No. 12

Today I went to Pokemon center Tokyo for the first time
since its reopening.
The center is now more neatly arranged and looks cleaner.

The number of customers there was totally beyond my expectation.

Most of them were mothers and their kids.
Why is that?

Kids were carrying a shopping basket, putting the stuff they wanted,
and moms were saying yes and no to their purchases.

As I looked at them doing that, I started to feel
that there must be more items that moms want to buy.

Things both moms and kids want to have?
What would they be?

When I ask myself a question like that, it sometimes leads to
an idea that “can be used in our games too!.”

It’s an interesting exercise.ツ? Try it yourself!

See ya!

No. 11

Pokemon “FireRed” and “LeafGreen” will go on sale
on September 9th in North America.

Those of you who thought “Green??” are right on the money!

In North America, we released “Aka (red)” and “Midori (green)”
as “Red” and “Blue.”ツ? The Japanese version is called
“Midori” and the North American version is called “Blue.”
Both are the same game. But we had to use “Blue” in
North America for a reason.

If we follow the naming scheme of the original series,
the new games should be “FireRed” and “WaterBlue,”
but I wanted to use “Green” for the following reasons.

- A leaf is a symbol of peace
- Fire and water are opposing concepts so it seems like a conflict
- on the jacket we wanted to have a colorful drawing of Bulbasaur
- A leaf may not be immediately familiar to Japanese kids but
for kids overseas it is an easy concept to grasp
- in this world of conflicts we wanted to give a name
that is suggestive of a peaceful world

As a result we decided for the name “LeafGreen”
all over the world.
I’m very glad.

It’s not easy to come up with a title
that is used in all countries.
But it’s a really interesting process
because in order to persuade other people
I need to explain for myself
why I want to do it?
(During this process I discover why I’m so particular about it!)

Here’s a tip…
We take so much time and effort
when we try to choose titles for our games,
because it involves trademark issues among other things.
But, this time both “FireRed” and “LeafGreen” have been
developed with a focus for ‘simplicity’
so when we had to decide on the titles
we thought about what types of games they are.
Therefore, it didn’t take as much time as it used to.
This too was a gladly glad.

See ya.

No. 10

Today I’ll write a little about some small details of our games.

In our games, be it Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, or LeafGreen,
when the player character hits a wall,
s/he will move forward slower than when s/he normally walks.
S/he moves forward.

There are many ways to implement this but…

I think when a player presses the plus control button,
the character needs to respond to what the player is doing.


In our games when the character hits a wall,
the character does not stop walking
but ‘tries to walk on’ at half speed.
But s/he cannot move forward.
So, in order to tell the player
that there is no moving on for the character,
a ‘beep’ sound effect is triggered.

Well, many ways of implementation are possible
for this kind of effect, but,
how we think of the situation and how to implement it into the game
is what is most fun in creating games.

Such details may seem trivial and insignificant,
but I think they are of prime importance.

See ya.

No. 9

For the past few days I took a trip to overseas.

When I go overseas
my friends there tell me lots of exciting stories.
Their sense of values is different from mine
and I find it very interesting.

When we’re a baby, no matter where we’re born
we share the same basic values.
But as we grow up our sense of values gradually changes
because of differences in education, society and culture.
It’s very interesting to know
that people have such different ways of thinking.

In the case of video games,

“What values are of importance in the society you’re playing in?”

This affects how we come up with ideas for games.

We can come up with new ideas, new ways of playing
and new sets of rules by trying to think in a new, different way.
When I go overseas I always feel this way.

the flip side of this is…
I find the Japanese sense of values very fascinating
when I look at it from outside.

See ya.

No. 8

An idea flashed into my mind!

I am a big music lover myself,
and often felt something was missing in video games.


Live shows!

What game creators are in need right now is live shows!

How am I going to put it?
These days it’s like we game creators are only selling CDs.
I think I share this feeling with lots of other creators.
It’s difficult to get responses from video game players.
And it’s also difficult to feel responsible for our products.

So, I came up with an idea!

- how about creating a place where…
- all previous games from Game Freak are put on the shelves, and
- where visitors can play the games they want to play
as long as they want to, and
- where creators and players can chat with each other, and
- where we hold occasional autograph sessions
by graphic designers, and
- where at night you can have a glass of beer or wine…

Sounds nice.

A place like that where all our staff can feel
the ‘live’ aspect of a concert and a sense of togetherness.

I’d like to build a place like that.

Although I’m not sure many people would come to such a place.

But someday I hope to turn this idea into a reality!!!


No. 7

There are many ways to create games
but the way we work at Game Freak may be a little different
from other companies.

That is,

We constantly change and tweak what we have come up with.

To make a fun game even more fun and polish it up,
we take what we have made and start thinking about it
from scratch.
And to make the game the most fun to play
we make endless changes and tweaks
no matter how long it takes.

It may not be the best way,
but I think these tweaks are important
to make our games fun and better.
And I’m always thankful for our staff
who are willing to do all these,
for their understanding and patience.

How do we nail down an idea?
Well…, let’s say we come up with
the idea of Janken (rock, paper, scissors).

