Konami is responsible for some of the most iconic video games of all time, such as Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, PES, Contra and many, many more besides. Founded in 1969 by Kagemasa 'Kaz' Kōzuki, the firm would move into the manufacture of arcades in 1973, producing a string of hits which established it as one of the leading lights of the burgeoning video game industry.
We've been speaking to a few former Konami staffers about what it was like to work at the coin-op hit factory during the '80s and '90s, and Yoshiki Okamoto (Gyruss, Time Pilot) has revealed that Kōzuki was something of a taskmaster when it came to keeping his staff in check, even going as far as to criticize them for being out of shape physically:
I think he was still pretty young at the time, but he was in a far higher position than me. I was a rookie hired fresh out of college, so I didn't have many chances to talk with him because he was the head of the company. I remember him being very harsh to overweight employees. He would come straight out and say stuff like, "If you gain any more weight, I'll fire you." Apparently, he was of the mind that people who work hard don't gain weight.
Okamoto quit Konami in 1984 (a common practice when an employee fears they might be about to get the sack) and joined Capcom, alongside fellow Konami alumni Tokuro Fujiwara and Toshio Arima. He would work on titles such as 1942, Gun.Smoke, Final Fight, and Street Fighter II. He is currently an investor/strategic partner for the metaverse gaming platform Creta.