Difference between revisions of "Interview:Shouichi Yoshikawa"

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< [[Interviews]]
< [[Interviews]]
'''GDRI: Are you Nao Kuramoto, Shouichi Yoshikawa, or are Yoshikawa and Kuramoto the same person?'''
'''GDRI: Are you Nao Kuramoto or Shouichi Yoshikawa, or are Yoshikawa and Kuramoto the same person?'''
SY: 倉本奈緒というのは、私のペンネームです。このペンネームは、私が作詞とかシナリオなどを創作する場合に大昔から使っています。また、ANGELAというペンネームも私ですが、このペンネームは、倉本奈緒と吉川昇一を統括する総監督の役割で使っています。つまり、1人3役というわけです。
SY: 倉本奈緒というのは、私のペンネームです。このペンネームは、私が作詞とかシナリオなどを創作する場合に大昔から使っています。また、ANGELAというペンネームも私ですが、このペンネームは、倉本奈緒と吉川昇一を統括する総監督の役割で使っています。つまり、1人3役というわけです。
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'''GDRI: Who were you working for when you worked on Hamster Paradise [GBC]? It doesn't look like an A.I game.'''
'''GDRI: Who were you working for when you worked on Hamster Paradise [GBC]? It doesn't look like an A.I game.'''
SY: 「ハムスターパラダイス」は、アトラスから依頼され、シマダ企画という会社で制作されました。この制作時点で、私はエーアイにはいません。当時、エーアイ社内での思い出したくない様々な人間関係のトラブルがあり、私は「ボンバーマンHERO」のスタッフを降板しています。当時、精神崩壊して、ノイローゼになった過去があり、辛いので、ここについては触れたくないです。
SY: 「ハムスターパラダイス」は、アトラスから依頼され、シマダ企画という会社で制作されました。
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Hamster Paradise was commissioned by Atlus and produced by a company called [[Shimada Kikaku]]. At this point in time, I was no longer with A.I. There were various human relations issues at the A.I office that I don't want to remember, and I left the staff of "Bomberman Hero" during that. Those days were fostering breakdown, and it was a very harsh environment. This is something I will not touch.
Hamster Paradise was commissioned by Atlus and produced by a company called [[Shimada Kikaku]].
Hamster Paradise was my last work in the game industry. I have been raising [http://www.interq.or.jp/mars/lucky3/cat/ a cat] since then, and it is now 12 years old. It is true that the image of the hamster was inspired by my dearest cat.
Hamster Paradise was my last work in the game industry. I have been raising [http://www.interq.or.jp/mars/lucky3/cat/ a cat] since then, and it is now 12 years old. It is true that the image of the hamster was inspired by my dearest cat.

Revision as of 11:14, 5 May 2008

< Interviews

GDRI: Are you Nao Kuramoto or Shouichi Yoshikawa, or are Yoshikawa and Kuramoto the same person?

SY: 倉本奈緒というのは、私のペンネームです。このペンネームは、私が作詞とかシナリオなどを創作する場合に大昔から使っています。また、ANGELAというペンネームも私ですが、このペンネームは、倉本奈緒と吉川昇一を統括する総監督の役割で使っています。つまり、1人3役というわけです。

Nao Kuramoto is my pen name. I've been using this name for a long time when I write lyrics and scenarios. "Angela" is also a pen name of mine. I used it when I was working as the director on a project, doing the work I would normally use both names for. In other words, it's three names for one person.

GDRI: You worked at VIC Tokai, correct? Did VIC Tokai do internal development?

SY: 外注作品を除く、VIC東海ブランドの主なTVゲーム作品は、VIC東海と西武リースの社員の内部共同開発です。開発環境は、1つのオフィス内でした。



Except for what was contracted to outside companies, all VIC Tokai-branded games were the joint development of VIC Tokai and Seibu Lease. All development was done within the same office.

VIC Tokai was in charge of programming and sales, while Seibu Lease handled planning and graphics.

In other words, I was involved with VIC Tokai games as an employee of Seibu Lease.

