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The Game Master Speaks: Hudson's 'Takahashi-Meijin' Goes Retro
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The Game Master Speaks: Hudson's 'Takahashi-Meijin' Goes Retro

October 2, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

When did Hudson start getting hooked up with NEC? Was it in the PC days, or was it only once the PC Engine started?

TM: In about 1982. Hudson had business relationships with NEC, Sharp, Fujitsu, and Toshiba during the early PC era.

When did the focus start to drive much more toward NEC for Hudson?

TM: Some Nintendo Famicom [NES] components were Sharp products, so they had a pretty close relationship. In about '86 or late '85, we brought the idea for PC Engine/TurboGrafx to Fujitsu and NEC, and NEC was the first company that agreed to do it. That was back in '86 or so.

On the hardware side, Hudson continued to work with NEC, but software-wise branched out a little more, but still wound up working mostly for their own chipset, of course. If you remember this time, why did Hudson become the first third-party for the Famicom? What did you see there that seemed like it was worth making that plunge?

TM: Actually, Nintendo wanted to work with Sharp, once again, on a BASIC system that even children could use to develop games. However, for whatever reason, Sharp didn't want to do it or couldn't do it back then because they were too busy, so Sharp referred Hudson to Nintendo, and they asked Hudson if we wanted to take over that project in around 1983.

Back then, those PC BASIC games -- even good ones -- were probably only selling 10,000 copies, but the Family Computer [NES] had the potential to sell 200,000 or 300,000 copies of a game of that quality. Hudson's founder Hiroshi Kudo saw the opportunity there, and we became the first third party to develop games for them.

With Adventure Island, was that devised as a marketing tie-in? It was really putting your name out there and putting you in the game. Or was that designed as a game first, and then your name was assigned to it? How did that work?

TM: 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.

So you being put forth as a publicist guy, that was before all the Adventure Island stuff?

TM: I debuted as Meijin in 1985 in [manga anthology magazine] CoroCoro Comic. The TV show was in 1986. Yeah, my fame was kind of about the same time. I was getting recognition around that time, as Wonder Boy was coming out.

Did you develop the 16Shot technique before or after joining Hudson? Was that part of the marketing thing, or was that something you already happened to be able to do?

TM: It was late '85.

The Caravan tournament stuff that was done... can you give me some insight into how it was developed and who would be making the specific games for the Caravan? How did you hook up with Naxat for a lot of those, and that kind of thing?

TM: Here's the beginning of the Hudson Caravan: back in '85, February-ish, it wasn't called the Caravan, but it was pretty much the first event. It was the first Famicom event in Japan, and the game was Championship Lode Runner.

Unexpectedly, about a thousand kids showed up, so afterwards, when we were having a little party, we were all like, "Hey, this would be fun if we do it all over the country!" That's how it started, as a tournament that would travel all around the country. That year, our shooting game Star Force was going to be released in May or June, so we decided to use that as a Caravan title.

You have talked about the specifics of the Caravan shooting titles. Can you get into how it was decided what the specifics should be, like the two minute trial and that sort of thing?

TM: The people who made those rules in the game... there were two parties. One is Hudson, obviously -- myself and my boss, back then. There's another party -- a kid's magazine called CoroCoro Comic. Are you familiar with that It's still around. It's a kid's comic. There were a couple of editors from there. They joined, and together we put on the show.

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