Random House are a defunct Japanese development and publishing studio that was founded by Kazuro Morita on the 15th of April 1984 at the time of their Dreamcast releases they were headquartered in Tsurugashima City in the Saitama district of Honshu, Japan. Kazuro Morita was renowned for the Shogi titles that bear his name hence the ‘Morita‘ in the title of the software. The first of which was for early Japanese computer systems and continued on developing entries in the franchise for both the Japanese computer market and the home consoles of the time starting in 1996 with the release of 初段森田将棋 or first stage Morita Shogi on the Nintendo Super Famicon through to the Dreamcast & Playstation 2 home console systems.
In 1998 Yuki Enterprise Co.,Ltd was founded with the aim to transfer the all the intellectual rights and commercialise Random House’s software Morita Kazuro and the Random House staff transferred over to the new company. They achieved this and on the 10th of February 1999 Yuki Enterprise Co.,Ltd was established at the site of Random House’s offices. It’s uncertain when Random House signed on as a licensed Sega Dreamcast developer i’d hazard a guess at probably around 1997-98. According to their archive site Yuki Enterprise didn’t become a licensed Dreamcast developer till June 1999. Below is the official Yuki Enterprise introduction about the company that provides this information. Copyright(C) 2000 悠紀エンタ－プライズ All rights reserved.
The reason i’ve included this is quite important although Yuki Enterprise had the rights to release these titles having acquired them from their previous Random House brand they weren’t at the time of their release officially licensed Dreamcast developers so couldn’t publish them under the Yuki Enterprise label. Instead the two titles were published under the old company name of Random House which was still a licensed Dreamcast developer.
Below is an explanation of the change in company from Yuki Enterprise themselves about what it meant for the series in general. Copyright(C) 2000 All rights reserved.
悠紀エンタ－プライズ 今回より販売・営業を?ランダムハウスより派生した新会社 ?悠紀エンタープライズに移しました。このことと共に、過去の「森田将棋シリーズ」から新名称「森田和郎の最強将棋」と改めまして、以前よりまして強力でお客様にもお勧め易い商品にいたします。本商品はこの新シリーズの第1段となります。
In March 2007 Yuki Enterprise employees formed EXAMU Inc which is a Japanese development studio which primarily develops fighting game titles for the Amusement and home console platforms they are currently active. Unfortunately Yuki Enterprise themselves appear to have recently ceased operation their last published title was in 2016 for the Android platform. Over the last few years Yuki Enterprise mainly focussed on mobile & handheld titles that were mostly Shogi, Reversi & Mahjong related in nature.
Random House.,Co Ltd published two titles for the Japanese Dreamcast both of which were released on the same day the 15th of April 1999 the first title released was 森田の最強将棋 or Morita no Saikyou Shogi and it retailed for ¥5,800.
Morita no Saikyou Shogi is unsurprisingly a Shogi game which is also known as Japanese Chess and at the time would have been considered the definitive version of Morita’s Shogi upon its release. The game features numerous improvements but the main one is the complex algorithm the Morita software used to adapt more you’d play the more it could learn your playing style. The Mortia no Saikyou Shogi software was ported and released for Japanese pc’s running windows 95/98 a month after the Dreamcast version’s release and finally in 2000 it was ported to the Sony Playstation 2 system.
Unfortunately i can’t make an impression about how good a game of Shogi Mortia no Saikyou Shogi actually plays as i’m unfamiliar with the rules of Shogi. I’d expect with the reputation of how Random House’s previous Shogi titles were received i’d suspect it’ll be quite decent if you know the rules the game has an excellent pedigree.
One thing i can comment on is the games audio visual presentation which belies its computer software roots the game could quite easily pass for a Windows 95/98 PC game. The visual presentation is very traditional in nature. It’s a very spartan presentation and certainly doesn’t take advantage of the Dreamcast graphical hardware.
