The video game industry as we know it today first started its reign in Japan. One of the absolute best game developers is surely Konami. While it is mostly known for hits such as Castlevania, PES, and Metal Gear, rarely anyone knows that Konami is an entertainment and gambling company too. The conglomerate has produced and distributed thousands of trading cards, arcade cabinets, and slot machines besides video games, and has entered the pachinko machine industry as well.
Japan is a breeding ground for great video game developers and home of the pachinko game. The popular gambling game is incredibly popular in Japan, and quite diverse too. Pachinko machines can be tailored to what the market currently craves, and many of them are based on manga series and video games.
The most popular pachinko machines are based on Konami’s major hits, be it an entry from the Metal Gear franchise or another popular game from the Japanese studio.
Also read: Everything you need to know about pachinko machine balls.
A Fleet of Konami Pachinko Machines
The love story between Konami and pachinko began a long time ago. Today, Konami-based pachinko games are among the most popular in Japan. As one of the largest developers in the video game industry in Japan and globally, Konami’s pachinko adventure was always going to happen.
The first Konami pachinko machines were developed in the early 2000s. There were just a few and far between at that time, but more pachinko machines by Konami arrived to the market around a decade later. In the mid-2010s, Konami reduced its video game output in favor of mobile gaming and pachinko. That’s when players began noticing Konami pachinko games, and the love story has continued over the next decade.
People love the fact that they get to see their favorite Konami heroes and villains on the screen of a pachinko machine. The animations and cutscenes from games such as Metal Gear are a draw rarely anyone can ignore. Konami has stayed on the gambling path even despite criticism, and constantly releases new and improved Konami pachinko machines.
There are dozens available in parlors nowadays, and all of them are fantastic. From Beatmania to Metal Gear via Rumble Roses and Silent Hill, Konami pachinko machines are a must.
The list below will give you an overview of the games adapted to the world of pachinko you can find in any parlor in 2021.
Silent Hill may not have been around for quite some time, but the game lives on in the form of a pachislot. Unlike the other games on this list, Konami’s Silent Hills has been adapted in the form of a pachislot instead of a pachinko machine. That shouldn’t be a problem for most players. It’s still an exciting and scary ride that adapts the events of Silent Hill II.
The Metal Gear Solid franchise is perhaps the most successful in Konami’s rich catalog. There have been around a dozen MGS games released so far and adapted into both pachinko machines and pachislots.
So far, many of the earlier Konami Metal Gear games have been adapted to pachislots or pachinko machines. The stealth action franchise has millions of fans in Japan, so adapting it to pachinko machines was always going to be a hit. While Konami’s move away from console video game development means we won’t see an MGS machine anytime soon, the ones that are available are still among the top games in parlors.
The 2008 Konami pachinko edition of Beatmania remains the most popular video game adaptation. For those unaware, it’s an arcade rhythm game that stands out as pretty unique. The pachislot has three buttons that will light up determining where the cylinder stops. Your goal is to play through one of the tracks while managing the cylinders in rhythm with the song.
It’s a pretty different pachislot than what we’re used to playing with Konami pachinko machines. Nonetheless, it’s still fun. It might require a bit of skill, but if you’ve played Beatmania before, you shouldn’t have trouble playing this pachislot.
Rumble Roses stars an all-female wrestling cast that was originally released on Playstation in 2004. It became a major hit right away and was later released for the Xbox too. While many criticized it for relying too much on female anatomy rather than the gameplay, it was still a major hit with gamers.
Konami decide to honor the series by adapting it in a pachinko machine. It was actually the first Konami pachinko machine released, with a pachislot to follow in 2006. A few more were released in the coming years, making it one of Konami’s most famous pachinko video game adaptations.
Castlevania might be the most profitable game in Konami’s catalog. It has branched out in other directions too, with a hugely successful animated series running on Netflix. While the video game series has somewhat stalled in the last decade, Castlevania lives on in pachinko parlors.
The first entry in the series came in 2009. That was an adaptation of the first Castlevania game, followed by pachislots released in 2010 and 2012. The Castlevania: Lords of Shadow storyline was adapted in a separate pachislot in 2017 which received a lot of praise.
Konami’s ancient shoot-em-up games have received their own version of pachinko machines. Side-scrolling action game Gradius, Parodius and Twinbee have gotten their own Konami pachinko machine versions which fit perfectly. These games have never been plot-heavy, and the anime-style animations and pixelated graphics nicely fit to pachinko machines.
It’s yet another sign at how Konami adapts its IPs into hugely popular pachinko machines. These can be found in nearly any parlors, probably right next to other Konami pachinko machines.
1980s and 1990s children surely remember Contra. It’s one of the most successful Konami shoot-em-ups and one of the earliest video games that upper the stakes in terms of difficulty. Surviving in these games was just as hard as winning the lottery, so Konami decided to pair that with the unpredictability of pachinko.
A few Contra games have been adapted to pachislots. Both feature the main protagonists Lance Bean and Bill Rizer and are a great homage to the action video games that we played as kids.