Alpha's visionary idea of making a shooting puzzle game!



In early 1990, Alpha Denshi began working on what was originally intended to be the very first NEO-GEO puzzle game. The project began with the working title of Sun Shine and was assigned an early software product number of NGM-008. The basic premise and gameplay of Sun Shine involved skillfully matching 3 or more pieces of multi colored blocks by rotating them as they fall from the top of the playfield and rearranging them onto a sun dish platform at the bottom of the screen. There are 5 different colored pieces (red, yellow, green, dark blue, and light blue) and each rectangular block consists of two pieces.

As the unmatched blocks begin to accumulate, the reaction time you have is shortened, and the gameplay increases in difficulty. The player is however given 2 special power ups, called squalls, which when used, zap the screen with a lightning bolt and eliminate all of the pieces on screen that are the same color as the squall used. In addition, every so often a special block appears with one side shaped like a flashing X, which if strategically placed, can result in replenishing a used squall.

By late 1990, the initial response to Sun Shine was below expectations. It failed to impress at an industry trade show and it also performed poorly with its location test as well. So Alpha made the decision to cancel the game and it went unreleased.

However, Alpha did still have this fully programmed neogeo puzzle game engine which had cost them time, money, and resources to code. So they changed the title and reworked the game by enhancing the visuals and improving the gameplay. They also expanded on the puzzle mechanics by implementing an additional action element of shooting. So now, rather then just pressing a button to rotate the blocks, it would actually shoot them instead. One shot would accelerate the speed of the falling block and a second shot would rotate the block, whereby flipping it end over end.

And thus, a new software product number of NGM-012 was assigned and Block Paradise was born! All of these changes, along with the addition of multiple backgrounds helped to turn this otherwise simplistic game into a much more visually appealing experience. Other changes included renaming the squall power ups to Sunshines as an omage to the games origin and when used, they would now charge the screen with electrical impulses.

By March of 1991, Block Paradise was becoming a very busy game because the shooting game element that rearranges the blocks and the paddling element that receives them, were completely inherited from Sun Shine. It was canceled and the game was not to be released.

Visually, Sun Shine and Block Paradise were not really so different from one another. And the games most utilized asset, the blocks, were not very detailed. Nor did they differ much from those seen in Tetris. It also didn't help that SNK's Joy Joy Kid was progressing faster, looking nicer, and was about to beat them to market as the first neogeo puzzle game. So once again, Alpha found themselves in the same position.

And so at a meeting on Thursday, March 07, 1991, the project was changed to Fun Fun Brothers. And this time around, Alpha completely changed the story, the graphics, the music, etc. The shooting element now fit better, implemented as bullets shot from an actual gun that the players character has in the game. The blocks now became jewels and the platform onto which they fall changed from a simple sliding sun dish into an actual vehicle on wheels. Also the squall/sunshine power ups now became bombs. And of course, completely new backgrounds consisting of tall buildings were put into the game. Fun Fun Brothers was assigned NGM-026 and it was indeed a completely unique and original puzzle game.

So after all the time and work put into "Alpha's Puzzle Game", Fun Fun Brothers is also canceled and not released! And ADK ends up without a puzzle game, despite 3 attempts to make one!


In March of 1996, Zintrick became ADK's first neogeo puzzle game. But President Arai continued to have his dream of a puzzle + shooting concept. And on November 26th, 1996 ADK released their final neogeo title, Twinkle Star Sprites, a bizarre combination puzzle/shooting game. And on the title card, the following text is shown: