Blog:Sounders: Natsume (Where Are They Now)
In the first edition of a new feature chronicling sound designers and production companies, GDRI catches up with some of the sound designers from Natsume (now Natsume Atari)'s 8/16-bit golden age.
Kiyohiro Sada worked at Konami from 1986 to 1989, where he worked on many Famicom and NES games like Contra and The Adventures of Bayou Billy. He joined Natsume in 1988 and continued to work for Konami. He became a full-time employee at Natsume the following year.
Sada's best-known works with Natsume, at least outside Japan, are probably Abadox and S.C.A.T. Abadox seemed particularly influenced by his former employer's Life Force, and Sada's distinctive sound no doubt helped it feel that way.
Sada left in 1993 and formed his own sound production company called Pure Sound, which he still operates today. Pure Sound has worked on many games over the years including the Summon Knight series, Half-Minute Hero, Robo Pit, and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages.
Iku Mizutani also came over from Konami (MSX Metal Gear, NES Rush'n Attack). His first game at Natsume was the NES conversion of Heroes of the Lance. He continued to work on many more games across many platforms including Shatterhand, SNES Power Rangers, and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault.
Hiroyuki Iwatsuki joined Natsume in 1990 and is still with Natsume Atari today, working at the Nagoya office. His titles include fan favorites like Wild Guns, Pocky & Rocky, and SNES Ninja Warriors, as well as more recent titles like Omega Five and Wild Guns: Reloaded.
Kinuyo Yamashita is yet another musician who left Konami (Castlevania, Nemesis 3, Arumana no Kiseki). The difference is, Yamashita was never a Natsume employee; she has worked mostly as a contractor since exiting Konami. Her profile is also quite extensive. Among the titles on which she was involved are GBC Croc 2, SNES Power Rangers, Pocky & Rocky 2, and Mark Davis' The Fishing Master.
A subarachnoid hemorrhage sidelined Yamashita in 1998. She eventually recovered, however, and continued to make music. She now lives in New Jersey.
Shinya Kurahashi (倉橋真也) (Shimono Masaki no Fishing to Bassing, Zen-Nippon Pro Wres: Fight da Pon!) was with Natsume's Osaka division for a while, but little is known about him. Not much is known about Kouichi Yamanishi (山西浩一)(Dragon Fighter, Shadow of the Ninja), either.
Credit to the creators/uploaders of the videos above. Photos sourced from Videogame Music Preservation Foundation Wiki.