last month, all of the devices in the storage room were shipped to Japan; the newly designed M.H.E.S. also came in today. The last Family console had a toy-like cartridge system that required the thick cartridge to be put in vertically; however, the newly designed console was changed so that the slot was in the front of the console and the cartridge disc resembled a thin CD. In addition, the wires for the controllers were lengthened and made bigger to compensate for the large American living rooms – in contrast to the tiny Japanese households.
“This design morphed it into a completely different item; however, do you think people will trust it just because the outward appearance changed?”
“They probably haven’t even glanced at the old model, so it’ll be fine.”
Mr. Yamashita quit drinking alcohol and drugs at the same time the American Mintendo branch was renamed to M.H.E.S. After clearing out the Family consoles that were gathering dust in the storage room, Mr. Yamashita told me some of his headache had been alleviated. It seems that keeping the devices that no one had wanted was a major cause of stress to him.
“Now~ should we start attacking with our new strategy?”
I took out the sample M.H.E.S. machine, and I smiled towards Mr. Yamashita.
A while later, we were standing in front of ‘Toy World’, the biggest toy store in New York.
“I hope we don’t get dragged out by our collars again…”
Mr. Yamashita must have already gotten nervous. He loosened the strings on his necktie, and he let out a sigh. I also had a dangerous fallout with an angry toy store owner in the past; I swallowed my saliva, and I tried smiling awkwardly.
“How could that happen…? Everything will go great today!”
As I cautiously pushed open the front entrance and entered the store, the store employees greeted us with a smile; they were obviously part-time employees, judging by their outfits. A manager approached us after a brief moment.
“How may I be of assistance?”
“Hello. We’re from a company called M.H.E.S. We’ve invented a new toy, and we wanted to discuss it with the owner here.”
“M.H.E.S.? This is the first time I’m hearing of it.”
“It’s a newly registered American company that is originally from Japan. We’ve developed a moving robot and an electronic toy gun.”
The manager showed a slight apprehension when I mentioned the electronic gun.
“An electronic gun? We deal with toys suited for children. We can’t stock toys that can hurt people.”
As soon as the manager stopped talking, I immediately whipped out the electronic gun. It didn’t seem threatening at all with its gray coloring and the friendly design.
“Don’t worry; No bullets can be shot from our gun.”
“Hmm… I’ll take you to the owner’s office first.”
With a slightly suspicious expression, the manager took us to the inside of the store, into the owner’s office. Good, the real fight starts now. Inside the office, a stereotypical fat man was fanning himself with a roll of documents. Even though winter had passed, and it was currently spring, he was wearing a summer attire.
“Smith? Who are these people?”
“They’ve apparently invented a new toy, and they’re from a company called M.H.E.S.”
“A new toy? A toy is that and that. What is there to be new about?”
The owner rudely replied with a gruff manner, and he tilted the corners of his mouth upwards in a mocking sneer.
“You are Japanese? Humorous, humorous! The yellow monkeys do make toys well, so I guess I should take a glance at it?”
His disgusting attitude is just… Sigh. In this country, we were pretty much always treated like inferior beings; we put down the new toys on the table.
“A robot? And a gun? What’s so new about these?”
“These items are electronic-based toys that work by connecting to this machine right here.”
“A machine? What the hell is this? Is this perhaps a gaming device?”
“No… This is a home entertainment computer.”
“It’s a computer?”
“Yes. You can use it to move the robot and activate the gun with it. Should I briefly demonstrate it for you?”
“Hmmmmm… Do it.”
The owner leered at me as if he would kick me out the moment I made the slightest blunder. Mr. Yamashita must have been nervous as well; he straightened his knees, and he looked at me with a worried expression.
First, I connected the robot to the external port, and I pressed the power switch. The robot that was bundled with the Family package was able to be activated without a separate cartridge, so I was able to immediately operate the robot with the controller. Thankfully, President Yamauchi didn’t take my hint literally and added an arm to the robot to lift up objects, so I picked the electronic gun on the table. As both the arms of the robot squeezed towards the electronic gun like a pincer, lifting up the object, a cry of exclamation came out of the owner’s mouth.
“Ho… Interesting, but what does the gun do?”
“Ah, we need a TV to use this gun.”
“TV!? Why does a mere toy need to use a TV? Isn’t it a gaming device?”
“No. This is a fun program designed to let families enjoy shooting practice together.”
I have no idea what I just said. Saying that a game is not a game… It’s a comment that would startle a peerless martial arts master. As the owner was wearing an extremely suspicious look on his face, I carefully connected the cable to a TV lying in the corner of the office.