GDRI: Do you remember any other games that were developed by the VIC/Seibu Lease partnership [besides what is listed on Yoshikawa's site [1]]?

SY: VIC東海と西部リースの関係はFC以前からずっと繋がっています。「VIC東海」ブランド名を使ったのは「アイギーナの予言」(FC)からだと思います。それ以前は「グラフィック・テクノ EW」だったと当時聞いています。「グラフィック・テクノ EW」ブランドでは、SEGAから「カロリーくん」とかを出していたと思います。

VIC Tokai and Seibu Lease worked together since the days of the Famicom. I think it was Aigiina no Yogen [FC] where the VIC Tokai name was first used. Before that, Graphic Techno EW was used. I believe that Sega's Calorie-kun [vs. Moguranian, AC] was released with the Graphic Techno EW name.

GDRI: Here's another Graphic Techno EW game [The X, AC]. [2] So VIC Tokai and Seibu Lease would have worked together on that?

SY: Yes. The EW comes from the names of VIC Tokai (VIC東海) and Seibu Lease (西部リース). E is East (東), and W is West (西).

GDRI: Was sound on VIC/Seibu games outsourced?

SY: これは、完全なる外注です。「アイギーナの予言」は、元々、テクモの「バルバルークの伝説」をベースにした企画で作られているので、当時、VIC東海とテクモは結構親しい関係でした。「アイギーナ」「ゴルゴ13」に始まり、数年間のVIC東海作品の音楽は、テクモから独立したHASUYAさんが担当しています。HASUYAさんはテクモ時代、「ソロモンの鍵」とかの音楽を作っていたと思います。

Sound was completely outsourced. VIC Tokai had a close relationship with Tecmo in those days. In fact, Aigiina no Yogen was based on Tecmo's Baluba-louk no Densetsu [AC]. Hasuya, who left Tecmo, was for several years in charge of music for VIC Tokai games, including Aigiina no Yogen and Golgo 13 [FC/NES]. I think he also did the music for Solomon's Key when he was with Tecmo.

GDRI: What was your name on Block Gal [AC] - "Sary Chan Papa" or "Abunai-kun?" [asked thinking Yoshikawa was one of these people]

SY: 「サリーちゃんパパ」は誰なのかわかりませんが、「アブナイくん」は、プログラム・ディレクターが勝手に名づけたペンネームで、正真正銘の私です。何故、「アブナイ」のかと言えば、製品版「BLOCK GAL」は、SEGAの倫理規制の為、GALたちがパンティーをはいていますが、グラフィック制作中は、GALたちの局部が「ノーパン&割れ目入り」だったからです。(笑

I don't know who "Sary Chan Papa" is, but "Abunai-kun" ["Mr. Dangerous"] is a pen name I gave to the program director. The reason behind this was that for the commercial version of Block Gal, the gals wore panties because of Sega's ethical regulations. But during production, they were pantsless, their private parts completely visible. (laughs)

GDRI: Were Kakefu-kun no Jump Tengoku: Speed Jigoku [Kid Kool, FC/NES], Dengeki: Big Bang! [Clash at Demonhead, FC/NES], and Chester Field [FC] co-developed by VIC Tokai and Seibu Lease?

Yes. Kakefu-kun was planned, designed, and directed by "Professor Toshi." Big Bang! was planned, designed, and directed by Haru-san. Chester Field was planned, designed, and directed by Ume-chan. And I planned, designed, and directed Golgo 13. In short, there were four main planning staffers at Seibu Lease in those days.

GDRI: What games were developed by Cyclone System?

SY: 私がメインスタッフで関わったのは、「地底戦空バゾルダー」と「アストロラビー」の2作品です。サイクロン・システムの開発作品には、この他に「ズーム!」「MACRESS」「四天明王」「アスミっくん」などがあります。

I was involved with the main staffs of Chitei Senkuu Vazorudaa [Wurm, FC/NES] and Astro Rabby [GB]. Additionally, Cyclone System developed Zoom! [MD/GEN], Macress [later became Saint Sword, MD/GEN], Shiten Myouou [Shadow Blasters, MD/GEN], and Asmik-kun [World 2, GB].

