Koichi Nakamura

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Koichi Nakamura (中村 光一, Nakamura Kōichi, born August 15, 1964) is a Japanese video game designer. A programming prodigy, Nakamura gained fame while still in high school; in 1982, he entered Enix's national programming contest and claimed first place with his entry, Door Door. In 1984, he founded the video game company Chunsoft, where he remains its president.


Amateur projects[edit]

Nakamura was a member of the math club at Marugame High School in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. There he ported the video game Galaxy Wars to the BASIC programming language on a Tandy TRS-80, among other projects.

In order to play games such as Galaxian that were ported to the NEC PC-8001 by Geimu Kyoujin from I/O magazine, Nakamura bought a PC-8001 using money he'd saved up by delivering newspapers. It was on that PC-8001 that he developed his program submissions. He submitted a machine code input tool to I/O magazine, which was published in the February 1981 issue as his debut publication, earning him ¥20,000 for his work.

From that experience, spring break of his first year in high school found Nakamura porting the arcade game Space Panic as ALIEN Part II, published in the May 1981 issue. The program was released on cassette tape and brought in royalty income of ¥200,000. Then in the January 1982 issue, Scramble (later renamed to Attacker due to legal issues) was also released on cassette, earning royalties of ¥1 million. Furthermore, the port of River Patrol called River Rescue was published in the Maikon Game Book 4 special edition of I/O, bringing Nakamura's total high school earnings from submissions to I/O to over ¥2 million.[1] Due to his activities with I/O, he became preeminent among young PC enthusiasts.[2]

With his royalty earnings, Nakamura purchased a PC-8801 and decided to become a professional video game developer, entering the 1st Annual Hobby Program Contest held by Enix during his 3rd year of high school in 1982. Submitting his first original game, Door Door, Nakamura was selected as the runner-up prize winner for programming excellence, and received ¥500,000 in prize money.[3]


In 1983, Nakamura moved to Tokyo and entered the University of Electro-Communications. Porting his prize-winning Door Door to various PC platforms, his annual royalties as a university student exceeded ¥10 million.[4] After that, Nakamura released his 2nd PC game Newtron and founded the 5-person-strong Chunsoft on April 9, 1984, during spring break of his 2nd year of university. He started to work out of a room in a condominium in Chōfu, Tokyo. The first Chunsoft release was the 1985 PC-6001 version of Door Door mkII. Following that, joining Enix on the Famicom, Chunsoft began development on home video game consoles.[5] While the PC version had sold 80,000 copies, the Famicom version recorded sales of 200,000 copies, leading subsequent development to focus on home consoles. From that, fellow Enix program contest winner Yuji Horii joined Nakamura in collaborating on the Famicom port of The Portopia Serial Murder Case.

At the time, Nakamura and Horii were fans of the computer role-playing games Wizardry and Ultima, and so set out to develop a full-blown Famicom RPG called Dragon Quest.[6][7] Prior to its release, Nakamura also cited Masanobu Endō, creator of action role-playing game The Tower of Druaga, as his favorite game designer.[8] Nakamura continued development on the Dragon Quest series through to Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, before breaking away from Enix products.


Otogirisō marked Chunsoft's debut brand. Following that, successive genre-trailblazing titles Torneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon, Kamaitachi no Yoru, and Shiren the Wanderer established the company's good reputation. Nakamura himself had to move away from programming in order to run the company.[9]

For a time, the company's products were considered mediocre, but 3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei: Densetsu no Kyoudan ni Tate! was a hit that showed signs of recovery. Recently, Chunsoft has tied up with Sega's home video game business. Nakamura served as producer for the Wii game 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de.

According to an interview on TV Tokyo's World Business Satellite in 2006, Nakamura had purchased an Australian-made cruiser for ¥120 million.[citation needed]

Game credits[edit]


  1. ^ Eikyuu Hozon-ban Minna ga Kore de Moeta! NEC 8-bit Personal Computer PC-8001/6001, 2005, ASCII, pp.62-65 interview w/ Nakamura
  2. ^ Game Maestro, Vol. 1: Producer/Director Edition (1) by Hidekuni Shida, 2000, p.138 interview w/ Yuji Horii
  3. ^ Eikyuu Hozon-ban Minna ga Kore de Moeta! NEC 8-bit Personal Computer PC-8001/6001, 2005, ASCII, p.65
  4. ^ Eikyuu Hozon-ban Minna ga Kore de Moeta! NEC 8-bit Personal Computer PC-8001/6001, 2005, ASCII, p.66
  5. ^ Terebi Geemu no Kamigami: RPG wo Tsukutta Otoko-tachi no Risou to Yume by Yutaka Tama, 1994, Koei, pp.102-104
  6. ^ Geemu Ookoku Nippon: Kamigami no Koubou, 2000, Seishun Publishing, pp.102-104
  7. ^ Game Maestro, Vol. 2: Producer/Director Edition (2) by Hidekuni Shida, 2000, p.16 interview w/ Koichi Nakamura
  8. ^ "59 Developers, 20 Questions: 1985 Interview Special". Beep. October 1985.
  9. ^ Game Maestro, Vol. 2: Producer/Director Edition (2) by Hidekuni Shida, 2000, p.24

External links[edit]