Ultra Software Corporation (a.k.a. Ultra Games) was a spinoff company created in 1988 as a subsidiary of Konami of America, in an effort to get around Nintendo of America's strict licensing rules. One of these rules was that a third-party company could only publish up to five games per year for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. This was hardly convenient for Konami, which had begun releasing more than ten games a year for both the Famicom and Famicom Disk System in Japan. With a greater library than they were allowed to localize, Konami formed the Ultra Games brand to extend their annual library to ten games a year.

Ultra's first game was the NES version of Metal Gear. At first, Ultra was dedicated to localizing Konami's pre-existing software from Japan, but later they began publishing works from other companies as well. Some of Konami's most notable games released under the Ultra label include Operation C (an original Game Boy installment of the Contra series), Snake's Revenge, and the first few Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for the NES and Game Boy. During its tenure, Ultra often wrote their own stories in their games manuals that are often either farcical or do not give the story justice, not taking the stories of their games seriously. The NES version of Metal Gear was no exception, which also conflicted with the story given in-game.

In 1989, Ultra Games released a promotional pamphlet called 10 Ways to Stay Zap Happy, which advertised 10 games that either had already been released (including Metal Gear, Skate or Die, Defender of the Crown, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Silent Service, Kings of the Beach: Professional Beach Volleyball, Q*Bert, and Gyruss), or in the case of Snake's Revenge and Mission Impossible, were due for release within the Spring of 1990. The brief blurbs of the plotlines for each game were derived from the stories given in the games' manuals.

After the North American launch of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo became less strict on the number of games third-parties could publish. As a result, Ultra Games began losing its purpose and Konami shortly dropped the label in 1992.

In Europe, Konami established the Palcom Software Limited subsidiary for similar purposes. Their library was similar to Ultra's, but the company also published games that were not released in America.

Metal Gear games published

See also

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