Hudson & Nintendo’s Obscure Japanese PC Games | Gaming Historian

What if I were to tell you that in 1984 Nintendo and Hudson soft teamed up to release several Nintendo titles on Japanese PCs Sounds weird, but it's true! Most of them were ports, but a few were entirely new games including a sequel to Donkey Kong 3

When Nintendo released the Famicom in 1983, it was an unprecedented success Nintendo sold the system as quickly as they could produce it By 1984 consumers demanded new games there were only 9 available and they were all first party titles Nintendo had more games on the way, but they would be slow to trickle in So to get more games Nintendo introduced a Licensee program

The first two companies to sign on to the licensee program were Namco and Hudson soft Hudson soft was known for their PC games None of their titles were huge hits, but the company was moderately successful They couldn't pass up the opportunity to develop on Nintendo's new console One of their first Famicom titles was a port of Lode Runner

It sold more than 1 million copies Previous Hudson soft titles never sold more than 10,000 units it made both Nintendo and Hudson soft a lot of money and established a great working relationship So later that year in 1984 Hudson soft asked to port some of Nintendo's popular games over to Japanese pcs, including the PC 88 and the sharp x1 And surprisingly, Nintendo agreed So let's take a look at all of them and learn more about this interesting collaboration between Hudson soft and Nintendo

It looks like Excitebike, and it definitely plays like it to Hudson soft sportive Excitebike stays pretty close to the original Well, I guess the Nintendo sign in the back has been changed to Nintendo/Hudson, but I digress Hudson soft Excitebike contains all of the same game modes as the Famicom version including the ability to design your own track It's definitely not as smooth as its Famicom counterpart and has some screen tearing this version is also missing the knight levels So every stage sort of looks the same but despite all of this Excitebike controls surprisingly Well, And it feels just like the Famicom version a solid port overall I've always had a love hate relationship with ice climber I loved the concept in when the controls work It's great

But that's the problem ice climbers jumping is weird You move great on the ground But when you jump all momentum is lost this port somehow makes this problem even worse Thanks to a larger resolution on the PC Hudson soft added some information on the side of the screen Including your score and lives remaining which is nice This is a straight port though every mountain from the Famicom version has been replicated and it feels like ice climber Just a more frustrating version Ah Golf the only Nintendo game your dad ever loved out of all of Hudson soft sports This is easily the most accurate it plays exactly like the Famicom version That makes sense considering golf is not exactly pushing any hardware limits There are still a few changes but nothing that affects gameplay the colors are a bit different in a crowd now Cheers when you get better than par and they added some title music to the game Other than that, this is golf Call your dad and let him know about it You would think tennis would be a fairly easy game for Hudson to port but the technical limitations Of pcs at the time forced them to make some sacrifices The lower frame rate in tennis make serving and returning shots more difficult Everything else is fine Mario is still there making calls during the match The music is the same on the title screen the colors match up to the Famicom version – the sea of red surrounding the court in other words It's tennis at about half speed If you didn't know balloon fight is one of my favourite games, I don't know why really There's something so charming about the concept and the actual physics of the game are so perfect I find it very addictive

