Satoshi Tajiri

Developer Biography

Tajiri grew up in Machida, a western Tokyo suburb, which was still rural back then, full of nature. He was really interested in collecting insects, a common activity for children at that time and place, and bugs fascinated him. This experiences would lead to the creation of the Pokemon games he is mainly known for.

Tajiri was part of the first Japanese generation who grew up with manga and anime. He said that if the profession of game designer would not have been created, then he probably would be making anime.

Tajiri was into Space Invaders in about 1978. It got him more and more interested in video games. There wasn't any media to get information about games, so he came up with Game Freak magazine (1981 to circa 1986) for which he soon got contributors. Since he was just a teenager, it was handwritten and he stapled the pages together. When the sales increased, he took it to a printer. It reached the highest circulation at 10,000 copies for a special issue on the game Xevious.

With a never-realised game called Spring Stranger, Tajiri won a contest Sega was sponsoring for a game idea in 1981.

By making the magazine, Tajiri noticed that he thought that the existing games weren't very good, so his conclusion was to make own games. In circa 1986, he just started by taking apart the Nintendo system to see how it worked. It took him two years to learn the programming, and a year to make his first game Mendel Palace. For the release, Game Freak became a video game company in the same year, 1989.

Tajiri came up with the idea for Pokemon in 1990, but needed till 1996 to work it out. Many Pokemon games followed, and the brand conquered other media like TV.

At least from 1996-1999, Tajiri slept twelve hours and then worked 24 hours. He said that it's better to stay up day and night to come up with ideas and that he got inspiration for game designing by working this schedule.

Contributed by Luchsen (24) on Aug 12, 2010.