Hello readers! Some of you might not recognise me as the official biographer of Rollo Benny, Germany's answer to Noel Edmonds. My interests include dictating to my team of Argentinean scientists to crossbreed the world's first dolphin horse hybrid (Dolores), and also interviewing people. Games people. In the games industry. About games. It's busy being an outlaw journalist!
When it was suggested I do a reader's piece for Digi (my dream since the mid-1720s), I immediately decided to save time and have someone else do the work, by stealing stuff from their book, The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers. The catch is though, it's actually my book. But don't tell anyone (shhh!).
I present a smorgasbord of factual treats - quotes so unbelievable you might not believe them. All of them are true, some are amusing, one involves Yu Suzuki directing Swan Lake to heavy metal music.
Press Reveal (click more) to begin massaging the goodness into your eyes.
YM: "I joined Konami as a new graduate in 1992. In my second year after joining I was in was put in charge of creating games for Konami's game machine, and that's when I got involved in game design. Since it was an extremely secret project inside of Konami, there were very few people involved. The plan at first was for Konami's game machine to be a console type, and it was suggested that it have a card reader function to allow players to exchange data."
KU: One thing that I wanted to say is, you know, when you write these adult games, something I get very tired of when writing these is... I apologise that I'm going into the gutter with this one, but, you're writing and your imagination is concentrating on writing these adult scenes, and you have all of these desires that you're creating and you're imagining in your head, but you're also at work, so you can't really resolve them and... you know... satisfy your cravings.
"So you have to just hold it in and keep on writing and writing and writing... in that sense, it's a very difficult job!"
KY: "When I was working for Telenet, I was in the middle of working on a game, but someone told me they had seen my game already sold in shops! I was shocked - it wasn't even finished. I guess the company had to deliver something or otherwise they wouldn't get paid. Ultimately several hundred of these [unfinished] copies were mixed in with the actual, final release, and we recalled and exchanged the unfinished versions. Back then the launch dates were vague.
"Telenet was sponsored in part by a large electronics retail company, so had to deliver the products in advance. They needed to meet the deadlines in order to receive money, so they had to launch the game prematurely, before it was actually complete, and then finish up the final version for the nationwide release."
YK: "The plan for the game did exist. At that time it was not Sega Saturn, but it was Dreamcast. Bare Knuckle 4 was to be released on Dreamcast, and we created a prototype for it. It wasn't something where you could play the game, but rather it was something where it showed you how the game would look.
"So we created a prototype, but Sega of America decided to turn it down, because it was almost 10 years since Bare Knuckle was first released, and there was no one in Sega of America who could really understand the appeal of it."
MM: "I was not hired as an employee, rather somebody - nicknamed Natchan the Firefighter - asked me to test Lunar 2 as a one-off job. I spent a lot of time drafting design sheets related to controlling the difficulty of the game, balancing, and I actually made graphs charting parameters like gold, XP, and so on. But Youichi Miyaji rejected it all. For example, in one case the XP reward was set to 12, but I decided that 8 XP would be better. But when somebody showed it to Miyaji-san, he played it a bit and said, 'This is too difficult, change it back!' <laughs> So my work was ruined. It was like a punch in the gut."
YS: "Sony's staff locked me in a meeting room and told me that I should check the advert for Bounty Arms, so they said, 'Don't leave before you finish checking the advert!' I had to complete this advert then return to Osaka. Then when I returned, I was surprised to find it was gone - cancelled!"
KI: "From Mega Man 2 onwards... The first game was the only one which didn't have any influence, and then from the second one onwards Kitamura-san said, 'I want to get some ideas from players and put them in'. The concept getting ideas from the public is not that rare in Japan. We used to get over 100,000 ideas, I think. That was around about the time of Mega Man 5 or so."
But wait! As a neato, super extra bonus, here is a quote from Volume 3 of the book (due 2016)...
ANON: "The senior management of Microsoft Game Studio visited Japan to meet important partners. We went to Sega's headquarters in Otorii, and visited Yu Suzuki. He had his own studio in the basement of Sega, and he had his own 'throne room'. It was without any windows (it was underground), and his 'throne' was placed in the centre.
"There was nothing in the room except for his chair and some sofas around it. They had only indirect lighting; some spot lights on the ceiling were pointing at pictures in frames on the walls. The room was very dim and Enya music was played without end. We sat down on the sofas, surrounding Yu-san, in the dimly-lit never-ending Enya room.
"Then Yu-san started to talk about what he wanted to do next: 'I am interested in classical ballet. I want to produce Swan Lake, but the music needs to be heavy metal. I am pretty sure this will be super cool'."