Konami is one of the world’s leading video game companies. Based in Japan, they were founded all the way back in 1969 by Kagemasa Kōzuki. Since then, they’ve gone on to make some of the most popular games in history, as well as a host of other games like slot machines and arcade cabinets.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most successful game franchises made by Konami, from Metal Gear to Frogger.
How Konami Has Branched Out
Over the years Konami has moved away from traditional video games and into the development of slots.
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Pro Evolution Soccer
For many years, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) was the market leader when it came to football simulation games.
Konami created a powerful and realistic match engine that left its competitors in the dust – and that’s despite its lack of real football club names and footballer names. Merseyside Red (Liverpool FC) and Merseyside Blue (Everton FC) are just two examples.
At the same time, the various PES games Konami produced maintained something of an arcade feel, never losing sight of the fact that it was a game – and an enjoyable one, at that.
Nowadays, PES plays second fiddle to FIFA, the most popular football game on the market. While the gulf in quality between the two franchises has widened over the past few years, things are beginning to change.
Konami has invested significantly in bringing its PES franchise up to speed. It improved its match engine, acquired more rights for teams and players, and developed some of its core features, like its Online Master League.
Arguably Konami’s greatest-ever game franchise, Metal Gear is adored by gaming fans across the globe.
Stretching all the way back to 1987 and played on some of the earliest consoles, the game follows the iconic Solid Snake as he tries to infiltrate enemy bases as stealthily as possible. And this is the biggest challenge of the game – remaining unseen by the enemy guards.
The premise and gameplay have grown in sophistication over the years. The Metal Gear franchise cemented itself in the hearts and minds of many fans with the 1998 game, Metal Gear Solid.
It won countless awards, including PlayStation Game of the Year, and received scores of 10/10 across the board. In the eyes of many critics, it remains one of the best games ever made.
Fans of horror and psychological thriller games will undoubtedly be familiar with Silent Hill. The survival game set in an eerie and dilapidated American town struck a chord with many people, drawing them deep into the experience it sought to create.
The game franchise was launched in 1999 and there have since been 12 games, with the last coming in 2012. By 2013, Konami had sold 8.4 million Silent Hill copies.
The franchise has expanded beyond gaming. There have been two feature films made, more spin-off games and print material too.
While the earlier games – Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 – were what cemented its legacy, the later games declined in popularity, which ultimately led to its end as a game franchise.
Sticking with the horror theme, Castlevania is another popular franchise produced by Konami. The game follows vampire hunters as they make their way through the gothic castle of Count Dracula, who is the main antagonist in the series.
Its popularity stretched beyond the games console. Now, there are comic books, an animated TV series and a number of spin-off games.
The Castlevania franchise has amassed well over 20 million sales worldwide. It has received consistently positive reviews which have given the game longevity, a rare thing in the industry.
Frogger is one of the most iconic games ever made. It’s simple to play and has cross-generational appeal. Players are simply required to control a frog and must navigate traffic-filled roads.
It came out in 1981 and is still played around the world today. Back then, it received critical acclaim for its simplicity and addictiveness. In 1981, it grossed over $135m for Sega in arcade cabinet sales.
The game has been updated since the 1980s, with a PC version released in 1997 selling a million units in just a few months. It remains one of Konami’s most successful franchises of all time.