If there’s ever a book that could appeal to readers of this blog then it is definitely The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers by John Szczepaniak. This is a book with a subject matter very close to my heart, an epic oral history of a side of videogaming that has gone largely unheard for too long. Yes, we’ve heard about the major players in the Japanese games industry – we’ve heard about the making of Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog – but what about the regular developers who made so many other great games but didn’t have the Western PR and marketing support to make their own stories heard? That’s what The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers is all about…
…Unfortunately, this book doesn’t yet exist.
The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter and is, at the time of writing, nearly half way to its goal of £50,o00, which will allow the writer to fly to Japan to interview various developers in person, hire a professional interpreter and print the book to various levels of quality.
Well, I’d urge anyone reading this to contribute what they can to the project as Yoshiro Kimura – of Little King’s Story and Chulip fame – has agreed to be interviewed. Not only that, Kimura, one of the nicest men in videogames, has invited the writer to go drinking with him. Aw!
Even if Kimura wasn’t involved, I would have pledged my support for this project. The people behind the most interesting Japanese games are often as interesting as the games themselves and I’m eager to know more about all of them.
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Posted in Art Style, Audio Inc, Chulip, Little King's Story, Punchline, Route 24, skip, tagged Akira Ueda, Art Style, Audio, Chulip, CING, Followars, Kenichi Nishi, Little King's Story, Punchline, Route24, skip, Space Agency on April 4, 2010|
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I’m super busy as usual and haven’t had chance to update the blog as much as I’d like. Thank Jesus for creating the big Easter break, so I can finally get stuff done. 🙂 Here’s everything of interest that I can recall happening.
- CING, the co-developer of Little King’s Story, has filed for bankruptcy.
What can I say? I’m really sorry to see such a talented developer go under, but then I’m not really surprised either. LKS aside, CING’s output has been a little one note. I loved Another Code when it was first released, but Hotel Dusk and Another Code R didn’t really do anything to evolve on the concept. Even though CING is now gone, we still have two more of their games to look forward to in the recently released Again: Eye Of Providence and Hotel Dusk sequel Last Window. I’ll be picking both up out of curiosity but I’m not holding my breath for either to be a swansong.
- Punchline’s website disappeared
I’m certain that Punchline was abandoned a couple of years ago, but the official website did stick around for a while until it finally went kaput at the beginning of this year. Incidentally, I recently picked up a copy of Chulip on eBay. It’s a wonderful little game, full of Yoshiro Kimura’s unique brand of humour and with a ‘go there, fetch that, please this guy’ gameplay that reminds me of Lovedelic and Skip’s best adventure games. The disc is widely and cheaply available on eBay so I strongly suggest you get a copy if you don’t have one already.
- Route24 has some new games in the works
Marvelous Entertainment is set to publish Route24’s first iPad exclusive game, Followars – a multiplayer RPG that will pull data from your Twitter account in order to generate stats. Marvelous got in touch with me a few days ago and asked if we could pass on a message from Kenichi Nishi. Here it is: “Hi to all Twitter and iPad’s fans! And even if you are not, hi to you too! To be honest, I don’t have any clue why you fight in Followars, I really wanted to create a fun game.
Right now, I’m still really busy trying to brush it up, see what works or adding new stuff but I’m confident that Followars will be a great social game so please give it a try!”. Personally I’m not that interested in Followars, as I don’t have a Twitter account and don’t intend to get one. Nor am I that bothered about Geotrion, another Nishi project currently in the works for iPhone and iPod Touch, since it seems to rely heavily on GPS functionality – another bit of tech I don’t use. If you feel differently then why not get involved in the limited beta test? Nishi does seem committed to the app store space, and I look forward to seeing what other unusual ideas he has planned – I just wish they were more character/story based, just because of my personal tastes.
- Nintendo released video of the new Art Style games
There’s still no release date for Skip’s latest experimental creations but we do have video! Check out Rotozoa here and Light Trax here. I’d originally written of the latter as a simple remake of bit Generations: Dot Stream, but the new 3D visuals definitely seem to give it that extra something. Speaking of Art Style, and 3D, surely Skip can cook up something really special and unique for Nintendo’s accidentally announced ‘3DS’ handheld? I look forward to being proved right.
- Space Agency development seems to be progressing
Akira Ueda at Audio Inc recently updated his blog with a pretty detailed look at Space Agency. I’m not sure if this project has acquired a publisher yet but I really hope it does. I’ve always loved the idea of a space exploration RPG but rarely find a game that can get the tone exactly as I want it. Star Control II and Puzzle Quest Galactrix are just about the only games in the sub-genre I’ve ever warmed to and, just recently, I was looking forward to Platinum’s Infinite Space only to find that it’s extreeeeeeeemly dull. Here’s hoping that Space Agency can get things right. I certainly seems to be good fun.
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Gamasutra has posted a brief but informative interview with Yoshiro Kimura about his work on Punchline’s kissing RPG Chulip and his upcoming RTS/adventure Project O. Check out the interview for proof that it’s not just Kenichi Nishi who’s keeping the Lovedelic spirit alive.
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