GDRI: Did Cyclone System have internal programmers? According to the Zoom! credits, the programmers are from Sigma Pro-Tech. [3] These programmers also worked on Shiten Myouou.

SY: シグマ・プロテックというのは、サイクロンシステムの外注下請け会社です。そう言えば、「四天明王」もサイクロンシステムの依頼で作っていました。

Sigma Pro-Tech was a subcontractor that Cyclone System worked with. Actually, they made Shiten Myouou at Cyclone System's request, too.

GDRI: Do you recall if Sigma Pro-Tech was a division of Sigma Enterprises? Was WURM programmed by Sigma Pro-Tech?

SY: シグマ・エンタープライゼスとシグマ・プロテックとは、会社名が似ているだけで、関係ないと思います。シグマ・プロテックは、高山さんと佐藤さんのコンビによって設立された有限会社で、社員は彼ら2人だけだったと思います。



Despite the similar names, I don't believe there was any connection between Sigma Enterprises and Sigma Pro-Tech. Sigma Pro-Tech was run by [Masaya] Takayama and [Hiroshi] Satou, and I think they were the only two employees.

They were not the programmers on Wurm. The code from Totsuzen! Machoman [Amagon, FC/NES] was used as a basis. There was a team of four people, two main programmers and two sub-programmers. I've forgotten if the main programmers were from a subcontractor, but the sub-programmers were two young Cyclone System employees who had come over from Aicom.

In regards to the development of Wurm, the specifications were fully entered at the end of March 1990. I left the staff to work on Astro Rabby. But during testing, we found a fatal bug, and one of our skilled outsource coders was given the details. This bug had to do with the end of the 3D lava battle in the third stage. We were within hardware limits, but it was an issue with the specifications, so it was my responsibility. This is why the game wasn't released until November 1991.

GDRI: Someone on 2ch said Cyclone System was Douta Andou's company. Was Andou-san involved?

SY: サイクロンシステムは、石川佳幸さんと風間浩さんによって設立され、社長は、石川佳幸さんです。安藤堂太さんは、当時、フリーランスの音楽家だったと思います。この3人は、「ズーム!」制作前は、エイコムという会社の社員でした。エイコムというのは、VIC東海の外注会社で、「突然!マッチョマン」(企画:風間浩)とか「ゴルゴ13/PART2」を作っています。


Cyclone System was established by Yoshiyuki Ishikawa and Hiroshi Kazama. Ishikawa was the president. I believe Douta Andou was a freelance musician at the time. Before working on Zoom!, these three people had been employees of Aicom. Aicom had done outsource work for VIC Tokai. They made Totsuzen! Machoman (Hiroshi Kazama, planner) and Golgo 13 Part 2 [The Mafat Conspiracy, FC/NES].

Incidentally, I was the planner and director of Golgo 13 Part 2, but I left my position at VIC Tokai to work on Wurm with Cyclone System.

GDRI: How well do you think Aicom handled the second Golgo 13 game?

SY: プレイしてみましたが、エンターテインメントではなかったです。私の当時の作品構想とは大幅に違いました。つまり、この作品は、自分の考え方として、良いか悪いかではなく、自分の思想とは異なるから、どうでもいいという評価です。

I played it, but did not find it entertaining. However, my design approach at the time was materially different from their approach, so I don't think it really matters if I thought their work was good or bad.

GDRI: Do you remember who programmed Astro Rabby?

SY: 誰だったっけ?覚えていない。たぶん、「WURM」のサブプログラマーである水谷さん&永倉さんだったように記憶しますが。

Who was it? I don't remember. It was probably [Eiji] Mizutani and [Masaaki] Nagakura, who, as I remember, were the sub programmers on Wurm.

GDRI: So did Masaaki Nagakura work for Cyclone System?

