Interview

This questionnaire-style interview was originally featured in the 10/90 edition of BEEP! Megadrive magazine. It’s both a fascinating cultural snapshot of the early video game industry in Japan, as well as a nice introduction to some of the “unknown soldiers” of game design, including women involved in Alisia Dragoon and Battle of Olympus.

Way back in the days of the PlayStation 2, M2 CEO Naoki Horii was working on a Sega Ages Collection featuring Fantasy Zone when he made a disappointing discovery: there was no proper arcade 16-bit version of Fantasy Zone 2. It had only ever been released on the Master System. So instead of just adding the 8-bit game to the collection, M2 invested its own time and money fully remaking Fantasy Zone 2 DX, adding multiple improvements to an already great game.

One aspect of Sega games almost universally revered by the company’s fans is the memorable music that was so consistent throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. No matter what type of arcade game it was, if it was produced by Sega of Japan, there was more than likely to be great music involved. What makes this quality so amazing is that so many legendary soundtracks came out of the company during this period.

This is a text adaptation of an interview that Lucas Milani Santiago took from Vitor Vilela, the engineer who fixed Gradius III. It was a very early game for the SNES. The programmers focused on making an arcade port. Since it was an arcade port, they didn’t optimize the code at all. Because it wasn’t optimized, the game ran on a very low framerate compared to the arcade. The infamous slowdow in present even in the arcade version.

This long interview with Ogura and music team Zuntata was featured in the Darius Odyssey book published 2019. It covers the history of the series, from the original arcade Darius to Dariusburst on the PSP.

Conducted just before the arcade release of Ikaruga, this interview with Treasure’s founder/president Masato Maegawa discusses some of the challenges of designing that game, as well as industry trends and observations about the STG genre generally. Maegawa has some especially heartening (and pointed) words at the end; it’s not hard to see why Treasure is so beloved by gamers, with their games-before-profit philosophy.

Toshiya Yamanaka was a composer for Arsys Software and Treasure, known among FM music afficionados for his work on Star Cruiser, Knight Arms, and other Japanese PC games.

These two Afterburner interviews are from 1988 and 1996, but I have compiled them (by subject matter) into a single interview. The seminal arcade title was mostly developed by the three-man team of Yu Suzuki, Satoshi Mifune, and musician Hiroshi “Hiro” Kawaguchi.


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