HAL Laboratory

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Joystick.png HAL Laboratory
Founded 1980-02-21
Defunct No
Major Products Eggerland series, Kirby series, JoyBall
Key People Satoru Iwata (former HAL programmer, former NOJ president)
Company page in vgmrips HAL Laboratory
Company website HAL Laboratory

HAL Laboratory (ja:ハル研究所, Halkenjou, or just as Halken in some SNES titles), often called as HAL Labs or just as HAL, is a company that produces games for Nintendo systems. Since 1992, Nintendo turned HAL as one of Nintendo's second-parties.


HAL was founded in 1980 as a company that produces hardware and software for NEC PCs, such as the NEC PC-8801. The name HAL was chosen, because H A L is one letter ahead of I B M. HAL also did some games for the Commodore VIC-1001 (known as Commodore VIC-20 outside of Japan), which Commodore Japan was published them.

In 1983, HAL quickly starts to develop hardware and software for the MSX computers, which was the main source of ca$h from HAL at the time.

In 1985, HAL released a maze-game called Eggerland Mystery, which was released in both Japanese and European MSXs. In the same year, HAL released the JoyBall, a alternative controller for the Family Computer and for the MSX computers. It was the second alternative controller released for the Famicom, surpassed by the Hudson Joystick, by Hudson. For the MSX, HAL released the JoyPair, a multitap for MSX computers.

In 1986, HAL started to develop titles for the Famicom and for the Disk System with their his name (previously HAL games are published by Nintendo). The first game was Gall Force: Eternal Story, for the Disk System. In 1990, HAL started to program games for the Game Boy.

In 1991, HAL was released Metal Slader Glory for the Famicom, which is the most heavier Famicom game in one cartridge (8Mbit/1MB ROM Size). HAL heavily advertised the game, however, the game didn't sell very well, making a waste of money from HAL's funds.

In 1992, when HAL is about to close its business, Nintendo owned HAL and almost all of their proprieties. However, when HAL became a Nintendo second-party, HAL was stopped to make hardware and software for Japanese PCs in their own name. In the same year, HAL released Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy. The game also features two Eggerland characters as bosses in this game.

In 1994, HAL, in co-development with Shigesato Itoi and Ape Inc., developed the sequel for a Famicom RPG called Mother, Mother 2: Giygas no Gyakushyuu (known in the US as EarthBound), which was a large fan-base around the world.

HAL became more famous for developing Kirby games for Nintendo systems, until 1999, when HAL releases Nintendo All-Star! Dairantou Smash Brothers (known world wide as Super Smash Bros.), which helped the sales of the Nintendo 64.



  • PCG-8000 (for Sharp MZ-80K)
  • PCG-8100 (for NEC PC-8001)
  • PCG-8200 (for NEC PC-8001mkII)
  • PCG-8800/mkII (for NEC PC-8801)
  • PCG-700 (for Sharp MZ-700)
  • PCG-1200 (for Sharp MZ-1200)
  • PCG-6500 (for Commodore CBM 3032)

Sound Boards

  • Hibiki and GSX-8800 (both for NEC PC-8801)


  • CAT-8801 and COBAUSE (both for NEC PC-8801)
  • CAT-X1 (for Sharp X1)


  • Handle Scanner and HALSCAN (both for MSX2)

Famicom accessories

  • JoyBall - a alternative controller for the Famicom. It features a ball as a D-Pad, but it is not a trackball controller. Also released for the MSX.
  • JoyPair - a multitap for the Famicom. It has two ports to connect two additional controllers. Useful if the both Famicom built-in controllers are broken and you cannot find a way to fix it.
  • Joy Radar - a wireless RF Adapter, which functions in way similar to Sega Mark III's Telecon Pack, except that the you can switch the channels into Channel 13 or 14 (Channels 107/108 in Americas).
  • Joy Radar MK2 - an improved version of Joy Radar, with cosmetic changes.

External links