SY: 私がサイクロン・システムにいたのは、1年半ぐらいなので、それ以降のことは知りませんが、彼は、サイクロン・システムが倒産する直前まで、そこで仕事をしていたような気がします。

I was at Cyclone System for about a year and a half, so I don't know much about anything after that, but he was working there just before they went bankrupt.

GDRI: Do you know who Jun'ichi Sueishi is? [4]

SY: He was a main programmer who made Macress, Shiten Myouou, and so on at Cyclone System.

GDRI: How does our entry on Cyclone System look to you?

SY: 微妙に間違っています。風間浩さんは、ラフな企画を作りましたが、その企画&ストーリー&グラフィック&仕様を煮詰めたのは私ですから。彼が制作当時行っていたのは、営業的なプロデューサーに近い立場です。あえて言えば、彼は、1ドットのグラフィックさえ描いていません。サブ・プログラムも作っていません。



[About Wurm and Kazama] Hiroshi Kazama did the rough planning (design, story, graphics, and specifications), and I refined them to something more specific. His position at the time was closer to a producer on the business side. I dare say he never drew a single dot of graphics, nor wrote a single sub-program.

He also did the original rough work for Astro Rabby, but the final game I directed was substantially different. He was also connected to this work only as a producer. The director from IGS was Mr. Yabusaki, who was previously at Taito. He also did the character design for this game.

On most of the other projects, our business contact was Mr. Kazama, though his main job was data conversion.

GDRI: Are there any major differences between the Japanese version of Wurm and the US localization?

SY: どうなんでしょうか?グラフィック修正はなかったので、グラフィック的には同じでしょう。また、当時、私が英文シナリオを直接チェックしていたので、その翻訳を見る限りでは、ニューアンスは同じです。良くできた英語翻訳版だと思います。

Would there be? There weren't any changes made to the graphics. I personally checked the English scenario, so the nuance of the original Japanese script was retained. I think that the English translation turned out very well.

GDRI: What was SMS? [5]

SY: SMS was the company that produced Wurm for Cyclone System. They took care of the production costs, but because they didn't have a license from Nintendo, they had to sell the game to another publisher. It was originally supposed to be published by Atlus, but later went to Asmik and SOFEL.

GDRI: Was Kayo Abe with Cyclone System [6]

SY: Abe worked on Wurm at Cyclone System. She was a newcomer to the game industry and didn't have much skill yet. I had to redraw all her graphics. Unfortunately, there was nobody that could take the time to train her. She left the company after just the one game.

GDRI: Do you remember anything about Black Manta 2? Was it turned into Time Diver: Eon Man [NES] (it looks like you might have worked on that)? [7]

SY: 「Time Diver: EON MAN(Black Manta 2)」は、アメリカで発売されていたのですか?ビックリしました!(笑URL記事内のグラフィックを見る限り、グラフィックは80%修正されています。最終ボス面とかのデザインは、私の作画がかなり残っています。

PART1のスタッフは、エーアイの社員によって、制作されています。PART1のメインプログラムは、エーアイの社長である荒居弘之さんが担当し、サブプログラムは熊取さんが担当。グラフィック&演出は、印内さんが担当しています。ちなみに、「エーアイ」の社名は、「Arai & Innai」の省略語だと思います。(笑

「Black Manta 2」は、PART1の続編として、企画されました。私がエーアイに入社してからお手伝いではなく、メインスタッフとして関わったのが、「Black Manta 2」です。担当は、グラフィック全部と企画演出補佐です。


Time Diver: Eon Man was released in the US? I'm surprised! (laughs) Looking at the images in that article, it seems like they changed about 80% of the graphics. My design for the last boss has been left mostly intact.

[Black Manta] Part 1 [Ninja Cop Saizou, FC/NES] was produced by A.I employees. The main programmer was company president Hiroyuki Arai. The sub-programmer was [Hayato] Kumatori. Graphics and production were done by [Noriyoshi] Innai. Incidentally, I think the name A.I is short for "Arai & Innai." (laughs)

Black Manta 2 was planned as a sequel to the first game. Since I had started at A.I, the original staff did not help much on the project. I was in charge of all of the graphics as well as assisting with planning and production.

