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Any Real History? - Data East


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Been getting back into the NES, probably more so than I ever have in my life, even compared to when I was a kid. I've been quickly realizing that the couple of Data East games I had as a kid, weren't the only fantastic titles made by the developer. In fact, I'd say they are definitely one of the top five NES devs.

 

That being said, by the early 1990's, according to Wikipedia, they went bankrupt. Apparently, they tried desperately to get enough money to get back into the market of making games, and never did.

 

What Wiki doesn't tell us is why? I can't understand how a developer with SO many hits in just a few years, combined with stellar pinball machine sales, could go south so quickly.

 

Does anyone have any extended information as to what happened to this amazing developer?

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Just a guess: they failed to make the jump to more advanced technology, while some of their competition figured it out. I think of them as an 80's maker of arcade games and console/computer ports of them. When I hear Data East, this is what comes to mind:

Burgertime

Bump N Jump

Karnov

Robocop

Rastan?

Kung Fu Master or similar?

In other words, from where I sit, old but not necessarily iconic stuff. I know there's more, especially licensed things.

 

Also: Star Wars Pinball (the first one, I think -- wish that would come back in some form)

 

You've got me curious about their output so I will look for a full game list now. I'll bet it's huge, until SNES time or thereabouts.

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I simply thought all the games were written on the east coast.

 

It's funny how the culture back then used to hide Japanese origin of things like certain cartoons. I used to think that Pole Position, Dig-Dug, and Xevious were Atari games. Someone on the board recently posted news of "Atari" games going to Xbone/ps4. They were Namco games.

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So I looked into it more, and while I can't find any more specific history, it seems they made a number of Genesis and Suoer Nintendo games. So the theory they couldn't make it to 16 bits I guess is out. Some being arcade ports and the others being this caveman themed game. Joe and something or other. Maybe the games just didn't sell? All their games on the nes were so imaginative, and yet it seems like they stuck to just a couple series in the 16 bit days. Their arcade games of the time were really innovative, but I'm assuming it wasn't enough for them to offset poor console sales.

 

It's a shame. They seem like such a competent developer. I like their games more than other developer's titles for the nes, and many of those devs are still around. Sad.

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It's funny how the culture back then used to hide Japanese origin of things like certain cartoons. I used to think that Pole Position, Dig-Dug, and Xevious were Atari games. Someone on the board recently posted news of "Atari" games going to Xbone/ps4. They were Namco games.

 

Yeah, the Japanese gaming companies went out of their way to "Americanize" their games for the Western audience and yet it was those games (especially on the Nintendo) that introduced Japanese culture to younger gamers.

 

As for Data East, I've always thought of them as makers of arcade games up until the NeoGeo era. Didn't really think of their home ports really... Game Sack has a video on the companie's history if you can stomach the famboy humor.

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I know the pinball had to do very well to pay for the licensing fees for Back to the Future, Star Wars, Batman, Simpsons, Guns & Roses to name a few.

 

I know Sega bought the pinball division around '95ish(?); not sure what happened there.

 

Data East was always synonymous to me with this release

1181242123382.jpg

Edited by schuwalker
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  • 5 weeks later...

Data East never had problems with the 16bit age as previously thought in this thread. Their Mega Drive and Super Famicom output was rock solid with titles such as Crude Busters (two crude dudes), Joe and Mac, Side Pocket and many more including Overdrive on the PC Engine. It was the 32bit age which saw Data East struggle. They had a few okay 1 on 1 fighters in the Arcade and Saturn. The Magic Drop series for Neo Geo and Saturn as well as others. Pretty good games but they just didn't sell enough to keep Data East afloat.

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I know the pinball had to do very well to pay for the licensing fees for Back to the Future, Star Wars, Batman, Simpsons, Guns & Roses to name a few.

 

I know Sega bought the pinball division around '95ish(?); not sure what happened there.

 

Data East was always synonymous to me with this release

1181242123382.jpg

I think I saw that game in the movie Blood Sport. :)

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Data East never had problems with the 16bit age as previously thought in this thread. Their Mega Drive and Super Famicom output was rock solid with titles such as Crude Busters (two crude dudes), Joe and Mac, Side Pocket and many more including Overdrive on the PC Engine. It was the 32bit age which saw Data East struggle. They had a few okay 1 on 1 fighters in the Arcade and Saturn. The Magic Drop series for Neo Geo and Saturn as well as others. Pretty good games but they just didn't sell enough to keep Data East afloat.

 

Yep, this sums it up best. They were able to make it to the 32-bit gen, but they weren't able to hold on and pretty much fell into obscurity. It didn't help that their fighting game output in the mid '90s wasn't that hot. A damn shame, as they have a lush history of great arcade games (Joe & Mac and Two Crude Dudes are some of my favorites).

 

Data East's pinball division was solid, but being located and operated in the USA, I have a tendency of not associating them with the Japanese Data East and basically treat them as two separate companies. They seemed to operate on their own accord and when they were bought out by Sega not much changed. Stern Pinball today is basically the Data East/Sega pinball division from the late '80s and '90s, and they still own the licenses to all of the Data East and Sega Pinball catalog today.

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Data East never had problems with the 16bit age as previously thought in this thread. Their Mega Drive and Super Famicom output was rock solid with titles such as Crude Busters (two crude dudes), Joe and Mac, Side Pocket and many more including Overdrive on the PC Engine. It was the 32bit age which saw Data East struggle. They had a few okay 1 on 1 fighters in the Arcade and Saturn. The Magic Drop series for Neo Geo and Saturn as well as others. Pretty good games but they just didn't sell enough to keep Data East afloat.

 

Hi Yakumo,

 

I strongly agree on what you mention on Data East. Notably in the 16-bit era with the Neo-Geo.

 

Wind Jammers

Street Hoop

Spinmaster

Karnov's Revenge

The Magical Drop Series

 

Some outstanding titles from them that really were convincing to have in your collection. Shame what happen to them in the later years. But they certainly left their mark in video game history no doubt! :)

 

Anthony...

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Hi Yakumo,

 

I strongly agree on what you mention on Data East. Notably in the 16-bit era with the Neo-Geo.

 

Wind Jammers

Street Hoop

Spinmaster

Karnov's Revenge

The Magical Drop Series

 

Some outstanding titles from them that really were convincing to have in your collection. Shame what happen to them in the later years. But they certainly left their mark in video game history no doubt! :)

 

Anthony...

Yep, we'll always remember Data East. They had many great games to their name.

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