The Dramatic fall of Compile and its presiden - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


Original message (2274 Views )

Professor
4664th Post



user profileedit/delete message

MMCafe Owner


"The Dramatic fall of Compile and its presiden" , posted Fri 23 Oct 16:45:post reply

Who knew Puyopuyo's reason of success was inspired by Street Fighter?

A Japanese TV show that invites big names who've disappeared from the public had an episode featuring the president of Compile, Masamitsu Niitani. It turns out that he's been living in poverty since the fall of his company, but it's quite interesting to hear how his famous puzzle game PuyoPuyo came about. The show can be watched from the URL below for anyone interested (warning: it's all in Jp). On a side note, this episode has 3-4 segments and also invites the main actor for the TV version of the 1980s manga Bebop Highschool to talk about his own post-career as well.

http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/official/iwantoitei/

Here's a rundown-

- Tetris sold 40 million copies on the Gameboy. Seeing its success, Niitani wanted to make money off a similar game with his newly launched company, Compile
- One of his workers came up with an idea where domino pieces would fall from the top of the screen, and when four of a kind connected it would disappear. It was to become what we now know as Puyopuyo
- Niitani realized it would play identical to Nintedo's Dr.Mario but decided to greenlight development anyway because it would sell
- He didn't want Nintendo to accuse his company of copying, so he decided to release it on Nintendo's platform thinking that they wouldn't suspect an identical game to be sold under their own nose.
- Furthermore, he chose to release it on the Famicom's disk system because the peripheral was a commercial failure for Nintendo and they were desperate to get games. His presentation/project was accepted.
- Looking back, Niitani points Puyopuyo's success to Street Fighter 2. The fighting game was really popular at the time and there were a lot of spectators crowding around the machines all the time at the arcades. The arcade version of Tetris on the other hand never had a crowd despite its popularity. Realizing that it was the graphics that gathered the spectators, Niitani ordered the game to have a lot of graphics, like a character constantly dancing in midscreen and cut-in graphics coming out whenever a player does a cool combo.
- The versus aspect of the game and combos is another thing that wasn't in Dr.Mario and certainly contributed to Puyopuyo's popularity.
- The Famicom version sold 1.8 million (which was HUGE) and the series sold a total of over 10 million.
- At its peak, Compile made 700 million yen/year in sales (approx $58million) of which 90% was from Puyopuyo. Niitani's monthly salary was more than what an average salary worker would make in a year.
- Niitani wanted to grow his company into one of the top game makers in Japan and at its peak Compile had around 400 employees.
- However things turned sour in 1998. Puyopuyo sequels were the only games selling for Compile and that wasn't enough. The company fell short on cash with just salary payments alone.
- To make up for payment that year, Niitani pawned the rights to Puyopuyo to a bigger game company (Sega) with plans to repay them and get back the rights when his company returned to profit.
- Compile never made a comeback. The company didn't come up with any big hits and they eventually closed down with a 700 million yen debt.
- Niitani was borrowing that 700 million yen under his own name so he ended up having to declare bankruptsy both for Compile and himself at the same time.
- He now takes on part time jobs and lives in a 50K yen/month ($400) apartment room in Chiba prefecture. He still programs games on a PC, hoping that one day he'll come up with another big hit like Puyopuyo. His latest game is named NyokiNyoki.





[this message was edited by Professor on Sat 24 Oct 00:55]

Replies:

nobinobita
1477th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Red Carpet Executive Member




"Re(1):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Fri 23 Oct 19:49post reply

quote:
Who knew Puyopuyo's reason of success was inspired by Street Fighter?