However, work on the project was understaffed, and it ended up being retooled. Early in the project, I had to take on the roles of three people. The changes to the main character's graphics and program were done at the behest of our publisher Taito, but I was not the one who changed them, so it must have been someone else. By that point, I was in charge of planning and graphics for PC Genjin 3 [Bonk 3, PCE/TG-16].

GDRI: Time Diver: Eon Man was NOT released in the States (though I guess it was supposed to be). There is a ROM of a prototype available online.

SY: やはり、販売はされてませんでしたか?今度、見てみたいですね。懐かしい。。。マップやトラップに関するゲーム性は、企画者が頼りなかったので、私が全面的に演出&アレンジしています。

After all this, it was never sold? I would like to look this time. I feel nostalgic...The "maps and traps" gameplay didn't seem good enough to the planner, so I rearranged it extensively.

GDRI: Are you aware of any other games A.I developed before you joined the company?

SY: A.Iに関しては、私の参加は「クイズまるごとTHEワールド」から「ボンバーマンHERO」までですので、それ以外は基本的に知りません。

My work there was from Quiz Marugoto The World [PCE] to Bomberman Hero [N64]. [8] So basically outside of that, I don't know.

GDRI: Did you or A.I have any involvement with an unreleased Bonk/PC Genjin RPG for the PC Engine or with any of the GB Genjin games?

SY: あははは。。。。「RPG原人」のことですか。。。あの作品は、私も現場にいる頃、ハドソンから試供されたロムでプレイしましたが、。。。。。うううーん、あれは、世に出なくて大正解だったと思います。

Ahahaha...RPG Genjin, you say? I was there for that. A sample ROM had come from Hudson that I played, but...No, I think the correct answer is that it never existed.

GDRI: Were Quiz Dragon Knight [AC, unreleased], Kabuki Ittou Ryoudan [PCE], and Quiz Marugoto The World developed by A.I?

SY: 「クイズ・ドラゴンナイト」ですが、これは、アトラスからの依頼でエーアイ内で制作されたアーケードゲームです。グラフィックは、エルフという有名なエロ系ゲーム会社の原画を元にリメイクしています。アーケードゲームの場合、「インカム・テスト」という公開前の試験をします。つまり、ゲーム完成後、試験的に数ヶ所のゲームセンターに数週間設置して、顧客の反応を見た上で、大規模に設置&公開となるのですが、あまりにも、エロすぎて、一般公開を見送ったみたいです。(笑


「クイズ まるごと THE ワールド」もエーアイ制作です。発売はアトラスです。この作品は、私にとって、ちょっと数週間のタイトル作画&演出のお手伝いにすぎません。

Quiz Dragon Knight was an arcade game produced by A.I at the request of Atlus. The graphics were remade from originals by the famous H-game company Elf. As usual for an arcade game, we did a public income test. After it was completed, the game was installed at several large game centers for a few weeks to gague interest. However, the general reaction from players was that it was too explicit and it never saw a general release. (laughs)

Kabuki Ittou Ryoudan was done by a request from Hudson. Naturally, this request went to A.I. I was tasked with doing the graphics for the character Okuni, but I was also working on Super Genjin [Super Bonk, SFC/SNES]. With such a heavy work load, my drawing work did not meet my own standards.

Quiz Marugoto the World was also produced by A.I. Atlus was the publisher. I helped with some art and production, but it wasn't too much, and I was only with it for a few weeks.

GDRI: "Angela" appears on Gouketsuji Ichizoku [Power Instinct, SFC/SNES], but is not on your works list. Was that developed by A.I as well?

