HAL Laboratory

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HAL Laboratory's logo.

HAL Laboratory is a Japanese video game developer founded on 1980-02-21 and the name is derived from the computer company IBM, but with each letter being the preceding letter in the alphabet. The company has had close ties with Nintendo for its entire existence and often develops games with Nintendo brands that are published by Nintendo including the Kirby, Mother, and Super Smash Bros. series. However, the company also had some popularity with their own publications like the Adventures of Lolo.

HAL Laboratory first started developing games for the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, mostly porting Namco and later Atari titles. In 1983, they branched out to the Japanese home computer market including the MSX, PC-88, and Sharp X1. Starting in 1984, because of HAL programmer Satoru Iwata's familiarity with the MOS 6502 processor used in the NES, Nintendo worked with HAL to program several of their early NES titles including Pinball, Golf, and Balloon Fight. This began a relationship that would remain strong for decades.


In the 8-bit era, I always assumed HAL was actually "Hai" because of their US logo which strangely used a lowercase 'l' with the 'HA' in uppercase. I also always like their logo, which is also similar to the IBM logo. I didn't care for the company at all, but I remember liking the concept of the Adventures of Lolo which I had first seen in a strategy guide. Looking back at the company's work, I am certainly impressed with their wide variety of game styles.


Here are some of the games HAL Laboratory created that are important to me.

Game Boy






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