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File:Tokyo midtown tower cropped.jpg

Midtown Tower, which included the Hudson Soft headquarters

Hudson Soft Co., Ltd, commonly known by its brand name Hudson, was a Japanese video game company that released numerous games for video game consoles, home computers and mobile phones, mainly from the 1980s to the 2000s. It was headquartered in the Midtown Tower in Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with an additional office in the Hudson Building in Sapporo.[2]

Hudson Soft was founded on May 18, 1973. Initially, it dealt with personal computer products, but later expanded to the development and publishing of video games, mobile content, video game peripherals and music recording. Primarily a video game publisher, Hudson developed internally many of the video games it published as well as a few games published by other companies. Hudson is known for series such as Bomberman, Adventure Island, Bloody Roar, and Bonk.[3]

Hudson Soft ceased to exist as a company on March 1, 2012 and was merged with Konami Digital Entertainment.[4] Products and services will continue to be provided under the Hudson brand through Konami.[4]


Hudson Soft's original project logo.

Hudson Soft Ltd. was founded in Sapporo, Japan on May 18, 1973 by brothers Yuji and Hiroshi Kudo. The founders grew up admiring trains, and named the business after their favorite, the Hudson locomotives (called the "4-6-4", and especially Japanese C62). Hudson began as a shop called CQ Hudson (CQハドソン), selling radio telecommunications devices and art photographs. In September 1975, Hudson Soft began selling personal computer-related products, and in March 1978 started developing and selling video game packages.[5]

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hudson Soft favored a quantity over quality approach for the marketing of video games.[6] At one point, the company released up to 30 different computer software per month; none of which were hugely successful.[6] Things changed in late 1983, when Hudson started to prioritize quality over quantity.[6] Hudson became Nintendo's first third-party software vendor for the Family Computer and its title for this console, Lode Runner, sold 1.2 million units after its 1984 release.[7]

The business continued developing video games on the Famicom and computer platforms (MSX, NEC PC-8801, ZX Spectrum, among others), and was reorganized as Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. in July 1985.[7] A caravan was held at sixty venues throughout Japan, a first for the video game industry.[7] Bomberman was released in December of this year on the Famicom and was considered a "big hit" by Hudson Soft.[8]

Most importantly, Hudson held the Summer Caravan video gaming competitions where many top-level performers could compete for champion. From 1985 until 1992 (Later caravans were less popular, less periodic, and using less punishing games were more casual than the more competing games) the Caravan was a hallmark of Hudson's popularity. Many games were released with the Caravan competition in mind, with the Star Soldier series having 2 minute and 5 minute modes built into the cartridges as symbols of the competitive nature that they were inspired from.

In July 1987, Hudson developed the "C62 System" and collaborated with NEC to develop the PC Engine video game console. It achieved a second-best success to Famicom in Japan, but its release as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America had less market share than Nintendo's new Super NES or Sega's new Genesis. Throughout 1990, Hudson Soft developed and published video games for an array of systems. In 1994, the 32-bit semiconductor chip "HuC62" was independently developed by Hudson and used in NEC's PC-FX video game console.

Hudson Soft's head office was transferred to Tokyo in 2005. The original Sapporo headquarters remained in operation as a secondary office.

Hudson Soft lost several key people starting in the mid-2000s. Co-founder Hiroshi Kudo left the company in November 2004 following financial losses.[9] Shinichi Nakamoto, who was with the company since 1978 and creator of the Bomberman series, followed suit in 2006. Veteran Takahashi Meijin resigned in May 2011; he had joined Hudson Soft in 1982.[10] Around 2010-2011, many employees migrated to Nintendo's restructured Nd Cube studio which is headed by Hidetoshi Endo, himself a former Hudson Soft President.

Relation with Flying Tiger

John Brandstetter, aka Johnny Turbo CEO of Flying Tiger Entertainment was the original brand manager of the TurboGrafx16 and TurboDuo back when the console launched in the United States in 1990. He was the character they created for the launch of the brand and was featured in many advertisements.

