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Palcom Software

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.

Bandai UK's distribution warehouse
TypeSubsidiary
Parent CompanyKonami
LocationFareham, England
United Kingdom
PublisherPalcom Software Limited
Founded1990
Defunct1994

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.

Known For:

YearBoxTitlePlatformDeveloperGenre
1990Skate or Die!Nintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiSports
Skateboarding
1990Teenage Mutant Hero TurtlesNintendo Entertainment System
MS-DOS
Commodore 64
KonamiPlatformer
Action
1991Defender of the CrownNintendo Entertainment SystemCinemawareStrategy
1991Mission: ImpossibleNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiAction
Third-person Shooter
1991Ski or DieNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiSports
Skiing
1991Pirates!Nintendo Entertainment SystemMicroProseAction-Adventure
Strategy
1991Blades of SteelGame BoyKonamiSports
Hockey
1991CrackoutNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiAction
1991Skate or Die: Bad 'N RadGame BoyKonamiAction
1992Monster in My PocketNintendo Entertainment SystemTeam Murata KeikakuAction
1992ParodiusNintendo Entertainment System
Game Boy
KonamiHorizontal Scrolling Shooter
1992Road FighterNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiRacing
1992Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse Europe BoxCastlevania III: Dracula’s CurseNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiAction
Platformer
1992ProbotectorGame BoyKonamiRun and Gun
1993Star Trek: 25th AnniversaryGame BoyInterplayAction-adventure
1993Formula 1 SensationNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiRacing
1993Rackets & RivalsNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiSports
Tennis
1993Bucky O'HareNintendo Entertainment SystemKonamiAction
Platformer
1993Zen: Intergalactic NinjaGame BoyKonamiAction
1993CybernatorSuper NintendoNCS CorpRun and Gun
Platformer
1993Pop'n TwinBeeSuper NintendoKonamiVertical Shooter
1993Sunset RidersSuper NintendoKonamiRun and Gun