Last updated
Type Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Video games
FoundedFebruary 1980;42 years ago (1980-02) [1]
Defunct2001;21 years ago (2001)
FateAssets incorporated into Twenty-one Company, Intellectual Properties acquired by Sega
SuccessorTwenty-One Technosoft div.
Headquarters Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
ProductsVideo games
Computer software

Technosoft [lower-alpha 1] was a Japanese video game developer and publisher based headquartered in Sasebo, Nagasaki. Also known as "Tecno Soft", the company was founded in February 1980 as Sasebo Microcomputer Center, before changing its name to Technosoft in 1982. The company primarily dealt with software for Japanese personal computers, including graphic toolsets and image processing software. Technosoft's first venture into the video game market was Snake & Snake, released in 1982, before seeing success with titles such as Thunder Force (1983) and Plasma Line (1984).


Technosoft became largely profitable during the late-1980s and early-1990s, largely in part due to the widespread popularity of their Thunder Force and Herzog franchises. However, later in the decade, Technosoft began to largely diminish as profits began to slump, before ultimately being acquired and folded into Japanese pachinko manufacturer Twenty-One Company in late 2001. Twenty-One began to release products in 2008 under the Technosoft brand, and sold the entirety of its video game library to Sega in 2016. The Technosoft name continues to be in use in the present day as the name for Twenty-One's research and development division, and as a brand name for various products such as soundtrack albums.


Some staff members left Technosoft to start the game development companies Arsys Software in 1985 (founded by Kotori Yoshimura, creator of Thunder Force and Plazma Line), CAProduction in 1993, and Ganbarion in 1999.

In 2006, the URL for Technosoft was registered and updated. However, no updates other than "We will restart soon! Please wait for a while." and "THUNDERFORCE is a registered trademark." have been added to the website. In 2008, The Technosoft brand was revived by Twenty-One company. Technosoft licensed merchandising and music of the brand’s past titles. The copyright for Technosoft’s intellectual properties were not registered under Technosoft nor Twenty-One Company, but to Kazue Matsuoka. [2]

Sega revealed that Thunder Force III will be part of Sega 3D Classics Collection, [3] and on September 17, 2016 at the Tokyo Game Show, Sega announced that they acquired the intellectual property and development rights to all the games developed and published by Technosoft. When questioned about future Technosoft releases, Sega would look into re-releasing Thunder Force IV , Thunder Force V and Herzog Zwei . [4]

On September 2016, there was a total of 21 registrations made by Sega Holdings. These registrations revised the copyright of Technosoft intellectual properties from Kazue Matsuoka to Sega Games Co, Ltd thus completing the acquisition. [5] As of 2016, the digital soundtrack rights for the Thunder Force series will still be handled by Twenty-One Company through the Twenty-One Technosoft division. [6]

Factors that influenced the acquisition included the former Technosoft president stating that they did not want the Technosoft brand to desist, and so handing over the intellectual properties to Sega was the only other option. Sega and Technosoft also had an established collaboration during the Genesis/Mega Drive era and so this pre-established relationship was also a factor when acquiring the brand rights to Technosoft titles. [7]

Notable releases

Thunder Force

The company's most commercially successful franchise was the Thunder Force series. It was a series of scrolling shooter video games. The series began with the original Thunder Force in 1983. The games are known by fans of the genre for their hardcore appeal, pleasing graphics, and generally well composed synthesizer-based chiptune music soundtracks.

The series' first game, Thunder Force , appeared in 1983 on a variety of Japanese computers, such as the Sharp X1, NEC PC-8801 mkII, and FM-7. Technosoft also released a level editor, or game creation system, entitled Thunder Force Construction, for the original game on the FM-7 computer in 1984. [8] Since Thunder Force II , the majority of installments in the series appeared on the Mega Drive console, where the series gained much of its popularity. The most recent entry was released on PlayStation 2.

