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Posts Tagged ‘Yoshiro Kimura’

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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onion games

It’s been a long time coming but Yoshiro Kimura’s indie studio Onion Games is about to show off its first title at indie game show Bit Summit II.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Kyoto between March 7th and 9th then you can pop along to the show, meet Kimura and try the game. If, like me, you’re thousands of miles away you’ll just have to make do with the character sprites Kimura posted on his blog. Those characters sure are oniony, and even a little bit asparagusy, but I can’t imagine how the final game will shape up.

If you do go to Bit Summit and play Onion Games’ first title then be sure to drop by here and let me know what it’s like, you jammy buggers.
The blog also reveals that Lovedelic legend Kazuyuki Kurashima is doing the art for the game. Which is awesome. Make sure to read the whole thing to get some background details on the pair’s history together.

Speaking of Kurashima…. I have a real suspicion that he drew the character portraits for Nintendo’s unlikely free-to-play 3DS game, Steel Diver: Sub Wars (pictured below) but I’ve yet to find any evidence either way. What do you think?

Screen shot 2014-02-22 at 14.48.04

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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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While searching around the websites of a few ex-Lovedelic team members I came across an iPhone game that was released way back in 2009 and that I’d somehow managed to miss. It’s called Bug Hunter is made by Kazuyuki Kurashima and Hikarin (formerly of Skip). It’s a pretty neat spot the difference game that reminds me of Namco’s Magikai Museum on DS and features some wacky paintings from Hikarin and some pretty cool classic game parodying pixel art from Kurashima. Oh and it’s only 59p. Get it here.

Bug Hunter isn’t the only Lovedelic related app that’s circulating right now, actually. Grasshopper Manufacture has just released Frog Minutes, a completely bonkers game for iPhone and iPad that has you collecting bugs and feeding them to frogs in a strangely tranquil rural setting. On a mechanical level it’s pretty simple stuff but the odd presentation, and audio commentary, makes it a lot more appealing. The Lovedelic connection, of course, is Grasshopper’s recent hire Yoshiro Kimura who’s credited on Frog Minutes as a supervisor. Like Bug Hunters, Frog Minutes is just 59p and there’s the added bonus that all proceeds got to the Japan Red Cross to help survivors of the Tohoku earthquake. Get it here.

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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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Looks like I picked the wrong month to quit blogging. 😉

As Famitsu reports (via 1UP and NintendoLife) Yoshiro Kimura has joined Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture as Chief Creative Officer alongside fellow Marvelous colleague Yasuhiro Wada, who will take the role of Chief Operating Officer. This obviously raises a number of questions. Such as: what is the fate of Marvelous now that it has lost Wada? And where does this leave the rumoured revival of Moon?

Interestingly, this is actually the third time that Grasshopper has collaborated with an ex-Lovedelic staff member. Akira Ueda developed several games including Shining Soul and Contact while at GHM, while Kimura himself contributed to the first No More Heroes.

Personally, I’m a huge HUGE Grasshopper fan, so I can’t wait to see what the studio turns out next.  The developer has been recruiting cult games industry professionals like mad really and now boasts a team that includes Silent Hill’s Akira Yamaoka and Doshin The Giant creator Kazutoshi Iida in addition to Suda, Wada and Kimura. It boggles the mind to think what these five stark personalities could achieve together.

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As a few people have informed me, there’ s a ton of noise coming from Kenichi Nishi and Yoshiro Kimura about a possible sequel to Moon: Remix RPG Adventure. It’s a bit difficult to work out exactly what’s going on but this thread on NeoGAF suggests that the aformentioned designers might be using Twitter to gauge fan interest.

It’s been suggested that anyone interested use the tag #moon2 on Twitter, and I’ve done just that today. Click here to see what everyone’s saying.

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