Rieko Kodama Death: Japanese game artist’s cause of death

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Rieko Kodama, a well-known Sega creator, producer, and developer, passed away at the age of 59. Let’s look at how she passed away and the precise causes of Rieko Kodama’s death.

Who is Rieko Kodama?

Japanese video game director, producer, and artist Rieko Kodama, popularly known as Phoenix Rie, worked for Sega. She was born in May 1963, and on May 9, 2022, she died.

Role-playing games (RPGs) she worked on include the original Phantasy Star series, the 7th Dragon series, and Skies of Arcadia are well-known. As a graphic designer, Kodama joined Sega in 1984.

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She is also well recognized for her artistic work on Sonic the Hedgehog (1988) and Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis and Master System (1991).

Rieko Kodama

Kodama started as a graphic designer, but she gradually worked her way up to become a director and producer, a position she kept until she died in 2022.

Kodama is widely mentioned as one of the first successful females in the video game industry.

She was regularly asked what she thought about how women and video games interacted.

Kodama believed that more women were showing interest in the culture since young girls were exposed to video games more as children.

While she didn’t design games expressly with female players in mind, she did make characters that appeal to both men and women and avoid stereotypes that are unjust to women.

Rieko Kodama’s Early Life 

Rieko Kodama was born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan, in May 1963. She enjoyed playing arcade games back when she was little.

In high school, Kodama had a liking for designing commercials. After enrolling in college, she was undecided about whether to pursue studies in art or archaeology because she was interested in Egyptology. She was so unsure of herself that she failed every class.

She thought back to her early infatuation with advertising and decided to enroll in an advertising design course at a trade school to fully dedicate herself to her passion for the arts.

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She rapidly became passionate about graphic design and preferred to concentrate on creating her work than on promoting others in the advertising field. Because it was a new industry, she was intrigued by the video game industry. Home gaming consoles were still quite new, and the Famicom had just been released.

Arcade games continued to dominate the industry as a whole. Kodama was interested in the industry since she didn’t frequently go to arcades and believed that learning more about it would be a fun way to challenge oneself. 

Career History of Rieko Kodama  

Kodama was employed by Sega in 1984 through a previous coworker of hers who was already a staff member. She initially thought she would love working in graphic and advertising design, but after witnessing the game development sector, she changed her mind.

She swiftly acquired graphic design talents from Flicky sprite creator Yoshiki Kawasaki (1984). Making characters for the arcade game Champion Boxing was her first job (1984). She continued to work on several arcade games, including Sega Ninja (1984).

Due to Sega’s short production cycles and shortage of design manpower, Kodama would occasionally work on five to six titles at once. 

With Quartet for the arcade and Master System (1986), Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa for the Master System (1986), and Miracle World for the Master System (1986), she contributed artwork for Alex Kidd (1987).

Every day, Kodama would get small requests to make assets for different projects, including the dragon from Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (1987) and a foe for The Black Onyx’s SG-1000 edition (1987).

Rieko Kodama death: Cause of Death 

Rieko Kodama’s passing was recently announced by Sega. Online reports of her demise began to circulate after Retro Gamer editor Nick Thorpe tweeted a homage to the developer who was identified in the Mega Drive Mini 2 game’s credits.

Kodama reportedly passed away suddenly in May at the age of 59, but out of respect for her family, Sega opted not to officially acknowledge her loss.

Since 1984, Kodama has been connected to Sega. Kodama started as a graphic designer for the company before moving into producing and directing roles.

Kodama was frequently listed as “Phoenix Rie” in the game credits because Sega initially forbade the use of real names there. Throughout her 35-year career, Kodama contributed to several key projects for Sega, including some of the studio’s most well-liked games.

Her family and any internet publications did not immediately provide the reason for her death. Nobody was aware that she had passed away until an obituary was discovered in the staff credits for the Sega Genesis Mini 2 in October 2022.

 

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