Tekken Arcade Cabinet
In 1994 it had become a “kit” driven market in America. But Tekken was given its own dedicated cabinet due to it’s anticipated popularity and earning power. The design featured a large 24” monitor, oversized control panel for plenty of elbow room and splashy cabinet graphics. We used larger than life heads of game characters.
A move list card listed the core moves for each default character (missing from the photo on left…hmmm). We wanted to encourage players to practice, learn and experiment as much as possible.
More than Just a Good Start
The first arcade Tekken was successful for Namco but would be even more so in the long run. Company revenues doubled for three consecutive years and unit sales volume grew eightfold over four years. Company revenues eclipsed even the Pac-Man boom years. Tekken inspired the creation of yet another Namco fighter, Soul Edge. December 2014 marks the 20-year anniversary of Tekken’s arcade introduction.
So confident once the first Tekken shipped, work started on the list of what couldn’t get into the original. I started working on strategies that would build it into the brand. We added visual personality to the characters (e.g. Marshall Law’s head bobbing and footwork), dove deeper into the story (Mishima family twists and turns) and the main characters life away from the Iron Fist tournament (characters ending movies). The designers and engineers took the fighting engine even further with a sophisticated blocking scheme, added more moves, deep and varied combos, improved graphics and advanced the 3D nature of the game.
I departed from Namco after Tekken 3. Selfishly speaking, I feel many of the games greatest achievements occurred during my time. Many regard it as the best fighting game franchise ever. I still marvel at the talented engineers, designers, and artists that were at Namco Ltd. in Japan. Tours of R&D’s games in development were always a treat. Game music is often unrecognized or under-appreciated. To this day, Tekken 2 and 3 soundtracks are amongst my listening favorites.
In looking back, I’m amazed how a report over twenty years ago helped define Tekken. As a product manager, I’ve written plenty of other such reports, before and after this one. Similar in purpose, but this one had the most impact.
It was a rare opportunity to contribute in such degree from across the ocean. I’m grateful and better to have been a part of it.
More on Tekken…
Tekken 7 Update
For more information, visit the Bandai Namco official Tekken 20th Anniversary web site.
Thanks for reading!