A Japanese TV show that invites big names who've disappeared from the public recently had an episode featuring the president of Compile, Masamitsu Niitani. It turns out that he's been living in poverty since the fall of his company, but it's quite interesting to hear how his famous puzzle game PuyoPuyo came about. The show can be watched from the URL below for anyone interested (warning: it's all in Jp). On a side note, this episode also invites the main actor for the TV version of the 1980s manga Bebop Highschool

http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/official/iwantoitei/

Here's a rundown-

- Tetris sold 40 million copies on the Gameboy. Seeing its success, Niitani wanted to make money off a similar game with his newly launched company, Compile
- One of his workers came up with a game where domino pieces would fall from the top of the screen, and when four of a kind connected it would disappear. It was to become what we now know as Puyopuyo
- Niitani realized it would play identical to Nintedo's Dr.Mario but decided to greenlight development anyway because it would sell
- He didn't want Nintendo to accuse his company of copying, so he decided to release it on the company's platform thinking that they wouldn't suspect an identical game to be sold under their own nose.
- Furthermore, he chose to release it on the Famicom's disk system because the

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


This is fascinating and heartbreaking.

About two years ago I attended a mobile app conference in San Francisco, where one of the speakers was a supposed leading expert on puzzle games. He had never played or even heard of Puyo Puyo :P






www.art-eater.com

neo0r0chiaku
81th Post



user profileedit/delete message

PSN: n/a
XBL: IAMDC1
Wii: n/a

Occasional Customer

"Re(1):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Fri 23 Oct 21:19post reply

quote:
Who knew Puyopuyo's reason of success was inspired by Street Fighter?

A Japanese TV show that invites big names who've disappeared from the public recently had an episode featuring the president of Compile, Masamitsu Niitani. It turns out that he's been living in poverty since the fall of his company, but it's quite interesting to hear how his famous puzzle game PuyoPuyo came about. The show can be watched from the URL below for anyone interested (warning: it's all in Jp). On a side note, this episode also invites the main actor for the TV version of the 1980s manga Bebop Highschool

http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/official/iwantoitei/

Here's a rundown-

- Tetris sold 40 million copies on the Gameboy. Seeing its success, Niitani wanted to make money off a similar game with his newly launched company, Compile
- One of his workers came up with a game where domino pieces would fall from the top of the screen, and when four of a kind connected it would disappear. It was to become what we now know as Puyopuyo
- Niitani realized it would play identical to Nintedo's Dr.Mario but decided to greenlight development anyway because it would sell
- He didn't want Nintendo to accuse his company of copying, so he decided to release it on the company's platform thinking that they wouldn't suspect an identical game to be sold under their own nose.
- Furthermore, he chose to release it on the Famicom's disk system because the

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Wow, amazing stuff! To bad nowadays, consumers (not gamers) think puzzle games like candy crush and others are real video games and are the best in the business. Its hard now to make a real good puzzle game. Hopefully, he can come up with the next big hit!





Long Live!

Ishmael
5295th Post



user profileedit/delete message

PSN: Ishmael26b
XBL: n/a
Wii: n/a

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(2):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Fri 23 Oct 23:49post reply

Thanks for the link! Compile is very much the definition of a one hit wonder. It's a bit scary to realize how precarious the fortunes of a game company are. If you have a hit you're golden for the moment but to stick around you have to hit that latest trend again and again and again. Considering how stacked the odds are it's amazing that any company manages to survive for more than a few years.





Youloute
13th Post



user profileedit/delete message

New Customer

"Re(3):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 00:27:post reply

To be honest, I think Compile made some really bad moves during the 32bit era. They never shifted from 2D to 3D at a time when 3D was the only viable option and the company had a bad habit of developing games for dead platforms: Madō Monogatari (the last Japanese Mega Drive game), Shadowrun (the last Mega-CD game) -these 2 games were delayed for months and are the only games released in 1996 on their respective machine- and a couple of shmups such as Rude Breaker (PC-98 - 1996) and Zanac X Zanac (The PS1 was still alive in 2001 but this is not exactly the kind of game you develop when you're in need of money and have hundreds of employees).

IIRC, Puyo Puyo creator Kazunari Yonemitsu gave an interview to a French magazine a few years ago in which he explains that he started working on Puyo Puyo sometimes around 1988, long before the release of both Tetris Game Boy and Dr Mario. I don't remember the details but I was under the impression that his boss wasn't his biggest supporter during the development of the game, even after it was decided that the project would not be a simple mini game featured in the Disk Station series.
Yonemitsu left the company a few months after the release of the game.





