Rumor: Game Developer’s Sister Kidnapped By Yakuza To Stop Their Cooperation With Nintendo

Every once and a while you see a story that stops you dead in your tracks — this is one of those cases. According to NintendoLife, in the newly published exposé about the untold history of Japan’s gaming industry author John Szczepaniak delves into an interview regaling how a developer’s sister was kidnapped to prevent him working with Nintendo. The developer, operating under a pseudonym (Hideo Nanashi), discussed the event alongside discussion of cancelled titles and politics of companies.

My younger sister was kidnapped. [REDACTED] hired some gangsters to do it. They did it to make me stop cooperating with Nintendo.

What does the Yakuza have to do with the Japanese arcade industry? Nanashi explains this and the culture behind it:

In Japan, you have these evil companies that always crop up, and unlike the West, in Japan there’s a perception that “play” is bad, the opposite of hard work. So amusement-oriented industries inevitably become infested with evil companies and ties to the underworld. Take arcades, for example. In legal terms, they’re covered under laws regarding the entertainment and amusement trades. So they’re managed under the same laws that regulate the adult, or “pink”, industry. Because of that, the underworld gets involved. The only companies that have been able to do business while staying clean are probably Nintendo and Namco.


Nanashi, while describing the story, mentioned how he managed to deal with the Yakuza to show he was serious:

It was one of their game machines. I dropped it in front of their offices, smashed it. And I told them that one of their employees would be next. To show them that I was serious. That way they would feel ashamed of their actions, you know? It was easy for me to get a [REDACTED] arcade cabinet cheaply, so I bought one from a distributor. I thought about robbing a [REDACTED] arcade, too, but that’s much more difficult, and that would make me a criminal. With what I ended up doing, I could have been charged with something like unlawful dumping of garbage, but that’s a minor offence. Whereas if I had robbed a [REDACTED] arcade, I would have been arrested. [REDACTED] was well-versed in using the underworld to get what they want, so if you’re going up against them, you have to be smart. They’re a big company, so if you try to fight them with ordinary methods, they’ll work with the police and get the legal system to come after you. They might even pay off a politician, like a member of the National Diet. Who knows what they’re capable of?

I just smashed it in front of their main office in the middle of the night. It was easy. The [REDACTED] headquarters are in [REDACTED] now, but back then they were near [REDACTED] Airport. Their office building was right in front of a major street, in a commercial district without any residential homes.

…I didn’t dump it myself. I had someone else do it, because I don’t have a driver’s license. I had him just drop the machine and dump it, so I don’t know how damaged it was, but I assume it smashed apart. And then I sent [REDACTED] a letter.

Here is the crazy thing — this isn’t the first time the unnamed company has been under fire for this:

I don’t know how much you know about [REDACTED], but are you aware of the “quarantine room” [隔離部屋, literal translation: “Isolation room”] problem from around the year 2000? They would put employees alone in a room and give them absolutely nothing to do, in order to make them resign. [REDACTED] did that, and former [REDACTED] employees sued them and won. That’s the kind of thing [REDACTED] did back then. They didn’t just put people behind a partition or something, they sent them away to a completely different floor of the building. [REDACTED] didn’t just lose a lawsuit over this, they completely tarnished their image. Nobody wanted to buy games from a company like that. It became a major social issue. Like this article, about [REDACTED] being sued for the quarantine room and issuing a public apology.

Of course, these are all interviews that have been included in Szczepaniak book and hasn’t been verified by us or Nintendo Life. However, it is a harrowing tale of the industry’s past.


Nintendo Direct Also Confirmed For Japan

We heard yesterday that we are getting a Nintendo Direct on Thursday in both North America and Europe. Now it turns out that Japan will also be getting a Nintendo Direct which will air at the same time as the European and North American one. The Japanese Nintendo Direct will focus on upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games which are releasing later this year and the Spring.


Thanks to Paidenthusiast for the tip.

SNK Playmore, Neo Geo Creators, To Return To Video Games

Do you remember SNK Playmore? Retro gamers should instantly recall that name, seeing as they were the primary hardware and software developers to the Neo Geo line (now, proudly available on Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles). However, following a bankruptcy in the early 2000’s they had “pulled a Konami,” stopped creating games, and switched over to the pachinko slot machine business.

Why are we talking about them? According to Siliconera, SNK Playmore is moving away from the pachinko industry and is fully committed to creating console and mobile games with their existing IP (i.e., The King of Fighters, Metal Slug, and Samurai Spirits). There is no indication whether the Japanese company’s games will be heading to Nintendo consoles, however it would not be out of the question given their prior business history together.

Source / Via

Japan: Nintendo 3DS Sells 21K And Wii U Sells 9K

This week’s Japanese sales charts are now in courtesy of Media Create. There’s been a number of new entries this week including Halo 5 for the Xbox One and God Eater Resurrection for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4, and also NBA 2K16, all of which have performed pretty well. The best-selling hardware this week is the PlayStation 4 closely followed by the Nintendo 3DS. Here’s the best-selling software and hardware for this week in Japan.

Software Sales (followed by lifetime sales)

  1. [PSV] God Eater Resurrection (Bandai Namco, 10/29/15) – 125,876 (New)
  2. [PS4] God Eater Resurrection (Bandai Namco, 10/29/15) – 25,700 (New)
  3. [PSV] Yomawari (NIS, 10/29/15) – 22,472 (New)
  4. [3DS] The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes (Nintendo, 10/22/15) – 19,499 (73,893)
  5. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch Busters: Red Cat Team / White Dog Squad (Nintendo, 07/11/15) – 19,355 (1,694,351)
  6. [PS4] God Eater Resurrection Cross-Play Pack & Anime Vol. 1 (Bandai Namco, 10/29/15) – 16,281 (New)
  7. [Wii U] Super Mario Maker (Nintendo, 09/10/15) – 13,764 (350,803)
  8. [Wii U] Splatoon (Nintendo, 05/28/15) – 11,969 (749,447)
  9. [PS4] NBA 2K16 (Take-Two, 10/29/15) – 8,707 (New)
  10. [3DS] Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo, 07/30/15) – 7,679 (1,106,582)
  11. [XBO] Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft, 10/29/15) – 7,455 (New)
  12. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (SCE, 03/19/15) – 7,155 (382,419)
  13. [3DS] PriPara Mezase! Idol Grand Prix No. 1! (Bandai Namco, 10/22/15) – 6,561 (40,596)
  14. [3DS] 7th Dragon III Code: VFD (Sega, 10/15/15) – 6,224 (92,000)
  15. [3DS] Picross 3D 2 (Nintendo, 10/01/15) – 6,162 (64,309)
  16. [PS3] NBA 2K16 (Take-Two, 10/29/15) – 5,194 (New)
  17. [PS3] Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 (Konami, 10/01/15) – 5,040 (87,453)
  18. [3DS] Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (Nintendo, 09/17/15) – 4,923 (248,417)
  19. [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, 09/02/15) – 4,100 (415,820)
  20. [3DS] Pro Yakyuu Famista Returns (Bandai Namco, 10/08/15) – 4,026 (42,447)

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. PlayStation 4 – 22,104 (22,801)
  2. New 3DS LL – 16,824 (16,144)
  3. PlayStation Vita – 14,366 (12,981)
  4. Wii U – 9,127 (9,961)
  5. New 3DS – 3,559 (3,530)
  6. PlayStation 3 – 1,931 (1,909)
  7. 3DS – 988 (1,277)
  8. PlayStation Vita TV – 807 (782)
  9. Xbox One – 534 (1,009)
  10. 3DS LL – 509 (478)

Source / Via

Famitsu: Here’s Japan’s Favourite RPG Series

Wondering which RPG series Japanese gamers favour the most? Well, Famitsu has run a customer poll asking which series they prefer above others and the results are nothing short of surprising. The top three RPG series as voted by readers of Famitsu are Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Pokemon. You can view the top ten in its entirety, below.

  1. Dragon Quest series – 366 votes
  2. Final Fantasy series – 361 votes
  3. Pokemon series – 135 votes
  4. Tales of series – 84 votes
  5. Shin Megami Tensei series – 44 votes
  6. Persona series – 41 votes
  7. SaGa series – 29 votes
  8. Kingdom Hearts series – 23 votes
  9. Suikoden series – 22 votes
  10. Mother series – 19 votes


Japan: Wii U Sells 10K, Nintendo 3DS Sells 21K

While Nintendo is receiving a barrage of positive financial news, they have managed to take Japanese markets by storm. This week, 8 of the 10 top selling games are found on Nintendo platforms — mostly the Nintendo 3DS. While The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is the best-selling game of the week, it still is under-performing in the context of other Zelda games. Talking hardware, nearly every Nintendo system fell in regards to sales by a small margin.

New Nintendo additions to the list include The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force geroes (at number 1) and PriPara Mezase! Idol Grand Prix No. 1! (at number 2). In the top 20 games, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U hold a commanding 12 titles (10 and 2, respectively). For more information, check out the full chart below:

Software Sales (followed by lifetime sales)

    1. [3DS] The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (Nintendo, 10/22/15) – 54,394 (New)
    2. [3DS] PriPara Mezase! Idol Grand Prix No. 1! (Bandai Namco, 10/22/15) – 34,035 (New)
    3. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch Busters: Red Cat Team / White Dog Squad (Nintendo, 07/11/15) – 20,824 (1,674,995)
    4. [Wii U] Super Mario Maker (Nintendo, 09/10/15) – 15,817 (337,039)
    5. [3DS] 7th Dragon III Code: VFD (Sega, 10/15/15) – 13,299 (85,776)
    6. [Wii U] Splatoon (Nintendo, 05/28/15) – 13,159 (737,478)
    7. [3DS] Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo, 07/30/15) – 8,625 (1,098,904)
    8. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (SCE, 03/19/15) – 7,547 (375,264)
    9. [PS3] Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 (Konami, 10/01/15) – 6,442 (82,413)
    10. [3DS] Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (Nintendo, 09/17/15) – 6,402 (243,494)

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. PlayStation 4 – 22,801 (25,699)
  2. New 3DS LL – 16,144 (17,881)
  3. PlayStation Vita – 12,981 (14,546)
  4. Wii U – 9,961 (11,658)
  5. New 3DS – 3,530 (4,514)
  6. PlayStation 3 – 1,909 (2,105)
  7. 3DS – 1,277 (1,232)
  8. Xbox One – 1,009 (438)
  9. PlayStation Vita TV – 782 (696)
  10. 3DS LL – 478 (625)

Source / Via

Tri Force Heroes Sells 54K In Japan, Lowest Selling Week 1 Zelda Game

Reports from Japan (4Gamer) are showing that only 54K copies of The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes in its first week. While the sales are by no means dismal, this is easily one of the lowest (if not the lowest) in terms of launch sales for a The Legend of Zelda franchise titles. As a comparison, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds managed 224K within its first week in Japan. This news breaks in the face of uplifting financial news regarding Nintendo’s second quarter. Do you think these disappointing sales will translate to other markets, or is it Nintendo specific?