So I was pretty excited to try Hudson soft version of balloon fight and It's okay The frame rate is much lower than the Famicom version and the scrolling in the balloon trip stage isn't smooth It's sort of staggers which makes navigating the level a bit more cumbersome So that wraps up all of the Hudson soft ports These were for the most part unchanged from their console counterparts They're also all in my opinion worse than the console versions But now let's take a look at some more unique games Hudson soft made some significant changes to the gameplay of these titles to create an all new experience So what makes Mario Brothers special so Special it's different than what you might be Expecting the traditional Mario Brothers game has you knock over enemies that come out of pipes while collecting coins Mario Brothers special changes the formula up a bit in stage one You have to make your way up the moving platforms hit all the levers on top and exit stage two is full of Trampolines when enemies come out of the pipe you have to jump on the trampoline They are standing on to knock them down Then you can take them out eliminate all the enemies to finish the stage in stage three You have to collect all the dollar signs while avoiding enemies when you collect them all a ring appears at the top Grab the ring to advance and finally in stage four You just collect everything as fast as you can it's basically a bonus stage from here the stages loop and get progressively harder similar to the original Mario Brothers game Mario Brothers special is fun and Hudson soft did a great job putting a unique twist on the original game This may be one of the first games that really showed the potential of outside developers working with a Nintendo IP Hudson soft put out not one, but two versions of Mario Brothers This is punched ball Mario Brothers What is a punch ball? Exactly? Apparently it's a street game version of baseball that was played back in the day Don't worry This isn't a baseball game The first thing you'll notice is the 8-bit rendition of Dixieland at the title screen Oddly it works Punch ball Mario Brothers is what happens when you combine dodgeball with Mario Brothers Mario and Luigi now have a punch ball that they can throw at enemies to knock them down This little twist – Mario Brothers adds a new layer of strategy to the game You can knock out enemies firm across platforms or even attack from above The stages are all laid out the same but get progressively difficult with more enemies and icy platforms Once again another unique twist on the Mario Brothers game definitely worth checking out if you get the chance Donkey Kong 3 is the misunderstood brother of the Donkey Kong series well The first two games in the series were platformers Donkey Kong 3 was a shooter featuring one-hit-wonder Stanley the bug man It's my favorite old-school Donkey Kong game So imagine my surprise when I learned that Hudson soft made a sequel Donkey Kong 3 Die you khushu or Donkey Kong 3 the great Counter-attack features the return of Stanley the bug man and his trusty bug spray in this game You have to spray Donkey Kong off the screen who slowly floats down with his tiny parachutes you no longer have to protect plants But you still need to spray bugs out of the way There are no more platforms So the area of movement is much more open as far as sequels go Donkey Kong 3 The great counter-attack isn't anything special but the fact that it exists and is playable is special previously There was no way to play the game unless you had a working Japanese PC and a copy of the game Which is quite rare, but a group of fans were able to rally together snag a copy from Yahoo Japan auctions and dump the game online Finally preserving this rare oddity We saved the biggest game for last with Super Mario Brothers special Released a year after the first Super Mario Brothers Super Mario Brothers special is a brand new Super Mario game featuring eight new worlds to traverse unfortunately, the game suffers from really bad slowdown and glitches making it a less than stellar experience if you run the game at Four megahertz

It's Extremely slow but the music sounds correct If you run the game at eight megahertz the game runs much better But the music goes into hyperdrive Pick your poison I guess Hudson soft added several items and enemies from the Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong universe Unfortunately, they appear very rarely making them more Easter eggs than anything else in world three four You can grab a hammer power up while barrels fall down at you in world 3 – a wing powerup gives you the ability to swim through the air There's also the famous Hudson B When you collect the Hudson B, you are awarded a whopping 8,000 points One thing players will notice right away is the fact that there is no scrolling well It's kind of scrolling the screen adjusts similarly to the Legend of Zelda when you move to a new area This type of scrolling changes the gameplay Completely Hudson soft design most of the levels to account for this but there are still some sections where you are blindly jumping into the next area Ultimately, you are looking at a slow-paced experience that doesn't live up to the console Super Mario Brothers at all Super Mario Brothers special was the last in tendo game Hudson soft ported to Japanese pcs It's unclear why this collaboration ended but most likely the soaring popularity of the Famicom and its superior capabilities Force both Hudson soft and Nintendo to shift their focus elsewhere Their working relationship would continue over the years Hudson Saab continued to make games on Nintendo consoles including ones using Nintendo characters the Mario Party series was originally developed by Hudson soft They also created Hardware accessories for Nintendo such as the super multi tab Today Hudson soft no longer exists as a company and its assets are all owned by Konami Hudson, soft specie ports of nintendo games aren't hidden gems or must play games But they are a neat page in the history of video games

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