Flying Tiger worked with Hudson Soft Japan directly in 2001, when they entered a joint venture agreement to bring Hudson games to the US mobile market and revive the struggling brand.

During this time, they also established their relationships with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket, Nextel, Tracphone, IUSACELL, EEGASO, Pelephone, O2, Vodaphone, Softbank, Virgin, and many other carriers worldwide.

Hudson Soft was ran out of Flying Tigers office from 2003 - 2005. bringing success back to Hudson Soft, so in 2006 they parted ways and Hudson opened an office in San Mateo.

The Flying Tiger and Hudson Soft joint venture started with 25 titles, as noted in their Press Release[11] some of the titles published were, Ys Book 1: The Vanished Omens, Military Madness, Bomberman, Nuts and Milk, Adventure Island, Bomberland: Battles, Bomberman Special, Lode Runner, Lode Runner 2, Star Soldier, BurgerTime, BurgerTime 2, Nutty's Tale, Tennis Challenge, Planet Bowling, Blazing Lazers, Star Soldier, All Star Baseball, Cannon Ball, Klondike Solitaire, Mouse Track, Nikkis Cubie, Pinball, Powerful vBall girls, Super Darts, World Cycling, Blue Flame, Putter Golf, Pyramid Crash, Radar Fleet, Space Blast, Hamster Paradise, Goblin's Lair, Horse Race, Beach Volleyball, and Combat Chess.

Relation with Konami

Alongside the Konami's logo.

The relation between Hudson Soft and Konami can be traced back at least as early as 1985, when Hudson ported Konami's arcade game Pooyan to the MSX and Famicom. Moreover, Konami was a third party publisher for Hudson Soft's PC Engine in Japan. But the acquisition process of Hudson Soft by Konami would only begin in 2001.

Hudson Soft was severely hit by the collapse of its main bank Hokkaido Takushoku. Seeking new financing alternatives, Hudson Soft entered the stock market for the first time in December 2000, listing on the NASDAQ Japan Exchange. This led to Konami purchasing a stock allocation of 5.6 million shares in August 2001, becoming the company's largest shareholder. Within the terms of this purchase, Hudson acquired the Sapporo division of Konami Computer Entertainment Studio, renaming it Hudson Studio.[12]

In April 2005, capital was increased via an allocation of 3 million shares from a third party. Konami Corporation, holding 53.99% of all Hudson stock, became Hudson's majority shareholder and parent company.[9] Hudson continued to self-publish in Japan, but working closely with Konami.

In January 2011, Hudson Soft became a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami.[13] On April 1, 2011, Konami liquidated Hudson Entertainment (the subsidiary of Hudson Soft in California).[13]

On March 1, 2012, Hudson Soft officially ceased to exist as it merged with Konami Digital Entertainment, with its music business being absorbed into Konami Music Entertainment.[4][14] Hudson's directors were first informed at a board meeting held in January 12, 2012.[15] The main reason for the dissolution of Hudson Soft is the consolidation of the operations of Hudson and Konami into a single company.[4] Products and services will continue to be developed and offered under the Hudson brand through Konami Digital Entertainment.[15] Furthermore, Hudson still had its own website until it was redirected to Konami's website on January 1, 2014.[16]

Caravan Competition

  • 1985 - Star Force for the Famicom became the first game featured for the summer competitions held within Japan.
  • 1986 - Star Soldier for the Famicom became the second competition game.
  • 1987 - Starship Hector (In Japan, simply Hector '87) was the third and last Famicom game featured as the Hudson Caravan moved onto the newer PC Engine. The first three were reproduced in Hudson Caravan Collection for the Super Famicom and Hudson Best Collection for the Game Boy Advance
  • 1988 - Power League (World Class Baseball in the USA) became the first PC Engine competition game, unusual for the competition being a sports game rather than a shooter.
  • 1989 - Gunhed (Blazing Lazers) for the PC Engine was the competition game. A small number of cartridges were produced for the competition under the name Gunhed Taikai (Special Edition) and are very rare and expensive for the most hardcore of collectors to find.
  • 1990 - Super Star Soldier for the PC Engine
  • 1991- Final Soldier for the PC Engine
  • 1992 - Soldier Blade for the PC Engine would be the last of the popular caravan competitions as later events were held using the more casual Bomberman and other games fittingly popular at the time. The PC Engine games from '90, '91, and '92 were re-released as the PC Engine Best Collection - Soldier Collection for the PSP.[17]


Hudson Studio

It was a division made by acquiring Konami Computer Entertainment Studio's Sapporo division.

On 2001-07-26, Hudson Soft announced the acquisition of the Sapporo division of Konami Computer Entertainment Studio.[18]

Hudson Soft USA

With headquarters in South San Francisco,[19] Hudson Soft USA was Hudson Soft's previous North American publishing division operated from 1988 to 1995. It had published video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES and Game Boy.[20]

Hudson Soft USA subsequently closed down in 1995 before being replaced by Hudson Entertainment, Inc. in 2003.[21]

Hudson Entertainment, Inc.

It was Hudson Soft's North American publishing division from 2003 to 2011. In November 2003, Hudson established Hudson Entertainment, Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary in San Mateo, California.[22] It entered as a video game publisher for mobile content, but expanded into console video games in 2007.[23]

On July 23, 2003, Hudson Soft announced it had started its North American mobile phone Java game service, GameMaster which was created by Flying Tiger, for AT&T's mMode, and NTT DoCoMo effective on July 28, 2003.[24]

Hudson Entertainment ceased operations on March 1, 2011.[25]

Hudson Music Entertainment

Hudson Soft's music recording label unit. Absorbed into Konami Music Entertainment on March 1, 2012.

Video game releases

Main article: List of Hudson Soft games

Hudson Soft is responsible for series such as Bomberman, Bonk, and Adventure Island.

Hudson also released long-running video game series in Japan. Far East of Eden was a classic RPG set in a fictional era with Japanese themes. The series was up to number 4 when Hudson was absorbed into Konami, and was considered a hit in Japan. The second version of the game was widely regarded as one of the best RPGs ever released, ranked 12th by Famitsu among all games released in Japan. Hudson Soft also created the long-running and critically acclaimed game Momotaro Dentetsu, a board game with locomotive themes. The comical game had 16 installments released in Japan. Before its absorption, Hudson had re-released some of its first hit games for the GameCube in Japan, including Adventure Island, Star Soldier, and Lode Runner.

Hudson had a long history of creating games for other publishers. The most notable of these were the Mario Party series, created for Nintendo. They developed the first eight console installments and spin-offs; however, Mario Party 9 and all games after that have been developed by Nintendo subsidiary Nd Cube, which consists of many former Hudson employees. Hudson also developed Fuzion Frenzy 2 for Microsoft, which was released for the Xbox 360 in January 2007.

An even more peculiar example of Hudson developing a game for another publisher is Bomberman 64: The Second Attack. Unlike the two previous game for the Nintendo 64, which were all published by Nintendo, this one was published by Vatical Entertainment.


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  2. "Corporate overview." Hudson Soft. Retrieved on July 12, 2010.
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  19. "KIDS' GIFTS: A NINTENDO NIGHTMARE BAD-BOY VIDEO GAMES HAVE PARENTS, MAKERS TALKING MODERATION." San Jose Mercury News. December 20, 1992. 1A Front. Retrieved on July 12, 2010. "Hudson Soft USA Inc. of South San Francisco..."
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  24. ハドソン、米国での携帯電話向けコンテンツ事業に参入 7月28日より、AT&T ワイヤレスにJavaゲーム5タイトル提供
  25. Template:Cite web

External links

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