Tengen (テンゲン) was a video game publisher and developer that was created by arcade game manufacturer Atari Games. Atari had been split into two distinct companies. Atari Corporation was responsible for computer and console games and hardware and owned the rights to the Atari brand for these domains. Atari Games was formed from Atari's arcade division, and were able to use the Atari name on arcade releases but not on console or computer games. When Atari Games wanted to enter the console-game market, it needed to create a new label that did not use the Atari name. The new subsidiary was dubbed Tengen, which in the Chinese game Go refers to the central point of the board (the word "Atari" comes from the same game). Tengen then made an agreement with Namco to bring some of their Famicom games to the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America before Namco opened its own North American branch in 1993. Tengen also released games by Sunsoft (another developer without a North American branch). During this time, Tengen ported first-party Sega Master System games, such as Fantasy Zone and Alien Syndrome, to the NES.
Despite its problems with Nintendo, where it was in a legal battle over the use of unlicensed cartridges, Tengen went on to produce games for the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Sega CD, Atari Lynx, and NEC Turbo Grafx-16. The company also published games for home computers such as the Amiga and the Atari ST. It was best-known for its ports of popular Atari arcade games, including Klax, Hard Drivin', and Paperboy, although they published many other titles as well. Tengen is also known for stepping in as a publisher where other publishers did not have licenses, including Domark for Japanese releases and Virgin Interactive for American releases. In 1993, after Time Warner bought a controlling stake in Atari Games, the Tengen name was discontinued and home games were now released under the Time Warner Interactive (TWI) brand.
Nintendo Entertainment System