Happy Birthday to Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda

January 12, 1968 gave us a video game legend. Today we celebrate the birth of one of the most dedicated members of Game Freak, Junichi Masuda. He’s one of the founding members of the company and serves as Director of the Board as well as the Pokémon series music composer. Limiting a list of his accomplishments to his role in the Pokémon franchise seems silly, though, as he’s done so much more.

Masuda has had an interest in classical music, arcade games, and programming since childhood. Those three things led him to meeting Satoshi Tajiri, who asked Masuda if he’d be interested in joining Game Freak. His first musical composition with the company was for Mendel Palace, a 1990 action/puzzle game. He then worked on Mario and Wario and Pulseman before focusing on Pokémon.

Masuda has composed the music for every single Pokémon game for the main handheld series beginning with Red/Green. Not only did he compose its music, he also developed programs for Game Freak’s games music and sound effects. It was used to create the cries for each Pokémon. He later became sub-director for Gold/Silver, Ruby/Sapphire, and every Pokémon release since.

Other than music, Masuda has done a lot of design work for Pokémon. He helped designed the Hoenn region for Ruby/Sapphire as well as various elements of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. He has also developed the “Masuda Method” to slightly increase the odds of obtaining shiny Pokémon and the idea of the Global Trade Station.

Without his 20+ years of dedication, Game Freak and Pokémon simply wouldn’t be the same. His work and creations have instilled so many memories on fans that will last lifetimes. Keeping in touch with players is one thing he’s always done; often battling online against anyone and regularly re-posting pictures that fans have sent him. Masuda is more than just an employee, he’s a fan as well. Junichi Masuda has given the gaming world so much, so today (on behalf of the entire Hardcore Gamer staff) we wish him a happy birthday.