Bonus Feature: Hudson Veteran Talks Game History

In a special Gamasutra bonus feature published today, we delve into the history of Bomberman creator Hudsonsoft with 27-year company veteran, Adventure
In a special Gamasutra bonus feature published today, we delve into the history of Bomberman creator Hudsonsoft with 27-year company veteran, Adventure Island star, and 16 button-presses per second NES champ Takahashi Meijin. Meijin, whose actual name is Toshiyuki Takahashi, has been working at Hudson since 1981, and became famous for being able to hit the NES' controller button 16 times a second (aka 16-Shot), an important tactic for succeeding at shooters -- a genre Hudson was, incidentally, pushing hard. In 1986, Takahashi himself starred in his own game: Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima, or Hudson's Adventure Island in the west, and was present throughout the creation of the PC Engine (aka TurboGrafx-16), which Hudson partnered with NEC Home Electronics to release, as well as the creation of the Bomberman franchise. As for how he got to star in the 1986 NES classic Adventure Island, Meijin explains: "Back in about '85, there was an arcade game called Wonder Boy. So there was an arcade game, Wonder Boy, that was already out. Back then, PC games like Lode Runner and those games were transferring to console games, and this was one of the games that we wanted to do, alongside arcade ports like [Tecmo's] Star Force. Back then, our vice president Mr. Kudo said, "The main character is not looking very strong, and you're very popular right now. Why don't we just put you in there?" That's how it started." In addition, Meijin revealed that Hudson did not completely exit the hardware business until quite recently, noting: "Actually, two or three years ago, we made the chip for a Konami TV game product known as the Poem -- you could use it to do things like play baseball on the TV." Finally, when asked about whether there was any possibility of new hardware, such as PC Engine handhelds or other retro products, Meijin allowed: "There may be a possibility, because there are still two main programmers with the company." The full interview with the Hudsonsoft veteran is now available on Gamasutra, discussing his background, the rise and fall of the PC Engine, and how the company's background in accessible action games without flashy CG graphics has enabled it to rise once again on the Wii -- and bring Takahashi renewed fame.

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