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Archive for the ‘Lovedelic’ Category

IMG_1317You may recall that last year, veteran games journalist John Szczepaniak raised enough money through Kickstarter to travel to Japan and interview a wealth of games industry professionals for his book, The Untold History Of Japanese Game Developers.

Well he also took a video camera along with him on the trip and has just released a DVD documentary of the same name, which functions not only as a companion to the book but also as teaser for it.

I received a copy of the DVD this week and have to say that it’s a fantastic independent documentary. At 4 hours in length and covering a wide variety of nerdy topics, this isn’t a film for the casually interested games player but, if you’re reading this blog then I’d say you’ll find lots here to interest you – not least because the awesome Yoshiro Kimura puts in an appearance.

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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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New Twitter account

While my increasingly busy life means I can’t keep this blog as up to date as I’d like, I thought there’s no reason why I can’t post super fast and bite size news about Lovedeliccy things via Twitter. So I’ve started a proper Lovedelic Life Twitter account!
If you want to follow a feed that’s all Lovedelic all the time, point your faces towards @lovedeliclife
That is all.

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Moon translation rebooted
A few people have been in touch to tell me about this, as far back as last October, but I’ve been a little bit distracted – not least by the fact that I no longer have the net at home. But enough about my problems… It seems that while this old Moon translation stalled, a new one is making much better progress. Actually, it looks as though the person doing the hacking is the same as on the new Captain Rainbow team. A good sign. And the person writing the translation is none other than Steve Martin. An even better sign. 😉

3DS e-shop delivers Lovedelic related games
If you have a 3DS then get yourself online and have a look at Freakyforms: Your Creations Alive! and Dillon’s Rolling Western.

The former is a rather ingenious little platform game that combines user generated content with Animal Crossing style fetch quests. It’s made by Hiroshi Moriyama the co-director of Chibi-Robo and has a similar feel in the way its world’s horizons gradually expand. There’s even a nice Chibi reference in there – remember the way a tin pan would randomly land on Chibi-Robo’s head when he tried to recharge? Well the joke is used again here. Maybe we can consider it a Moriyama meme in the same way Kenichi Nishi’s dog appeared in most of his games. If you have time then watch this Iwata Asks video with Motiyama, in which he explains Chibi-Robo’s influence on Freakyforms.

Dillon’s Rolling Western, meanwhile, was co-developed by Vanpool and only recently went live on the e-shop. I haven’t tried it yet for a couple of reasons – I don’t really care for tower defense games, and I’m low on cash – but I’d like to check this out purely because of Vanpool’s involvement. Dillon’s Rolling Western was announced a long time ago now so Nintendo has at least taken the time to polish it up. If you’ve played it then do let me know what it’s like in the comments below.

New Little King’s Story nearing release
Did I mention there’s a sequel to Little King’s Story? Whatever, it’s on its way to PlayStation Vita at the end of March (in Japan) and seems to be largely the same game but with a slightly more mature art style. What’s unclear is whether any of the original staff are involved. I don’t believe Yoshiro Kimura is and the permanently closed Cing certainly isn’t. The game is published by Konami and developed by the recently merged MarvelousAQL so I’m not sure if this strictly counts as ‘Lovedelic Life’ game. I’m sure it’ll still be a great game though, and if I had a Vita I’d definitely play it. A UK release was announced some time ago through Konami, though a firm release date is yet to be set.

Yasuhiro Wada forms new studio
Back when Harvert Moon (and Little King’s Story) creator Yasuhiro Wada left Grasshopper Manufacture, he went quiet for a little while. Now he’s on the scene again with a new studio called Toybox. The studio’s slogan is “We are gaming for Love, Peace and Earth”, which as a few people have noted is very Lovedelic. Yoshiro Kimura, a longtime Wada collaborator, left Grasshopper around the same time, so I assumed that he may also be involved with Toybox. But I’m told he isn’t. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what this studio comes up with.

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Everyone seems to be on Twitter these days, and the Lovedelic clan are no exception. A fair few of them spend all day tweeting away, so why not follow them? Ok, most of the posts are in Japanese but you’ll occasionally see something in English or a link to an interesting new project, maybe even a cryptic clue to a big secret.

Here are the Lovedelic Twitter accounts I’ve found so far, please add any more in the comments below if you know of them.

Kenichi Nishi of Route24 (formerly Skip)

Yoshiro Kimura of Grasshopper (formerly Marvelous, Punchline)

Kazuyuki Kurashima character designer for Lovedelic and Vanpool

Keita Eto of Skip

Ryuichi Sakamoto composer on Lack Of Love

Hiroshi Suzuki of Skip and Fieldsystem

Audio Inc (Contact, Sakura Note, Space Agency)

Vanpool (Endnesia, Tingle)

If you’d also like to follow yours truly then you can find me here. It’s my personal account so mostly contains my mindless ramblings but you may see something Lovedelic related from time to time.

Finally, I don’t believe this is a verified account.

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So the live Lovedelic reunion show has been and gone. I actually missed it since I was so busy at work (my last day before Christmas!) but all accounts indicate that the show was a huge success. A fairly large group of ex-Lovedelic team members gathered for fun and festivities in front of an online audience of around 800 die hard fans and auctioned off a bunch of rare, often unique, Moon and Lovedelic paraphernalia.

If, like me, you missed the event then you can catch a 2 hour recording here or browse GhaleonQ’s screen grabs of the auction here. Did the event do much to move along plans for the proposed sequel to Moon? I’m not seeing any evidence of that so far but it’s early days yet. These meetings have got to be a good sign, right?

In mostly unrelated news, by the way, I’d like to draw your attention to another grass roots sequel campaign going on right now. If you’re a fan of Sega’s Shining Force series (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you may like to head over to sos.shiningforcecentral.com where a group of fans are trying to convince Camelot to return to the series they created and develop the true Shining Force IV. Make it happen, for me!

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I’m not sure I understand all the details but something is definitely happening. Following the enormous response to the Twitter campaign to create a sequel to Moon, the game’s three core creators Kenichi Nishi, Taro Kudo and Yoshiro Kimura have been meeting to discuss how they might go about actually creating the game. The two photos shown here were taken by Nishi and Kimura to document the meeting. It really does seem that things may actually be put into motion.

In addition to this, the group has launched a Ustream live TV channel so that fans can join in on the next reunion. According to GhaleonQ, who has kindly filled me in on Twitter, the live event will be a celebration of the Lovedelic era and will feature a chance to win rare Lovedelic merchandise via auction. There will also be a live discussion about how a sequel to Moon may be made. The notes on the Ustream page mention that fans have been asking whether the sequel will come to  PSP, 3DS or download but Nishi’s comments seem to suggest that it’s far too early for that kind of talk. More interestingly, GhaleonQ tells me that Lovedelic itself is not being reformed but that if Moon 2 is made it will be a co-production between the three creators. This obviously means that Nishi’s Route24 and Kudo’s Vanpool will be involved but I’m unsure how Kimura will participate, having just moved to Grasshopper. My assumption is that he will just operate in his free time under the Town Factory label. If anything happens at all.

Anyway, if the info on the Ustream page is correct then the event is set to broadcast on Tuesday the 21st of December for two hours. The starting time for us Brits is a little inconvenient, as it’s set for 10:30. For everyone else it should be less of a problem. American PST is 02:30, EST is 05:30 and Japan is 19:30. If you do tune in, and you’re fluent in Japanese, then please be sure to let me know how things unfold.

Also: As my personal life is still keeping me from maintaining this blog as much as I’d like, you probably be best following this NeoGAF thread for all your up to the minute Moon 2 news.

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