Much like Nintendo, Konami’s early days reach far back beyond the introduction of console gaming. The company started as a jukebox rental company before its founder, Kagemasa Kozuki, moved Konami into the recently birthed world of arcade games in 1973. Legendary games like Frogger soon followed, and before long, Konami was making games for the Atari 2600 and, later, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Konami’s jump into the console space kicked off a legacy that has helped shape the gaming landscape we know today, giving us instant classics like Metal Gear, Contra, and Castlevania, along with the "Konami code" still used by titles to unlock secrets and uncover easter eggs.
But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows with Konami. Like a large ship, there’s the sheen and grandeur visible from above the surface; the majesty the industry attaches to a stalwart that’s been around since the start. But there’s also that "seedy underbelly;" the unseemly quilt of ugly sea things attached to the hull that no amount of scraping can displace. Some might believe Konami has been a stand-up company for most of its existence, with some of its more egregious infractions coming only in the Metal Gear Solid V era. But digging into the game giant’s past, it’s apparent that their questionable behavior isn’t a recent trend.
Below, we’ll take an up-close look at Konami and shed some light on some of the shady practices the company has engaged in over its long history.