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Yu Suzuki's five finest moments

3) Designing Hang On
Go to any arcade today and (if they've actually got some games), you'll likely find some sort of fully body-controlled game. Know who did that first? Yup, Yu guessed it.

Hang On was the first game that let you sit on a life-sized bike model and control the game by leaning into the corners, just like you would do on a real bike.

It sounds obvious now, but the immersion this gave players turned the modestly quick and good-looking title into a white knuckle thrill ride. Twisting the throttle on the life-sized handlebars was like riding a real motorbike, and Sega's arcade dominance began in earnest.


Above: The gameplay's pretty basic, but the experience made it great

From this came the logical progression to Suzuki's After Burner II, which was given a deluxe 360 degree rotating cabinet (seen in Terminator 2!), and culminating in the sit-in Ferrari of Suzuki's masterpiece racing sim Ferrari 355 Challenge. The experience offered by this three-screen Ferrari game was so realistic that F1 driver Rubens Barichello reportedly considered installing one to practice driving on. And he drives the most advanced sports cars in the world. 

Oh, but there was another game with a red sit-in car that you may have heard of...

2) Demanding the best for OutRun
Suzuki may have constantly pushed the boundaries of graphical quality and style, but his demand for quality didn't stop at the visuals. He has a strong interest in the arts and music in particular and it was his wish that 1986's OutRun would feature studio-quality music on its soundtrack.

He may not have composed the iconic tunes himself (that was Hiroshi Miyauchi's work), but as director and producer, it was his vision of the ultimate blue-sky driving game that led to its conception. To refresh your memory, listen to this wonderful excerpt from Magical Sound Shower, OutRun's most memorable tune.

Of course, the game isn't only known for its music. The choice of route at the end of the stage, the unlicensed Ferrari-alike car, the blonde in the passenger seat... and of course the Super Scaler graphics technology that allowed for the most amazing impression of 3D the 1980s would see:


Above: Back in 1986, this looked like Race Driver GRID does to us now

Suzuki's games would influence countless others, not least some of Sega's best efforts, with the halcyon skies of the company's best coin-ops all nodding to this peerless experience.

17 comments

  • boondocks50 - February 11, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    @ twishart: thats one of the saddest things ive ever heard, shenmue is one of 2 games that made me fall in love with video games, the other being grandia 2, goodbye Yu Suzuki and thank you!
  • JoelyFletcher - April 16, 2009 2:40 p.m.

    Shenmue...Wow
  • aktirak - April 12, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    We can't also forget Space Harrier,Virtual-Cop and Power Drift.Its incredible to see the power house that Yu Suzuki was along side Yuji Naka (Sonic creator) and still SEGA could not survived any of the console wars they fought. @d0x: SEGA had it coming when thay decline selling the company to Microsoft back when the DC was giving sings of dying. dont get me wrong I used to own Master System,Genesis,Saturn and Dreamcast(with I still own the Saturn and DC specially with all the import games that could be found over the net) and I love them but buisness are buisness.
  • drunation - April 7, 2009 6:12 p.m.

    This is great, can anyone suggest websites or cd's that might have some of these tracks? I have been looking for like a zelda, mega man, earthbound kind of cd for a while now.
  • Thequestion 121 - April 7, 2009 4:42 p.m.

    Man, it's a shame someone so influential stepped down in Sega.
  • zeden - April 7, 2009 10:02 a.m.

    "The game also introduced QTE events to the world" Sorry to pull the pedant card, but I'm a bit bored of seeing this idea trotted out. Have you by chance heard of Die Hard Arcade? The fantastic and mostly forgotten 3d Streets of Rage type arcade game? That featured QTE between stages years before Shen Mue hit shelves.
  • Montag - April 6, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    I have always told people Virtua Racing is one of the best drivers out there!!! The first game where you could drift, loved it in the arcade, loved in on the Megadrive and outrageous on the Saturn! Still to this day the only fighter I have ever really played is Virtua Fighter. Bet you didn't know it even appeared on the Master System. I was a sega bod, never a nintendo
  • Red - April 6, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    I'll be the first to admit the games haven't aged well, but nobody can deny the quality they both had. I loved the Shenmue games. They felt like an alternate reality to me when I was a kid. It really is depressing the game will never be concluded.
  • twishart - April 6, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    Shenmue was the first game my wife beat the FUCK out of before I even got near it. She still asks me on a regular basis if I've heard anything about any sequels. I don't have the heart to break it to her, I just say I don't know... :(
  • MisterAdequate - April 6, 2009 5:42 p.m.

    Yu Suzuki is arguably the reason I moved from thinking videogames were a fun pastime to them being my primary hobby that I love above all others. Here's to Yu.
  • JohnDD - April 6, 2009 4:57 p.m.

    Yu Suzuki is a God: cannot and will not forget - EVER - playing 8-Player Daytona in the arcades. Sega arcade games were sublime - something that Nintendo only very rarely entered, which means that, to me, Sega wins.
  • earthvampire - April 6, 2009 4:53 p.m.

    i remember playing outrun as a child and thinking gaming couldent get much better, even now when im in an arcade that still has an outrun cabinet left there as a reminder of the good old days i have to get on it and play it^^. we will miis you yu
  • kenny disco - April 6, 2009 4:35 p.m.

    blimey, thats most of my formative years there..
  • d0x - April 7, 2009 6:22 p.m.

    This breaks my gamer heart. It was so damn sad when Sammie bought Sega and shelved Suzuki. Some of my best gaming memories were playing his games. Whether it was the first time seeing Daytona USA at the arcades, playing any of his Saturn fighting games, or having my mind blown away by Shenmue. This is truly terrible news and if it wasnt for Sammies mismanagement of everything Sega he would still be making incredible games for the world to play. Sammie...go to hell and burn.
  • TehKnuck - April 7, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    I cry myself to sleep every night I don't get to play Shenmue III.
  • ssj4raditz - April 6, 2009 7:50 p.m.

    Shenmue was my second Dreamcast game. Such fond memories! You will be missed, Mr. Suzuki.
  • iluvmyDS - April 6, 2009 4:55 p.m.

    I was there for all of this. I can't believe he's stepping down.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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