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View topic - Whodunit: Minato Giken

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  • Joined: 02 Jan 2005
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Whodunit: Minato Giken
Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:12 pm
Last edited by CRV on Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:48 am; edited 3 times in total
Arcade
Gururin [Neo Geo MVS] (Manufacturer: Face)
Zunzunkyou no Yabou (Manufacturer: Sega)

Game Gear
Baku Baku Animal / Baku Baku (game program, under subcontract from SIMS) (JP/US Publisher: Sega)
Crayon Shin-chan: Taiketsu! Quantum Panic!! (under subcontract from SIMS) (JP Publisher: Bandai)
Dynamite Headdy (JP/US/EU Publisher: Sega)
Kaitou Saint Tail (under subcontract from SIMS) (JP Publisher: Sega)
Quiz Gear Fight!!, The (JP Publisher: Sega)
Sonic Labyrinth (under subcontract from SIMS) (JP/US Publisher: Sega)
Yuu Yuu Hakusho II: Keikitou! Nanakyou no Tatakai (JP Publisher: Sega)

Master System
Baku Baku (game program, under subcontract from SIMS) (BR Publisher: Tec Toy)
Dynamite Headdy (BR Publisher: Tec Toy)

PlayStation
Super Robot Shooting (JP Publisher: Banpresto)

Super Famicom/Super NES
Akagawa Jirou: Majotachi no Nemuri (JP Publisher: Pack-In-Video)

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How did you come up with the name "Minato Giken?"

Whoa, hold on there, Sparky. Let's go back. You may remember me saying in the Sanritsu/SIMS thread that "Baku Baku" (GG) and "Sonic Labyrinth" (SMS) looked to be by the same team, but it did not look to be a SIMS team (though it was obvious to me that SIMS produced and designed these games). Now, take a look at these credits. Learn them. Bathe with them. Make love to them.

Baku Baku Animal / Baku Baku (GG/SMS)

Producer              Kimberly Rogers
Executive Director    Noboru Machida
Director              Hideki Katagiri
Planner               Tsutomu Morishita
Designer              Hiroko Katou (Hiroko Katoh)
                      Tsutomu Morishita
Programmer            Kenichi Iwanaga
                      Noboru Honda
Sound                 Masahiro Itou (Masaharu Ito)
Advisor               Hideo Yamaguchi
                      Nobuo Matsushita
Lead Tester           John Jansen
Assistant Lead
Testers               George Sandoval
                      John James
                      Roger DeForest
                      Ward Farris
Testers               Dave Paniagua
                      Eddie Ramirez
                      Jack Amato
                      Janine Cook
                      Joe Rousseu
                      Rick Greer
                      Scott Crisostomo
                      Squidlo
                      Tony Lynch
Special Thanks        Akira Inoue
                      Akitatsu Saitou (Akitatsu Saito)
                      Atsuko Iwanaga
                      Bill Onderdonk
                      Chizuka Gotou (Chizuka Goto)
                      Cindy Hardgrave
                      Kaori Hijiya
                      Kazuhiro Tanaka
                      Keiko Sueyoshi
                      Keiko Tamura
                      Masako Araki
                      Masayuki Oota (Masayuki Ota)
                      Michiya Kameda
                      Michiyo Morohoshi
                      Noriyuki Tabata
                      Shuuichi Sekimoto (Syuichi Sekimoto)
                      Takashi Ueshima
                      Vy Nong
                      Youko Yanagisawa (Yoko Yanagisawa)
                      and You

Gururin (AC)

Planning / Producer   Kenichi Iwanaga (K. Iwanaga)
Programmers           Kenichi Iwanaga (K. Iwanaga)
                      Noriyuki Tabata (N. Tabata)
                      Kaori Hijiya (K. Hiziya)
Graphic designers     Michiyo Morohoshi (M. Molohosi)
                      Kenichi Kumakura (K. Kumakura)
                      Masako Araki (M. Araki)
Sound                 K. Sugai
                      Atsuko Iwanaga (A. Iwanaga)
Sound programmer      Junya Kozakai (J. Kosakai)

Sonic Labyrinth (GG)

Director              Noboru Machida (N. Machida)
                      Hideki Katagiri (H. Katagiri)
Planner               Kazuhiro Tanaka (K. Tanaka)
Programmer            Kenichi Iwanaga (K. Iwanaga)
                      Y. Kataoka
Programmer            Akira Inoue (A. Inoue)
                      Takashi Ueshima (T. Ueshima)
Designer              K. Kayajima
Designer              Kazuhiro Tanaka (K. Tanaka)
                      Keiko Tamura (K. Tamura)
Sound Programmer      Atsuko Iwanaga (A. Iwanaga)
Special Thanks        Nobuo Matsushita (N. Matsushima)
                      S. Yoshihara
                      Kenichi Kumakura (K. Kumakura)
                      Noriyuki Tabata (N. Tabata)
                      Masako Araki (M. Araki)
                      Naoki Gotou (N. Gotoh)
                      Youko Yanagisawa (Y. Yanagisawa)
                      Akemi Matsumoto (A. Matsumoto)
                      Michiyo Morohoshi (M. Morohoshi)
                      Noboru Honda (N. Honda)
                      Kaori Hijiya (K. Hijiya)
                      Masayuki Oota (M. Ohta)
                      Kouhei Mine (K. Mine)
                      H. Ozaki
                      T. Takinoue


While you're still burping these credits up, I digested them months ago. Comparing "Sonic Labyrinth" to "Gururin," I initially figured it was done by Face. But later, I found that Face likely outsourced their development to other companies (see Sankindo). So I backed off of that notion and was now at a dead end.

