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Matron Maestras - Tomoko Sasaki (Spotlight)

Matron Maestras – Tomoko Sasaki (Spotlight)

December 3, 2014 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Matron Maestras – Tomoko Sasaki (Spotlight)on Twitter

A bit delayed due to the holiday, but we’re pushing on with our spotlights of female video game composers regardless of massive turkey feasting and subsequent food comas! (Hopefully you supplemented your coma with copious amounts of Playstation game music, as the PS1 is 20 years old as of today!)

This week I’m taking a look at another Japanese composer with significant ties to Sega’s past and an influence on it’s present: NiGHTS and Ristar composer, as well as lyricist and song writer, Tomoko Sasaki!

Tomoko Sasaki was born in Aomori Prefecture, Japan (her website lists her as a Libra), and grew up as a talent pianist influenced by several famous Japanese composers including Ryuichi Sakamoto. With Sakamoto’s work in media. including video games such as the classic popular RPG Tengai Makyo Ziria (Far East Eden), it’s little wonder that Sasaki herself would end up in the gaming industry as well, later confessing she grew even more interested in composing for gaming after playing the game MOTHER.

Securing work with Sega in the early ’90s, Sasaki’s first composing credit was alongside Haruyo “Lotty” Oguro on the Sega AM7 title World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in 1992. She used the alias “Maguro” for the game, which interestingly enough was then made into a cheat code for one of the next game she composed for solo on: Ristar. (the code unlocks the sound test for the game and adds a filter to the music – thanks to Sega Retro for that tidbit) Released in 1995, Ristar was of the the later titles  Sega released and therefore didn’t get the acclaim titles with Sonic the Hedgehog did, but featured catchy music compositions from Sasaki regardless.

“Shooting Ristar” – Ristar
Sasaki worked as a sound designer for several other titles, including Panic! and as staff for Sonic Triple Trouble, but she’d get her next big composing job when working with Naofumi Hataya and Fumie Kumatani on the 1996 flagship game for the Sega Saturn, NiGHTS Into Dreams. Sasaki did several pieces on the NiGHTS original soundtrack, including composing and writing the lyrics for the game’s main theme “Dream Dreams”.

“Dream Dreams” – NiGHTS into Dreams
Sasaki kept with Sega and Sonic Team through the development of the Sonic Adventure titles, being noted as the voice of the Chao through both Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 (also later being used in Sonic Colors) She contributed some composing credits for Samba de Amigo and sang “I Just Smile” on the Burning Rangers soundtrack. In 2008, she again returned to the NiGHTS series with NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams as the main composer of the game. This would be her last composing credit with Sega, as later that year she left the studio to peruse other opportunities. Those opportunities ended up landing her as an arranger on Super Smash Bros. Brawl and for the Xbox 360 version of DeathSmiles II X. Sasaki should also be noted for her collaborative work with other composers in the video game industry, having worked with Naofumi Hataya several times while with Sega, and also contributing to other’s works, such as the CD tribute Jun Senoue The Works and being a lyricist on the Phantasy Star Series 25th Anniversary Concert Sympathy 2013 Live Memorial Album. Recently she’s been providing lyrical work for the PS Vita rhythm game Uta Kumi 575 and song writing for Game Music Prayer II.

Tomoko Sasaki has done a sizable amount of music work in her time, both with Sega and beyond. Her credits both solo and collaborative are speckled throughout video game history and have provided a lasting affect on the games of our past, as Sega fans can attest to. We salute her contributions to video game music and gaming as a whole!

Tomoko Sasaki – Personal Site

VGMdb –  Profile

Other Spotlights:

Eveline Fischer

Michiru Oshima

 

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