Data East

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Data East

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:49 pm

Latest efforts in the world of article translation. Data East from Continue Vol. 2. This would've been about 2001 if I'm not mistaken, but seeing as the company went titsup soon after, little has changed.

This is a great read, but so long it took me a while. I was almost done w/ this one before I started the Tatsuya Uemura one, but never got around to putting the finishing touches on it.

Anyways, enjoy. I celebrated today by playing a little Oscar which is horribly easy (although I've not quite gotten the clear). Will probably due Joe & Mac Returns next to finish out the Makoto Kikuchi trilogy.

Tips hat to Scion for giving it a once over.
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Postby Ganelon » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:08 pm

Great article; thanks for the translation. I wonder who owns the rights to Edward Randy now. I still don't understand the fascination with it but maybe it can be remade at little cost?

It's also somewhat sad to see that for many projects, it seemed implied that the Data East heads seemed to demand copies of recently successful games by other developers.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:25 am

They were a pretty big company. My guess is larger than Capcom and Konami for a lot of the duration. As such, they probably need some "safe hits" to stay afloat. I hardly think such behavior was unique to them though.

I guess what I like about that era, is that those companies were all making different games. Even Toaplan tried some non-shooting games. Capcom had a popular shooting lineup as well as fighting and other genres. Etc. etc.

The first article in that series was with the guy that designed Ikari & Guevara. Even he mentioned how Heavy Barrel was a complete Ikari rip-off, but he was glad that since it wasn't really mainstream people could do all kinds of dodgy shit.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:59 am

Cleared Psyonics Oscar. That was easy... Mame clock was around 5 hours. Fun if you're in the robot mood though.
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Postby Macaw » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:41 am

Yeah Oscar is a very cool game, and inspired Manfred Trenz to create the equally cool Turrican!

Anyways great read, thanks for the translation. Data East in my opinion has probably the most... charismatic arcade lineup when compared to the other big companies like taito, sega, namco etc. Funny to hear how most games took 3-5 months to create yet Edward Randy took a year, and Dragongun took 2 years!!

Dragongun is my favorite lightgun game ever, and its easy to how how its likely Data Easts largest arcade project they ever did. Its both technically and visually stunning, there are those rendered video backgrounds in the boss fights (still unemulated), and as mentioned in the interview the physical aspects of the cab, which included the dragon shaped guns that talk to you during the game. I'd love to experience the real cab eventually.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:09 pm

Glad it was enjoyed. Deco definitely had a massive impact on the gaming culture of the 80's and the early 90's. I guess Karnov is the one I played the most, and of course, spent some time w/ Dragon Ninja. Didn't put 2 & 2 together until recently to see that Makoto Kikuchi was beyond that (and Secret Agent). Wonder what he's up to now?

I might do the sequel to this interview one day that appeared in Chou Arcade. Pretty good, but the participants are anonymous which takes a little fun out of it.

Off Topic: Anyone know of a good light gun to use with MAME?
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Postby Ganelon » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:01 pm

One interesting thing about this article that's subtly hidden is the origin of Fighter's History, which I've never seen brought up before. It's mentioned that Karate Dou 2 (Karate Champ 2) was planned alongside Joe & Mac and Edward Randy (so circa 1990-91). This sequel is definitely not Taisen Karate Dou (Karate Champ Player vs. Player) since that half-sequel was made right afterward in 1984, which isn't in the same time frame.

You would think that Fighter's History was meant as the direct successor to Karate Champ but there's no proof and FH was released in 1993, long after the 2 games that were planned alongside it.

However, if you read later into the article, it's mentioned that Fighter's History was originally outsourced and didn't feel like quality product so it was scrapped (likely because at that time, Street Fighter II was shown/released and looked much better). The article also says that DECO restarted Fighter's History anew, which fits in perfectly with the delay in years.

So basically, Karate Dou 2 was outsourced to another company while Joe & Mac and Edward Randy were developed in-house. The original version created was obviously outshadowed by SFII so Data East took the game back to the drawing board and based a new version directly on SFII.

The only lingering question is who the outsourced company was. If you remember that Technos was the original developer for Karate Dou and achieved great success, logic (and JP loyalty) dictates that DECO would've outsourced to Technos again to make lighting strike twice. Technos hadn't created a real modern-age fighter at the time so it's highly likely they would have screwed up by keeping things too simple, with no grand vision like SFII. Certainly, the Double Dragon and Gowcaizer fighters on Neo Geo years later (right before their demise) weren't that impressive even in 1995.

And when you consider that Data East originally conceived FH to be a sequel to Karate Champ, with production documents that preceded Street Fighter II's release, you can easily see how they won the lawsuit against Capcom by claiming Karate Champ did it first. Capcom even wired one stick together to separate boards (1 SFII, 1 FH) to show that FH looked and played exactly the same way as SFII but you can't argue when the game was technically first designed before SFII's popularity.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:36 am

Interesting. They definitely made no hint at all about where the game was outsourced to. In fact, they didn't talk about outsourcing much at all other than that and the catch phrases almost always being done out-house.

While I think the article is a must-read for any fan of retro Arcade games, it still feels like it's only the tip of the iceberg. As stated, at one point DECO had over 300 employees. That's huge! Since they seemed to be at least Jack of all Trades (some would argue that they have several games which achieve perefction) I'd like to know more about the thought process, and obviously differences in development versions and final products. Also other tidbits, like the differences in Karnov, why they were late to the Famicom game (which is what some say killed them).

