19 65 09 17: Yuji Naka Celebrates 50th Birthday

Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015
Yuji Naka at Tokyo Game Show 2015

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!

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.


  1. No Sonic news at Tokyo Game Show? Not even a new Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympics Games trailer/cinematic?

  2. Hשפפט Birthday Yuji Naka, thank you for everything you’ve done for us,you’re the coolest 50 years old out there

  3. Happy birthday naka san. Now about all that sonic merchandise in the back. Also can someone delete the repeated comment I accidentally replied to someone

  4. PROPE and Naka only worked on the Wii version of Rodea, IIRC. The Wii U and 3DS versions of the games were developed by Kadokawa Games.

    1. Wait, since Rodea Wii uses the Wiimote to fly and the d-pad to walk, why can’t they port it to PC ? After all the keyboard is just a d=pad with more buttons and the mouse is just a snappier Wiimote so it’s not like it’s forcing people to use a gamepad like other PC platformers.

      1. You really think games only need compatible controls to work? The problem is much more technical than that. I can’t be bothered to go into it though. lol

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