Data East Corporation, known in Japan as (株式会社データイースト [Kabushikigaisha Deta Isuto Koporeshon]), and also called DECO, was a Japanese video game company. Data East was founded on 1976-04-20 and originally made video amusement cabinets like video slot machines. In 1979, Data East created Data East USA, Inc. to distribute their arcade and casino games in North America. In 1981, three Data East employees formed Technos, which resulted in a lawsuit with Data East, and Technos created several games for Data East before becoming a truly separate company. In 1996, Data East USA was liquidated, and in 1999 Data East, having accrued a massive debt, filed for reorganization protection. Data East switched from video games to various engineering equipment, and continued to license its games to third party developers for a few years before finally declaring bankruptcy in 2003. The company game licenses were sold to G-Mode, Paon Corporation, Kadokawa Games, Arc System Works, and D4 Enterprise.
Although I had seen several Data East games in the arcade, I didn't recognize the company until my mother bought me Bad Dudes for the NES for Christmas around 1990. It was from that game that I saw the Data East logo, and part of why I noticed it is because my brother received the game Double Dragon, whose publisher was Tradewest. The east/west dichotomy caused it to stick in my mind more. I've played through a fair amount of Data East's catalog of games, and most of them are pretty shoddy. The few that I like are just because I grew up with them in my collection, not because they're especially good.
Although Data East never produced their own home consoles, they did create the DECO Cassette System, the first arcade system with interchangeable games.
Overall, Data East didn't create that many games that piqued my interest. They mostly made action and sports games. I've never much cared for sports games, and the action games of Capcom and Konami always seemed more impressive. Those games that Data East ported to consoles often suffered large decreases in quality and content. As a publisher, the company released several ports of computer games onto video game consoles, but, when games were first released on a computer, I generally preferred the original computer version and avoided the ports.
These are the Data East games that are important to me:
- mobygames.com/company/data-east-usa-inc - MobyGames (Data East USA).