HAL Laboratory, Inc. (株式会社ハル研究所, Kabushikigaisha Haru Kenkyūjo) is a Japanese video game company that was founded on February 21, 1980. The company is most famous for its character Kirby, the protagonist of the eponymous game series, as well as the Super Smash Bros. series. It is a second-party development studio of Nintendo.
HAL Laboratory started off making games for the MSX system and the Commodore VIC-20. During the early 1980s, some of their games since the 1986 Famicom Disk System game Gall Force (based on the anime series of the same name) have been released also on Nintendo systems.
In many of its games during the early to mid-'90s it used the name HALKEN (derived from their literal Japanese name "HAL KENkyūjo") as well as HAL Laboratory. Some of its early titles were also released as HAL America, a North American subsidiary of the company. At the time, HALKEN has two variations of its logo: one of them was the Spring mark. In Japanese pronunciation, "HAL" is "はる (haru)", and "春 (Spring)" is also pronounced "はる". "Spring" can also mean a physical tool, "バネ", so this logo was modeled on the physical tool, "Spring".An important figure of HAL Laboratory is Masahiro Sakurai, who created the Kirby character and the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and now leads his own company, Sora Ltd.
- The president of Nintendo from 2002-2015, Satoru Iwata, was formerly president of HAL from 1993-2000, having first joined the company in 1983.
- The current logo is in the Paint Panic sub-game in Kirby: Canvas Curse. It also makes a cameo as a potential balloon sculpture Circus Kirby can blow up and use as an attack by popping in Kirby: Triple Deluxe.
- There are hidden rooms with Star Blocks arranged to spell out "HAL" (referred to as HAL Rooms) in Kirby's Adventure, Kirby: Canvas Curse, Kirby Super Star Ultra, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe (including Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe).
- The level names of the levels in the Challenge Mode of Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition (Happiness Hall, Apricot Atrium, and Last Land) spell out the abbreviation "HAL."
- This also marks the fourth time in the series for an acrostic to be hidden in the level names. The third was in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the second was in Kirby: Canvas Curse, and the first was in Kirby's Adventure.
- Before HAL Laboratories was bought by Nintendo, a game titled Metal Slader Glory was released for the Famicom in 1991. Despite having a development of more than 4 years, having a 8 megabit cartridge (the largest at the time), and having advanced graphics, the game did not sell well, which led HAL Laboratories to bankruptcy. Nintendo bought the company, ending HAL Laboratories' life as an independent publisher.
- HAL Laboratory (Page is in Japanese)