Soko-ban IBM-PC

Published: 2023 September 24

Until 1988, the Sokoban game was exclusively distributed in Japan.

However, in 1988 (or possibly late 1987), it was published in the US as Soko-Ban by Spectrum Holobyte for IBM PC/XT/AT.

Soko-ban (IBM-PC) title

The game was first sold in a black package showing a worker and the message 'A Strategy Maze Game' on the front and back.

Soko-ban (IBM-PC) black box

Later, it came in a white package and 'Hundreds of thousands sold!' on the front and 'The Japanese Challenge' on the back.

Soko-ban (IBM-PC) white box

One interesting thing about this game is that, at least in my copy (in a black box package), it was initially distributed with level 42 unsolvable. However, this issue was later corrected in some or all white box package versions. More than the box color, the hint if solvable is the date of the file TAB4142; the one dated 1987-Aug-26 is unsolvable, and the one dated 1987-Dec-22 is solvable.

File TAB4142 dateSolvableScreenshot
1987-Aug-26NoSoko-ban (IBM-PC) Level 42 unsolvable
1987-Dec-22YesSoko-ban (IBM-PC) Level 42 solvable

There was a white box edition that included a samurai in the intro. That version contains a file named WARRIOR.BIN.

Soko-ban (IBM-PC) samurai

SourceFile SOKOBAN.EXE dateSamurai at intro
Black box package1987-Nov-16No
White box package1988-Jan-13No
White box package1988-Jul-22Yes