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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 3, March 2011, Posted On: 2/15/2011

Sega's Suzuki Wins Pioneer Award

Marcus Webb
Sega, Sega game designer, Yu Suzuki, video game designer, Hang On, Out Run, Virtua Fighter, Pioneer Award, Game Developers Choice Awards, Game Developers Conference, Moscone Center, arcade video game, videogame, coin-op videogame, Smithsonian Institution

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sega game designer Yu Suzuki, the leader of the creative teams that developed arcade classics like Hang On, Out Run and Virtua Fighter, will receive the Pioneer Award during the 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards.

The awards are held during the annual Game Developers Conference, which runs from Feb. 28 to March 2 at the Moscone Center here.

Voted to this honor by his peers, Suzuki is being recognized not only for game creation, but also for inventing entire genres, said the citation that goes with the award.

Based in Japan, Suzuki rarely visits the U.S. But he said he will accept his award in person at the March 2 ceremony.

Suzuki joined Sega in 1983. Two years later, the factory rolled out his first Sega game, Hang On, which is widely regarded as the world's first full-body-experience videogame. The cabinet, with its handlebars, looked like a motorcycle; to steer the player leaned to tilt the bike, which then steered the in-game bike. The screen was mounted into the windshield area of the bike.

Other hits in Suzuki's portfolio include Space Harrier, After Burner, Power Drift, Virtua Racing and F355 Challenge, among others. Virtua Fighter, his 1993 title, is credited with initiating the 3D fighting genre, and has been recognized for its contribution in the fields of art and entertainment by the Smithsonian Institution.

As part of the conference, Suzuki will give a talk highlighting his career on the afternoon preceding the award ceremony.

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