This is an attempt to list all the games originally developed for the NEC PCs and later translated and ported for release outside Japan. I don’t know if it’s complete, but I don’t think that a lot is missing. If you have any additions to make, please comment below.
There are two restrictions to this list: First, I’m leaving out the ports to Windows. It would easily make the list twice as long, but just add a lot of of “visual novels” with little or no gameplay.
Second, I’m leaving out the Koei games. Koei is a special case. In 1988, they established a Californian subsidiary and from then on published at least every other game in the USA, on multiple platforms. Koei’s games were released on multiple platforms in Japan as well, they are not especially linked to the NEC PCs. Nobunaga’s Ambition was originally, in 1983, published in BASIC.
Sierra ported and published five titles 1987–90, after Ken Williams’ famous business trip to Japan. Except where mentioned, these were developed by Game Arts.
- Fire Hawk
- Sorcerian (Nihon Falcom)
Sierra ported nearly all of Game Arts’ PC-88 games. I think Veigues was the only one they skipped, maybe because the graphics were too tricky. After 1990, Game Arts moved from PC to consoles.
But why didn’t we see more Nihon Falcom games from Sierra? Possibly Sorcerian didn’t sell all that well. As Al LaPrade writes on Hardcore Gaming 101:
There is no indication that the game was very popular, most likely due to the quite frankly awful for the time graphics. This same year Ultima VI was released, which features gorgeous 256 color VGA graphics and a massive detailed world. Sorcerian with its stylized 16 color graphics and limited viewpoint seemed woefully antiquated at the time.
Three titles, all from 1989.
- Cosmic Soldier 2: Psychic War (Kogado)
- Wibarm (Arsys Software)
- Ys (Nihon Falcom, first game only)
It’s somehow strange that Brøderbund, who had a Japanese subsidiary and strong ties to Japan, didn’t bring more across the Pacific. The other way round it worked better: Loderunner and Prince of Persia were very popular in Japan, Carmen Sandiego even got her own local game (Where in Japan is Carmen Sandiego?). Brøderbund Japan also ported Puzznic to the PC-98.
Take the A-Train
Three games from Artdink’s “Take the A-Train” series have been published outside Japan, under different titles.
- In 1989, Seika ported “Take the A-Train II” as “Railroad Empire”. It was their only PC title. They ported a few console titles before leaving the game business altogether.
- Best known, Maxis ported “Take the A-Train III” in 1992 as simply “A-Train”.
- AIV Network$ (1995), sold as C.E.O. in the USA, is not a direct port of a PC-98 game, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. While obviously based on “Take the A-Train IV”, it has different interface graphics and SimCity-style add-ons like newspaper articles and TV news clips.
Four games 1992–95. The first two were heavily edited.
- Cobra Mission (Inos)
- Ningyō Tsukai (Forest) as “Metal & Lace”
- Dragon Knight III (elf) as “Knights of Xentar”
- Power Dolls (Kogado)
Princess Maker 2
This is a special case. The English version was never released (only leaked), and it is a translation of the Japanese MS-DOS version. In the mid-90s, a number of Japanese games were released for MS-DOS as well.
In 1994, Queensoft’s eroge RPG “Mad Paradox” was published in an English MS-DOS translation under the label Samourai.
In 1995, the publisher of the acclaimed 1602 series released two PC-98 games in German translations:
- The Atlas (Artdink)
- Nectaris (Hudson Soft)
The PC Engine version of Nectaris was sold in the USA as “Military Madness”. It is probably the only PC-98 game released outside Japan that is neither an eroge nor by Artdink.
- Runaway City
- Three Sisters’ Story
- Season of the Sakura