SY: 「豪血寺」ですか?ホント、あなたはゲームに詳しいですね。この作品もアトラスから依頼されて、エーアイが作っています。確か、「豪血寺」制作の頃、私は「超原人2」を担当していたと思うので、スタッフには一切加わっていません。「アンジェラ」という名前が登場するのは、スタッフの皮肉的なジョークじゃないでしょうか?(笑

Gouketsuji? You really do know a lot about games, don't you? Again, this was a request from Atlus, produced by A.I. If I remember correctly, work on this project happened while I was working on Super Genjin 2 [SFC], so I never joined the project staff. I suppose it's an ironic joke that someone put the name "Angela" in, isn't it? (laughs)

GDRI: Do you have anything to share regarding Super Airwolf [CrossFire, MD/GEN] or Uchuu no Kishi: Tekkaman Blade [SFC]?

SY: 「SUPERエアウルフ」に関して、私はオブジェクトのグラフィック(戦闘機とか兵士)を担当しましたが、この作品には、アルバイトとして関わっているので、メイン・スタッフではないのです。


I did the aircraft and soldier graphics for Super Airwolf, but at the time, I was only working part-time and wasn't part of the project's main staff.

On Tekkaman Blade, I helped revise the enemy character Lance. I also worked on the last boss' specifications and graphics, but because I was only helping on the project, I don't really know the details of the staff.

GDRI: What was your name on FC Genjin [Bonk's Adventure, FC/NES] - "???" or "Gotsuo Shikabanen?" [asked thinking Yoshikawa was one of these people]

SY: この名前は、私の愛弟子である「赤羽」さんです。当時、まだ入社したばかりの新人で、「PC原人3」の制作中、彼に、私の技術を色々と伝授しました。彼の企画作品には「FC原人」に始まり、色々あるかと思いますが、名前はたぶん「GOTANDY」か、それに近い名前を使っていたように思います。

[About "Gotsuo Shikabanen"] This person was my favorite student [Hitoshi] Akabane. He'd just joined the company during production of PC Genjin 3, and I taught him the skills I used. His first directorial project was FC Genjin, I believe. I think the name that he used was something along the lines of "Gotandy."

GDRI: A company called Amble (アンブル) is mentioned in Super Genjin 2. Do you remember what it did?

SY: 「超原人2」は、エーアイの荒居社長&プログラマーがCODINGしたプログラムをベースに改造しています。エーアイの社員であった私が、企画&主人公キャラグラフィック&演出&監督という担当で、他の部分はすべて、アンブルという外注下請け会社が担当しました。


On Super Genjin 2, A.I president Arai took care of reworking the codebase of the first game. We as the employees of A.I handled the design, main character graphics, design, and production. Everything else was done by our subcontractor Amble.

The staff from Amble were people who had worked on PC Genjin 2 [Bonk's Revenge, PCE/TG-16]. I've forgotten the name of the company that did that title, but after their bankruptcy, some of the staff ended up starting Amble. You could probably say that Super Genjin 2 was a collaboration of the staff from PC Genjin 2 and PC Genjin 3.

GDRI: Do you know anything about "Tsurumoku" [9]

SY: 「Tsurumoku」ですか?いやー、ツッコミが細かいですネー。(笑

「Tsurumoku」さんは、プログラムディレクター「Mamoru Shiratani」さんのペンネームです。「Mamoru Shiratani」さんとは、前回メールで書いた「アンブル」の社長さんです。

"Tsurumoku?" Gee, that sure is subtle, isn't it? (laughs)

"Tsurumoku" was the pen name of programming director Mamoru Shiratani. Shiratani was the president of Amble.

GDRI: Observation: It looks like Hiroyuki Arai, Noriyoshi Innai, and "Tsurumoku" turn up on the original PC Genjin [Bonk's Adventure, PCE/TG-16]. [10]

SY: 「PC原人1」という作品は、ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+アトラス+エーアイの共同制作なのです。

スタッフロール内にある「あべべ こんぶ」というのは、2人のメインスタッフで、レッド・カンパニーの「あべべ(阿部K助)」「こんぶ(青木コブ太)」さんです。あと、「まっこ」というのは、たぶん、アトラス出身だと思いますが、音楽担当の「益子」さんでしょう。

PC Genjin 1 was a joint production of Hudson, Red Company, Atlus, and A.I.