I knew the owner wouldn’t sit still if he caught me in the act of inserting the cartridge; thus, I inserted the cartridge inside the gaming device beforehand. After I disconnected the robot from the external port, switching to the electronic gun, I pressed down on the power switch. The text ‘Duck Hunt’ popped up on the TV at the same time the owner and the manager’s faces turned ugly.
I became anxious to pass the loading screen, so I rapidly pressed the trigger in hopes that the main screen would pass by quickly. Subsequently, as the green grassland was shown on the screen, a vein popped out of the owner’s temples.
“This is a Gaming Console!!”
At that moment, I pointed the barrel towards the TV screen, and I pulled the trigger; a duck, which was flying up and around the screen, dropped with a *Quack*.
“Uh? What was that just now??”
-Pang~ Poosh~!! Piyoong~ Pang~ Poosh~!!
The ducks that were flying around on the screen were dropping one by one as I maneuvered the electronic gun.
“What’s happening? How is it possible to shoot the ducks inside of the TV with that gun?”
Of course he wouldn’t understand. They must be feeling shock akin to experiencing a 4D movie for the first time. Nothing was being fired from the actual muzzle of the electronic gun, but one duck after another refreshingly dropped dead inside of the TV screen with every pull of the trigger.
The owner and the manager were watching my gameplay as if they were possessed by a ghost. Mr. Gunpei was a genius after all; he achieved a very high quality within such a short deadline.
After going back to Japan, Mr. Gunpei spent countless nights researching data. While researching, Mr. Gunpei became fascinated with the refresh rate of TV screens, and the electronic gun that he invented was able to, albeit for a brief moment, forcefully affect the refresh rate of the TV screen.
The screen turned black for a fraction of a second the moment the trigger was pulled, but, because of it being an instantaneous moment, it was impossible to detect with the human eye. Additionally, the flying ducks were coded with a corresponding ‘gray’ object while the electronic gun was coded to recognize a ‘white’ object.
What does this all mean? I actually don’t know. Anyways, the point was that the gun was forcefully designed to interfere with the TV and recognize the ducks. Mr. Gunpei was so happy, after he figured out the algorithm, that he called me, and he shouted ecstatically, ignoring the time difference…
He was rambling on and on about the method; however, I was half-awake at the time, so I don’t know very much either… I was just like ‘Ah~ You finally made it.’, and I went back to sleep…
“This is an entertaining toy for sure.”
“Do you find it to your liking?”
“Yeah, but the thing is…”
The Toy World owner’s eyes lit up, and he smirked. I knew from reading his boorish expression that this contract wouldn’t go as planned. His sharp eyes opened up the M.H.E.S., and he confirmed the ‘Duck Hunt’ game cartridge inside.
“You can’t fool my eyes. This is a video game no matter who sees it. You seem to be trying to pass it off as a toy with all of your effort and ship it to my store, but alright – our store will accept this.”
The Toy World president’s words caused Mr. Yamashita’s expression to go a full 180 degree turn. However…
“However, make it a specialized ‘Duck Hunt’ only machine; we don’t need any other cartridges. You think I don’t know about your schemes to add one decent game first, and then you circulate garbage games later?”
It was not hard to make a specialized ‘Duck Hunt’ only machine. However, this could never happen in the console industry where the software sales brought in the profits.
“That’s not true. Every game that our Mintendo makes goes through a rigorous quality check at the headquarters before being produced. The type of games that you are worrying about will not be produced for our device.”
“Don’t make me laugh!!”
In the end, Mr. Yamashita and I were chased out by the hands of the store employees.
“If you want to make a contract with us, make a ‘Duck Hunt’ specialty machine. Our Toy World doesn’t support gaming consoles anymore.”
The manager roughly tossed the box containing the M.H.E.S. to the ground and went back into the store. Fuck… My head.
Anyways, these American bastards do have good strength. When things don’t go their way, they fling fellow human beings to the ground…
“As expected, this is challenging… To think that the opinions of the public are scary to this extent.”
“As expected, it was not the right choice to come to a bloated-bigshot store first.”
“Bloated? What do you mean by that?”
“It’s a Korean idiom for describing arrogant bastards. Anyway, let’s move our location. There is nothing to see here.”
After I cleaned up the controller rolling around the ground, I straightened my body. Before I walked away from Toy World, I turned back and stared at the entrance, muttering.
“Fat pig, just you watch; I’ll make you beg us to supply you with our items.”
In the end, Mr. Yamashita and I arrived at a small toy store in an obscure corner of New York where, In contrast to the main streets, we were on a very quiet and desolate road. The name of the store was ‘Toy Box’, and the comfortably decorated store had no employees; there was just a lone shop owner, overseeing the store.
“Hello, we’re the sales representatives from a company called M.H.E.S, and we wanted to inquire about shipping a new toy…”
A middle aged man behind the counters welcomed us with a smile.