Sunsoft Famicom and NES

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My name is David Siller and I was for four years VP of Product Development for Sun Denshi in the US also known as SUNSOFT.

I will try to answer any questions as well as tell accounts of what Sunsoft was doing back in the Famicom/NES era. I will tell as accurate an account as I can, keeping in mind that I am still under "non-disclosure" and still in communication with them. I will must also say that of all the video game companies that I worked for, Sunsoft was the best. I enjoyed my time there and was sad to see a new President channel away their resources into a golf course that never happened! There may be some interviews on the Internet with other people that do not necessarily tell a true account of what was going on there at that time.  :redcart:


Hello!  Welcome to Famicom World, glad to see you here :)  Do you know why some of the Sunsoft games, such as Ufouria and Gimmick, never made it to the USA?  From my understanding, some American NES prototypes for these games had been found, suggesting that they were possibly going to get released in the USA.


Thanks for doing this thread!

What years were you at Sunsoft? I'm gonna guess around '90 to '94 :D


Yes, 90 to late 94 is correct.

The reason that Gimmick and Ufouria, among others were not released is a problem that is as old as the Game Industry.

I believed in both of these games, especially Gimmick, but management often does NOT listen to those who know what the true market wants. Rather, management listen to their "sales" staff who in turn are influenced by the "reps" who talk directly to the store "buyers". The store buyers are often people who know very little (or nothing) about the product and they study the sales reports that tell them what is selling (last week) and they then arrogantly tell the reps what they want, which is often the "new" stuff. They seem to forget that an installed base of millions is better to support when new hardware comes out, but they still want the early hardware adopters dollars, believing that to be a safe bet. Later, or late in the Christmas selling season they suddenly want the "old" stuff because that what the shoppers are buying and they don't have enough stock! They forget that as of that point, there are zero consoles of the new one yet in the hands of consumers and leave for dead the millions that are supporting the older console yet. It is a vicious cycle that is repeated every time a new hardware comes to the market. The blind leading the blind. The end result is that newer projects on the old console are cancelled and they now want shovelware to sell to the unsuspecting consumers. Usually the new console software is not that effectively made.

The irony is that by that point, we developers have found new and more clever ways of extracting great software from the older console but those games will never be made...! In the case of NES/famicom, developers have invented newer chips to add to the original specifications and therefore produce better games (that will never be seen or played).


So much of this rings true from certain things I've seen in my experience.  Sadly, this can happen to any industry.  Unfortunately 'marketing' usually gets the blame :)

Having spoken to you before I know you were involved in all of the development scene back then, I'd love to hear what plans there were for the follow-up games on NES and Famicom with the new kinds of chips you guys were looking at.

Obviously if anything is confidential then nobody will try and pressure for details, so it's cool to call out what can't be discussed.  Really good of you to take the time to share some of these memories we all chase..

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