You come up with the concept of Janken.
Then you make up a rule like you win
if you win 5 games of Janken, and
call it a feature.
This is the bare bones of the game.
And it’s fun enough.

But there’s no need to stop there.
How about you can hit the opponent’s hand
(‘shippe’ in Japanese) after 5 wins?
And we put that into the game.
Things start to get exciting. Great.

But there must be more and more.
How about when you win Janken,
you can play ‘Acchi Muite Hoi’
(What is Acchi Muite Hoi? see
When you win Acchi Muite Hoi three times,
you can do the shippe.
Getting more interesting.

But I need to come up with more and more ideas.
How about you score one point
each time you do the shippe,
and the one who collects 10 points first wins?
And I put that into the game.
It’s a bit too long.ツ? This is too much.

Isn’t there another way to make it more fun?
what if we can play ‘Acchi Muite Hoi’ with both of our hands?
So I put it into the game.
Well, it’s OK but not much different from
when we play with only one hand and much more difficult to play.
Not a very good idea.

So I look at it from a different angle.
When You win Acchi Muite Hoi once,
you can do the shippe to the opponent.
After you shippe the opponent three times,
you can draw a picture on the opponent’s face with ink.
Great!ツ? It’s really hot!!
You can play for a long time without getting bored!

This way (although this was only a sketch)
I take one game and try to think of the ways
to make it the most fun to play.

It takes time, true…
but the end results show that it’s worth the effort.

To come up with ideas that will make a familiar game
more fun to play.
Try it yourself!

See you!

No. 6

Now I’m back from my summer holiday!
Time passes quickly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?

This summer I had a BBQ party with my friends
in Tochigi prefecture.
At night we enjoyed fireworks while eating outside.
I also went to Atami and enjoyed turban shell (‘sazae’ in Japanese) there.
Oh how delicious.ツ? It was great fun! I truly enjoyed the holiday!

Yesterday I went to ‘Pokemon Festa’ in Yokohama
(Every summer we hold festivals featuring Pokemon
called Pokemon Festa in many cities in Japan).
Unfortunately it was raining and the turnout
was not so great,
but still I was glad to see many people come to the festival.
Thank you very much!

We had many different kinds of shows at the festival.
What impressed me the most was that
once a show started on the stage,
so many dads carried their kids on their shoulders
that they looked like some strange forest.
It was a spectacular scene.

Also, I’m glad that everyone seems enjoys playing Pokemon Emerald.
What a relief! Nothing is more rewarding than that.

See you.

No. 5

59 years ago today the first US atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Let’s take a moment of reflection.
We should try our best not to repeat that awful act.
War is wrong.


Game Freak is having a summer holiday from tomorrow.
Holidays are nice, aren’t they?

So, a word to those who are going on a trip!

As is the case with Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire,
you can have a battle and trade Pokemon
with people all over the world
when you play Pokemon FireRed or LeafGreen.

If you’re planning on an overseas trip,
don’t forget to carry your Gameboy Advance
and a game pak of Pokemon to have a battle and
trade Pokemon with people you’ve never met!

We at Game Freak believe that
everyone on earth can communicate with each other,
and with that in mind we created such words
as ‘Pokemon’ ‘Pikachu’ ‘Groudon’ ‘Jirachi’
that are common all over the world.

Pokemon that appear in Pokemon movies are
the same all over the world.

If you go overseas, say the words like ‘Lugia’ or ‘Pikachu’
and people will turn their face and greet you.

Whether you’re a kid or a grown-up, let’s
make friends with people from all over the world!!!


No. 4

In interviews people often tell me
that Pokemon is a game for kids.

But I’m not too preoccupied with the question
if something is just for kids or not.

Hide-and-seek or jumping rope is just for kids?

I don’t think so.
Grown-ups too have a great time playing it.

But we adults know there are more complex
and fascinating games around us.

And as there is no limit in pursuing the urge to find
something more complex and exciting,
if you only care about these things
before you know it the games you create become
something that only you can play and enjoy.

Games that ordinary people enjoy
and games that are complex and fascinating
are in inverse proportion.

The same thing goes for music, doesn’t it?

If you ask what kind of music is popular to people of all ages,
the answer may be children’s songs.
I think Pokemon is like that when people call it a game for kids.

Our goal is to create children’s songs that have universal appeal
and that people all over the world can enjoy.

But it’s very difficult!
Because, as we go on making games and get used to it,
we tend to be interested in more difficult and complex games.

We ought not to forget our original intentions, indeed.

See ya.

No. 3

Yesterday, I did magazine interviews.

Pokemon Emerald will go on sale on September 16 (Thursday).
They came to talk with me about Pokemon Emerald.

But, unfortunately, there’s not much I can talk about
games like Pokemon…
Because we want the players to discover
everything themselves.
So we don’t want to give away any secret.
But at the same time, I wanted to discuss it
because I’m excited about it…
It was such a dilemma.

Please reserve your copy!

Those of you who have played Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire
will enjoy what’s different in this new game.
Those who have played Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen
will find Pokemon Emerald as the latest installment of the series.

We have put every kind of tricks and secrets
into Pokemon Emerald and I’m sure you will have great fun
playing it.
We at Game Freak are really proud of
what we have achieved this time.
Give it a try!

See ya!