But to the games credit the traditional visual style is probably exactly what fan’s of Morita’s previous works expect and would want. The music is again in a rather traditional Japanese style it does complement the visuals and again its what i guess is exactly what fans of the previous entries in the franchise would expect.
One thing the game does lack and i can imagine Morita’s Shogi fans might expected was an online multiplayer component since the Windows version of the game supported network play. With the Dreamcast being online compatible it seems strange why Random House never implemented network connectivity for the game. Pure speculation but possibly Random House was worried it might have cannibalised sales of the windows version which was their main market and retailed for twice what the Dreamcast iteration sold at retail for.
Below i’ve linked to Random House’s official homepage for Morita no Saikyou Shogi where you can find more detail about the title. (c) 1999 Random House Co., Ltd All rights reserved.
For comparison here is the official Yuki Enterprise entry for Morita no Saikyou Shogi on the Dreamcast. Copyright(C) 2000 悠紀エンタ－プライズ All rights reserved
The last of Random House’s Dreamcast titles was 森田の最強 Reversi or Morita no Saikyou Reversi which was again released on the 15th of April 1999 and retailed at a budget price point of ¥ 2,800. Reversi is better known as Othello in the West which means its quite an easy game to get to grips with.
My thoughts about Morita no Saikyou Reversi echo my impressions of Random House’s previous title in that while the actual game is certainly competently made it’s obviously been ported from a computer build. Random House was a smaller developer and publisher in a niche market of which the Japanese home computer market was their main user base so it is unsurprising that a version of Morita no Saikyou Reversi was released in February 2000. I do wonder if transitioning from Random House to Yuki Enterprise effected the release of the Japanese pc version of Morita no Saikyou Reversi and delayed it from being released earlier. Below is Morita no Saikyou Reversi’s official homepage.(c) 1999 Random House Co., Ltd All rights reserved.
Yuki Enterprise continued to develop Dreamcast software and they developed all seven entries in the Net Versus series of games. All the Net Versus titles were online enabled games that were of the table genre which were Yuki Enterprise’s speciality Shogi & Reversi titles were included in the Net Versus series. The Net Versus series were published by Atmark Corporation and were a Japanese region exclusive release.
Yuki Enterprise are also credited with development work on Idea Factory’s RUN=DIM as Black Soul Dreamcast title but i’m unaware of what part of the titles development they worked on.
The last development work that i can find that relates to Yuki Enterprise is that they developed the Megadrive emulator that both the Japanese exclusive Dream library download service & the NTSC U only Sega Smash Pack volume 1 used. Kazuro Morita is credited as the softwares programmer and the development was attributed to Yuki Enterprise.
The entire Megadrive emulator development team only consisted of four Yuki Enterprise employees. I can’t find any information on how Yuki Enterprise were assigned development duties for the emulator. I was aware that the PC Engine emulation was handled by an outside development studio but always thought Sega developed the Megadrive component in-house.
T-39101M Morita no Saikyou Shogi
T-39102M Morita no Saikyou Reversi
SAMPLE T-39101M Morita no Saikyou Shogi
Completely different front cover while i thought the retail was bland i do actually appreciate more than the sample cover. Generally i normally think the sample covers are better but Random House picked the right one for the retail release.
SAMPLE T-39102M Morita no Saikyou Reversi
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
The only item i have is a 非売品 disc for Morita no Saikyou Reversi which is slightly strange since it was the budget title of the two that Random House released. I’ve never seen anything else relating to Random House but i wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a 非売品 disc for Morita no Saikyou Shogi turn up in the future.
610-7132 Morita no Saikyou Reversi
I’ve been unable to track down any media whatsoever relating to Random House’s Dreamcast releases. I’m unsure what might exist if anything as the transfer of ownership between Random House & Yuki Enterprise probably put paid to merchandise being released under the Random House brand.
I appreciate you taking the time to read about Random House’s contribution to the Dreamcast library if i have missed anything you feel is important or can help with Yuki Enterprise’s involvement with the Megadrive emulator please contact me through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector