Creator / Suda51

"Maybe it's some kind of equivalent of Alan Smithee in films. Like a Japanese game developer doesn't want to be credited for a game they created while drunk and in the midst of a messy breakup-Vietnam flashback, so they call it "Suda 51". 51 being some kind of numerical code for "Shit goes 'round the billy blue bollocks."'

If you were to take David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino and a Luchador (latter runs on It Makes Sense in Context) and lock them in a room surrounded by Sci-Fi movies, anime and Andy Warhol paintings, you'd get something quite close to the inside of Goichi Suda's mind.

Goichi Suda (born January 2, 1968), or Suda 51 as he's better known, is one of the most Mind Screwing game designers out there. He's the head of Grasshopper Manufacture and is known for making games which create a unique, if slightly/extremely unsettling, experience. He frequently collaborates with music composers Masafumi Takada and Akira Yamaoka and writer Masahii Ooka.

Common themes include assassins, hotels, briefcases, Mexican wrestling, severed heads in paper bags, the Moon, and random pop culture references.

Games written and directed by Suda51:

Other games developed by Grasshopper Manufacture:

Non-video game works:

On a side note, his alias comes from his name: "Goichi" is composed of the Japanese numbers for five ("go") and one ("ichi").

Frequently used tropes are:

  • Arc Number:
    • The number "51" appears in just about every game Suda has a hand in making.
    • Games with episodic stories always start their numbering at zero, not one.
  • Art Shift: At least once per game; usually much more. Sometimes for an entire chapter (or at least its cutscenes).
  • Author Appeal: Luchadores. He even occasionally asks for fans to do wrestling moves on certain people.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: All the time. Travis Touchdown, Garcia Fucking Hotspur, Sumio Mondo...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: His games are characterized by No Fourth Wall. Even his most serious games have plenty of Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The majority of his protagonists are either assassins or (at least slightly trigger-happy) detectives; he only very rarely has you control a truly "good" character.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
  • Death Is Cheap: A running theme. Character death means very little most of the time, as characters will frequently reincarnate in some form or another as needed.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: His games go out of their way to deconstruct (and also reconstruct) video game tropes, social tropes, and everything else.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A recurring theme in his games is that they examine the differing values between Japan and the West/U.S., which he started doing as soon as his games started being published overseas.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first game he wrote, Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special's Sudden Downer Ending, with the main character being Driven to Suicide after realizing that he was wrestling to fight off depression. Quite the way to make a name for yourself.
  • Gainax Ending: Given the Mind Screw-y nature of the games, their endings are appropriately confusing.
  • Goroawase Number: The origin of his nickname Suda51: "Goichi" is pronounced like "5-1."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In The Silver Case they're Cases and Reports. In Flower, Sun, and Rain, they're Requests. And in killer7, they're Targets. And in all three of these games, they start at the number 0.
  • Magical Realism: Most of his works are very much this. The ultimate message of the plots will usually have to do more with the characters, society and the nature of the work as a game, but said plots are punctuated by fantastical concepts such as invisible exploding monster terrorists or what may or may not be a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Masked Luchador: He's a huge fan, and it shows. Nearly every game has a luchador, or at least a reference to one.
  • Mind Screw: His penchant for unsettling gamers with plot twists, shoving in vignettes note  or Non Sequiturs, and throwing in random plot threads (such as political commentary) create quite a... unique experience.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Nothing he does is meaningless or random; carefully examine any of his works and you'll find that there's quite a lot of deliberate connections and meanings both literal and symbolic behind his strange decisions. Despite this, he presents it all in a deliberately unintuitive manner, especially for first-time players.
  • One Steve Limit: Usually played straight in an individual game, but subverted between games, often intentionally and to provoke speculation upon what connections two different games might have (or just because he thought a name was really cool). For example, Sumio Kodai, Sumio Mondo and Mondo Zappa; or Travis Bell and Travis Touchdown.
  • Playing the Player: Oftentimes in a way more akin to trolling, rather than dramatic manipulation. Though there can be that, too.
  • Rule of Cool: One of the constants in his games: awesome things happen because they're awesome.
  • Rule of Symbolism / World of Symbolism: A sliding scale between the two.
  • Shout-Out: Spot the references to songs from the 80s! (Among many, many other things.)
  • Signature Style: Suda's games usually employ close-ups of people's faces during cutscenes. There are also many recurring objects and symbols, including: briefcases, Luchadors, the Moon, toilets.
  • Thematic Series: "Kill the Past", although the games it consists of are a matter of debate within the fandom. It's not entirely thematic, as occasionally there are explicit links between games, but they aren't always obvious.
  • The Stinger: You can pretty much always expect one if he's directing; sometimes entire chapters of it, which can then sometimes necessitate an additional credits sequence. (Which then has its own stinger, naturally.)
  • This Loser Is You: Most famously Travis Touchdown, but other loser characters are designed to represent the player.
  • The Unfought: There's usually at least one fakeout boss battle per game.
  • You Bastard: One of the many deconstructions in his games are calling out players on their bloodlust and love of violence.

"Punk's Not Dead"

Alternative Title(s): Goichi Suda, Suda Goichi