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UPL Co., Ltd


UPL, short for Universal Play Land, was established in the early eighties (not even the old employees know the exact year) as Universal's (now Aruze) sales branch in the Kantō region. Its head office was in the Tochigi prefecture, while most of the games development was conducted in its Tokyo office.

Although UPL did arcade games in a variety of genres, it is mostly remembered for its vertically scrolling shooters with a high level of tactical thinking. Though UPL did quite well in the arcades, it almost missed the bus when consoles arrived on the scene, and was a late comer on the NES, releasing its first home game in 1988. While this may be seen as one reason for UPL's 1992 bankruptcy, the main factor seems to have been the company's unsuccessful pachinko machine business.

Also Known As

  • Universal Play Land (from 1982 to 1984)


Kōtetsu Yōsai Strahl(1992)
Acrobat Mission(1991)
Black Heart(1991)
Ninja Taro(1991)
Gomola Speed(1990)
USAAF Mustang(1990)
Bio-Ship Paladin(1990)
Task Force Harrier(1989)
Omega Fighter(1989)
Atomic Robo-Kid(1988)
Mutant Night(1987)
Rad Action(1987)
Ark Area(1987)
XX Mission(1986)
Return of the Invaders(1985)
Penguin-Kun Wars(1985)
Ninja-Kun: Majō no Bōken(1984)
Nova 2001(1983)


At the time of its bankruptcy, UPL had two arcade titles in development:
  • Break Show, a Final Fight-style beat'em up.
  • Kaisoku! Sparrows!!, a vertically scrolling shoot'em up.
Furthermore, Acrobat Mission was already laid out for porting to SNES, Megadrive and PC Engine.

Related Web Sites

  • UPL Gravedigger (Site run by old UPL staff, featuring a timeline of what happened after 1992, technical data and old documents used during development of many games. Japanese language.)

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