Save your points: Daytona USA's going half price next week, March 27 - April 2.by Jerry Whorebach 03/21/2012, 5:06am PDT
Here's an unrelated anecdote about Space Harrier. Figured I could back-door this one in via the Yu Suzuki connection.
James Mielke: One game that we don't hear much about is Space Harrier. Can you tell us one your memories about that one?
Yu Suzuki: I've got a lot. Back then it was said that 3D shooters would never sell. Vertical and horizontal scrolling shooters were fine, but 3D would never work and there was no 3D shooter prior to Space Harrier that had succeeded. So the market research department told me not to make the game. I asked them why the other games didn't succeed and they told me it was because the target is too small. Based on that, my conclusion was that I basically had to make sure the player could hit the target. So, I made a homing system that guaranteed that the target could be hit. When the target was close, it would always hit, but when the target was in the distance, the player would miss. So the result of whether the player would hit the target or not was determined the second the player took the shot.
Also, this game was not initially my concept. The original concept document was about 100 pages long, on the front and back of each page of the proposal. The game was called "something something Harrier" -- I don't remember the previous name. Originally, the game was set in a realistic setting with a jet that shot missiles into the foreground. But with a jet airplane, a game requires a lot of pattern change data to move back and forth across the screen, so I had to simplify the airplane to the character we ultimately used. But then the game loses its impact -- at that point, the concept was no longer attractive. So it became a sci-fi game because we had a person flying on the screen. It was a sci-fi game with fantasy elements because I liked the movie The Neverending Story.
JM: That's great. People are going to love hearing that.
YS: So, the only thing that remained from the original 100-page document was the name, "Harrier." I rewrote the whole document but wanted to keep something so I kept the name.
JM: Poor original designer dude.
YS: The original guy was a person named Ida. And he had a really big head. So, in the game there's a part where these big heads made of rock appear and I named them after Ida, pronounced I-DA.
I'm not going to bother linking the interview because this was the only interesting part of it.