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Overview

Founded in 1974 under the name IPM, Irem is a well known Japanese video game developer and publisher. They have developed many well known games, including R-Type, the earliest known "beat-em-up" game, Kung-Fu Master, and many other well known games and franchises.

Originally a manufacturer of arcade cabinets, IPM released many arcade cabinets between 1974 and 1978. In 1979, IPM changed their name to IREM Corporation. IREM was an acronym for International Rental Electronics Machines, but that was changed in the 1980s to Innovations in Recreational Electronic Media. Irem continued strong until the 1990s. Sales began to fall, and the corporation began to fall apart. People left Irem, including the arcade cabinet department (forming off a separate company known as Apies), and many employees went on to form Nazca Corporation (creator of the Metal Slug franchise). However, in 1997 Nanao founded the Irem Software Engineering, Inc., which took control of the remainder of Irem Corporation.

Irem was a strong supporter of Sony's PlayStation Home, developing Spaces, clothing, decorations, and Home-integrated game lobbies.

In the aftermath of the 2011 Touhoku Earthquake Irem canceled two high profile PS3 titles: Bumpy Trot 2 and Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 4. Shortly afterwards the director of both games, Kazuma Kujo, left with many key staff to form Granzella inc. Following this Irem removed most of its PlayStation Home spaces and began delisting all non-pachislot games from the PSN, XBLA, and WiiWare services; a process that was finished in August of 2012. According to Kujo this is because he was the primary force behind making games at Irem, and the remaining staff wish to focus only on pachislot.

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