Data West

From NEC Retro


Datawest logo.svg
Data West
Founded: 1984-05-29[1][2]
Headquarters: 3-chōme-8-28 Hanatenhigashi, Tsurumi Ward, Osaka 538-0044, Japan[2]


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Data West Co., Ltd. (データウエスト株式会社), sometimes written as DATAWEST[3], is a Japanese car navigation systems company[4] and former video game publisher and developer.[2] It produced several notable franchises during the 1980s and 1990s, such as the Rayxanber and Psychic Detective series, and are known for their early support of both CD-ROM technology and the FM Towns personal computer.

The company is entirely unrelated to the similarly-named Data East.


Data West was founded on May 29, 1984 in Tsurumi, Osaka, and officially established two years later on May 26, 1986.[2] The company initially focused on software development, ranging from peripheral firmware[5], car navigation systems[4][6], systems management[7], and video games[8], while also offering services like 3D computer graphics creation[9] and professional CD pressing[10] (through a dedicated facility known as the DAPS Center[11]). Data West later established a joint venture with Nichimen to form Strawberry Co., Ltd. (ストロベリー株式会社), a company which specializes in car navigation, mapping data, and multimedia integration.[6]

The studio primarily focused on NEC's platforms (particularly the FM Towns), and was an early embracer of CD-ROM technology. It also experimented in more obscure platforms, releasing software for both the PC-FX and LaserActive. Data West was even one of the earliest developers to adopt JPEG technology, with the compression prominently featured in the Psychic Detective Series.

The majority of the company's soundtracks were composed by their in-house composer, guitarist Yasuhito Saito. Known for his jazzy style of video game rock, and occasionally drawing inspiration from diverse genres like hip-hop and latin, his music was and continues to be one of Data West's most well-remembered legacies.


DataWest DAPS logo.png

Introduced in 1990, DAPS (DATAWEST ACTIVE PICTURE SYSTEM) is a graphics streaming technology developed by Data West to address issues of slow load times with early CD-ROM hardware. Reportedly, the technology works by efficiently loading upcoming graphic data during animated scenes to ensure a seamless viewing experience.[12] Data West also ran a facility called the DAPS Center which handled the company's CD pressing business.[11][10]

DAPS appears on virtually all the company's CD-ROM titles, including the PC-9821 and Windows 95 ports of the Psychic Detective Series, as well as their Super CD-ROM²[13] and Mega-CD counterparts.[14][15] The technology also appears on third-party software, particularly those specializing in full-motion video.[16]


DCCS (DATAWEST COMPATIBLE CD SYSTEM) was introduced in 1993, and allows for game CD-ROMs to be played on multiple platforms. For example, Psychic Detective Series Vol. 4: Orgel features the same CD-ROM for both the FM Towns and PC-9821 version, and is able to be used in either system. However, each game's accompanying Key-Disk (a 3.5" floppy disk) is platform-specific, with the company selling additional Key-Disks to customers through mail-order.[17] Like DAPS, DCCS technology also appears on third-party software.[16]



External links


Sega Retro has more information related to Data West
  1. (Wayback Machine: 1999-10-21 21:38)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 (Wayback Machine: 2023-12-01 09:02)
  3. Datawest logo.svg
  4. 4.0 4.1 (Wayback Machine: 1999-10-23 02:23)
  5. (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-09 16:11)
  6. 6.0 6.1 (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-09 19:08)
  7. (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-04 04:40)
  8. (Wayback Machine: 1998-12-03 14:26)
  9. (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-03 19:19)
  10. 10.0 10.1 (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-03 18:05)
  11. 11.0 11.1 (Wayback Machine: 1999-11-06 02:53)
  12. (Wayback Machine: 2023-12-29 04:34)
  13. PsychicDetectiveSeriesVol3Aya SCD JP box front.jpg
  14. PDSV3 MCD JP Box Front.jpg
  15. PDSV4 MCD JP Box Front.jpg
  16. 16.0 16.1 SensualAngels PC9821 title.png
  17. (Wayback Machine: 2023-12-29 04:34)