Data East Corporation was founded in 1976, originally as a Japanese manufacturer of parts for Arcade Game
hardware. Data East started to develop their own games in 1979, and the next year introduced the DECO Cassette System, the first scheme to distribute arcade games on interchangeable media (cassette tapes) that could be produced at less cost than circuit boards.
Data East USA in many years published games for more systems than its Japanese parent company, and licensed commando and martial-arts games from other Japanese companies to distribute along with Data East's own. Data East also started a pinball
division in the mid-1980s, absorbing some assets and employees from the bankrupt Stern Electronics
. By all accounts, their pinball strategy tended towards buying expensive, high-profile properties, then applying them to whatever pinball machines were in development
at the time.
Data East ran into financial difficulties in the late 1990s, first closing Data East USA and selling Data East Pinball to Sega
. Data East stopped producing games for arcades in 1997, and for consoles in late 1999. Data East hung on for a few more years, selling electronic components and licensed out some of its old games before succumbing to bankruptcy in 2003. The rights to its old games were then divided among several companies, primarily Paon and mobile game developer G-Mode.
Various former Data East employees went on to found Technos Japan, TAD Corporation and Idea Factory
Games created by Data East include:
Non-Data East games published by Data East USA:
Data East pinballs include: