Takashi Nishiyama (Japanese: 西山隆志), sometimes credited as Piston Takashi, Nishiyama or T. Nishiyama, is a Japanese video game designer, director and producer, who worked for Irem, Capcom and SNK, before founding his own company Dimps. He is best known for his work on martial arts action games, designing the early 1984 beat 'em up Kung-Fu Master before he went on to create several fighting game franchises including Street Fighter, Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters during the late 1980s to early 1990s.
He started his career at Irem, where he developed arcade games such as the 1982 side-scrolling action game Moon Patrol and the 1984 beat 'em up Kung-Fu Master. At Capcom, he designed the 1986 beat 'em ups Trojan and Avengers, before creating the original Street Fighter in 1987. He then worked at SNK, where he created the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series of fighting games while also working on Art of Fighting and the run-and-gun shooter series Metal Slug. He is the true grandfather of fighting and beat 'em up genre.
Takashi Nishiyama started his career at Irem. He worked on the game design of the 1982 scrolling shooter Moon Patrol, one of the first games with parallax scrolling. He was also the designer of Kung-Fu Master (1984), called Spartan X in Japan. It is based on two Hong Kong martial arts films: the Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung film Wheels on Meals (1984), called Spartan X in Japan, and especially the Bruce Lee film Game of Death (1972). Kung-Fu Master is considered the first beat 'em up game, becoming the prototype for most subsequent martial arts games in the late 1980s. The NES port, Kung Fu, was programmed by a Nintendo team under the direction of Shigeru Miyamoto, later influencing his work on Super Mario Bros. (1985).
Following the success of Kung-Fu Master, Nishiyama was hired by Capcom. He designed an arcade successor for Capcom, Trojan (1986), which evolved the basic gameplay concepts of Kung-Fu Master. The NES port included a one-on-one fighting mode, for the first time in a Capcom game. He then came up with the concept for a game centered entirely around the boss fights in Kung-Fu Master. This led to his creation of the Street Fighter fighting game franchise. Along with Hiroshi Matsumoto, he directed the original Street Fighter (1987). He created the special moves for Ryu called "Hadouken", which he says was inspired by an energy missile attack from the 1970s anime series Space Battleship Yamato. He then left Capcom and did not return to work on the sequel Street Fighter II: The World Warrior.
Nishiyama then joined SNK. There, he created the Fatal Fury fighting game franchise, as a spiritual successor to the original Street Fighter. He also worked on the fighting game franchises Art of Fighting and The King of Fighters, as well as the run-and-gun shooter series Metal Slug. He then left SNK and founded his own game development company, Dimps. He is currently the president of Dimps.
- Moon Patrol (1982) (game designer)
- Kung-Fu Master (1984) (game designer)
- Section Z (1985) (game designer)
- Trojan (1986) (game designer)
- Legendary Wings (1986) (director)
- Mega Man (1987) (producer)
- Avengers (1987) (director)
- Mad Gear (1988) (game planner)
- Street Fighter (1987) (director)
- Last Duel: Inter Planet War 2012 (1988) (director)
- Ghost Pilots (1991) (executive producer)
- Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (1991) (director)
- Mutation Nation (1992) (special thanks)
- Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf (1992) (producer, TV special)
- The King of Fighters '94 (1994) (producer)
- Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory (1995) (producer)
- Real Bout Fatal Fury (1995) (producer)
- Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (1997) (producer)
- The King of Fighters '97 (1997) (producer)
- Metal Slug 2 (1998) (producer)
- The King of Fighters '98: The Slugfest (1998) (producer)
- Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage (1999) (executive producer)
- The King of Fighters '99 (1999) (producer)
- Metal Slug X (1999) (producer)
- Metal Slug 3 (2000) (producer)
- Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (2003) (item designer)
- Street Fighter IV (2008) (executive producer)