Koki Koiwa

From Sega Retro

Koki Koiwa.jpg
Koki Koiwa
Place of birth: Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan[1]
Employment history:
Sega Enterprises (1992 – )
Role(s): Programmer

Koki Koiwa (小岩 功基) joined Sega in 1992 as an assistant programmer for Virtua Racing . He then became a programmer specializing in racing games, such as Daytona USA, Scud Race and Daytona USA 2: Battle on the Edge, culminating in being the assistant director of both the twin and Dreamcast versions of F355 Challenge.[2] Outside of the racing genre, he was a regular developer on the Virtua Fighter series, mainly being a part of the VF.NET team.

Early life

Koki Koiwa was born in Ichinose, a rural city filled with rice paddies. What he calls his "earliest racing game experience" was to use empty juice cans and float them down an irrigation channel in competition with each other. As the cans would slowly fill up with water, they would have to be periodically scooped up and emptied before returning to the race. These actions were dubbed "Pit Ins".[1]

He also played outdoor games in elementary school, mainly baseball. While he enjoyed the sport, he wasn't a good player, so was typically stuck playing positions other players weren't interested in, which was most often the catcher. By contrast, he was far ahead of his classmates when it came to knowledge of popular music, as his older brothers of 16 years exposed to musicians such as The Beatles. One of the artists that most influenced him at this time was Yellow Magic Orchestra with their techno sound.[1]

With the rise of home consoles, most of his peers purchased a Famicom, but Koiwa instead got an SC-3000 so he could also learn to program music with a computer, inspired by YMO. This transitioned into a love of video game music, coinciding with the rising popularity of the S.S.T.Band. He also often bought issues of the magazine Beep, most looking forward to its included Sono Sheets, his favourite being Sega Game Music for featuring songs from Fantasy Zone. This sparked in him the idea of becoming a game developer.[1]

During his high school years, Koiwa often visited an arcade inside a bowling alley, but as he didn't have a lot of money, he spent most of the time watching other people play, studying their actions so he could aim for high scores even with only 1 or 2 plays. His favourite game was Xevious. Despite this, frequenting the arcade was banned at his school and he was caught by his teachers twice, scaring him away with harsh punishments.[1]

His dream of becoming a game developer lay dormant until after he completed his university entrance exams, but at university he was able to study game development within the Department of Information Engineering. His time at university was mainly split between studying, random co-op activies and going to arcades, which were just beginning to offer OutRun, designed by his future boss Yu Suzuki.[1]

Production history




Magazine articles

Main article: Koki Koiwa/Magazine articles.


External links