Taito Corporation, one of the game industry’s oldest companies, turns 70 years old this year. The company will be celebrating the Taito 70th Anniversary with a series of promotions and prizes. It has begun teasing some of these by opening a commemorative site and Twitter account for the occasion [Thanks, Famitsu].
At the moment, there are few concrete details on the Taito 70th Anniversary celebration plans. Late in December 2022, the company opened a Twitter giveaway awarding followers a special 2023 calendar. And on New Year’s day, Taito’s Pico Crepe restaurant began distributing novelty calendar postcards to customers. The postcards will change each month and feature art of classic arcade titles like Night Striker, Metal Soldier Isaac, Operation Wolf, and Elevator Action.
The company also announced that the Taito 70th Anniversary promotions will launch at all Taito Station arcades. Exclusive prizes will be awarded to participants at the arcades and via the Taito Online Crane game, as well. A 70th Anniversary “Commemorative Product” would also be sold. Taito promised more details as the various promotions approach their launch date.
The exact date of the Taito 70th anniversary is August 24, 2023. Taito’s original founder was Michael Kogan, who opened Taitung in 1944 in Shanghai, China, to deal in wigs, hog bristles, and floor coverings. The company moved to Japan as Taito Yoko (“Taito” being the Japanese pronunciation of “Taitung”), where it distributed clothing. In 1953 Kogan was joined by Japanese businessman Akio Nakatani, and Taito Yoko relaunched as the Taito Trading Company, the first company in Japan to produce vodka.
By 1955 Taito had shifted to vending machines and jukeboxes, and then pre-video-game electro-mechanical amusements, such as 1967’s pinball-like Crown Soccer Special. By the 1970s Taito became Taito Corporation, releasing a ping-pong arcade cabinet in 1973 called Elepong. Game designer Tomohiro Nishikado joined the company in 1968, and eventually created Space Invaders, one of the most popular arcade games of all time. Even today a Space Invader alien is part of Taito’s most prominent imagery.
The Taito 70th Anniversary celebrations kick off through 2023. Last year’s Taito Egret II Mini replicates a small-scale arcade experience as a mini-console.