Prolific Japanese music producer Mitsuo Terada (aka "Tsunku") is best known for producing idol J poppppp group Morning Musume and helping to launch the career of singers like Aya Matsuura. He also created Rhythm Heaven.
How did candy pop wizard Tsunku add smash-hit game designer to his already impressive resume? Terada tells Wired that it all started with an unsolicited game submission to Nintendo. "In Japan, with games that use rhythm and sound, it's long been the case that the placement of accents and the timing of button-presses has had nothing to do with music," the producer says. "For someone like myself, whose work revolves around music, this has never seemed right, and I wrote up my proposal in hopes of doing away with this." For Tsunku, he needed Nintendo's help to bring his game to life: "I also felt that without Nintendo's expertise, realising my idea for a rhythm game would be impossible."
But his submission was out of the blue! "It wasn't like I really knew anyone with Nintendo, either," he continues. "It was a bit risky, but my staff just took our proposal and approached them directly." After meetings (and several dance classes), he was able to get his idea across to Nintendo, and the game got green-lit. And now it's making loads of money. Funny how that works.