Yosaku (与作) is an action game developed by Shin Nihon Kikaku in 1979. The game was inspired by the 1978 popular song "Yosaku" by Saburō Kitajima. It's one of the most rarest arcades PCBs in Japan today.
In 1981 an unauthorized conversion of the game named Kikori no Yosaku (きこりの与作) was made by Epoch Co. for Cassete Vision, it's become more well known than the original game.
The player is a lumberjack who cuts down trees while being attacked by animals. To avoid the dangers, the player must hide behind trees or attack animals with the ax. The dangers are: a boar that passes the screen, snakes that fall from the ground, branches that fall from the trees and birds that fly above and launch projectiles.
In 1979, Shin Nihon Kikaku had partnered with Taito, and obtained licenses to produce several Breakout and Space Invaders clones. Unlike these, Yosaku was an original work and became the first action video game published by company. The company received the formal license from JASRAC to be able to use the melody of the song 'Yosaku' in the game.
In 1981, Epoch Co. published a version called Kikori no Yosaku for Cassette Vision. This is one of the first Cassette Vision video games, and also the most popular of this console. Unlike the arcade version, this version only has two trees (making its gameplay easier), the tree branches fall faster and the wild boar can be evaded by jumping. In 1991 a clone of the Cassette Vision version was released for Sharp's X68000 home computer. Both versions did not receive copyright permissions from SNK.
Neo Geo Pocket
In 2000 a complete remake of Yosaku was included on The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise for Neo Geo Pocket Color as a secret mini-game. The game was only accessible by inserting the cartridge into a monochrome Neo Geo Pocket.
- The game credits development to "Olca Corporation" probably refers to "Orca Corporation," a small game development company that went bankrupt in 1984; later, some members formed a group called called Toa-KIKAKU Toaplan ("Project East Asia" in English), which came to be known as the developer Toaplan, who did work for SNK early on.