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Yuji Naka is a video game designer, programmer, former head of Sonic Team, a group of Sega programmers/designers, lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and the head of Prope.

After graduating from high school, Naka decided to skip university and stay in his home town. During this time, Naka worked long hours at various menial jobs. After quitting his last job, Naka saw that Sega was looking for programming assistants. After a brief interview, he was hired and began working on a game called Girl's Garden, which earned him critical praise and fan appreciation. He programmed the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, while Naoto Ōhshima designed the character and Hirokazu Yasuhara planned the stages. Naka has also produced several other titles like Nights into Dreams..., Burning Rangers and Phantasy Star Online. In early games he was often credited as "YU2" (in reference to Yu Suzuki) and "Muuu Yuji". He is one of the few famous Japanese game creators to speak fluent English.

Naka also helped develop a popular EyeToy game for the PlayStation 2 called Sega Superstars.

When asked about the famous Nintendo vs. Sega console wars of the 1990s in an episode of Icons, he states that his intentions while making the original Sonic the Hedgehog game were different than the direction it was taken, and that the comparisons between Sonic and Mario were a misunderstanding by the media. He also says that he is good friends with Nintendo and that Sega had respect for Nintendo and the Mario games which were viewed as a watermark of quality for Sega to strive.

Production history

Year Game Role
1984 Girl's Garden Game designer, programmer
1986 Spy vs. Spy (Master System port) Programmer
Black Belt
1987 Phantasy Star
1989 Phantasy Star II
Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Genesis port)
1991 Sonic the Hedgehog
1992 Sonic the Hedgehog 2
1994 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Programmer, producer
Sonic & Knuckles
1996 NiGHTS into Dreams
1998 Burning Rangers Producer
Sonic Adventure
1999 ChuChu Rocket! Director, producer
2000 Samba de Amigo Producer
Phantasy Star Online
2001 Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic Advance
2002 Sonic Advance 2 Director, producer
2003 Sonic Pinball Party Producer
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
Sonic Battle
Sonic Heroes
2004 Sonic Advance 3
Puyo Pop Fever
2005 Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Shadow the Hedgehog
Sonic Rush
Puyo Pop Fever 2 General producer
2006 Sonic Riders Executive producer
Phantasy Star Universe
2008 Let's Tap Producer
2009 Ivy the Kiwi?
2011 Fishing Resort
2013 StreetPass Mansion / Monster Manor
2014 Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls Voice acting ("Center-sensei")
2015 Rodea the Sky Soldier (original Wii version) Producer
StreetPass Fishing / Ultimate Angler
2016 StreetPass Chef / Feed Mii
2017 Legend of Coin

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