In Memory of Our Employee, Akira Saito

Information  2016 / Feb / 20

I had to think long and hard about if I should write this or not. However, this is about Saito, who had lots of friends online since the early days of the net. It’s widely known that he was employed by us, so I’ve decided go through with writing this.

Akira Saito, also known as mokimoki Saito, has passed away. It seems he was in his home on the 16th in the afternoon when it happened. He was battling cancer which had been discovered last year, and he was only 43 years old.

Saito-chan made the GBA game “DigiCommunication” and its sequel at our company. Without making any complaints about the GBA’s CPU, he worked those sound drivers to the bone. The songs he crafted for it are treasures that I can never forget. More recently, he volunteered to be one of the first members of the SEGA 3D Classics project, forcibly converting Space Harrier to 3D, thus succeeding in charming the hearts of old-time gamers all around the world. Once again he maxed out the CPU of the 3DS, setting the foundation for the 3D Classics project to make its way into the gaming world.

According to Koga, his coworker as well as long-time friend, Saito was obsessed with games since he was a student. It seems Saito saved up his lunch money just so he could pump it into “physical experience” arcade games. He wasn’t really into shooting or character action games, yet somehow he’s known to have reached the endings of Space Harrier and After Burner a curiously large number of times. He didn’t just spend money on games; I also know he frequently transcribed their songs by ear on his computer. He would proclaim online, “I’m gonna transcribe this!”, and then the very next morning, he’d say “I did it!” I can really understand why ended up becoming so knowledgeable.

He spent his life alongside video games. When job hunting, he sought to work for his beloved SEGA, but instead ended up doing system development unrelated to video games. Unable to drop his passion for games, he ended up joining M2, and continued to make games here until the curtain closed for him. His last years were spent with the 3DS and SEGA games, bringing the “physical experience” games he loved down to handheld size while preserving their quality, pushing SEGA Games’ Metascore on Metacritic(*) up to be the number one game publisher in the world last year. While he wasn’t one of the SEGA employees he admired so much, as an outside developer he managed to push SEGA up to number one. I think he was quite satisfied with his achievements.

To those who have any of the games he was involved with, please play them every now and then.
To those who have any of the songs he made, please also listen to them every now and then.
I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

Up until the end, he was always looking towards his next project, and talking about new ideas he wanted to try out when he had the time. The challenge he was going to tackle this year would certainly surprise even those who have followed our work so far. I was also looking forward to the day I could show it off to everyone.

We intend to keep just as much passion as he had for games in our hearts as we continue to release video games across the world.

Thank you for reading.

(*) Metacritic is a website which gathers reviews and ratings of games from all over the web, and assigns a cumulative score to it known as a “metascore.”

M2 Co., Ltd. Representative Director Naoki Horii

Akira Saito Representative Game List

  • Digicommunication (GAMEBOY Advance)
  • Digicommunication 2 (GAMEBOY Advance)
  • SEGA AGES 2500 Series M2 Portions (PlayStation2)
  • Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits (Nintendo DS)
  • Namco Museum DS (Nintendo DS)
  • Fossil Fighters (Nintendo DS)
  • Fossil Fighters Champions (Nintendo DS)
  • Salamander PORTABLE (PlayStation Portable)
  • Twinbee PORTABLE (PlayStation Portable)
  • Virtual Console Megadrive (Genesis) (Wii)
  • Virtual Console SEGA Master System (Wii)
  • Virtual Console Arcade (Wii)
  • Virtual Console MSX (First two titles only) (Wii)
  • GRADIUS ReBirth (Wii)
  • Contra ReBirth (Wii)
  • Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (Wii)
  • SEGA AGES ONLINE (PlayStation3 XBOX360)
  • Steins;Gate: Hen’i Kuukan no Octet (Windows)
  • The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga (PlayStation Portable)
  • NeoGeoStation (PlayStation3 PlayStation Portable)
  • Capcom Arcade Cabinetト (PlayStation3 XBOX360)
  • Capcom Arcade Cabinet (Nintendo 3DS)
  • SEGA 3D Classics Project Series (Nintendo 3DS)
  • SEGA 3D Classics Archives 1~2 (Nintendo 3DS)
  • Yakuza 0 (Arcade game within the game) (PlayStation4 PlayStation3)
  • Yakuza 0 Free to Play Application for PlayStation Vita (Columns) (PlayStation Vita)

* This is the immediately available list of titles and not necessarily representative of his entire work history.