Sunsoft

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To be distinguished from the former SunSoft division of Sun Microsystems.
Sunsoft
サンソフト
Type Public (JASDAQ: 6736)
Industry Video game
Founded April 16, 1971
Headquarters Kōnan, Aichi, Japan
Products List of games released by Sunsoft
Website http://www.sunsoftgames.com

Sunsoft (サンソフト San sofuto?) is a Japanese video game developer founded on April 16, 1971 as a division of Sun Corporation, itself a division of Sun Electronics, or Sun Denshi Corporation (サン電子株式会社 San Denshi kabushikigaisha?) in Japan (its U.S. subsidiary operated under the name Sunsoft of America, though games they published showed a logo that read only SUNSOFT).

History[edit]

Sunsoft's history in video games began in arcades with two video games released in 1978: Block Challenger and Block Perfect. They later had several arcade hits in the early 1980s such as Arabian, Ikki and Kangaroo. In the latter half of the 1980s Sunsoft began developing original games and technology for the home video game console market, with emphasis mostly on the NES. Sunsoft had gone international at that time, and it had the publishing might to secure major licenses of the day (such as Batman and The Addams Family).

Outside Japan, the definite golden era for the company was the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), on which their games were widely considered state of the art in graphical and aural prowess. Sunsoft was slow to transition to 16-bit consoles, however, releasing several NES and Famicom titles that went unnoticed at launch, and have only been rediscovered by enthusiasts recently, such as: Ufouria (Hebereke), Mr. Gimmick (Gimmick!), and Journey to Silius (Raf World). Additionally, a number of Sega games, including Fantasy Zone, Fantasy Zone II and After Burner, have been ported for Nintendo consoles by Sunsoft. The games Sunsoft produced in the 16-bit era were no longer as polished or cutting-edge, the licenses were less prominent, and no new hit games appeared. Finally, in 1995, they heavily restructured in the face of bankruptcy, eventually resurfacing with a scant number of video games for the PlayStation such as Monster Seed and games for the Game Boy Color. From 1994 to 1998, Sunsoft attempted the fighting game craze by releasing four fighting games: Sugoi Hebereke for the Super Famicom (1994), Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors for the Neo Geo (1995), Waku Waku 7 for the Neo Geo (1996), and finally, Astra Super Stars for Sega ST-V-based arcades (1998).

Former Sunsoft producer and director René Boutin spoke on Sunsoft's problems before he left the company. Boutin explained in an interview that "it was around this time our Director of Development, David Siller, suddenly announced he was leaving to work for Universal Interactive. Then a short time later, in February 1995, the entire staff was called in for a meeting where Sunsoft’s president announced that the company was shutting down effective immediately. They kept on a skeleton crew of four or five people to wrap up operations and facilitate transfer of IP over to Acclaim, but that was it for production, QA, and marketing. By this time, Looney Tunes B-Ball was in QA at Nintendo and we had just gotten Speedy Gonzales to beta, so it was about to go as well. It turned out that Sun Corporation had lost millions on some golf course investment in Palm Springs and it cost us all our jobs." [1]

Prior to its re-emergence in the domestic USA, the last games released and published by this company state-side were Eternal Eyes, Blaster Master: Blasting Again, Blaster Master: Enemy Below, and Power Quest. Citing several factors, like yet-another "next generation" console transition, and high overhead production costs, Sunsoft closed its offices in America and Europe, and initiated a re-organization. Sunsoft has continued to operate out of its corporate headquarters in Japan, developing and publishing role-playing video games, pachinko games and mahjong games, and mobile platform titles in partnership with other companies such as NTT DoCoMo and Yahoo!.

In the 1990s, Sunsoft joined forces with Acclaim Entertainment to handle ad sales rights to Sunsoft's video games for game consoles.

On September 14, 2006, Nintendo announced that the developer was a partner on the Wii's Virtual Console.[2] Although this relationship with Nintendo took more than three years to release any games, on December 4, 2009, Sunsoft announced[3] that they were partnering with GaijinWorks to bring Blaster Master to Virtual Console that month for 500 Wii Points. Also as of December 10, 2009, the company has also acquired Telenet Japan's entire game library.[4] On February 6, 2010, Sunsoft announced the release of Blaster Master: Overdrive for WiiWare, 2 days prior to its release. Afterwards, Sunsoft also released Aero the Acro-Bat, Aero the Acro-Bat 2, and Ufouria (Hebereke) on Virtual Console.

Products[edit]

For a list of video games released by Sunsoft, see List of games released by Sunsoft.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]