Press Run Presents: The History of Sunsoft
A New Book Arrives Today
By Stefan Gancer
Hello folks, this is Stefan, the author of The History of Sunsoft Volume I. I am a Swedish video game history enthusiast. I really never meant to write a book. Back in 2016, a friend and I were making a podcast where we talked about five games in each episode. I took it upon myself to research the games and the companies that made them, just to get some history in there. When it came time to talk about five Sunsoft games, I found the information about the game and the company that was available online to be lacking… to say the least!
The first step to what became a six-year-long journey was an interview about Fester’s Quest. Todd Ciolek interviewed the designers of the game and published the account on his blog (kidfenris.com). The interview was great but left me with more questions. I thought if this Kid Fenris guy can get hold of Sunsoft alumni, maybe I can too. And I could. I reached Richard Robbins and Michael Mendheim, former employees at Sun Corporation of America. Interviewing them revealed more information about Fester’s Quest, but also opened doors to learning about other games and Sunsoft in general. I then got in contact with David Siller, former software manager at SCA.
While I felt I had a better idea of how things at the American office had been, I still knew nothing about the Japanese side where the classic NES games were actually developed. I grew up with the NES as my first gaming machine. While most of Europe had not adopted the NES in the way the US had, Sweden had gotten the NES in 1986, and it was very popular here. Some of my favorite games were Sunsoft’s Batman: The Video Game and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. And I remembered reading the reviews for Mr. Gimmick and Ufouria back then.
The first Japanese developer I got hold of was Tomomi Sakai, the creator of Gimmick. And he got me in contact with Yuichi Ueda and Blaster Master creator Kenji Sada. And then it just kept rolling on. You just have to look for people all over. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, homepages, and so on.
I originally planned to make videos to get the information out in the wild. But since I got new information all the time, the videos would get outdated fast. So instead, I wrote a series of articles that I updated when new information came in. But in the end, it was too much work updating the articles, so I decided to take them down.
I kept researching, and once in a while, I wrote an article about some specific part of my research. Then I decided to make a series of magazines that I would get printed and sell to whoever wanted to buy them. When I finished the first issue, I posted a picture of a test print on Twitter. To my surprise, I was contacted by Limited Run. They asked if I wanted to make a book with them. The book was the result of taking the content of the two first magazine issues and combining that research into one volume. I used my old articles as a base for the book, rewriting and adding to it over two years of new information while interviewing people as I was writing.
It’s really a coincidence that Sunsoft started a sort of relaunch of the brand just as the book was released. When the book was done earlier this year, it looked like Sunsoft was scaling down to get even more anonymous than they have been for the past two decades.
I hope you will enjoy this first volume of the History of Sunsoft. It’s available today on the Limited Run Games storefront. And please look forward to more about Sunsoft in the future.
Limited Run Games:
is a subsidiary of “Freemode”, an operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. Limited Run Games is the industry leader in the production and distribution of premium physical video games. Limited Run seeks to celebrate the legacy of gaming through its award-winning collector’s editions. Founded in 2015, they have published over 1,000 physical games, exclusive merch, and collectables. Limited Run is the gold standard in bringing digital games to physical form and now re-releasing retro titles on modern platforms via their proprietary Carbon Engine. Visit limitedrungames.com for the latest offerings and to learn more about Carbon Engine development. Follow the brand on your social media platform of choice for all LRG-related updates:@limitedrungames.