[this message was edited by Youloute on Sat 24 Oct 00:47]

Toxico
5977th Post



user profileedit/delete message

PSN: Toxic-Baron
XBL: n/a
Wii: n/a

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(2):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 01:16post reply

quote:

- He now takes on part time jobs and lives in a 50K yen/month ($400) apartment room in Chiba prefecture. He still programs games on a PC, hoping that one day he'll come up with another big hit like Puyopuyo. His latest game is named NyokiNyoki.



Sounds like he should have a drink with Kamitani. Let's add Exodus to the mix; having him pointing out that they should hire someone else for level design






さっきの感じならあと100発はもつ‥‥と思うぜ
Update 24 as of 03/04/12. // 104 personajes traducidos

Now sponsoring : video game analogies (ES)
Last update : Chapter 25 as of 31/08/12

Spoon
3102th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(3):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 02:20post reply

How tragic!

But for me, the Compile game that will always be dearest is not PuyoPuyo but Zanac. The funniest thing is that today, Zanac would probably be categorized as "roguelike".





Lord SNK
88th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Occasional Customer

"Re(4):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 03:06post reply

I feel really ignorant, for me the first Puyo Puyo I heard of was on Genesis / MegaDrive.
I didn't know there was an earlier game on Famicom.
Was it ever translated and distributed outside of Japan?





Spoon
3103th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(5):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 03:17post reply

quote:
I feel really ignorant, for me the first Puyo Puyo I heard of was on Genesis / MegaDrive.
I didn't know there was an earlier game on Famicom.
Was it ever translated and distributed outside of Japan?



The Famicom one definitely not, since no equivalent to the Famicom Disk System was released outside of Asia.





Maou
2943th Post



user profileedit/delete message

PSN: zonepharaoh
XBL: n/a
Wii: n/a

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(5):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 03:30post reply

quote:
I feel really ignorant, for me the first Puyo Puyo I heard of was on Genesis / MegaDrive.
I didn't know there was an earlier game on Famicom.
Was it ever translated and distributed outside of Japan?

The one we played like mad was 2, I think, on Super Famicom. A particularly wonderous Puyo Puyo reunion occurred when we were in the US and a friend found a game called Kirby's Avalanche, which seemed oddly familiar--naturally, since it was a disguised re-skin of Puyo Puyo. The next discovery was that if you cut away the plastic cart so that the American version's chip fit in the SFC, then attached strings to it so that we could remove it (lest we only be able to play Puyo Puyo FOREVER...not necessarily a bad thing), you could play it happily.

Devastating story about Compile, though. I can't believe no one is employing the prez based on legacy alone. If Inafune can coast by based on a mere partial credit in Rockman, this guy should be rolling in dough for bringing life to the dreary world of Tetris.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

Spoon
3104th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(6):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 03:44post reply

quote:
If Inafune can coast by based on a mere partial credit in Rockman, this guy should be rolling in dough for bringing life to the dreary world of Tetris.



Well, another way to look at it is that the guy who actually did make the Puyo Puyo became one of the founders of STING, which always surprises me in its age (STING released its first game in like... 1991?)! And though I don't keep up with STING, he's probably still there, still making extremely weird RPG hybrids.

quote:
Zanac X Zanac


I love this game with all my Compile heart. But it was not a blockbuster, and certainly couldn't light up the charts against competition like R-Type Delta and Einhander. Trading on Zanac nostalgia alone is probably one of the more bizarre notions they could've entertained, because I sure don't remember Zanac being a seminal property in spite of its quality.

Of course, today Zanac would probably be lauded as a genius piece of design (as it should be!).





Mosquiton
2084th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(7):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Sat 24 Oct 14:42:post reply

quote:
If Inafune can coast by based on a mere partial credit in Rockman, this guy should be rolling in dough for bringing life to the dreary world of Tetris.


