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HAL Laboratory

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HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Native name
Kabushiki gaisha Haru Kenkyūjo
Company typePrivate
IndustryVideo games
Founded21 February 1980; 44 years ago (1980-02-21) in Kanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
FounderMitsuhiro Ikeda
HeadquartersKanda Square, 2-2-1 Kandanishiki-cho, ,
Number of locations
2 studios[a] (2019)
Key people
Number of employees
242 (2024)
SubsidiariesWarpstar, Inc. (50%; with Nintendo)
Footnotes / references

HAL Laboratory, Inc.,[b] formerly shortened as HALKEN (derived from its native name), is a Japanese video game developer founded on 21 February 1980. While independent, it has been closely tied with Nintendo throughout its history, and is often referred to as a second-party developer for the company.[4] HAL Laboratory is headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and it also has a building at Kai, Yamanashi.[5] The company got its name because "each letter put them one step ahead of IBM".[6] The company is most famous for their work on the Kirby and Mother series, Pokémon Snap, and the first two Super Smash Bros. games.

The logo, dubbed Inutamago,[c] depicts a dog incubating eggs, which has been in use since 1998.


HAL Laboratory started off making games for the MSX system and VIC-20.[7] After financial strain brought on from the development of Metal Slader Glory (1991) for the Famicom,[8] Nintendo offered to rescue HAL from bankruptcy on the condition that HAL employee Satoru Iwata was appointed as its president, which he became between 1993 and 2000.[9] Iwata later became president of Nintendo.

The logo 'Inutamago' was commissioned in 1998 by then HAL Laboratory president, Satoru Iwata. This was handled by Shigesato Itoi who went through many different ideas. He went with the theme of 'an unexpected bond...one that brings the birth of something new' which would lead to the idea of a dog incubating eggs in a nest. The actual design was created by Mr. Akiyama of HAL. The design was indoctrinated by HAL Laboratory in 1998, although the reception at first was lukewarm.[10]

In many of its games during the early to mid-1990s, it used the name HALKEN, derived from their Japanese name. Some of its early titles were also released as HAL America Inc. (HAI), a North American subsidiary of the company led by Yash Terakura and based in Beaverton, Oregon, USA.[11]

In August 2001, HAL Laboratory and Nintendo established Warpstar, Inc. in a joint venture (where each part owns 50% of the company) with the objective to manage the Kirby IP along with its copyright, which the decision for the creation of the company was mainly for Kirby: Right Back at Ya! anime series. After the end of the anime, the company still exists and now works with license and supervision of the characters in games, merchandise and other media.[5][12]

For years, the company's development center at Tokyo was located within the eighth floor of the Nintendo Tokyo Prefecture Building which itself is located Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, but in August 2003, the company announced that a restructuration was happening and that the development center at the building would be relocated to HAL's main office building in Kanda Suda-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. While this change happened on the Tokyo-based company, the Yamanashi part of HAL was unaffected by the changes of the company.[13]

In 2017, HAL Laboratory announced that they would develop and self-publish games for mobile devices with the brand HAL Egg and focusing on completely new characters and franchises, with different types of design than what the developers of the company usually do. The first title launched by them was Part Time UFO.[14] The company released a miniature version of the MZ-80C computer in October 2017[15] and a miniature version of the PC-8001 in October 2019[16]

In 2020, HAL Laboratory updated their employee numbers from 169 to 195 and the company came back to the new Nintendo Tokyo Building with its main office and the Tokyo development studio being in the same building along with Nintendo EPD Tokyo, Nintendo PTD Tokyo, 1-Up Studio and Game Freak like a keiretsu.[17] The studio in Yamanashi was unaffected by that move.

List of games[edit]

List of video games developed by HAL Laboratory
Year Title Platform(s)
1984 Pinball NES
F1 Race Famicom
1985 Mach Rider NES
Balloon Fight
Lot Lot Famicom
1986 Othello NES
Gall Force: Eternal Story Famicom Disk System
Eggerland MSX
1987 Joust NES
Defender II
Air Fortress
Millipede Famicom
1988 Satsui no Kaisou: Power Soft Renzoku Satsujin Jiken Famicom
Fire Bam
Jumbo Ozaki no Hole in One Professional
Vegas Dream NES
Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally Famicom
Eggerland: Meikyū no Fukkatsu
Eggerland: Sōzō e no Tabidachi
Rollerball NES
1989 Adventures of Lolo NES
Revenge of the 'Gator Game Boy
Ghostbusters II
1990 Adventures of Lolo 2 NES
Uchuu Keibitai SDF Famicom
Adventures of Lolo 3 NES
New Ghostbusters II NES
1991 Trax Game Boy
Hal's Hole in One Golf Super NES
Metal Slader Glory Famicom, Super Famicom
HyperZone Super NES
1992 Arcana
Kirby's Dream Land Game Boy
1993 Vegas Stakes Super NES, Game Boy
Kirby's Adventure NES
Kirby's Pinball Land Game Boy
Alcahest Super Famicom
1994 Adventures of Lolo Game Boy
EarthBound[d] Super NES
Kirby's Dream Course
1995 Kirby's Dream Land 2 Game Boy
SimCity 2000 Super NES
1996 Kirby Super Star
1997 Kirby's Star Stacker Game Boy, Super Famicom
Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 Super Famicom, Nintendo 64DD
Kirby's Dream Land 3 Super NES
1999 Super Smash Bros. Nintendo 64
Pokémon Snap
2000 SimCity 64 Nintendo 64DD
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards Nintendo 64
2001 Super Smash Bros. Melee GameCube
2002 Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land Game Boy Advance
2003 Kirby Air Ride GameCube
2004 Kirby & the Amazing Mirror[e] Game Boy Advance
2005 Kirby Canvas Curse Nintendo DS
2006 Pokémon Ranger[f]
Mother 3[g] Game Boy Advance
Common Sense Training Nintendo DS
Kirby: Squeak Squad[e]
2008 TV no Tomo Channel Wii
Kirby Super Star Ultra Nintendo DS
2009 Picross 3D
2011 Face Raiders Nintendo 3DS
Kirby Mass Attack Nintendo DS
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Wii
2012 Kirby's Dream Collection
2014 Kirby: Triple Deluxe Nintendo 3DS
Kirby Fighters Deluxe
Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe
2015 BoxBoy!
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Wii U
Picross 3D: Round 2 Nintendo 3DS
2016 BoxBoxBoy!
Kirby: Planet Robobot
2017 Bye-Bye BoxBoy!
Team Kirby Clash Deluxe
Kirby's Blowout Blast
Part Time UFO iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Kirby Battle Royale Nintendo 3DS
2018 Kirby Star Allies Nintendo Switch
2019 BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!
Super Kirby Clash[h]
Housuu de Shoubu! Kame Sanpo iOS, Android
2020 Kirby Fighters 2[h] Nintendo Switch
2022 Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby's Dream Buffet
2023 Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe[h]

