Kurt Kalata is an ardent video gamer from New Jersey. He has founded websites such as The Castlevania Dungeon, which focuses on Konami's long running, vampire slaying series, and Hardcore Gaming 101, which gives comprehensive reviews focusing on the history of gaming. His most recent book is Bitmap Books' A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. In addition to his own sites and books, his writings have appeared in Retro Gamer magazine, Time Extension and at 1up, Siliconera, and Gamasutra.

HG101 Presents: Data East Arcade Classics by Kurt Kalata

Are you a bad enough dude to buy this book? Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: Data East Arcade Classics covers the diverse library from the underrated Japanese developer, including golden era classics like BurgerTime and Karate Champ; eccentricities like Karnov and Trio the Punch; outstanding genre pieces like Desert Assault and Night Slashers; licensed titles like RoboCop and Captain America and the Avengers; and cult classics like Boogie Wings and Windjammers. Also included is an extensive examination of their popular competitive puzzle game, Magical Drop, and of course, the ninja-fighting, president-saving Bad Dudes and its pseudo-sequel Two Crude Dudes.


"Hardcore Gaming 101's guides hardly need any introduction at this point, and this latest one dips into a corner of the arcade universe that may surprise even experts, spanning Data East classics like BurgerTime to obscurities like Skull Fang & everything in between - very entertaining." – Simon Carless



  • "Pound for pound, Data East arguably isn't in the same league as some of the other heavyweights of arcade gaming's golden era, but that's what makes the company's output ? and this book ? so interesting. It's also a vital piece of history as Data East isn't around these days to iterate on the ideas and concepts it crafted during the '80s and '90s, so be sure to pick up a copy if you have any interest in retro or coin-op gaming."

    – Damien McFerran, Nintendo Life
  • "While they're considered relatively obscure now, games like Bad Dudes, Burger Time, Karnov, and Robocop were once fixtures in arcades around the world. Riding off the success of those tent pole titles allowed Data East to take interesting risks, like the genuinely unhinged Trio The Punch and the similarly nonsensical Night Slashers. Now the company, and all its storied intellectual properties, are effectively dead, proving that no one is truly safe in the world of game publishing. Thankfully, this book also proves that if you truly put yourself out there, your work can live forever, in the hearts of fans that will never forget you."

    – Jonathan Holmes, Destructoid



Among American fans, Data East is often compared to movie distributor Cannon Films, an outfit that had a lot of enthusiasm but not a whole lot of talent. Many of Data EastÅfs titles had bizarre premises, with more than a few being heavily influenced by cheesy 80s action movies, and the quality of the games themselves often paled in comparison to larger companies like Capcom or Konami. ThereÅfs a loveable quirkiness to their output, though, and even their more derivative titles were willing to experiment and bring something interesting to the table. Plus, their later library is often overlooked, with numerous legitimate cult classics like The Cliffhanger: Edward Randy, Boogie Wings, Windjammers, and Rohga. Then of course there was their first big hit of the golden arcade era, BurgerTime, as well as their competitive puzzle series Magical Drop. They also put out some outstanding soundtracks, largely thanks to their in-house band, Gamadelic. In other words, their library is a lot more interesting and diverse than what's typically acknowledged. We hope that this book will help you discover Data EastÅfs unique charms, and find something cool to enjoy!