Plazma Line

Plazma Line
Developer(s) Technosoft
Publisher(s) Technosoft [9]
Designer(s) Kotori Yoshimura [9]
Platform(s) NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-6001, FM-7, Sharp X1
ReleasePC-8801 / PC-6001 / X1
December 1984 [9]
Genre(s) First -person racing game
Space flight simulator
The Sharp X1 port of Plazma Line (1984), an early first-person futuristic racing video game. This GIF animation of the game demonstrates early use of 3D polygon graphics and automap feature. Plazma Line.gif
The Sharp X1 port of Plazma Line (1984), an early first-person futuristic racing video game. This GIF animation of the game demonstrates early use of 3D polygon graphics and automap feature.

Plazma Line (プラズマライン) is a first-person space racing game released by Technosoft for the NEC PC-8801 and FM-7 computers in 1984. It is notable for being the first computer game, and home video game in general, with 3D polygon graphics. The objective of the game is to race through outer space in a first-person view while avoiding obstacles (rendered in 3D polygons) along the way. It also featured an automap radar to keep track of the player's position. [9]

The game was created by Kotori Yoshimura, [9] who also created the original Thunder Force. [10] Yoshimura later left the company in 1985 to start the development studio Arsys Software along with fellow Technosoft member Osamu Nagano. [11]


Herzog (German: "Duke") is a strategy video game released by Technosoft in Japan for the MSX and NEC PC-88 computers in 1988. It was a real-time tactics and tactical shooter game with real-time strategy elements.

The series' best known entry is the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) title Herzog Zwei (1989), which is sometimes regarded as the world's first real time strategy game. Although released two years after Nether Earth , it was the first game with a feature set that falls under the contemporary definition of the real-time strategy genre, predating the genre-popularizing Dune II . [12] [13] [14] The producers of Dune II acknowledged Herzog Zwei (meaning "Duke 2" in German) as an influence on the game. [15] [16]


1982Snake & Snake PC-8000, Sharp MZ
1983 Thunder Force FM-7, PC-6601, PC-88, PC-98, Sharp MZ, X1
1984 Plazma Line
1988Feedback MSX2
Herzog MSX, PC-8801, PC-9801, X1
Thunder Force II X68000, Sega Genesis
1989 Herzog Zwei Sega Genesis
1990 Thunder Force III Sega Genesis, Arcade
1991 Devil's Crush Sega Genesis
Thunder Spirits Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1992 Thunder Force IV Sega Genesis
1993 Elemental Master
Hyper Duel Arcade, Sega Saturn
1994Nekketsu Oyako PlayStation, Sega Saturn
1995Kyuutenkai: Fantasic Pinball
1996 Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 Sega Saturn
Thunder Force Gold Pack 2
1997Blast Wind
1998Kaze no Oka Kōen nite
Kumitate Battle: Kuttu KettoPlayStation, Sega Saturn
Thunder Force V
1999My GardenPlayStation
1999Getter Robo DaikessenPlayStation


  1. Japanese: 株式会社テクノソフト, Hepburn: Kabushiki-gashia Tekunosofuto

Related Research Articles

Real-time strategy (RTS) is a subgenre of strategy video games that do not progress incrementally in turns, but allow all players to play simultaneously, in "real time". By contrast, in turn-based strategy (TBS) games, players take turns to play. The term "real-time strategy" was coined by Brett Sperry to market Dune II in the early 1990s.

<i>Thunder Force</i> (video game) 1983 video game

Thunder Force is a free-roaming scrolling shooter computer game released by Technosoft in 1983. It is the first game in the Thunder Force series. It was initially released for the X1 computer, and later appeared on the Sharp MZ-1500, PC-6001 mkII, and in 1985 on the PC-8801 mkII. In 1984, it was released for the FM-7 and PC-9801 computers as Thunder Force Construction, featuring an add-on that allowed players to create custom made areas, like a level editor or game creation system.


The LaserActive is a converged device and fourth-generation home video game console capable of playing LaserDiscs, Compact Discs, console games, and LD-G karaoke discs. It was released by Pioneer Corporation in 1993. In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules accept Mega Drive/Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 ROM cartridges and CD-ROMs.

<i>Herzog Zwei</i> 1989 video game

Herzog Zwei is a real-time strategy video game developed by Technosoft and published by Sega for the Mega Drive/Genesis. An early real-time strategy game, it predates the genre-popularizing Dune II. It was released first in Japan in 1989 and worldwide in 1990. It is the sequel to Herzog, which was available on the Japanese MSX and PC-8801 personal computers.

<i>Herzog</i> (video game) 1988 video game

Herzog is a strategy video game released by Technosoft in Japan for the MSX and NEC PC-88 computers in 1988. It was a real-time tactics and tactical shooter game with real-time strategy elements. The game served as the prototype for its sequel Herzog Zwei, which was released in 1989 for the Sega Mega Drive and is often considered the first true real-time strategy game.

<i>Dune</i> (video game) 1992 video game

Dune is a 1992 adventure strategy video game, based upon Frank Herbert's science fiction novel of the same name. It was developed by Cryo Interactive and published by Virgin Interactive.

1984 saw many sequels and prequels along with new titles such as 1942, Boulder Dash, Cobra Command, Jet Set Willy, Karate Champ, Kung-Fu Master, Tetris, Yie Ar Kung-Fu and Punch-Out! The year's highest-grossing arcade games were Pole Position in the United States, for the second year in a row, and Track & Field in the United Kingdom. The year's best-selling home system was Nintendo's Family Computer (Famicom), which was only sold in Japan at the time.

The Creative Assembly Limited is a British video game developer based in Horsham, founded in 1987 by Tim Ansell. In its early years, the company worked on porting games to MS-DOS from Amiga and ZX Spectrum platforms, later working with Electronic Arts to produce a variety of games under the EA Sports brand. In 1999, the company had sufficient resources to attempt a new and original project, proceeding to develop the strategy computer game Shogun: Total War which was a critical and commercial hit, and is regarded as a benchmark strategy game. Subsequent titles in the Total War series built on the success of Shogun: Total War, increasing the company's critical and commercial success.

<i>Dune II</i> 1992 video game

Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty is a real-time strategy Dune video game developed by Westwood Studios and released by Virgin Games in December 1992. It is based upon David Lynch's 1984 movie Dune, an adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel of the same name.

<i>Thunder Force IV</i> 1992 shoot em up video game

Thunder Force IV, known in North America as Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar, is a shoot 'em up video game developed and published by Technosoft for the Mega Drive in 1992. It is the fourth installment in Technosoft's Thunder Force series, and the third and final one created for the Mega Drive. It was developed by the team at Technosoft that ported Devil's Crush to the Mega Drive rather than the team that developed the previous Thunder Force games. Like its predecessors, it is a horizontally scrolling shooter, but it also features extensive vertical scrolling with large playing fields.

<i>Thunder Force V</i> 1997 video game

Thunder Force V is a 1997 Japanese side-scrolling shooter video game developed by Technosoft for the Sega Saturn. It is the fifth game in the Thunder Force series. Unlike previous games in the series, Thunder Force V uses polygons to model the larger enemy ships and some of the scenery, in addition to sprites. In 1998, Thunder Force V was ported to the PlayStation as Thunder Force V: Perfect System.

Thunder Force is a series of free-roaming scrolling shooter type video games developed by the Japanese software company Technosoft and published by Sega. The franchise is recognized for its distinctive gameplay, graphics, and synthesizer-based chiptune music soundtracks.

<i>Master of Monsters</i> 1991 video game

Master of Monsters is a turn-based strategy game developed by SystemSoft for the MSX and NEC PC8801. It was ported to a variety of consoles and PCs including the PC Engine CD, NEC PC9801, and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. While it never had the same success as its SystemSoft stablemate Daisenryaku, the game garnered a loyal following. Its success in the North American market on the Sega Genesis proved sufficient for a sequel on the Sega Saturn, and an anime art-style enhanced Sony PlayStation version titled Disciples of Gaia with a Japanese role-playing game feel. Master of Monsters: Disciples of Gaia was released in 1998.

<i>Hyper Duel</i> 1993 video game

Hyper Duel is a Japanese video game developed by Technosoft and released in 1993. It is a horizontally scrolling shooter which takes inspiration from the Thunder Force series. The game has the player take control of a ship that can transform between a humanoid mecha and a space ship. The game was released in arcades in 1993, running on the TEC442-A hardware, then was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1996. It has never been released outside of Japan.

