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Cotton (Japanese: コットン, Hepburn: Kotton) is a series of shoot 'em up video games developed by Success with a history of releases both in arcades and video game consoles. With the series debuting in 1991, the Cotton games have helped to establish the visual style of shoot 'em ups sometimes called cute 'em up. Instead of warships and battlefields typical of most shoot 'em ups, Cotton games put players in control of a witch riding on a broom and tasks them with fighting through magical haunted kingdoms. Cotton games have appeared on a variety of consoles including the PC Engine, the Super Famicom, the Mega Drive, the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation, the Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the Dreamcast.

Genre(s)Shoot 'em up
First releaseCotton: Fantastic Night Dreams
Latest releaseMagical Pachinko Cotton

There is also a pachinko game featuring Cotton available for the PlayStation 2. Cotton appears as a hidden character in the Nintendo DS game Rondo of Swords. Cotton also appears as a DLC character in the PC game, Trouble Witches Origin - Episode 1: Daughters of Amalgam.


Year Title Platform Developer(s) Publisher(s)
1991 Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams Arcade, TurboGrafx-CD, X68000, PlayStation, Neo Geo Pocket Color Success Corporation Sega, Hudson Soft, Electronic Arts
1994 Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% Super Nintendo, PlayStation Success Corporation Datam Polystar
1994 Panorama Cotton Sega Mega Drive Success Corporation Sunsoft
1997 Cotton 2: Magical Night Dreams Arcade, Sega Saturn Success Corporation Success Corporation
1998 Magical Night Dreams: Cotton Boomerang Arcade, Sega Saturn Success Corporation Success Corporation
2000 Rainbow Cotton Dreamcast Success Corporation Success Corporation
2003 Magical Pachinko Cotton Pachinko, PlayStation 2 Success Corporation Success Corporation


Most of the games in the Cotton series are side scrolling shooting games.[1] Cotton is classified as a "Cute 'em up", which is a sub-genre of shmups that tend to have unusual, oftentimes completely bizarre opponents for the player to fight.[2]

In the games, Silk functions similar to the "options" from the Gradius series.[1]

Rainbow Cotton is the first game in the series to be fully 3D.[1]


The games in the Cotton series follows a young witch named Cotton who has an addition to Willow. She is accompanied by the fairy Silk.[1]

Each Cotton game features a unique story that is loosely connected to the other games in the series. All of these stories revolve around the obsession of a young German witch named Nata de Cotton with a magical type of candy called "Willow". Cotton is a red-haired pre-teen German witch with a hunger for Willow candy that drives all of her actions. She is hot-headed, immature, and often overreacts. Although her quests in each game are ultimately to serve a higher purpose, she is never involved personally for any reason other than the prospect of getting to eat a Willow. In a typical Cotton game, Cotton will embark on her journey through the game's stages with the hope that she will be rewarded with a Willow at the end. However, when the game is over, she almost always winds up empty-handed.

Cotton is accompanied by Silk who a fairy who is in every Cotton game to date as a sort of sidekick for Cotton. She is a citizen of the fairy kingdom Filament, and is a close aid to its queen.

Series historyEdit


The first game in the series was Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, which was originally released as an arcade game on the Sega System 16B arcade board in 1991. The arcade version was released in Japan, North America, and a 'World' system board for other territories such as Europe. The arcade system board is listed on Killer List of Videogames as being uncommon, with just six members owning a board.[3] Later, in 1993, it was ported both to the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 as a Super CD-ROM² game, as well as to the X68000 home computer. The Super CD-ROM² version, while slightly toned down from the arcade original in graphics and difficulty, includes a remixed CD-DA soundtrack, as well as voice acting in the Japanese release. The X68000 version, though maintaining the arcade version's soundtrack, features many heavily modified enemy and boss patterns. Finally, another version came out of for the PlayStation as Cotton Original in 1999, which uses its own CD-DA music and again takes liberties in gameplay reproduction from the arcade version. In addition, the Neo Geo Pocket Color hand-held console also received a scaled down port[4][5] in 2000. A reboot is planned for release in 2019.

Cotton 100%Edit

Review score
Super Console80/100.[6]

Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% was released on the Super Famicom in early 1994. It is perhaps best described as something of a reinterpretation of the original Cotton – the enemy graphics and behaviors, the gameplay mechanics, some of the stages and bosses, as well as the plot itself are virtually identical to the first game. However, in addition to many unique stages and enemies, the theme and colors in Marchen Adventure Cotton 100% are much brighter, and the actual level mapping is significantly different from the first game. Marchen Adventure Cotton 100% also came with a free mini-audio CD which featured music and dialogue based on the game. In 2003, the PlayStation received its own straight port of the game called simply Cotton 100%. It did not, however, come with the mini-CD.

Panorama Cotton was released exclusively on the Mega Drive system in late 1994. It is the single rarest game in the series, and also one of the most rare games on the Mega Drive. It is notorious for fetching high prices at auction, especially when included with its commemorative tea cup (see below). Panorama Cotton made a major departure from the original gameplay formula of Cotton; instead of being a side-scrolling shooter like the others, it was a pseudo-3D shooter in the style of Sega's classic arcade hit Space Harrier. Stylistically, it also stands out for having lost the melancholy undertones that the other games have; instead, it simply strives to be uniquely psychedelic.

