Posted on March 16th, 2010 3 comments
Maker: Nihon Soft Hanbai
Release Date: 4/28/89
Price: 2400 yen
The PC Engine, as you might know by now, had only one controller port. If playing with yourself got boring, you could buy a multitap and let the entire neighborhood block get into the game at once, making the PCE the first Japanese system to support more than two controllers. In the very beginning this meant purchasing NEC-HE’s official five-port Multitap, but since having five people play any PCE game at once was a pretty uncommon sight, later peripherals (like the three-port Joy Tap and the two-port X-HE2) cut down the number of ports for convenience.
Within this oddly crowded market, the Battle Tap is unique — it’s got four ports, baby.
This tap was released by an outfit called Nihon Soft Hanbai, which also put out two PC Engine games in 1989 under the Bigclub banner: Jimmu Denshō YAKSA and the world-famous Rock On, renowned for its erudite and moving opening sequence across all of Internet-dom. After that, the company promptly went out of business, its final game (a port of Nichibutsu’s arcade title Armed F) getting released by Pack-In-Video in March 1990. All three titles were shooters, and none of them were anything besides pretty crap. It no longer being 1986, Bigclub sadly missed the era where publishers could release any old game and expect to make their investment back — and throwing money at the peripheral market probably didn’t help their bottom line much, either.
In addition to selling the Battle Tap by itself, Nihon Soft Hanbai release a package called the “Battle Set” that combined the tap with their Battle Pad controller. No doubt they were trying to capitalize on the multiplayer-compatible releases (like Motoroader and Dungeon Explorer) which were finally beginning to drip out here ‘n there by mid-1989. It’s a shame, then, that the company didn’t make it to Bomberman’s launch in 1990.
I kind of like the design on this sucker better than on NEC’s multitap. It’s all, you know, futuristic with those simulated LCD numbers.