Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gaming Ads: Data East USA

Data East was founded in 1976 and based in Japan. To service the North American market Data East USA was opened in the early '80s. It is best known for its numerous arcade game releases, such as BurgerTime, Karate Champ, Bump 'N' Jump, Karnov, Heavy Barrel, and Bad Dudes. The publisher also brought many of its own arcade games, as well as those developed or published by other companies, to home computers and game consoles, and licensed its properties to other publishers as well. The aforementioned BurgerTime and Bump 'N' Jump are two of my favorite Intellivision games which were licensed to and ported by Mattel Electronics.

The company also got involved with pinball machines in 1987. It had a number of firsts in the pinball industry, including the first games to use stereo sound and a dot matrix display. I've played many pinball games over the years and somewhat surprisingly, my most vivid memory is of playing Data East's Monday Night Football machine at Funspot (1989). Arcade owners could set which teams would be playing one another in the pinball game and that machine was set on the Patriots vs. Bears which made sense since Funspot is based in New Hampshire, and the Patriots played the Bears in Super Bowl XX. Of course, the Patriots got destroyed but it was still a big deal for New England and living in Connecticut at the time it's the first NFL game I remember watching on TV. Anyways, it's not considered among the best pinball games but it is certainly a good machine and especially fun for football fans.

Unfortunately, Data East ran into financial troubles during the '90s leading to the closure of Data East USA. In Japan Data East declared bankruptcy in 2003 and its numerous properties are now divided among a variety of other companies.

Flickr album: Data East USA

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