Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher founded in 1979 and best known for popular video game series like Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil and Monster Hunter. As you can tell from that list alone they are one of the best video game developers out there.
The founder of Capcom was a man named Kenzo Tsujimoto. He opened a store in Osaka Prefecture in Honshu in 1969 and started out selling cotton candy machines, but he saw the potential of the arcade game industry early on and soon manufactured pachinko machines as well. The store’s success led Tsujimoto to found IPM (International Playing Machine) in 1974 with the purpose of building and installing video game machines for Japanese stores and in the late seventies this included Space Invaders clone IPM Invader, but more creative endeavors were on the horizon.
In 1979, IPM changed their name because it sounded too much like tech corporation IBM. To avoid confusion they became known as Irem (International Rental Electronics Machines), but that same year, Tsujimoto had founded another game company called I.R.M. Corporation while Irem’s business partner Nanao (who designed CRT monitors for Irem’s arcade games) became Irem’s majority shareholder. Tsujimoto remained at Irem while operating I.R.M. but he left the former to focus on the latter in 1983.
Alongside its subsidiary Japan Capsule Computers Co., Ltd., I.R.M. manufactured and distributed their own electronic game machines. In 1981, the two companies became one under the name Sanbi Co., Ltd. and in 1983, Tsujimoto took control of Sanbi’s sales department by establishing Capcom Co., Ltd. which was short for “Capsule Computers,” the term “capsule” being the company’s way of likening their software to a “capsule packed to the brim with gaming fun.” Soon the entire company became known simply as Capcom.
Starting off with successful arcade games like Vulgus (1984), a vertical scrolling shooter that was popular in Japan, Capcom began targeting the international market with another vertical scrolling shooter called 1942 (1984) but really hit it big with the 1985 arcade games Commando and Ghosts ‘n Goblins, which are credited for launching Capcom into video game stardom.
Capcom’s arcade success in the mid-eighties led the company to porting their software to home computers and consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), beginning with the 1985 NES port of 1942. Home consoles are where Capcom continues to have the most success, although their highest-grossing series Street Fighter started out as an arcade game.
To give you an idea of just how successful Capcom is, here are some of their most well-known games:
One-on-one fighting game that originated in the arcade in 1987 but really took off in popularity with Street Fighter II in 1991 which established many of the conventions of the genre. Its success led to other successful fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken.
Sci-fi adventure series in which you play the role of an android with an arm cannon often defeating other robots and upgrading your armor as you progress. It originated on the NES in 1987 as a side-scrolling platformer but there have also been a number of spin-offs that differ in style sometimes to radical degrees, such as the “cooler and hipper” Mega Man X series, the 3D Mega Man Legends and the RPG series Mega Man Battle Network in which Mega Man exists in cyberspace as a net assistant to his human user.
Hack-and-slash arcade platformer that is said to have influenced classic games like Ninja Gaiden and even more recent classics like God of War. You play as a ninja named Strider Hiryu and your goal is to infiltrate the base of a dictator to assassinate him. The cutscenes even featured actual voice clips, which was impressive for 1989.
One of the best NES games was DuckTales, based on the popular animated Disney TV series and developed by many of the same people behind Mega Man. Watching Scrooge McDuck hunt treasure across the globe was fun but it was even more fun to do it yourself.
Side-scrolling beat-’em-up in which Mike, Cody and Guy naturally must save Metro City by brawling street gangs.
Breath of Fire
An RPG that originated on the Super NES in which you have the ability to shapeshift into a dragon. Each game told a self-contained story, usually medieval, apocalyptic and/or influenced by the style of anime.
A series of fighting games originating in the arcade in 1994 that was influenced by gothic horror but was nonetheless colorful and cartoony.
Survival horror series that originated on the PlayStation in 1996, the first game following members of the S.T.A.R.S. task force investigating Raccoon City where their teammates have disappeared, all the while taking on zombies, dogs, giant spiders and various other monsters.
Capcom’s first three-dimensional fighting game in which there was a focus on weaponry and you fought on a hovering arena to increase the danger in a way Street Fighter never could.
Marvel vs. Capcom
Crossover fighting game in which Marvel superheroes take on characters from games like Street Fighter, Mega Man, Darkstalkers and many other Capcom games.
Hack-and-slash action adventure series that originated on PlayStation 2 in 2001 and makes use of Japanese history with a supernatural twist as you summon the power of Oni to defeat your enemies.
Devil May Cry
Series of supernatural action adventure games about a demon hunter named Dante who can perform long chains of elaborate and stylish attacks against his foes as he seeks to thwart the demons’ plot to invade the planet.
Visual novel adventure games in which you must investigate various crimes and defend your clients in court while presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses. Those with a penchant for mysteries have enjoyed this series and it has done a good job popularizing the visual novel genre outside of Japan. You even get to yell “Objection!”
Cel-shaded superhero parody originating on the GameCube has you entering a movie and becoming a superhero yourself to save your girlfriend Silvia who has been kidnapped out of her theater seat by the villains on screen. Fun and challenging but also filled with humor.
Fantasy RPG in which the object is to slay, hunt or capture various types of monsters, often for survival but also for glory.
A cultural phenomenon in Japan but a bit more obscure in America, Sengoku Basara is a hack-and-slash game originating on the PlayStation 2 in 2005 that was set in the Sengoku period of feudal Japan.
Beautiful-looking Zelda-inspired adventure game that was first released on PlayStation 2 in 2006 and puts you in control of a wolf-like goddess who performs miracles to save the land from darkness using a celestial paint brush.
Popular series of apocalyptic video games that originated on Xbox 360 set during a zombie outbreak. Puts you in the role of Frank West as you seek the origin of the outbreak but the game’s sandbox element allowed for a lot of freedom and gameplay options.
Third-person shooter series set on a planet on the brink of an ice age on which you must fight a variety of alien creatures.
RPG set in the fantasy world of Gransys in which you take on a quest to defeat a dragon while unlocking deeper conspiracies along the way. It first came out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012 and it took inspiration from games like Elder Scrolls and Fables.
I have even played a few of these and I can confirm they are some of the best that gaming has to offer, and that Capcom absolutely knows what they are doing.