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Our next contender came out of the tangled streets of Osaka, Japan. Osaka is loud, boisterous, exciting, and over the top. It should be no surprise then that this gaming heavyweight at one time called this city home. As anyone who has played one of their signature games can attest, Konami is not one to shy away from theatrics when getting its story across.

Konami got its start like so many other video game companies– in the arcade. Its first smash hit came in the form of 1981’s Frogger. A game considered a classic by all who have played it, Frogger’s beauty is found in its simplicity.

frogger.jpgThe object of Frogger is to guide a group of frogs from one side of a busy street to the other. While it sounds relatively easy, the pressure builds as the player proceeds. Dodging trucks and rabid hotrod cruisers becomes increasingly difficult, leaving the player to compulsively drop in quarter after quarter in order to get our amphibian friends to their swampy lodging.

The slew of top-notch arcade games that Konami would develop in the decades to come was absolutely staggering. Any mallrat of the late 80’s and early 90’s can list off a number of Konami games that splintered their piggy bank into a thousand pieces. Just to name a few: Q*Bert, Rush N’ Attack, Gradius, Double Dribble, Jackal, Blades of Steel, Life Force, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sunset Riders, The Simpsons, and Contra.

It would be enough to stop there and give Konami its kudos for helping create the arcade Nirvana that was the late 80’s / early 90’s, but that would be doing them a great disservice. That’s because the developer would go onto create a game that would in many ways breathe a long overdue breath of fresh air into American arcades: DDR (or Dance Dance Revolution).

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DDR would re-ignite a long since extinguished spark in the U.S. arcade market and let geeks everywhere rediscover that taste of greatness forged from hours of diligent practice and pockets full of tokens. Watching a 15-year old social recluse shine in front of a crowd of 20 by pounding away on a DDR machine like a coked-up epileptic is something that has long been missing from America’s teenage hierarchy. The outcasts were given a moment to shine, and DDR would be their stage.

Konami continued to create a fan base by taking their already lengthy arcade library and transfer it to cartridges. The Nintendo Entertainment System would offer the biggest diving board into the pool of wealth that consoles provided. By delivering many of their famous arcade outings to the masses in the form of quality ports on the NES, SNES, Amiga, and Genesis, Konami would solidify a fan base that would stick with them through the generations.

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They would also create the most memorable cheat code in history through the console port of their arcade hit, Contra. Games like Castlevania and Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear would do exceptionally well on the NES, ushering in characters of unrivaled quality and depth, while leading to two of the most beloved series in video games. The tight gameplay in the Belmonts’ adventures and the over the top cinematic stealth action found in the world of Solid Snake are perfect examples of the mix of arcade style and Hollywood storytelling that make Konami unique.

Konami is now an empire that deals in video game development, movie production, slot machine production and fitness centers. The company may have been relocated to Tokyo, but that Kansai spirit still shines in its no-holds-barred take on the entertainment business. This behemoth will be around for a long time.

So remember that famous Konami logo. Who knows what will be sporting it next?

Must Haves:
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1, XBOX Live)
Metal Gear Solid Series (Multi)
Snatcher (Sega CD)

Have Nots:
Castlevania (Nintendo 64)
Top Gun (NES)

Top Ten Developer List: 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

9 COMMENTS

  1. come on konami has made some way worse games then castlevania n64…3d action games were not that great and you can have done way worse on both ps1 and the n64…

    I remember topgun too, it and stealth were like two of my favorite flight sims back in the day lol

    I think I still have them too, I know I still got stealth, loved that game.

    Not really a big fan of konami though, I liked the n64 castlevania and sotn is classic. I hand drew a map poster size for sotn, I only managed about 198% though I figured I missed a room or item or something.

    I am curious on the haves and have not’s how are those chosen?

  2. LC,

    I am pretty sure James drinks heavily, does a hand stand (blindfolded of course) and throws darts at a giant game board he built out of old cereal boxes.

    But that is just a guess..

    Chad-

  3. hahaha yeah…

    I’m surprised no mention of konami rpgs too suikoden 2 is definitely a must have! one of my favorite series, played all of them except 3 and tactics sorta kinda working my way through V at the moment.

    Azure Dreams is a pretty classic dungeon crawler too, and I rather enjoyed Vandal hearts I definitely have an rpg biased though.

    Looking at this list on ign It shows Azure Dreams for DS, I have it for gbc but the graphics are atrocious. I also have the playstation version but that ain’t very portable if it does indeed come out for DS I’ll finally have a reason to pick one of those up.

