Thanks to Quinton A. Klabon who got in touch this weekend to draw my attention to this Japanese edition of Iwata Asks, focused on Wii Remote Plus: Variety Pack – better known in the western world as Wii Play: Motion. Why is it of interest to you? Because the mini-games in this variety pack were developed by a clutch of Japan’s finest boutique developers, including both Skip and Vanpool as well as Prope, Feel Good Inc, Chunsoft, Mitchell and Arzest – all brilliant studios with some excellent games under their belts, and apparently selected by Nintendo to bring some of their own identity as creators to the Wii Play: Motion project.
The interview features contributions from Jun Taniguchi of Vanpool and Keita Eto of Skip, who reveal that they developed the mini-games Umbrella Rider (Vanpool) and Pose Mii and Balloon Drifting (Skip). Of the three, Umbrella Rider seems to be the most fun and may even be the pick of the bunch if the trailer (below) is anything to go by. So well done Vanpool!
It’s difficult to make out exactly what they’re saying through Google translator, so hopefully this one will be translated for the US or UK version of Iwata Asks soon as the story behind the collaborative development of Wii Play: Motion seems pretty interesting. Like many I’d dismissed Wii Play: Motion as yet another watered down party game for a console that’s quickly running out of compelling software. It may still be that, of course, but I’m now much more likely to check it out.
Of course, it’s just a relief to hear that these two studios are still working. Neither of their websites give much indication of any activity these days – Skip’s hasn’t been updated in over two years! – and I was beginning to get worried. In fact, not only are they alive and well but it seems they’ve been more productive than first thought. The information in this Iwata Asks has revealed to me that Skip managed to sneak a game out last year without my knowledge – it’s a WiiWare game called Penguin Life and actually got a US release under the (frankly rubbish) name of Snowpack Park. Looks like I need to get downloading!