Games only published by HAL Laboratory[edit]

Cancelled Games[edit]

Other systems[edit]


MAX Machine/Commodore 64[edit]



  • Balance
  • Butamaru Pants
  • Cue Star
  • Dunk Shot
  • Eggerland Mystery
  • Eggerland 2
  • Fruit Search
  • Gall Force
  • Heavy Boxing
  • Hole in One
  • Hole in One Professional
  • Inside the Karamaru
  • Inspecteur Z
  • Mobile Planet Stillus/The Roving Planet Stillus
  • Mr. Chin
  • Pachipro Densetsu
  • Picture Puzzle
  • Rollerball
  • Space Maze Attack
  • Space Trouble
  • Step Up
  • Super Billiards
  • Super Snake
  • Swimming Tango
  • Tetsuman


  • Dragon Attack
  • Hole in One Special
  • Zukkoke Yajikita Onmitsudoutyuu
  • Mr. Ninja – Ashura's Chapter


Computer animation[edit]


  1. ^ Tokyo R&D Center and Yamanashi R&D Center
  2. ^ Japanese: 株式会社ハル研究所, Hepburn: Kabushiki gaisha Haru Kenkyūjo
  3. ^ Japanese: 犬たまご, "Dog Eggs"
  4. ^ Co-developed with Ape
  5. ^ a b Co-developed with Flagship
  6. ^ Co-developed with Creatures
  7. ^ Co-developed with Brownie Brown
  8. ^ a b c Co-developed with Vanpool
  9. ^ Developed by Human Entertainment
  10. ^ North American publishing only
  11. ^ a b Developed by Sculptured Software
  12. ^ Japanese publishing only


  1. ^ "Company Profile | COMPANY | HAL Laboratory". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Our History | COMPANY | HAL Laboratory". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 29 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Inutamago | COMPANY | HAL Laboratory". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  4. ^ Fahey, Mike (21 February 2015). "The Studio Behind Smash Bros. And Kirby, HAL Laboratory Turns 35 Today". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 6 November 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Corporate Info". HAL Laboratories. Archived from the original on 5 January 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  6. ^ Madden, Orla (30 November 2012). "Iwata Explains Where The Name HAL Laboratory Came From". nintendolife.com. Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  7. ^ "What Was Japan for Commodore?". commodore.ca. 16 February 2004. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  8. ^ Crimmins, Brian (21 November 2017). "Why Does HAL Laboratory Only Make Nintendo Games?". Waypoint. Archived from the original on 2 September 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Satoru Iwata – 1999 Developer Interview". Used Games (in Japanese). 1999. (Translation Archived 12 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine)
  10. ^ "Satoru Iwata Wasn't Hot on the Earthbound Creator's Logo for HAL Labs". USGamer.net. 17 April 2020. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Yash Terakura Joins Throwback Entertainment As Chief Technology Officer". GamesIndustry.biz. 11 May 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Iwata Asks: Kirby's Epic Yarn". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  13. ^ Bayer, Glen (6 October 2005). "HAL Laboratory: Company Profile". nsidr. Archived from the original on 16 June 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  14. ^ Romano, Sal (22 August 2017). "HAL Laboratory launches smartphone game brand HAL Egg, first title due out this fall in Japan". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  15. ^ "社長の夢から生まれた1/4サイズのマイコン名機「PasocomMini MZ-80C」 開発秘話と今後をハル研究所三津原社長に聞いた". Archived from the original on 22 January 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  16. ^ "ハル研「PasocomMini PC-8001」の単体販売が決定". 28 September 2019. Archived from the original on 22 January 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  17. ^ "企業情報 | Company | ハル研究所". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 3 April 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  18. ^ "The Ultimax Collection". Commodore 64 Preservation Project. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2012.

External links[edit]