    No mention of silent hill?

    And while the castlevania n64 may not be the greatest castelvania I’d say its not the worse by far and probably still the best 3d attempt thus far. Seriously what hell is with those look at me run in slow motion with a stick up my keester ps2 castlevanias? I can’t stand those ones.

    My first video game was one of those tiger electronics Castlevania games. I still remember how depressed I was when I lost it, I had that thing for years when I was little went through a battery change and everything!

    Which is the best Metal Gear for ps2? I can only stand one of these per system per every 5 years maybe… I haven’t played one since metal gear solid.

  4. Silent Hill is one of my favorites as well, I don’t think it made it into this article just because there were so many other great series to talk about.

    Which is the best MGS for PS2? Well, can’t say that either of them really did it for me… the hype was so great for MGS2 when it came out in 2001 that at the time it seemed really awesome… until you actually played it. Worst bait and switch ever. Hopefully MGS4 will rock though.

  5. Hey guys. Although Chad is right about the drinking heavily and the handstands, making giant gameboards isn’t actually part of my creative process. Actually it’s all much simpler than that. First, I play a game of 40 Hands (ductape two 40’s to said appendages, and drink. Simple) in my apartment by myself. After both imported High Gravity Malt liquors have been ingested (I live in Japan remember) I proceed in selecting the “Must Haves”. This involves me drunkenly surveying my collection of video game box art, and choosing who I’d most likely sleep with. Alucard’s flowing locks from Symphony of the Night were looking good at the time (leading to it’s high listing), and SNIPER WOLF from MGS is bangin’. The “Have Nots” are then selected by performing a handstand while my roomate lobs the selected publisher’s games (in this instance Konami) at my scrotum. The ones that hurt the most make the cut. Castlevania 64 was chosen due to the sheer size of the cartridge, and Top Gun probably has an increased density due to its concentration of suckiness. Say what you will of my method but it has worked for me so far. So, enjoy the list and I hope you aren’t disapointed with my choice of Barbie’s Fashion Show for the PC as “Must Have” of the millenium, while the “Have not” will surely reside with the gargantuan Sonic and Knucles top loading 16-bit combo cartridge.
    -James

  6. P.S. In all seriousness, thanks for the comments. Silent Hill 2 is a favorite of mine and I am a big fan of the stories derived from Konami’s developer’s over at Team Silent. It probably deserved a mention, as do so many others, but their isn’t always space on the page. I didn’t include a lot of games from a lot of developers due to the length of these articles. I have to keep it within reason. Thanks agein.
    -James

  7. Glad to hear that the boys here at ripten use a scientifically proven method for determining the critical spectrum by which games must be judged and ultimately there suckiness decided upon.

    Even I can not argue with the heft of the castlevania cartridge, and I must say with sincerity that your process is a mite more integral then those lesser top ten list from the likes of ign or (insert equal dim witted game publication) game informer!

    Blue balls, Swollen testicles, enlarged seed sacks all part of the difficult process of determining any top ten list for those who would even consider the grand task of narrowing any subject to ten and since top ten list never contain any intelligence whether by design or the indisputable fact that top ten list editors lack a cohesive and functional brain in reality world they are known as retards, mongoloids, imbeciles, lamebrains, numbskull’s, birdbrained, half wits, defective, and my personal favorite gorked dumdums. The sack then becomes a most noble last resort for determining good and bad, similar to how cave men tested hot water with there sacks.

    mmm mmm anyone besides me suddenly hungry for some good old fashion sack stew? no? hahahaha

    This is indeed Evolution at its finest only those with the courage to sling there sacks, boil there sacks, smash there sacks and otherwise endure unbearable sack torture to bring top ten list to fruition can possibly know the true suckiness of gaming past.

    It is with this knowledge of your great and irrefutable process of determination that I openly acknowledge your gamer sack and offer a virtual toast to your swollen and bloodied sack and wish you luck with the remaining contenders and hope that you have had all the kids you ever wanted for surely your sack nears its untimely end.

    Carry on Good sir.

    *poors one out for leet gamer sacks around the world*

    *tear*

    LC

  8. This list makes me mad… I kept going through the list hoping to see Activision/Blizzard, and they weren’t there.

    Blizzard is my favourite developers of all time because they take thier time to bring out true gems instead of just pumping out crappy games every month (I’m lookin at you, Nintendo.)

    They merged with Activision too… I think that makes them big enough to at LEAST be on the top ten list of development companies; I mean COME ON!

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