<i>Galaxy Force</i> 1988 shoot em up arcade game

Galaxy Force is a third-person space combat simulator game developed and released by Sega for arcades in 1988. The player assumes control of a starship named the TRY-Z, as it must prevent the Fourth Empire from taking over the entire galaxy. Gameplay involves shooting down enemies using either a laser shot or a limited supply of heat-seeking missiles, all while avoiding collision with projectiles or obstacles and making sure the ship's energy meter doesn't fully deplete. It ran on the Sega Y Board arcade system, and was released with a motion simulator cockpit arcade cabinet version like previous Sega Super Scaler games.


Riverhillsoft was a Japanese video game manufacturer in operation from 1982 to 2004. The studio focused in the 1980s developing games for Japanese home computers, in the 1990s shifted to console game development, and in the 2000s to mobile games. They also published Western games in the Japanese market.

<i>Thunder Force VI</i> 2008 shoot em up game

Thunder Force VI is a 2008 horizontal-scrolling shooter video game developed and published for the PlayStation 2 by Sega. The game places the player in the role of a starship that must eradicate the Orn Faust empire before they destroy all of Earth. The player must complete each stage by shooting down enemies and avoiding collisions with them and their projectiles, using an arsenal of powerful weapons to destroy them. It is the sixth and final entry in the long-running Thunder Force video game franchise, and the only one to not be developed by series creator Technosoft.

Video games in Japan Overview of video games in Japan

Video games are a major industry in Japan. Japanese game development is often identified with the golden age of video games, including Nintendo under Shigeru Miyamoto and Hiroshi Yamauchi, Sega during the same time period, Sony Computer Entertainment when it was based in Tokyo, and other companies such as Taito, Namco, Capcom, Square Enix, Konami, NEC, and SNK, among others.

Arsys Software (アルシスソフトウェア), later known as Cyberhead (サイバーヘッド), was a Japanese video game software development company active from 1985 to 2001.

<i>Thunder Force Gold Pack</i> 1996 video game compilation

Thunder Force Gold Pack is a 1996 video game compilation duology developed and published by Technosoft for the Sega Saturn. Part of the Thunder Force series, the first release includes Thunder Force II and Thunder Force III, while the second release includes Thunder Force AC and Thunder Force IV. In each game, players assume the role of Galaxy Federation pilots taking control of a space fighter craft to defeat the Orn Empire and the Vios threat. Both compilations were released in the mid 1990s to gauge interest for the then-upcoming Thunder Force V. Each compilation were met with mixed reception from critics since their release.


  1. "Corporate Profile". Technosoft. Archived from the original on June 25, 1998. Retrieved 1 September 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. "Technosoft's Thunder Force III Will Be In The Third Sega 3D Classics Collection - Siliconera". Archived from the original on 2016-09-19.
  4. "Sega announces acquisitions of Technosoft IP's". September 2016.
  5. "メンテナンス情報 (Maintenance information) | J-PlatPat/AIPN".
  6. "Home".
  7. "「セガ3D復刻アーカイブス3 Final Stage」に「サンダーフォースIii」収録!! テクノソフトの権利をセガが取得、元テクノソフトの新井氏も登場して経緯を語った". 17 September 2016.
  8. "Thunder Force Construction". Oh!FM . Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 "Plazma Line". Oh!FM . Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  10. "Wibarm". Oh!FM . Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  11. "Corporate profile". Cyberhead. Archived from the original on October 24, 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. "Are Real Time Strategy Games At Their Peak?". 2001-05-09. Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  13. Sharkey, Scott. "Essential Top 50: Herzog Zwei". . Archived from the original on 2004-09-13. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
  14. Geryk, Bruce. "A History of Real-Time Strategy Games: Part I: 1989-1998". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  15. Clarke-Willson, Stephen (August 18, 1998). "The Origin of Realtime Strategy Games on the PC". The Rise and Fall of Virgin Interactive. Above the Garage Productions. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  16. "The Making of... Dune II". Edge . December 9, 2008. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2011. Herzog Zwei was a lot of fun, but I have to say the other inspiration for Dune II was the Mac software interface. The whole design/interface dynamics of mouse clicking and selecting desktop items got me thinking, ‘Why not allow the same inside the game environment? Why not a context-sensitive playfield? To hell with all these hot keys, to hell with keyboard as the primary means of manipulating the game!