magicaldropfRelease:April 17, 2008 - PlayStation 3 (JP)
October 5, 2010 - PlayStation 3 (US)
Delisting (approx):August 15, 2012 - PlayStation 3 (US)
(Available For: 1y 10m)
Developer:SAS Sakata
Publisher:MonkeyPaw Games
Available On:PlayStation 3 (JP)
Links:Game Page on MonkeyPaw Games [Archive]

Delisting

Magical Drop F was delisted from the US PlayStation Store the week of August 13th, 2012 alongside other MonkeyPaw Games releases: Kyuiin, Yakiniku Bugyou and Arcade Hits: Magical Drop. The reason is unclear but MonkeyPaw has stated numerous times on twitter that these games were “delisted by Sony and won’t be coming back” and that the delistings were “permanent” as far as they were concerned.

While all titles were published in Japan by Hamster it doesn’t appear to be a licensing deal or conflict between the two. There are several other Hamster releases currently published by MonkeyPaw that are still available on the PlayStation Store in the US and Europe. Yakiniku Bugyou and Kyuiin were both developed by Media Entertainment, Magical Drop by Data East and Magical Drop F by SAS Sakata, ruling out a complication with a single developer.

Equally unlikely is a technical issue with the ROM image or emulation as all of the titles are still available on the Japanese PlayStation Store. In a 2014 interview with Techno Buffalo, Ryan Olsen, MonkeyPaw PR Manager said “we’ve mostly done imports where we don’t touch the game outside of making sure the emulation process is working smoothly.”

The reason for the mass delisting in August 2012 is uncertain but in the end it is most likely a licensing issue. In the same Techno Buffalo interview Olsen says that licensing “is incredibly tricky to navigate in Japan and you need to be persistent and persistent and persistent until you hear a ‘Yes.’” While they were able to strike deals to release these games the terms may have been less than desirable, resulting in availability between only 9 months and just over 2 years.

About the Game

Magical Drop is a long-running arcade puzzle series in Japan, and a major influence on subsequent puzzle games such as Critter Crunch and Astro Pop. This was Data East’s entry into the versus puzzle genre, popularized by Nintendo’s Dr. Mario and Compile’s Puyo Puyo.

Magical Drop F was the first game in the series that wasn’t released in arcades, and the last game in the series before Data East went bankrupt. It was developed specifically for the PlayStation as Data East attempted to become a more console-oriented studio.

Overall, the game is the most expansive in the series, and is most notable for its RPG mode, which has a fun, light story (for those who speak Japanese). The game’s characters are all based on Tarot cards, though their personalities don’t necessarily present an accurate reading of the Tarot. As a little tidbit of trivia, the tiny avatar that actually grabs and releases the drops is always The Fool.

“This classic stack puzzler was one of the most original of its era.Magical Drop F was a Data East jewel that never saw Western markets.  The Magical Drop series has challenged generations of gamers but Magical Drop F is different from previous incarnations in a number of ways.”

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