EP 20 : Until the Creation of Super Family (2)

Backward compatibility is a new function to please fans which allows them to play console cartridges on new generation model devices.

It was Mr. Kamauchi’s intention to attract the original users while solving the problem of not having a launch title for the new console, which seemed like a good plan.

The problem, however, was that developing backward compatibility was not something to be taken lightly.

Creating a new console meant allowing users to experience an upgraded version of the previous game.

An upgraded version meant better resolution and better graphics, as the sprite functions also improve with the new version.

However, that only includes the games that are meant for new generation devices. The original family games that already exist are limited within its sources.

In addition to that, we had to consider the problems that might arise because of the bugs that might occur due to the change in the console programming.

“Sir,” I said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to decide now whether to use backward compatibility or not.”

“Why not?”

I was perplexed at his short-ended question and couldn’t get myself to continue talking. Just then, Mr. Kunpei jumped in to assist me.

“Sir, Kang is right about this. In order to develop backward compatibility, we need to look over this starting from the first stages of creating the console and construct a separate logic that will drive the original game. That’s because it needs cartridge and the CPU that can track family cartridge. But Super Family has currently surpassed that level.”

“Then we can just start from the first stages of making it.”

“Are you saying we should develop Super Family all over again from scratch?”

As Mr. Kunpei was the first in command of this project and I was in third, we were about to go nuts at Mr. Kamauchi’s crazy idea.

If we were to make Super Family all over again at this time, there was a possibility that the functions  would change, and it would greatly affect the making of the ‘A Journey Without Me’ series.

On top of that, there was a possibility that Rii 5A22, which was produced as a copy from LiCO company’s CPU would be changed to a different product by using backward compatibility.

‘We can’t let that happen..’

Judging from his expression, I could see Mr. Kamauchi didn’t look like he would step down no matter how hard Mr. Kunpei was trying to inform him of the problems using backward compatibility could cause.

An act of kindness for the users?

A device that would help solve the problem of not having a launch title for the new console?

It sounded convincing, but the truth was Mr. Kamauchi had only one goal in mind.

It was claiming the loyalties to the making of the family cartridge.

The major development companies I was running such as Pentagon Soft, Phoenix Soft of ‘Dragon Warrior’, or Fox Soft had the funds and were capable of claiming priority over cartridge development. Smaller developing companies with less than ten employees, however, didn’t have the budget to pay loyalties to Mintendo even though they had finished making the games and ended up not being able to put them out on market.

Their only choice then would be to sell the games they developed to bigger companies at a cheap price.

It was frustrating for the small companies, but they didn’t have a choice. It was better for them to get at least some amount of profit rather than dispose of the games they developed.

Mr Kunpei continued to explain the problems of using backward compatibility to change Mr. Kamauchi’s mind, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, for he was already caught up with the idea of making a profit.

Actually, there was one way…

“Sir,” I said to Mr. Kamauchi, “if you really insist on backward compatibility, let me see what I can do.”

“That’s right, Mr. Kang,” the boss exclaimed. “That’s the attitude I’m looking for.”

“Under one condition.”

“What would that be?”

“Let us carry on by keeping the functions for Super Family.”

Just then, Mr. Kunpei looked at me concernedly.

“Then what will we do about the cartridge slots for family-use?”

“It will take me a while, but I’ll try making an adapter.” I replied.

“An adapter?”

“It’s a kind of conversion device. It’s an emulating device that makes family-use slots over the Super Family use cartridges.”

Mr. Kunpei snapped his fingers at my suggestion. “I see what you mean. If we make sure to develop a separate extra device, we won’t have to increase the cartridge slots.

“Huh… I don’t mind as long as we only use family cartridge.” Mr. Kunpei said.

“But sir, we will decide whether to develop the adapter after we see how our users react once we release the Super Family on the market.”

“Eh..? Why’s that?”

“Backward compatibility may be an attractive function for our users who have the original game cartridge, but they will use it less as new games are developed and released. Thanks to newly developed games, users have higher standards and the old games won’t be worth playing as time goes on. It will be better for us to focus on developing the launch title of what we’re releasing at the same time.”

At my suggestion, Mr. Kamauchi looked at the NEGA drive displayed in the conference room.

“Altered Beast is barely popular and nevertheless, it was called the killer software of NEGA. Is there a title that would attract people to Super Family as soon as it’s released?”

“Altered Beast is different. The only thing that can attract a console is an independent title. Altered Beast is only a family console that was altered from an arcade game. It’s a familiar game to our users, but loses its merit as a family console game.”

“Hmm…”

“Think about this. We advertised the Family, telling our users they could enjoy arcade games at home as well by using Don KingKong or the Marigi Brothers. At the end, it wasn’t the arcade games, but family RPG games such as Dragon Warrior that made the Family a success.

“Now that I think about it, it makes sense. Unlike NEGA, we can push with an independent title just for Super Family since we are no longer have anything to do with the arcade market.”

“This is what I heard recently in the industry – a lot of third party industries are making games based off the techniques of the Super Family. I heard it from Mr. Morita, who recently moved jobs to Pentagon Soft early this year.”

“Really? Well that’s good news. Are they aiming to have a launching title as well?”

“Probably. He was part of Mintendo before so he’ll be aware how the industry works as well.”

“Well, if that’s the case, we can’t just sit still and let them be. Shouldn’t Mintendo also launch the best title that can be appreciated only with Super Family?” Mr. Kamauchi asked.

I smiled slightly.

“Yes, sir.”

“But wait.. why is this brat taking so long? We started the meeting a long time ago.”

“I don’t know. He was looking for a travel agency for a few days now so he could plan for his vacation abroad.”

“Traveling? “

Just then, there was a quiet knock on the door. Mr. Segi walked in, bursting the door open with a bang. Speak of the devil.

Mr Sigei looked quite relaxed since he had recently finished developing Super Marigi 3 and started working on making cartridges.

“Sireee, I’m hereee.”

“Sigei, you brat. What the hell are you doing, crawling in to the meeting late?”

“Got caught in a bit of traffic driving back from the factory that’s producing the Super Marigi 3. Haha~”

“Why would there be traffic in the middle of the day. Are you sure you’re not late from visiting a travel agency? I heard you’re planning to ask for a vacation.”

Then Mr. Segei looked slightly flustered and smiled awkwardly towards us.

“Ah, sir. I was only thinking on it.”

“Oh, really? That’s good.”

“What’s good.. sir?”

“Make a new Super Marigi for a Super Family version.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m giving you one year to develop it. It’s a launch title that’ll be released at the same time with Super Family so you’ll have to put hard work into it.”

“But sir! I just finished making Super Marigi 3!”

“SO are you not going to release Marigi in the new Super Family?”

Mr. Sigei looked at me stupidly at the head director’s words.

I bowed my head slightly in his direction, hands together under the table.

There was nothing like a Super Marigi series as a launch title.

Get to work, Number 2.

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