One of the key creators of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, programmer extraordinaire and former long-term head of Sonic Team, Yuji Naka turned 50 on September 17. One minute for each ten years seems fair.
While right now Yuji Naka is preparing for the North American release of his Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U, I very much doubt he'll ever been widely remembered as the Rodea guy or the creator of Ivy the Kiwi. His prototype designs led to Sonic the Hedgehog, his programming skills gave him life and his leadership shaped the Sega mascot's future, for better or worse. He's basically Sonic's dad.
Plus he produced Burning Rangers. For that he can have his choice of any two items from my pantry.
Happy Birthday, Yuji Naka!