In the staff roll, the name "Abebe Konbu" is there. This is two people from Red Company, Keisuke Abe and Kobuta Aoki. I think "Makko" was from Atlus, and I'm pretty sure this was musician [Tsukasa] Masuko.

GDRI: Of the companies you mentioned, would you say A.I was the developer of PC Genjin?

SY: かなり難しい質問ですが、私が企画&監督した「PC原人3」の成功によって、エーアイがその後の作品を連続的に開発したことは否定できません。ただし、「PC原人」シリーズには、以下の会社スタッフで成立っていたことは、時系列的に考えた方が良いでしょう。

  • 「PC原人1」(ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+アトラス+エーアイ)
  • 「PC原人2」(ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+???)
  • 「PC原人3」(ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+エーアイ)
  • 「超原人1」(ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+エーアイ+アンブル)
  • 「超原人2」(ハドソン+レッド・カンパニー+エーアイ+アンブル)

This is a difficult question. As PC Genjin 3 (which I was the planner and supervisor on) was a success, from that point on, A.I was entrusted with development of the series. Perhaps the list below would be better.

  • PC Genjin 1 (Hudson + Red Company + Atlus + A.I)
  • PC Genjin 2 (Hudson + Red Company + ???)
  • PC Genjin 3 (Hudson + Red Company + A.I)
  • Super Genjin 1 (Hudson + Red Company + A.I + Amble)
  • Super Genjin 2 (Hudson + Red Company + A.I + Amble)

GDRI: To clarify, was Amble responsible for only the programming on the Super Genjin games?

SY: As far as I know, Amble was responsible for the graphics and programming on Super Genjin 1 and 2.

GDRI: What happened with Ultra Genjin [N64]?

SY: 「ウルトラ原人」の企画時期は、ちょうどゲーム業界が「2Dゲーム」から「ポリゴン3Dゲーム」に移行しようとする過渡期でした。技術的に勉強することもかなり多く、ゲーム制作に対して、誰もが混迷していた時期だと思います。そういうわけで、色々な試行錯誤の結果、「ウルトラ原人」は「ボンバーマンHERO」へと企画移植されました。

Ultra Genjin was being planned during the game industry's transition from 2D to 3D games. I studied the practical aspects of this quite a bit, but I think that nobody really knew what should be done with games at the time. As a result of trial and error, we were able to adapt the design for Ultra Genjin to Bomberman Hero.

GDRI: Was "Ethiopian Taro" from A.I?

SY: 「エチオピ(省略ネーム)/エチオピアン太郎」は、「PC原人1」当時は、アトラスの社員で、ある時期から、エーアイに転職しました。「エチオピ(語源は不明ですが、英語表記だと「H.O.P(エイチオーピー)」です)」さんとは、1~2作か関わったような気がします。「クイズ・ドラゴンナイト」は、エチオピさん企画&監督です。

During the production of PC Genjin, Ethiopian Taro was an Atlus employee, but he later moved to A.I. Ethiopi (H.O.P) only worked on one or two projects there. He was the planner and director on Quiz Dragon Knight.

GDRI: Who were you working for when you worked on Hamster Paradise [GBC]? It doesn't look like an A.I game.

SY: 「ハムスターパラダイス」は、アトラスから依頼され、シマダ企画という会社で制作されました。



Hamster Paradise was commissioned by Atlus and produced by a company called Shimada Kikaku.

Hamster Paradise was my last work in the game industry. I have been raising a cat since then, and it is now 12 years old. It is true that the image of the hamster was inspired by my dearest cat.

Anyway, Atlus' chief director (a former employee of Takara) was overbearing in his direction of the project and wouldn't listen to reason. Thankfully, the game was a modest hit, and I think it went until a third version [actually four, plus a GBA game]. However, I don't understand it myself, as it is too twisted for something called "animal breeding."

GDRI: Do you know of any other games by Shimada Kikaku?