Well, another way to look at it is that the guy who actually did make the Puyo Puyo became one of the founders of STING, which always surprises me in its age (STING released its first game in like... 1991?)! And though I don't keep up with STING, he's probably still there, still making extremely weird RPG hybrids.



I am going to go ahead and back you up on the weirdness of Sting games, my friend. You have triggered a strange line of retrospective thought for me just now. Looking back at their catalogue I remember that I played a good chunk of Riviera, Yggdra Union, and Knights in the Nightmare. I may have even beaten one of them?

No... upon further reflection I don't actually think I did. And I also started but did not finish Baroque (it's too goddamn bad because the goddamn English localization was goddamn good enough to make me goddamn laugh, goddamnit). I consider myself a pretty adaptable and open-minded player, and sometimes I even can appreciate a little bit of complexity for (the beauty of) complexity's sake, but man. I would venture to generalize that Sting games are not easy to finish. (Wait am I sure I didn't finish Riviera? Yeah, I'm pretty sure I did not.)

I don't think I could really coherently describe how these games really work or anything at all about the plot before consulting an FAQ... in some cases I don't think watching a video would be enough due to the insane amount of information and effects that fly around the screen in some of these games. To be fair, this inability to articulate the weirdness is probably at least partly due to the fact that I played most of these games 5-10 years ago, but man. These games are odd.

I do have a memories of vaguely enjoying these games, but I don't know if I could describe the process as "having fun". I kind of want to say that playing Sting games is like swimming through a block of Jello that's filled with silverware, pine cones, and shiny foreign coins while wearing full plate armor and tracking the calories burned on a calculator. At least they gave me thirteen different categories of weapons to hack through it! All I have to do is build enough TP during battle to activate that stone altar during LOOK phase, and then fill my zeta-gauge to use my special attack. I just hope my GEN stat is high enough when compared to the enemies ORF stat to ensure hybrid ignition!* What I'm trying to say is... these guys make some esoteric stuff!

Now, this is not an insult, but I wonder why these guys haven't made any mobile games? They are all about making a ton of arcane gauges/triggers/stats/characters/bullets/etc. fit onto a single screen. Plus I imagine they could sell currency to players for fusing souls, synthesizing equipment, cross-hybridizing skills, and err... maybe a secondary currency for the "combine fractured fate" (CFF)** system. Or something! Of course I would imagine the type of player that would open their wallet to this type of game and transaction would be doubly rare, so perhaps the answer to that one is obvious. Or, perhaps their noble spirits simply do not allow them to stoop to mobile development.

It also looks like they were also involved with Generation of Chaos 6... okay the other games weren't exactly standard fare but, as expected, this game looks weird as shit. But yeah, keep doing your crazy thing guys!

One more thing, I admit that I never played Treasure Hunter G for more than 10 minutes on an emulator... which is too bad, because I had heard good things. I have to suspect that one isn't as weird as the rest of their oeuvre? I guess the Evolution games (which I just heard were bad) would also be considered "less weird"?


* exact terms may not be accurate
** this system definitely does not exist... yet





/ / /

[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Sat 24 Oct 14:45]

IkariDC
794th Post



user profileedit/delete message

PSN: Ikari_DC
XBL: IkariDC
Wii: Toolazytolookitup

Red Carpet Regular Member+



"Re(8):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Mon 26 Oct 16:14post reply

This is very interesting! Thanks Prof. and Youloute for the information. Niitani can be approached through Twitter BTW: @mooniitani

Zanac was a genius of a game, with a difficulty system that auto-adapts to your play style. It was the first shooter I ever played (first generation MSX) so I've got a sweet sport for it. Also, it's the only shooter I can 1CC (well, maybe Gradius on GB too), it doesn't have continues so there's no other way lol.





Seizya
3236th Post



user profileedit/delete message

Platinum Carpet V.I.P- Board Master





"Re(1):The Dramatic fall of Compile and its pr" , posted Fri 30 Oct 12:43post reply

I want a new "Puyo Puyo" game. ( ・_・`)