Konami Gaming Slot Machines
If you've enjoyed arcade and video games over the years, then you are quite familiar with Konami. In fact, you might find it a little strange that a Japanese computer gaming company also manufactures slot machines.
Actually, that isn't strange at all. Konami is the fourth largest producer of video games in Japan, a country which is wild about such games. So when the arcade industry began to go bust in the 1990s, it was time to find a new revenue stream for Konami. And there may be no other game technology more lucrative right now than slot machines.
The Konami Corporation had ties to American gaming as far back as 1978, so they were quite familiar with the tastes of American game consumers. They had the bankroll to jump into the highly competitive slots industry, and the technical expertise to make it work. So in the last several years, Konami Games, the casino gaming branch of the Konami Corporation, has begun to place its machines in American casinos.
The History of Konami
Konami was founded in 1969 by Kagamasa Kosuki, a resident of Osaka, Japan. It was originally a jukebox rental and jukebox repair service. The name Konami actually means "little waves". Given the huge corporation Konami has become, the name has taken on an ironic meaning.
In 1973, Konami recognized the growing interest in arcade games. Mr. Kosuki and his people began to design their own arcade games. Due to the small nature of his business, their first game didn't come on the market until 1978. The delay in production may have been a blessing.
By 1978, arcade games were on the verge of becoming a worldwide fad. Therefore, Konami broke into the business at just the right time. After a few years of playing around with the market and with game designs, Konami was well-placed to become a giant of the industry in the eighties.
Scramble and Super Cobra
1981 saw Konami's first big splash in the arcade industry. It released two games, Super Cobra and Scramble, which proved mild successes in America, but much larger successes in Japan. Sales of these machines got the money stream flowing, so that the Konami Corporation had the means to break into other markets.
The company began to market computer software in 1982. This software was for PC games, which quickly became an expertise of the company.
Around the same time, Konami began to bid on projects for home game consoles. They won a bid to design games for MSX, an early video game foray by the Microsoft Corporation. Though the game system never took off, this gave Konami the expertise and the resume to hook on with a much more successful video console venture.
1985 found Konami starting its long and sometimes stormy relationship with Nintendo. The Nintendo console was hugely popular under a different name in Japan. Some of its early, most successful games were designed by Konami.
Konami favorites included Castlevania, Gradius, Metal Gear and one of my favorites of years gone by, Contra. When Nintendo became a phenomenon in America, the Konami Corporation became famous in the states, as well.
Nintendo had odd stipulations for its game designers, which basically meant Konami and its competitors could not design more than five games a year for the Nintendo console. To get around this restriction, Konami formed a front company, Ultra Games.
Ultra is technically the company associated with Metal Gear, though Konami is the parent company. Ultra also designed popular games like Skate or Die, as well as Gyruss. Ultra designed the first two versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for Nintendo.
Ultra Games is now defunct, though Konami holds the rights to their trademarks.
Konami in America
During these years, Konami did not forget the arcade genre. In fact, they moved offices to America specifically for the design, production and marketing of arcade games. These offices were eventually moved to Redwood City, California, where they remain to this day.
Konami delved into the slots industry around the turn of the 21st century. Since that time, Konami has produced several popular slot machines. In 2005, it bought majority shares of Hudson Soft, and moved Konami Gaming's headquarters to Las Vegas, Nevada. This was a move to step up production of Konami slot machines.
Konami's first licensed slot machine was based on the Rocky movies. Players see and hear clips of Sylvester Stallone as they play the slot machine.
The Slot Games List
Konami has a large archive of slot machines. The company has actually been quite prolific in the past five years or so.
As would be natural, "money" is a common theme in Konami games. They offer titles like Money in the Bank, Solstice Gold, African Treasure, Atlantic Treasure, Aloha Gold, Cash Inferno, Coinopolis, Big Payoff and Billionaires.
If you see a slot machine on a casino floor with some permutation of "money" in the title, there's a good chance it's a Konami game.
Other Konami Games
Mariachi Madness, Blue Ice and Flame Jumper are also popular Konami games.
Konami Movie Franchises
In the past few years, Konami has begun licensing popular games for development into Hollywood movies. Silent Hill is the first such gaming movie to hit the silver screen. Others in production include Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid.
I hope to one day see these games turned into licenses for slot machines. Perhaps the company wants to market to an older casino audience. But I see the day, as the generation which grew up on arcade games and video game consoles gets older, when we will see slot machine franchises of old Konami favorites like Metal Gear and Castlevavia.