Codex Gamicus

The Death Trap (ザ・デストラップ?) is a video game developed and published by Square for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, and Fujitsu FM-7 in 1984.

The Death Trap is the first game developed by Square, created before they were even an independent company. At the time, Square was a software branch of Den-Yu-Sha, a Japanese power line manufacturing firm; it was not until 1986 that Square Co., Ltd. was independently established. Square followed up with a sequel to The Death Trap in 1985. The game is titled Will and subtitled The Death Trap II.


The Death Trap is an interactive fiction game, which relies on simple command lines from the user's input to progress through the game. As opposed to most "text adventures", with only text as output, The Death Trap provides graphical feedback using still pictures.

The game's plot is set during the 1980s. In the game, the Cold War has become tense, and many countries have begun to prepare for a global-scale war, working on new weapons. One of such countries is the mysterious "B country" in Eastern Africa, which in an attempt to create biological weapons kidnaps the famous scientist Dr. Gitanes. An agent named Benson is sent to B country in order to rescue the doctor and avert the new threat to world peace.


The Death Trap was the first game developed by Square, a computer game software branch of Denyūsha Electric Company. Masafumi Miyamoto, who founded Square in September 1983, believed that it would be more efficient to have graphic designers, programmers and writers work together on common projects. Upon Square's inception, Miyamoto initially hired university students Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hiromichi Tanaka and three others as part-time workers. They shortly began work on The Death Trap.

Sakaguchi and Tanaka were friends at their university, often playing the Apple II game Wizardry, and computer games designed by Nasir Gebelli (of whom which would work for Square later on). Sakaguchi had developed an interest in game development based on American games for the Apple II, and created games with similar aspects. They shortly began work on The Death Trap. He held the position of producer and scenario writer. Harunobu Kato held the position of programmer, which was shared with Tanaka. Other scenario writers were 雪ノ浦美樹, 林明弘 and 鈴木尚志. The graphics team consisted of Hiromi Nakada, 雪ノ浦美樹, 今泉美保 and 斉藤智子. Lastly, 井出康代 held the position of data editing.


The Death Trap sold about 500,000 copies and resulted in the development of Will: The Death Trap II. Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hiromichi Tanaka, Harunobu Kato and Hiromi Nakada continued producing games for Square, while the rest of those credited left.

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