Yuji Naka, the master coder that was responsible for programming the original Sonic the Hedgehog, turned 50 years old yesterday. Doesn’t time fly!?
The former SEGA developer – left the company in 2006 to start his own independent studio, Prope – received a wave of well wishes on his social media channels. Naka-san spent the week enjoying Tokyo Games Show, where he has taken pictures of Sonic and SEGA merchandise available for sale at the event.
Although he has not been associated with the Sonic franchise for quite some time, he is regarded as one of the main ‘fathers’ of the blue blur, deftly creating a game engine in the early 1990s that allowed a character to use curved environments to reward players with bursts of speed. He became a spokesperson for the franchise during his time at SEGA, eventually leading the Sonic Team division during the Dreamcast era. For Sonic’s 20th Anniversary in 2011, he attended SEGA’s Sonic Boom event as well as the fan-organised Summer of Sonic convention.
His latest game, Rodea the Sky Soldier, is seeing a release on the Wii U later this year.
“Thank you very much for all the birthday messages,” he wrote in a message to fans. “I can feel all the love and support from my fans! I decided to be even a cool man in my 50s. I’ll do my best.”
With a seemingly undying love for Ferraris, we’re pretty sure Naka-san will continue to be cool for many years to come!