Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Where are they now? - Satoshi Uesaka

Screenshot of Fire Hawk: Thexder - The Second Contact (1989)

Today's "Where are they now?" is for someone who unfortunately seems to have very little information about himself on the Internet - at least in English. Satoshi Uesaka like Takeshi Miyaji was an employee at Japanese developer Game Arts, famous for games such as Silpheed and another game that will forever linger in my memory, Thexder - in particular its sequel, Fire Hawk: Thexder - The Second Contact (but I always called it Thexder 2).

According to MobyGames, the first games to have Satoshi in the credits were two MSX games released in 1983 called Mole and Pairs; Satoshi programmed the former and did the graphics for the latter. It wasn't until 1985 did we receive a game he designed (and apparently did the graphics for) which is of course Thexder. Transformable planes must've been all the rage in early 80s Japan; I mean there was Macross in 1982, Transformers in 1984 and of course, Robotech in 1985 which this game reminds me of the most, probably because I was a fan as a kid (I know, Robotech is technically not Japanese but it's where a lot of Westerners first learned about Macross, the source material). Apparently Thexder would go on to sell over a million copies which was unheard of for a game in the mid-80s.

A year later, Silpheed was released (Satoshi did the programming and graphics for this game) and in 1989, my favourite game of Satoshi's was released, Fire Hawk: Thexder - The Second Contact. Now saying it's my favourite game is unfortunately not saying much since like Silpheed, Thexder 2 was one of those games I just couldn't get very far with, never really getting past the second level. The idea of being able to transform between a robot and a jet was pretty neat though.

Satoshi continued to work on some games I've never heard of after Thexder 2 but judging by their titles, they were games targeted for the Japanese market. Who knows how popular they were over there. The last game to be released where he is credited is a PS3/PSP game called Thexder Neo in 2009 which just looks like a revamped Thexder; he served as Game Designer and Art Director during its development. It's interesting to note though that the game seemed to have nothing to do with Game Arts as it was published by Square Enix and developed by a studio called Zereo. Maybe Satoshi is working there now although I couldn't glean anything off their corporate website.

So the status of Satoshi Uesaka? Unknown, but I assume he is still working on games in Japan. Where you are Mr Uesaka, thanks for the fond memories of Thexder 2!

LINKS:
[ Wikipedia: Thexder ]
[ MobyGames: Satoshi Uesaka ]

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