SY: The following were done by him [Junzou Shimada, president of Shimada Kikaku]:

  • Dream Shopper (AC, 1982)
  • Van-Van Car (AC, 1982)
  • Bank Panic (AC, 1984)
  • Robo Wres 2001 (AC, 1986)
  • T&C Surf Designs: Wood and Water Rage (NES, 1987)
  • Gotcha! The Sport! (NES, 1987)
  • Airwolf (FC, 1988)
  • CrossFire (FC, 1990)

GDRI: That is a very interesting list. Those arcade games are Sanritsu games. Was Shimada himself working for other companies, or did he have a company at that time making games?

SY: Shimada, Arai, and Innai worked at Sanritsu. After leaving, they started their own companies. Shimada started Shimada Kikaku. Arai and Innai started A.I, with Kumatori and Norio Ookubo as staffers.

That list is Shimada's planning works while he was at Sanritsu. [GDRI has yet to confirm if the FC/NES games were really by Sanritsu]

A former Sanritsu graphics staffer helped on Wurm.

GDRI: Would that have been Tetsushi Nakamura?

He was a friend of mine. He helped with the backgrounds on Wurm, Macress, and Shiten Myouou.

GDRI: I noticed some of the games you worked on (Wurm, Astro Rabby) use the same font/typeface. Would you have been responsible for that? Was that tedious or repetitive creating each letter?

SY: 実は、これ、大昔から意図的に作った自作フォントなので、ずっと使っていました。「ゴルゴ13」の時からずっと、自作フォントは変わっていないと思います。同じフォントを使うのは、楽と言えば楽なのですが、自分としては、自作フォントがゲーム制作上、キャラ圧縮しやすく、使いやすかったのです。




As a matter of fact, I made it as my own font a long time ago and have used it all along. It has remained unchanged since Golgo 13. I can say with confidence that using the same font is comfortable, and my font was easy to compress for game production.

In the days of the Famicom, compressing the character data was absolutely essential. For example, "ra" and "u," or "hu" and "tsu" look similar, so I designed the font so they could be represented by the same character. When they become only one character, we are doing more compression, right? Is that such a terrible thing to think?

The "ra" is katakana, while the "u" is hiragana. I take pride in this technique of using one character to represent two letters. I can say that it would be extremely rare for these letters to appear next to each other and create a discrepancy.

Unexpectedly, the idea behind my letters is now on 2ch being developed and proven, don't you think?

GDRI: What are you doing now?

SY: 私ももう年配者ですから、ゲーム業界に戻って、ゲーム制作をする体力はないでしょう。昔のゲームは、小人数のコアなスタッフで作られていて、かなり作家性の強い作品が多かったのですが、現在のゲームというのは、多くのスタッフによるチームワーク性の強い作品です。私の場合、チームワーク性よりも作家性の強いクリエイターなので、現在のゲーム制作環境では生きていけないと思います。




Because I am already an old man, I don't think I would have the physical strength to return to the game industry. In the old days, games were made by a small number of core staff, which gave the games a strong "auteur" feeling. But today's games are the product of strong teamwork from a large staff. I'm more of an auteur than a teamwork person myself, so I don't think I would last long in today's development environment.

By chance, I became a lecturer at a vocational school in 2000 with the "game plan lecture," as that was my selected profession. My students plan out a game, though they do not actually produce it. With this method, I teach them to become the next generation of game creators.

I had trouble with the first lecture, but the lecture text has now become a manual, and this year will be my eighth year teaching. I condense my 12 years of experience in the industry into 30 lectures and training sessions, teaching how to create a usable design plan. I think because of the detailed timetable and direction of my "game plan lecture scenario," it probably feels more like a "planning simulation game" to my students.

Though it may be in a different form, I intend to continue contributing to the game industry.

Learn even more about Yoshikawa-san by visiting his website.

Yoshikawa-san's Japanese answers were translated into English by Dimitri and CRV, with help from Idrougge. His English-only answers were rewritten by Dimitri and CRV for greater clarity.