500 Words about… Sunsoft

Today’s post is about one of the more interesting NES developers who became known for their unique musical output, Sunsoft. There’s also a lot of annotations too, so do read them!

Chances are that, if you owned a NES you’ve come across a Sunsoft game. Like a number of Japanese developers, Sunsoft transitioned from the arcades to the monster that was the Famicom in the mid to late 80’s. One of their first releases for the platorm was the infamous Ikki, a game so terrible that a new word entered the Japanese lexicon thanks to it: Kusoge. Quite literally: “shit game”.[1] This didn’t stop it being a rampant success for them as well as the source of a few remakes and reboots.

Sunsoft’s original games didn’t always hit such lows. Some, like Atlantis no Nazo, never left Japan and is generally considered “not great”. Others, like Master Blaster, became international successes. This varying quality also carried over to the somewhat surprisingly high profile licenced titles they managed to acquire. Their first Batman game in 1989 was a loose tie in with Tim Burton’s reimagining of the Caped Crusader, and along with its NES sequel is still held in high regard. Less timely was Fester’s Quest which appeared before the 1991 Addams Family reboot and is mostly remembered as being stupidly hard.[2]

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