Palcom Software was a video game publishing company owned by Konami. The company was established as a shell corporation in 1990 to bypass Nintendo of Europe’s strict licensing rules that were in place for the European market.
When Nintendo introduced the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, they established the Nintendo Seal of Quality and a set of rules that third-party development studios had to follow in order to publish games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. They entered the video game market after the video game crash of 1983 and had to establish relationships with retailers and rebuild their confidence in the market for video games. One of the main reasons for the video game crash of 1983 was the overabundance of poor-quality games on the market for 2nd generation video game console such as the Atari VCS, ColecoVision and Intellivision.
The Nintendo Seal of Quality was meant to stop low quality games from being released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in mass and to avoid the same outcome as the Atari VCS and other 2nd generation home consoles. One of the rules that Nintendo put in place was that third-party companies were limited to publishing up to five games per year for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. Similar rules were put in place when Nintendo began distributing the Nintendo Entertainment System through out Europe.
These same rules were not put in place in Japan as the Japanese market was not affected by the video game crash. These strict rules affected Konami as they were already publishing more than ten games a year for both the Nintendo Famicom and Famicom Disk System in Japan. Following the Nintendo Seal of Quality set of rules would limit their ability to port games for the European market and limit the company’s overall revenue potential.
|Publisher||Palcom Software Limited|
With a well-established game library for the Famicom in Japan Konami had the potential to localize their existing games for the European market in a quick manner. To get around Nintendo’s rule that third-party publishers were limited to releasing five games per year Konami formed the Palcom Software brand to extend its annual library much like they did by creating Ultra Games to publish additional games in North America. They did this by setting up a shell corporation, a company that exists on paper only and does not have an office or employees. Konami formed a relationship with Bandai UK Ltd for distribution of Palcom Software titles and to handle any warranty claims as they did not have any Konami offices in the region.
Palcom Software began by publishing Konami developed games and later branched out to publishing games that where developed by other studios such as Cinemaware, MicroProse and Interplay. The first games they published were Skate or Die! And Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles for the Nintendo Entertainment System and they continued to publish some of Konami’s more popular titles such as Probotector, Castlevania III, Dracula’s Curse and Sunset Riders.
As retailers regained confidence in the video game market Nintendo relaxed its restrictions on the number of games third-party companies could publish each year when they launched the Super Nintendo in 1991. As a result, there was no longer any benefit for Konami to retain the Palcom Software brand and they disconnected the label in early 1994.
|1990||Skate or Die!||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Sports
|1990||Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|1991||Defender of the Crown||Nintendo Entertainment System||Cinemaware||Strategy|
|1991||Mission: Impossible||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Action
|1991||Ski or Die||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Sports
|1991||Pirates!||Nintendo Entertainment System||MicroProse||Action-Adventure
|1991||Blades of Steel||Game Boy||Konami||Sports
|1991||Crackout||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Action|
|1991||Skate or Die: Bad 'N Rad||Game Boy||Konami||Action|
|1992||Monster in My Pocket||Nintendo Entertainment System||Team Murata Keikaku||Action|
|1992||Parodius||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Konami||Horizontal Scrolling Shooter|
|1992||Road Fighter||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Racing|
|1992||Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Action
|1992||Probotector||Game Boy||Konami||Run and Gun|
|1993||Star Trek: 25th Anniversary||Game Boy||Interplay||Action-adventure|
|1993||Formula 1 Sensation||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Racing|
|1993||Rackets & Rivals||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Sports
|1993||Bucky O'Hare||Nintendo Entertainment System||Konami||Action
|1993||Zen: Intergalactic Ninja||Game Boy||Konami||Action|
|1993||Cybernator||Super Nintendo||NCS Corp||Run and Gun
|1993||Pop'n TwinBee||Super Nintendo||Konami||Vertical Shooter|
|1993||Sunset Riders||Super Nintendo||Konami||Run and Gun|