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Platinum's Inaba got his start as a modder -- and still owes his parents a house

"I kept asking them for a computer. ‘I want to make games, I want to make games, I want to make games,'" Atsushi Inaba tells Kotaku. "But I kept my promise of becoming a game creator."
"I couldn’t get an Apple II, so instead, I got an NEC 8801. At that time, it was well-known as a gaming PC. It was also really expensive, and my parents bought it for me. I told them, ‘When I become a game creator, I’ll be rich and buy you both a house.’ I begged them for it, and they were nice enough to buy it for me."

- Platinum Games cofounder Atsushi Inaba remembers how he got his start in game development.

Atsushi Inaba is best known these days as the cofounder of Platinum Games, the action-oriented studio where he's worked as a producer on everything from Vanquish to The Wonderful 101 to Star Fox Zero.

But Inaba's career extends beyond his ten-year stint at Platinum to include time at Irem, SNK, Capcom and its spin-off Clover Studio, which he led until it was dissolved in 2006. Much of what was Clover eventually became Platinum, and in a conversation with Kotaku at Japan's BitSummit indie game festival last month Inaba spoke to both the changing nature of Platinum and his own growth as a game developer.

Developers, especially those who got their start as modders, may appreciate Inaba's own story of falling in love with game development and promising great things to his parents if they would only help him get started making games by buying him a (very "pricey", according to Inaba) PC.

"They gave me an earful and got annoyed, but I didn’t give up and was persistent. I kept asking them for a computer. ‘I want to make games, I want to make games, I want to make games,’ I kept saying," he recalls. "And my parents, I guess you’d say, gave in. They were like, ‘If it means that much to you, then we’ll buy it for you.’ But I kept my promise of becoming a game creator. It wasn’t a waste of their money."

As outlined in the quote above, Inaba got his start playing and modding games in the '80s on a PC 8801 from NEC. "After that, instead of just modding things, I began making my own games," he told Kotaku. "I thought making games was a blast." 

He went on to study programming and enter the Japanese game industry in the '90s, when he recalls that arcade games, rather than PC or console games, were seen to be the highest-profile projects a game developer could work on. He wound up working on a few arcade games (R-Type LeoSamurai Shodown) before joining Capcom and making a name for himself as a predominately console game developer.

Now, more than two decades later, he says he and Platinum as a whole are evaluating how to move beyond console game development to release games on mobile and PC as well.

"We’re definitely interested in mobile. We also think if you put games out on Steam and whatnot, you can do interesting things," said Inaba, acknowledging that PC games' niche appeal in Japan belies their popularity in the world at large. "We’d like to do that."

For more of his thoughts on Platinum's place in the global game industry, as well as other anecdotes about his life as a game developer, check out the full interview with Inaba over on Kotaku.

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