ASCII Corporation was a Japanese company that published computer magazines, comics, books, video games, and manufactured semiconductors. It was founded in 1977 broken apart in the 2000s, and finally dissolved in 2010 with it's remnants being moved into ASCII Media Works. Their most popular products include ASCII magazine, the MSX computer standard (jointly made with Microsoft), and the Derby Stallion and RPG Maker video game series.
I had almost no experience with ASCII through their games, few of which ever appealed to me, but I did grow up using their controllers. My family got the NES Advantage in the late 1980s, and my friends of mine owned the Super Advantage and AsciiPad. I never really found any of these controllers to be superior to the stock controllers, but I really liked the idea of them.
It was founded in 1977 by Kazuhiko Nishi and Keiichiro Tsukamototo to publish their home computer magazine, ASCII. In 1978, they worked with Microsoft to license various forms of Microsoft BASIC to Japanese home computers. In 1982, the company started published video games. In 1983, ASCII and Microsoft produced the MSX standard to try and compete with other Japanese home computers which was mildly successful and ASCII published many games for the platform. In 1984, they entered the semiconductor business, but this arm never became that successful. The partnership with Microsoft dissolved in 1986, when Microsoft created its own Japanese division. ASCII began developing licensed hardware for Nintendo in 1987, then for Sony in the 1990s. In 1989, ASCII started publishing games in the USA through Nexoft. It appears they bought the company around 1991 and renamed it Asciiware, and, later in 1996, ASCII Entertainment Software ASCII remained a big publisher of magazines, video games, and hardware though the 1990s, but, by 1997 they were in serious debt and needed to be bailed out by CSK Corporation. In 1999, ASCII Entertainment Software was spun off into an independent company, Agetec. From 2001 to 2010, ASCII was sold, merged, split, and renamed several times until it eventually resulted in a totally new company called ASCII Media Works.
MSX computer standard.
ASCII was also responsible for porting a large number of Western games onto Japanese home computers, including the first seven Wizardry games.