Hiroko Yokoyama explains the graphical development of some of SNK’S most recognisable games
how much support did you have from the
Ikari Warriors arcade team when working on the msx2 version?
Mr Oba [Koji Obata], who was the main leader of the team in charge of the arcade version of Ikari Warriors, helped us a lot when porting the game to MSX2. He shared with us the dot pixel data of the original game. Unfortunately, the map data was missing, and we had a lot of trouble because of this.
what sort of materials did you use for reference and inspiration when working on Guevara (Guerrilla War)?
There were almost no books about Che Guevara in Osaka in 1987. I had to go to one of the biggest book stores in Osaka, where I finally found three books about Che Guevara’s life. There was also very little documentation about Cuba at that time, but I found a few pages about this country and its streets in a magazine for men. It was way after I thought I should have searched in secondhand bookstores for books about Che Guevara that were published in Japan in Sixties and already out of print.
Crystalis had a fantasy theme, unlike the military games you worked on beforehand. how did you come up with the character designs for this game?
The development of the game had already started when I was involved in this game, and I was told by the original team members that I could draw freely, as long as the main character had red hair and was wearing blue armour. I used manga and anime that were popular in Japan at that time for my reference, and proposed to the planners three variations of Mesia. After being informed on the details of the Four Sages, I started working on their design. I also made sure to draw Athena and Kensou as adult versions of Psycho Soldiers. I drew monsters in dot pixels, but also some imagined from the game settings and atmosphere. After the planners chose and approved the design of the Four Sages, I polished and added details to these characters until their final design get approved.
» [Arcade] SNK is known for its stellar sprite art, and that’s been a fact since its early games like Guerrilla War.