Happy Birthday, Satoshi Tajiri!

You may not know the name, but if you're visiting this site, Satoshi Tajiri has had a larger impact on your life than you probably know. He's the creator of a little series of games called Pokémon and he turns 45 years young today.

Join us in celebrating this prolific game designer with these 7 little tidbits that you might not know about the dude who created one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time.

(Reposted from albotas.com.)

  • When he was just 16, he won a game design contest sponsored by… dun dun dunnnn… Nintendo’s arch rival, SEGA!
  • The company Game Freak was named after Tajiri-san’s DIY arcade gaming magazine that he started when he was 17. Ken Sugomori saw the magazine in a shop and decided to get involved. He later wound up being the dude who drew the original 151 Pokémon that we all know and love today. When they realized that most games sucked, they decided to start making their own and turned the magazine into a game company.
  • Satoshi Tajiri was officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism.
  • Pokémon was created out of his childhood hobby of collecting bugs. He saw two kids playing with their linked Game Boys and he envisioned a bug crawling across the link cable. The idea grew from there.
  • During the six years it took to develop the original Pokémon games, famous game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario, Donkey, Zelda, and more) mentored Satoshi, who had already considered Miyamoto a major influence. Because of this, in the Japanese version of the Pokémon anime, Ash is named Satoshi and his rival, Gary, is named Shigeru.
  • Game Freak almost went bankrupt making the original Pokémon Red & Green (Red & Blue in the U.S.). Five employees quit in the process, the company was barely able to pay the workers, and Tajiri didn’t even take a salary. Instead he was supported by his father.
  • His favorite Pokémon is Poliwhirl.

[brownkidd is a freelance writer and the founder/editor-at-large for Albotas.com.]