The ASCII Corporation were a Japanese company that was formed in 1977, in a co-operative merger with the NEC company. This co-operative agreement was in order to create a Japanese home computer system, called the MSX. The ASCII Corporation was founded by Kazuhiko Nishi.
During the early years of the ASCII Corporation's existence, the group focused on developing the MSX and different content for it. It also formed a joint venture with Microsoft in 1979, and represented Microsoft in Japan until 1986 when it went public and opened its own Japanese office.
However, during the 1980s when the videogame market seemed to collapse, the group decided to focus on publishing Japanese games for the popular consoles of the time - the most notable of these being the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. The company reported success in this market, and chose to form an American branch of their company. This branch was formed in 1991, and became known as ASCII Entertainment.
Over time the market once held by ASCII Corporation shrunk considerably, and the company grew weaker in its market over time. In a complete change, the market possessed by ASCII Entertainment (their US brand) grew considerably. Due to this success, another brand was formed by the ASCII Corporation. This company was known as ASCII Game Entertainment Technology, and was commonly abbreviated to Agetec. After just over a year, Agetec was sold off and managed to survive thanks to different company relationships.
During March 2002, ASCII chose to cease all game-based operations, and to return to their original field of work: computer systems. ASCII also had a prestigious computer magazine, called ASCII Magazine. The rest of the company was eventually disposed of, for lack of a better term, as 'Media Leaves Inc.'. In 2004, ASCII and all of its subsidaries were purchased by Kadokawa Holdings. This movement by Kadokawa made them the largest distributor of games, and gaming media, in the entire Japanese market. In 2008, ASCII merged with Media Works to become ASCII Media Works.