Taito is a game company I’ve always had a soft spot for. We don’t hear much from them these days but they are still around. I believe they were bought by Square Enix as of 1995 and the rest as they say, is history. Sadly, it seems that Taito is now a shell of it’s former self – an arcade heavyweight with an enviable back catalogue.
Responsible for a prolific assortment of hits such as Arkanoid, Arkanoid – Revenge of Doh, Bubble Bobble, Buggy Challenge, Chase H.Q., Darius, Elevator Action, Exerion, Gun Frontier, Gyrodine, KiKi KaiKai, Layer Section, Operation Wolf, Operation Thunderbolt, Rastan, Runark, Slap Fight, Space Invaders, The Legend of Kage, The New Zealand Story, The Ninja Warriors, Volfied – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more that I have missed, excluding games Taito published from the likes of Toaplan & Technos Japan Corp.
The majority of titles mentioned above are lauded enthusiastically by retro game fans, worldwide. Certainly Taito provided the good times, leaving many of us with fond memories. Simple games, stylish games, colourful games with straightforward missions and game play. Hundred percent arcade experiences with no false pretense of attempting to be anything other.
I guess one of the charms of a Taito game is in it’s pure simplicity. No unnecessary bells and whistles to cloud proceedings. Leaving us with nothing more but a video game in it’s utmost sincerest form. Arkanoid and it’s sequel – Revenge of Doh, exemplifies this splendidly. While essentially a Breakout clone at it’s core, Arkanoid bends a few rules and eventually comes into it’s own. Power-up capsules, enemy ships and cleverly laid out brick formations helped to elevate it above Breakout and other similar clones.
Nevertheless, even with those few additions, Arkanoid and Revenge of Doh are amazingly simple and addictive games. And I never tire returning for another go. They hold up well to this very day, still exuding a fine and dapper air while never having lost the fun factor. Everyone with even a passing interest in games should experience both at some point in their lives.
From a game developer’s standpoint, much can be garnered from Taito’s past output. I won’t hide that there is some influence on my project. Maybe it was inevitable, having played so many of their games since my youth. Fortunately it’s a positive influence and that can only be helpful in the end. The process of developing my game has gradually taught me to keep things simple. Complicated and bloated concepts are stripped away but keeping the fun close by.