Monday, March 13, 2017

Technos company NES games (1990)

Original advertisement published in VG&CE (June 1990)

Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

Game developers can also make good print ads

Technos was a prolific Japanese developer during the 80s and a better part of the 90s. Now defunct, the company nevertheless left its mark on the console and arcade fronts with such classics and Double Dragon, Super DodgeBall and River City Ransom.

I digitized the ad you see above from a magazine called Video Games andComputer Entertainment, which, just like Technos, does not exist any more. It ran during the late 80s until 1996, when it scaled back in its last days to cover video games exclusively. It’s a good read, more serious in tone than your average GamePro or EGM copy of the era, save for the editions of the later years, where they focused exclusively on consoles, which have a more juvenile language.

Back to the main point of this post. Technos was practically unknown for most Westerners because they licensed some of their better games to other big companies such as Nintendo (Nintendo World Cup), Taito (Renegade) and Tradewest (Double Dragon). They did publish some games for the NES with their American branch, however, such as River City Ransom. Same goes for their arcade offerings. It can all get very confusing very quickly.

During the mid 90s the developer released some titles for NEO-GEO, Gameboy, the Super NES and even the PlayStation. Those games were far away from the quality and ambition the company demonstrated in their late 80s Nintendo run. To this day, you can’t make a “Best Nintendo games ever” list without mentioning Double Dragon, at the very least. The intellectual property of their games is now owned by Arc System Works, which have revived their more popular titles for various virtual consoles of recent Nintendo and Sony systems.

Its official mascot was Kunio, the protagonist we first saw in Renegade but later pop-up in another 20 games from Technos.

Now the ad you see here was not uncommon during the heyday of 8-bit and 16-bit games. You would see these in the last pages of most industry magazines as a means to communicate to American buyers the real authorship of their favorite games. Seika, as I wrote some time ago, also did the same thing. I guess Japanese corporations did not want to cede all of their power to American holdings, licensers, or distributors, so they made sure gamers got acquainted to them in the event they decided to launch a more aggressive business schemes and circumvent American intermediaries.

The printed advertisment you see here makes that point pretty clear. This was a two-page spread, that emphasized the River City Ransom franchise, which occupied the odd-numbered part of the page for maximum impact with readers. It also featured a black and white backgrounds for added legibility with the extended copy, written in a “we mean businness” serif typography. The darker background was used with little-to-no text to make the game-box images stand out.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that the copy of the ad makes it really clear that by buying Technos games you’ll receive two-player. This was a strongpoint of the company, since nota all arcade-to-NES conversions retained the two-player capabilities of the original games. (The original Double Dragon for the NES did not have simultaneous two-player co-op gameplay; but they fixed that by th second installment, which was superb). A great job for the printed page.

All of the Technos games you see here had extremely tight game-play. They just “felt right” and provided hours upon hours of fun. Their sports games retained that great gameplay and were particularly funny, with their super-deformed heads and all. A true classic developer for Nintendo fans.

Technos company NES games print ad (1990)


Can you guess who’s behind these great Nintendo games?

Renegade, Dodge Ball, Super Spike V’ Ball, Double Dragon, Double Dragon II

Now with the hottest 2-player action anywhere!

River City Ransom.

It’s you and your buddy versus the meanest, baddest drug lord in town. He’s holding the entire high school hostage, and only the two of you can expel him.

You’ll both go to battle against ghoulish gangs and depraved dropouts. Along the way, you’ll gain extra power and strength. And you’ll need all you can get. School’s out forever, unless you answer the call!

Hurry. Head over to your nearest video game store. Ask for River City Ransom. It’s your big chance to be a hometown hero.

And look for the American Technos label on many other Nintendo games. We have more hot action coming your way.

Nintendo World Championship 1990
American Technōs INC.
Suite SW3-372, 10080 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino. C.A. 95014
Phone (408) 996-1887

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