|Fast facts on ASCII|
|Defunct: 2002 (stopped game production)|
|T-series code: T-21|
|Merged with: MediaWorks (2008)|
|Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
ASCII Corporation, Inc. (アスキー) was founded by Kazuhiko Nishi on May 24, 1977. It was founded in cooperation with NEC in order to create the MSX home computer system, the first home computer for the Japanese market.
In its early years ASCII focused on the development of said hardware and software for it but later, when the video game market got rough in the mid-eighties, the company started to develop and publish software for popular gaming consoles of that time, namely the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis.
Due to their success in the market, ASCII decided to establish an U.S. subsidiary in 1991 which became known as ASCII Entertainment. Additionally, ASCII created a number of controllers for Sega home console systems. The company also produced two Sega Saturn games under the "ASCII Something Good" name, primarily known for its telecom involvement.
In the following years the Japanese market of ASCII declined slowly while the US market became profitable and so another subsidiary was founded in 1998. It became known as "Ascii Game Entertainment TEChnology", or Agetec for short. Agetec's primary field of business was the publication of video games. In 1999 Agetec was spun off and became a fully independent publisher of games though business relationships remained.
In March 2002, ASCII Corporation finally ceased to distribute and publish video games on the Japanese market and started to center its attention around its early core competencies, IT- and computer-magazines like the prestigious ASCII-magazine. The software development branch was subsequently spun off as Media Leaves Inc.
NEC Retro has more information related to ASCII.