Cotton 2Edit

Cotton 2
Review scores
Super GamePower4/5[7]
Acao Games8.0[8]
Cotton Boomerang
Review score
Super GamePower4/5[10]

Cotton 2 was released first as an arcade game on Sega's ST-V hardware in 1997. Only months later, it received a virtually arcade-perfect console port on the Sega Saturn. Considered the true sequel to the first game in the series, Cotton 2 also marks the introduction of two new primary characters: Appli, a young princess, and her anthropomorphic hat, Needle. Cotton 2 sees a return to traditional horizontal scrolling in the series, but it also stands out among shoot 'em ups in general for its unique gameplay system. With a heavy incorporation of Newtonian physics, Cotton 2 ultimately mixes elements of 2D platformers with traditional shoot 'em up gameplay. The first release of Cotton 2 on the Sega Saturn also included a mini-calendar for 1998.

Cotton Boomerang was also originally an ST-V arcade game, and it, too, received a faithful home port on the Sega Saturn. It was made in 1998. Like Marchen Adventure Cotton 100%, Cotton Boomerang remixes graphics and gameplay from the previous game in the series (Cotton 2) with a number of new ideas. The gameplay in general is much more manic than Cotton 2, and Silk and Needle are playable as independent characters.

Rainbow CottonEdit

Rainbow Cotton was released in 2000 for the Dreamcast and saw the series venture into 3D for the second time. The story involves monsters led by King Tsuweed who have invaded the kingdom seeking Willow. Queen Berbet enlists Cotton to save the Willow. The game plays similar to Panzer Dragoon, and is a 3D rail shooter.[1]


Magical Pachinko Cotton was released on the PlayStation 2 games console. This is not really a game in the Cotton series; rather, it simply stars the characters from the games.

Rondo of Swords: Although not a Cotton game specifically, the willow obsessed witch joins your party in this strategy role-playing title, also made by Success. Also in 2007, in honor of a new Cotton mobile app released, 50 Cotton themed teacups were given away in a lottery and a competition.[11]

Trouble Witches Origin - Episode 1: Daughters of Amalgam: The first time Cotton has appeared with her classic gameplay in nearly a couple of decades, her first video game appearance anywhere in a decade and the first time she has been in a video game not developed by her company of origin, Success. A game centering around witches and is similarly in the shmup genre, Cotton tags along as a DLC character. This also marks the first appearance of the fairy Silk since Rainbow Cotton nearly a couple of decades ago.

Cotton makes an appearance in Umihara Kawase Fresh! as a playable character.[12]

In 2019, a new release of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, based on the Sharp X68000 version and tentatively titled Cotton Reboot was announced. It is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.[13] Additionally, they plan on re-releasing the original Sharp X68000 version on Floppy disk.[14]

Other MediaEdit

  • In 1994 Cotton - Minakami Hiroki is part of Gamest Comics Collection.
  • In 2012, A manga titled Toriaezu supīdoappu demo shite oku no Kokoro! (とりあえずスピードアップでもしておくのココロ!?), Cotton and.


Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams
Review scores
FamitsuPCE: 29/40[15]
PS: 21/40[16]
Dengeki PC Engine73.75/100 (PCE)
PC Engine FAN22.82 / 30 (PCE)[17]
GamestFifth best game of the year (1991)[18]

Famitsu gave Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams' PCE version 29/40[15] and PS version 21/40.[16]

Cotton, as well as Parodius, Fantasy Zone Twinbee, and Harmful Park, are considered the key games in the "cute em up" genre.[2]

The character Cotton is always childish. The amusing cut-scenes she stars in have endeared her to fans of Japanese anime.


  1. ^ a b c d e "World Republic: Rainbow Cotton". Gamers' Republic. Vol. 2 no. 7. United States of America: Millennium Publishing. December 1999. p. 100.
  2. ^ a b "The Complete Guide... Shoot Em Ups". Retro Gamer. No. 42. September 2007. p. 52.
  3. ^ "'Cotton". Killer List of Videogames. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-29. Retrieved 2016-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Review: Cotton 100%". Super Console (in Italian). No. 6. Italy: Futura Publishing. July–August 1994. pp. 34–364.
  7. ^ Kamikaze, Marcello (February 1998). "Saturn: Cotton 2". Super GamePower (in Portuguese). No. 47. Brazil: Nova Cultural. p. 28.
  8. ^ Martinoto, Ronny (April 1998). "Saturno: Cotton 2". Acao Games (in Portuguese). No. 126. Brazil. p. 38.
  9. ^ "Zoom: Cotton 2". Joypad (in French). No. 71. France. January 1998. p. 85.
  10. ^ Bros, Marjorie (January 1999). "Saturn: Cotton Boomerang2". Super GamePower (in Portuguese). No. 58. Brazil: Nova Cultural. p. 40.
  11. ^ "ゲームS!アプリの『コットン』であの"寿湯飲み"が当たる!!". 2007-03-16. Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "Cotton From Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams Will Be Playable In Umihara Kawase Fresh!". Siliconera. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  13. ^ "横スクロールシューティング『コットン』最新作『コットン リブート(仮題)』が発売決定。さらに今夏にはX68000版のフロッピーディスク再販も". Famitsu (in Japanese). May 19, 2019. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  14. ^ "『コットン リブート(仮題)』インタビュー。リブート&BEEP家庭用ゲーム参入の経緯、X68000版発売の理由など、驚きの連続を発案したキーマンたちに聞く". Famitsu (in Japanese). 2019-05-19. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  15. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2016-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "October issue special appendix PC Engine All catalog '93", " PC Engine FAN " Vol. 6, No. 10, Tokuma Shoten , October 1, 1993, page 75.
  18. ^ "GAMEST MOOK Vol.112 The Best Game 2 arcade video game of the 26-year history," Vol. 5, No. 4, Shinseishiya, January 17, 1998, 16 - 17 pages, ISBN 9784881994290.

External linksEdit