No. 29

Only a few more days and it will be next year.
So many people have helped us this year too.
Thank you very much.

We started with the launches of Pokemon FireRed
and LeafGreen, and then we released Pokemon Emerald.
Also, the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP were
It was a very important year not only for
Pokemon but for the whole game industry.

This year too we witnessed the introductions
of so many new technologies.
New cell phones and gadgets, security systems,
music and video playback machines, electronic cards,
network systems, etc.
Technology advances so quickly.
Things you take for granted now and use everyday
that didn’t exist last year.
I think you find many such things around you.
Oh, what a speed.
At the same time, I realize how adaptive
we humans are, with such a rapid pace of change.
We get used to new stuff in a matter of seconds.
Once a new product becomes commonplace, the
previous ones become old-fashioned.


We in the game industry should try to change such
structure of consumption, as was exemplified by
the Famicom Mini (“Classic NES series” for
Game Boy Advance).

We creators should stop relying on hardware
innovations. Instead, we should keep on
asking ourselves what kind of game structure
is long-lasting, and strive to create games
that will not go stale quickly.

To create games with such thoughts in mind.
I think it’s important to start from there.

* It’s like, in music, you listen to the same
George Michael song every Christmas regardless of
the transition from analog records to CDs.

I think it’s peace that makes the future of gaming
possible, and we need to pay more attention to and
think a lot more about peace.
No one can say ‘Let’s Play!’ unless you have peace.

Next year I will devote myself in developing
our new software, with a thought about
the tomorrow of gaming.
As always, I’d like to ask for your support and enthusiasm!

Game Freak will keep on running in the next year too!!!

Best wishes for a happy new year.

No. 28

I think most of you use email on your cell
phone or on your PC.
But when you’re doing that, isn’t there a
moment when you find it so difficult to write
a message to someone?
Because, unlike a face-to-face conversation,
it’s hard to tell him/her of your feelings.
It’s especially difficult when your message
is intended for a large number of people.

The same message can make someone happy and
at the same time make someone else unhappy.

You need to be careful in how you write your
Because no two people read the same message
in exactly the same way, how they feel about
it also differs.
People may take the same message differently.
Also, there are cases when too many words
lead to more confusion.

The messages in Pokemon games are localized
into many languages, so I think we need to
write messages that make lots of people feel
warm and happy.

For that reason, I make it a rule to read the
same sentence again and again, trying to read
it from someone else’s point of view.

Not messages intended only for those who
are interested to read or understand them,
but messages that many people, people from
every part of the globe, can feel the same
way about and empathize with.
Such messages will be the basis of future
Pokemon games.

By the way…
I think PR bulletins and brochures are a great
learning tool.
The messages you find in those publications are
so simply put and precise in meaning that few
would misread or complain about them.
They must have been checked by a considerable
number of people, I think.

See ya.

No. 27

The ‘previously on your quest’ function
in Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen is very
complicated, and uses lots of backups.
It was quite likely to end up with many
bugs and our programmers were opposed to
the idea, so I almost gave up on it…

But when I explained to the programmers
how important, interesting, and innovative
this function would be,
they understood the concept and its appeal.
That way we included an unstable (!) feature,
which was almost like an experiment.

With this summary function, you have to
negotiate with the opponent. And for that,
you need to know about him/her.
If not, in most cases you lose the negotiation.

The game designer needs to understand
the programmers, and the programmers need
to understand the game design.
Of course, graphic designers and sound
designers too
need to understand the game design and
the program.
It’s a natural part of the job, but it’s
also very difficult to achieve.

But the thing is, I think it’s like making
new friends. Communication is possible
when we are interested in or understand their
tastes or values.

Whether it’s a business relationship or
a personal relationship, you need to have an
interest in that person or to understand his/her
personality in order to have a mutual understanding.

So, the first thing you need to do is to get
interested. Whether you can understand or not
is not as important.
You try to become interested in the program.
You try to become fascinated with the game
design’s appeal. If you try, the result will
surely show in your work.
That way you can create a game out of an
interesting idea.

In developing video games, it means nothing
if the actual product isn’t a fun game to play,
no matter how interesting the original idea was.

See ya.

No. 26

Last week we at Game Freak had an end-of-the-year party.
Every year, I find it fun to have a party
where lots of friends meet and play together.

At our end-of-the-year party, we reserve a certain
place in Shimokitazawa (Tokyo) and have a big game party.
Our staff make up games like drawing pictures
or quiz-show type games, and they are such fun.
Their understanding of what a fun game is
really impresses me.

The games that are only possible with lots of people.
We can enjoy talking to many people especially
when there are so many people to talk to.

I feel that these days we have fewer and fewer
occasions like that.

In the days ahead there are many events like
Christmas, the end-of-the-year housecleaning,
and the New Year.
Let’s all shout! and have a great time!

See ya!

No. 25

During the Christmas season the city becomes
prettier with the illuminations.

Why do people come to see the illuminations?
It’s clear that people don’t like darkness.
So I understand some people prefer the city.
But, if you’d just like to get rid of darkness,
one giant light bulb will do the job.

But instead you use lots of small bulbs and
people gather to look at them.
Strange, isn’t it?

During special occasions like Christmas
I realize that we have weaknesses for things
that are available only for a limited time,
and for things that you find beautiful and pretty.

We feel compelled to buy something because
it’s for a limited time only, or just because
it is beautiful or pretty.
The flip side of this is that companies try
to use this phenomenon to increase their sales,
or in our case we try to incorporate it
in our games as a twist.
But as a phenomenon I think it’s interesting.

I myself was a big fan of “Track Yarou Ichibanboshi”
(a Japanese movie series where the main character
drives a big track with lots of electric lights),

so to this day I love the illuminations.
It may be more accurate to say that I love the
illuminations more than I love the Christmas season.

See ya.