More importantly I'd like to know where some of their staff are now. After digging around, it seems 5pb's Sakari was from Data East, but I've got no proof he was there during the arcade hay day, nor what he was working on. He could've been doing some of the turds they put out in their final days.
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Postby EOJ » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:02 am

Gaijin Punch wrote:it seems 5pb's Sakari was from Data East, but I've got no proof he was there during the arcade hay day, nor what he was working on. He could've been doing some of the turds they put out in their final days.


Is he still at 5pb? I haven't heard a peep about him since the DDPDOJBLEX debacle. He's not mentioned on the official Ketsui website as the producer of the game. I thought maybe 5pb handed him his walking papers. When an employee royally fucks up in a Japanese company, do they generally fire them or just demote them to cleaning toilets or something?

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:50 am

I'm totally pulling this out of my ass but wasn't he the CEO or something? I was under the impression that 5pb was a micro developer, and they're usually owned by the top guys, a la Milestone & GRev.
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Postby Imhotep » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:00 pm

Thank! Great read.
It's interesting to know that they split the design- from programming decisions, I think the games really show.
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Postby JoshF » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:44 pm

It's no joke about how much leeway developers had back then. The best example I can think of is Cosmo Police Galivan, which is "based" on Toei's Uchuu Keiji (Space Shefiff) franchise. In fact the name "Galivan" was made by combining the names of the heroes from two different series', Gyaban/Gavan and Shariban/Sharivan.

Galivan: http://cdecas.free.fr/robots/tokusatsus/images/galivan-armor.jpg
Uchuu Keiji (copy/paste): http://jeux.video.tripod.com/special/trilogie.jpg

Check out the dark, shininess, and lighting when he transforms:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMMeziDOdC8&NR=1
Last edited by JoshF on Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby undamned » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:29 pm

Still need to read this :P You guys might check out Retronauts episode 88 (3/5/2010). Some glaring oversights, but also some stuff I'd never heard.
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Postby EOJ » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:42 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:I'm totally pulling this out of my ass but wasn't he the CEO or something? I was under the impression that 5pb was a micro developer, and they're usually owned by the top guys, a la Milestone & GRev.


He's not listed on their company page:

http://5pb.jp/company/index.html

The company was started by Chiyomaru Shikura, who is their Executive Director.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:59 am

Interesting... will be interesting to see where he winds up.
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Postby Recap » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:10 am

Masaki Sakari was Heavy Smash's designer and also worked on Suiko Enbu. I mentioned it here but I'm not sure if I got it from that particular interview I linked there.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:18 am

Why do I not know what Heavy Smash is? I'm not seeing the interview you linked there. Is it at animate.tv? There's a link to the front page, so anything semi-old will be buried. I would be quite interested to read it though.

Cheers for the info!
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Postby Recap » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:28 am

That's why I couldn't check. It has to be somewhere in Animate's archives, I guess. Talked about arcade porting and whatnot but didn't go into the Dai-Ou-Jou Extra fiasco, from what I recall.

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Postby undamned » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:51 am

Gaijin Punch wrote:Why do I not know what Heavy Smash is?

"Which team get win under the heavy circumstances!"

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:03 am

Recap >> If I can dig up some time, I'll look. Thanks for the heads up! I'm far more interested in his days at DE though. :)

undamned >> that looks dope. Might have to try it out.
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Postby undamned » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:00 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:undamned >> that looks dope. Might have to try it out.

$40 PCB.
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Postby zinger » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:00 pm

Wow, GP, amazing article. Thanks a million!

Macaw wrote:Anyways great read, thanks for the translation. Data East in my opinion has probably the most... charismatic arcade lineup when compared to the other big companies like taito, sega, namco etc. Funny to hear how most games took 3-5 months to create yet Edward Randy took a year, and Dragongun took 2 years!!

Dragongun is my favorite lightgun game ever, and its easy to how how its likely Data Easts largest arcade project they ever did. Its both technically and visually stunning, there are those rendered video backgrounds in the boss fights (still unemulated), and as mentioned in the interview the physical aspects of the cab, which included the dragon shaped guns that talk to you during the game. I'd love to experience the real cab eventually.

Agree on the charisma part. Dragongun's talking guns sound insane. I'd love to delve deep into the lightgun genre, but the games are so damn unsatisfying to play on a computer. I think I've seen the Dragongun go for relatively little here in Sweden though, it'd be cool to have it for a while at least.

Also yes on Heavy Smash, the most excited I've ever gotten from playing a sports game. Incredibly cool and intense.

EDIT:

JoshF wrote:Check out the dark, shininess, and lighting when he transforms:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMMeziDOdC8&NR=1


LOL @ the shot sequences.

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Postby JoshF » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:36 pm

Older tokusatsu shows have a lot of weird film tricks. I remember one scene in Gavan where they play a shot in reverse to make it look like he mounts a horse by doing an upside down flip, lol. Soooooooo much more fun and imaginative than western action/sci-fi shows, which are so afraid of committing the sin of being too unrealistic that the farthest they went creativity-wise was a black guy with a wrinkled forehead (Worf.)

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Postby zinger » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:22 pm

Yeah, it's really different and very cool. This and similar shows must have had a huge impact on many other Japanese developers and the cinematics in their games. Though... Star Trek seems to have so too.

BTW. What headlines did Chelnov make that they talk about in the interview?

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Postby JoshF » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:23 pm

This and similar shows must have had a huge impact on many other Japanese developers and the cinematics in their games.
I could start a thread on it. Rockman has a lot of examples of this, like Blues announcing himself by whistling (inspired by the character Saburo/Hakaider from Jinzou Ningen Kikaider.) In fact I think some of the bosses from the earlier games straight up copy the famous Kamen Rider henshin pose (arm raised diagonally across the face with hand kept flat.)

Also, Chelnov in Japanese is spelled "cherunobu." Add a "ru" on the end of that and you get "Chernobyl" :cry:


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