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Creator / Compile

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Logo after being acquired by Compile Heart

Compile Co., Ltd. 『株式会社コンパイル』 was a Japanese computer software and game developer. They are best remembered for numerous fast-paced Shoot Em Ups featuring varied arsenals and multi-turreted bosses, and for creating the Puyo Puyo series of competitive Falling Blocks games.

From 1988 to 2000, Compile published the magazine Disc Station, whose issues came with disks of games and game demos for the MSX2, PC-98, and Microsoft Windows 95/98.

Compile was not primarily a video game publisher, at least before Puyo Puyo made it big. Many of its games were never distributed outside of Japan, and its official website was Japanese-only. Even within Japan, many of Compile's games were distributed by such companies as Sega, Hudson Soft, Naxat Soft, Pony Canyon, Tokyo Shoseki and Toho; sometimes they gave no credit to Compile. Sega in particular had a long and fruitful relationship with Compile, effectively making them a second-party developer.

Compile's ports of games created by other developers often came with extra content: R-Type for the Sega Master System added an original Secret Level; Tombs & Treasure and Dragon Slayer Jr.: Romancia for the NES significantly expanded on Falcom's originals; and the original Xevious was attached to newly developed sequels for the MSX2 and PC Engine.

Not to be confused with Compile Heart, another Japanese game developer, although its staff and properties would eventually join them, as shown below.

In 1993, most of the staff that worked on Compile's shooter titles broke off and founded 8ing/Raizing after their request to develop arcade games where shut down by management.

After Puyo Puyo Tsu dominated Japanese arcades in late 1994, Compile rapidly expanded its workforce and engaged in all sorts of ventures. Unfortunately for them, just about everything not named Puyo Puyo flopped miserably, and they entered 1998 with more debt than any other Japanese gaming company at the time. In an act of desperation, they sold the Puyo Puyo series to Sega while securing continued unrestricted use of the franchise until 2002. However, the myriad of spinoffs did little to save the company, and Compile filed for bankruptcy in 2003, marking their end.

A new company called Aiky took over much of what had been Compile's, including founder Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani and the rights to many of Compile's games. Aiky dedicated itself to Casual Video Games, which had made up a significant portion of Compile's output. Eventually, the rights to all of Compile's former properties (except Puyo Puyo which went to Sega, and Aleste which would go to M2) would go to D4 Enterprise, who have since released many titles from these acquired properties via their Project EGG service. Most of Compile's former staff (including Masamitsu, who would retire in 2012) would find their way to Compile Heart, a subsidiary developer of Idea Factory. D4 would soon enter a license deal with Compile Heart to create new games based on Compile properties. Eventually, Niitani would leave Compile Heart to start a new company called Compile Maru (コンパイル〇) and develop Nyoki Nyoki: Tabidachi Hen for the Nintendo 3DS.

Games developed by Compile:

Shoot 'em Ups
  • Aleste series (through GG Aleste II: Lance Bird)
  • Blazing Lazers
  • Budruga Saga
  • E.I.
  • Gun Nac
  • Jagur
  • Rude Breaker
  • Spriggan series (up until Spriggan Powered, which was developed by Micronics)
    • Seirei Senshi Spriggan
    • Spriggan Mark 2: Re-Terraform Project
  • Sylphia
  • Xevious: Fardraut Saga & Fardraut Densetsu
  • Zanac series

Other notable titles