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marurun
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Namco and the PC Engine

by marurun Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:19 pm

So I've been going over various lists and information and it looks like Namco released 25 games for the PC Engine between early 1988 and mid 1992. But every single one of those games was on HuCard formate. Namco release no CD games at all. The CD-ROM medium didn't overtake HuCards immediately, but the Duo and the debut of Super System CD-ROM games was in September of 1991, and by that time it was clear the Super CD format was the future of the platform. Namco had more than enough time to commit. So it makes me wonder why they were still releasing HuCards as late as mid-1992 and hadn't taken any even exploratory steps into CD territory.

I know part of Namco's early commitment to the PC Engine was a result of their falling out with Nintendo in Japan, a falling out that also resulted in strong support for Sega, despite the Mega Drive's struggles to capture market share and interest in Japan. I guess Namco saw the western market as compelling enough that Sega would be their US partner and NEC/Hudson would be their Japanese partner. There were relatively few Namco games on the Super Nintendo, as Namco was still somewhat reluctant after Nintendo's bad behavior.

But it's also odd what titles the PC Engine got and didn't get. I'm guessing Rolling Thunder was more popular in the US, because by all rights the PC Engine should have had a fan-damn-tastic port of it. Same for the sequels to Splatterhouse. It would have been fantastic to have had a CD-based Namco presence on the PC Engine. A Super CD Splatterhouse could have been easily competitive with 2 or 3 on the Genesis.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by Tanooki Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:52 pm

Can't speak to Namco and their grudge behavior if it went that far other than sheer spite if you're right. I'd think the CD stuff maybe they just weren't on board with. Looking at the games they did commit to with them all fitting on your usual smaller sized HuCards as they were maybe they felt no need to push it. Thinking about their stuff even when they did commit to CD on the PS1 format the earlier stuff was still more of their 2D based arcade stuffs like the museum packages. Maybe they didn't see a reason to waste time on a format like that when they didn't care about foo foo FMV and rolling CD audio sound tracks when chiptune and arcade visuals were there bread and butter for profit.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by marurun Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:03 pm

Namco was pretty aggressive with their custom audio processors in the arcades, at least once they hit the 90s.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by Gunstar Green Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:57 pm

Just baseless theorizing here but Namco's beef with Nintendo came largely from Nintendo changing their policy on cartridge manufacturing, or rather not extending that policy past the Famicom. Namco was one of the earliest developers to jump on to the Famicom and were given special privileges as a result, namely the ability to control their own manufacturing and publish as many games as they wanted in Japan. Nintendo did not extend this deal to the NES obviously, or the later SNES and Nakamura was incensed by what he perceived as monopolistic practices.

Hudson/NEC and Sega were happy to give Namco what they wanted (look at the back of most if not all Namco cartridges for Genesis and you'll see the Namco logo instead). Also they certainly did target the US market. Splatterhouse 3 and Rolling Thunder 3 are North American exclusives even.

So it's possible it might have just been as simple as Namco didn't manufacture CDs?
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by marurun Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:55 pm

Yeah, that was the falling out I was referring to.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by SpikeSlania Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:56 pm

Didn't also help that Namco and Tengen were closely related. That added to the beef. Otherwise I think Namco probably just stuck to the carts to keep ports simple between the PC Engine and Mega Drive. That or they didn't think CDs were the future and just stuck to what they knew sold. Which in their defense the majority of the player base didn't buy the cd addons.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by marurun Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:00 pm

SpikeSlania wrote:Which in their defense the majority of the player base didn't buy the cd addons.


Not at all true with the PC Engine. It successfully transitioned to a primarily CD-based console after only a few years. It sold more than enough units to support rather healthy software sales in Japan.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by pierrot Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:57 pm

marurun wrote:
SpikeSlania wrote:Which in their defense the majority of the player base didn't buy the cd addons.


Not at all true with the PC Engine. It successfully transitioned to a primarily CD-based console after only a few years. It sold more than enough units to support rather healthy software sales in Japan.

I'd have to assume it was just a business decision (with all the tense, awkward, emotion of a high school couple). By '92, the SFC was a juggernaut, ruling Japan with an iron fist. NEC really had no market outside of Japan, either. At least for the Genesis, there was the Western markets, and they still released some things for the SNES/SFC along the way. Other than those years where NEC was really competitive with Nintendo, Namco's console output was fairly limited, until they fell in line with Sony.

The Dreamcast, and the N64 seem like they were treated fairly similarly, with Namco's support of the consoles all but drying up once it was apparent that they wouldn't be taking the reins out of Sony's hands.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by marurun Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:32 am

pierrot wrote:I'd have to assume it was just a business decision (with all the tense, awkward, emotion of a high school couple). By '92, the SFC was a juggernaut, ruling Japan with an iron fist. NEC really had no market outside of Japan, either. At least for the Genesis, there was the Western markets, and they still released some things for the SNES/SFC along the way. Other than those years where NEC was really competitive with Nintendo, Namco's console output was fairly limited, until they fell in line with Sony.

The Dreamcast, and the N64 seem like they were treated fairly similarly, with Namco's support of the consoles all but drying up once it was apparent that they wouldn't be taking the reins out of Sony's hands.


Yeah, this does appear to be Namco's pattern. I'm not surprised they left the platform in '92, I'm just surprised they had some releases in '92 and made it that whole way without releasing a single CD title. Although, looking carefully, even their SFC/SNES output wasn't massive. So it's not like they abandoned the PCE for the SFC. It's probably more that after their experience with Nintendo on the Famicom they were more reserved in the console space. Maybe they didn't want a repeat of being dumped as a premier partner until Sony finally wooed them. Sony probably cut them a great deal, especially considering Sony underpinned a ton of their arcade titles once they made the jump.
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Re: Namco and the PC Engine

by SpikeSlania Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:03 pm

Atleast in 94 they released Pac-Man 2: The New Adventure!
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