—Windjammers was a big hit not only with hardcore fans, but also casual users and overseas players. Why was it released for the Neo Geo?
D: Probably because the Neo Geo was really popular then in Europe, I assume? They were thinking of the overseas market.
E: For the planning of Windjammers, the touchstones were Atari’s Pong, Table Tennis, and versus block-breaking games. I remember in the planning docs, it said they wanted to create a game with simple controls, where a victory could be decided relatively quickly, like Air Hockey.
—So it wasn’t targeted at the Japanese market?
D: At DECO, the overseas market was always the main focus, and any sales in Japan were just seen as gravy.
E: In the beginning, Windjammers was aimed at America, not Europe. The early plans had animal characters, macho looking animal characters throwing the discs back and forth.
C: The developers had all these reference materials on bodybuilding, weight lifting, and musculature. They were very diligent about depicting the muscles correctly.
—Ah… I always felt the way DECO drew muscles was frightfully real. Now I see they had a wealth of resources to work from!
C: Speaking of muscles, in the officially released game, wasn’t one of the characters modeled after pro-wrestler Scott Norton?
O: I recall they were modeled on the mixed martial artist Dick Vrij, and a certain famous tennis player. And I think the female character was (adult video star) Ai Iijima?
—By the way, what happened to the animal characters? You don’t see them in the official version.
D: They had designed the animal characters for the American market, but without warning, the main target switched to Europe, and we were told “Animal characters won’t be popular in Europe”, so they got dropped.
E: Yeah, there was a definite sense that for Europe, a more realistic style was preferred. In America games were something children played, but Europe, in contrast, had a lot of pinball tables and arcade machines set up in the corners of bars and the like.