Until about 2 days ago...As I was doing some hard-nosed game developer-type research, I found the credits for a PC Engine game called "Zipang" (here), developed by Arc Co., Ltd. I saw Kenichi Iwanaga! I saw Noriyuki Tabata! I saw Atsuko Iwanaga! Yes, I had finally found the mystery SIMS/Face subcontractor.

I was pretty sure of myself...but not for long. Shortly after, I found the credits to 1997's Banpresto-published "Super Robot Shooting" (SRS) for the PS1 (here). These were certainly interesting. And they were awfully similar to the credits in "Sonic Labyrinth" and "Baku Baku." So I thought this was done by Arc.

Then came another wrinkle. It turns out that Arc became Arc System Works. A colleague and I looked at the credits from a 1995 PS1 game it developed, "Exector." They weren't recognizable at all. So we agreed; surely, Arc System Works couldn't have made SRS, or lukewarm GG games.

So was I at a dead end again? Well, not quite. The credits to SRS had special thanks to four companies:

MINATOGIKEN
DEWS
STUDIO STAT
BANPRESTO CONSUMER
DIVISION STAFF


Process of elimination. Banpresto was the publisher. Studio Stat is a debugging company. I couldn't find anything on Dews. But I did find something interesting when I searched for Minato Giken. It turns out it had created the arcade game "Zunzunkyou no Yabou" for Sega. Says so right on the title screen.



With that bit of information, I fingered Minato Giken as our mystery developer.

I don't know. That seems like a bit of a stretch!

Just for fun, let's compare the high score initials in "Zunzunkyo no Yabou" to those in "Gururin."



Zunzunkyou no Yabou:
IWA - Iwanaga?
MOR - Michiyo Morohoshi?
OTA - Masayuki Ota?



Gururin:
IWA - Iwanaga?
MOR - Michiyo Morohoshi?
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:18 am
Added:
Crayon Shin-chan: Taiketsu! Quantum Panic!! (Game Gear)
Kaitou Saint Tail (Game Gear)
Akagawa Jirou: Majotachi no Nemuri (Super Famicom/NES)

Kaitou Saint Tail (GG)

Original Work         Megumi Tachikawa
Director              Noboru Machida
Planner               Kazuhiro Tanaka
Programmer            Noboru Honda
                      Kenichi Iwanaga
                      Kouhei Mine
Graphic               Kazuhiro Tanaka
                      Keiko Tamura
Sound Effect          Atsuko Iwanaga
Sound Compose         Mika Nozawa
Special Thanks        Hideki Katagiri
                      Nobuo Matsushima
                      Tetsuya Takei
                      Kengo Arai
                      Tsutomu Morishita
                      Hiroko Katou
                      Kouichi Yoshinaga
                      Yasuhisa Nakagawa
                      Noriyuki Tabata
                      Masako Araki
                      Youko Yanagisawa
                      Akemi Matsumoto
                      Keiko Sueyoshi
                      Naoki Gotou
                      Michiyo Morohoshi
                      Yuuki Satou
                      Kaori Hijiya
                      Masayuki Oota
                      Takashi Ueshima
                      Michiya Kameda
                      Kenichi Kumakura
                      Shuuichi Sekimoto
                      Chizuka Gotou
                      Akitatsu Saitou
                      Hideo Saitou
                      Akira Inoue
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:34 pm
Amazing.
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:25 am
- Further proof that Sonic Labyrinth was by Minato Giken: You'll actually find the word "MINATO" in the ROM.

- Also, it looks like "Yuu Yuu Hakusho II: Keikitou! Nanakyou no Tatakai" for the Game Gear is a Minato Giken game, or it at least sounds like it. The Video Game Museum has the ending with some credits. The staffers you can see don't look to be Minato Giken people, but the most important ones are missing - namely the programmers and sound people. There's no mistaking the sound (for example, it shares the same "press start" sound effect as Minato's other GG games).
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:55 am
"Quiz Gear Fight!!, The" (GG) and "Dynamite Headdy" (GG/SMS) added to the list
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:02 pm
CRV wrote
"Quiz Gear Fight!!, The" (GG) and "Dynamite Headdy" (GG/SMS) added to the list

Aw, no explanation of the weird convoluted process that brought Headdy into the fray? I have to say I was particuarly impressed with that bit of detective work. :)
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:13 am
DJ Squarewave wrote
Aw, no explanation of the weird convoluted process that brought Headdy into the fray? I have to say I was particuarly impressed with that bit of detective work. :)


Okay...One of the programmers on "Dynamite Headdy" is Ken Matudaira. The sound person is Ako Matudaira. One of the programmers from Minato Giken is Kenichi Iwanaga. Usually, the sound person on Minato games is Atsuko Iwanaga.

Ken Matudaira = Kenichi Iwanaga
Ako Matudaira = Atsuko Iwanaga

It helps that "Headdy" came up in one of DJSW's code comparisons of Minato games. Also helps that "Headdy" shares sound effects with other Minato games.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:50 am
Does anybody have the PS2 SDI/Quartet collection...thing? According to this page, Ken'ichi Iwanaga (who turns up on many Minato games) was the main programmer on AC Quartet. Whatever it is they're talking about apparently has comments from the people on that list. I'd like to know what Iwanaga said...

Thanks.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:32 pm
Found former Minato graphic artist Kazuhiro Tanaka's profile:
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tanakazu/NEW/profile01.html

He worked on a few Game Gear games there:
Yuu Yuu Hakusho: Horobishi Mono no Gyakushuu
Yuu Yuu Hakusho II: Gekitou! Nanakyou no Tatakai
Crayon Shin-chan: Taiketsu! Quantum Panic!!
Sonic Labyrinth
Kaitou Saint Tail

An older work history with additional comments:
http://homepage3.nifty.com/tanakazu/hp1/shokureki_x1.htm
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