No. 45

In creating games, I often think about
the situation where players play the game,
and how they play it.
Also, I try to imagine in what kind of place
and environment they play our games.
When I picture these in my head, things
start to make sense.

If you can picture yourself a player who is
having fun playing the game in a specific situation,
that game idea is interesting.
Oftentimes we make such decisions.

But the truth is, if you think only within
the framework of video games, you can’t create
a place or an environment where many people
gather and have a good time.

So, we’d try to think outside that framework.
You come up with ideas like trading, battle,
contest, many kinds of mini-games, etc.

And, if you think about an even larger space,

Mystery Gift. Union Room.
Distribution of Pokemon or Pokemon Eggs, or tickets.

You come up with ideas like these.

If you think about it, Pokemon has many kinds
of spaces or environments that are impossible to
create if you stay within the framework of video games,
which is one of their shortcomings.

we started giving out “Mew”.
Pokemon Festa will open soon.
“Poke Park” is open.

Please have fun with Pokemon in a different space,
in a different environment.

See ya.

No. 44

Things you look at every day, or things
you take for granted.
Most of them are associated with some kind of
ideas and are fixed firmly in the brain.

They have such a strong hold on our mind,
as if they were struggling to keep their own place.

The existence of the refrigerator, or the air
conditioner, or electricity.
The shape of a TV screen or a keyboard.
The shapes of a cell phone,
a character font, a word, or a pictogram, etc.

The shape of a car, or its handle.
The act of going to a movie theater, a ticket
purchase, the darkness.
The steps you follow in buying a ticket, or
getting on the train.
The way politics, economy, society, culture works.
Their own rules and assumptions.
The rotation of the Earth, a star shape, a heart shape.

Every one of the above is so easy to picture in
your head, as if it’s nothing special.
Rather, it’s almost frightening.

These are all fixed inside the brain.

Fixed ideas.

Yes, the very start of game creation is to
break down fixed ideas.
Because there is nothing predetermined
when you create contents.

It’s up to you to decide how to create a world,
or how to show it.

So, if you want to be a bird and fly around
the globe, it’s possible, and it’s also possible
to go back in time and take a walk or run on
a futuristic motorbike at full speed.
It’s also possible to come up with the
ultimate Pachinko machine.
(Pachinko is a Japanese gaming device similar to
pinball machines.)

If you think this way, it’s fun.
Your dreams start expanding.
You can see that what’s possible is expanded
in a sweeping, endless way.

This is the most fun part, but because of that,
it gets reality check from the fixed ideas in my brain.

To try to think outside the fixed ideas.
‘Why that shape?’ ‘Why that way?’
‘What makes you think that?’
You need to question the question or
the thing itself.

I think so not only in making games but
also in any kind of job, or in any way of life.

Let’s break down our fixed ideas.

See ya.

No. 43

I’ve got to get on the 8:20 train!
I’ll be late for 9 am class!

These will force us into the fight against time.

Because time is fixed, we need to follow it.

If there was not a fixed timetable for trains,
or if the time to start class or work was not
set beforehand, you wouldn’t have to worry about it.
And you would have a more relaxed mind.

Because time is fixed,
you try to be on the safe side and
do stuff in advance.
Then, you start to notice things that
you didn’t notice before.
When you have time to spare,
you will have more room in your heart.
You might help an old lady with her bag,
or do something you normally wouldn’t do.
You might become more kind.
You might take notice of weeds around your house,
or flowers, or the moon on the way home, or the stars.
Things you didn’t notice before.

If you think that way, time affects us very strongly,
doesn’t it?
Also, wouldn’t you agree that everyone in Japan
is too time-conscious and hypersensitive about time?

These days I’m getting conscious of how time affects us.

I’d rather live a more relaxed, slow life.

See ya.

No. 42

No. 42
category: creative

Game design is nothing but design. Therefore,
it will not work if you only prioritize
functions and playability over other aspects.

You need to think of a game as a whole,
as a piece of work and also as a product.
While examining its overall balance,
you need to take much time and care to
elaborate it into a polished product.

It’s like CD albums in music.
An album may contain various styles from
a hard-rocking tune to a ballad.
If all the songs on an album are of the same
kind, you will get exhausted.
You can’t do it too much, and you can’t do
it too less.

In terms of playability,
each player makes their individual judgment
when there are some aspects in a game
that may be hard to play, not user-friendly,
or inconvenient.
So, “who” finds it hard to play is the
fundamental question, I think.

Do kids in Australia really think so?
I think this is the most important question.

We can appreciate convenience only when
we’re surrounded by inconvenience.
I think it’s part of design to have elements
that might be inconvenient to some people.

See ya.

No. 41

Yesterday, I had a talk with an excellent
sales representative.
He was such a serious, energetic,
and honest person, and we had to make a
tough decision whether or not to purchase
their products.

As we create software, which is to be sold
as a packaged product, we too are a seller.

However, because we do not actually sell our
games by ourselves, we tend to lose sight of
the seller’s perspective.

From there, it’s easy to think that our task
is to make good games and that good games
will sell themselves.
Of course, this is a trap.

Actually, we are definitely on the selling side.

How important it is to have the power for
your products, and, how knowledgeable you need
to be about them.
Also, how important timing is in business
I learned from the sales representative
the importance of these complex aspects of
sales strategy.

It’s hard to meet the deadline, but as a seller,
it’s important to release a good product in
a timely fashion. I realized that anew today.

See ya.

No. 40

These days I often ask myself how people use their
time in a certain room or a place.

For an instance, I would find the following types of people
on the train…

- people writing an email with their cell phone
- people playing a game on their cell phone
- people reading a newspaper or a magazine
- people looking at advertisements
- people talking with their friends
- people eating
- people playing a game
- people listening to music
- people doing nothing particular
- people being drunk
- people reading a book
- people wearing a make-up
- people dozing off

*As for myself, I often try to think of topics
from reading the advertisements,
or compose music in my head.
But people will probably think of me as
‘someone doing nothing particular.’

Well, there are truly a wide variety of activities.
But I think the cell phone is the king.
Especially, email.
It’s hard to come up with an idea that will be
more popular than that.
It’s literally irrespective of age or gender.

But this is only true in Japan, isn’t it?
Maybe the situation is very different in France.

Like this exercise,
there are things that you can learn from
breaking into parts and clarifying each part.

See ya.

No. 39

The other day we constructed a theater room,
which doubles as a meeting room.
Images projected onto a 120 inch screen were
What’s more, an aggressive Hollywood sounds from
JBL speakers.
Even watching an ordinary movie I could feel
thrill and terror thanks to its enhanced sound level and
sharpness of sound.

Wow, nothing will beat this.
Nothing comparable to the equipments I have at home…
From now on, there will be a screening every Friday.

How did this start?
I wanted a place where I can experience the beauty
of sound, the commitment to sound quality, and also
the beauty, the punch, and the impact of screen image.
In other words, a place where we can enjoy
entertainment software in a best possible way.

As we are working in entertainment business,
I wanted our staff to feel the power of image and sound
from many angles and points of view.

In video games we need to create the fun of the game
by controlling the image and the sound interactively.
So it’s important to give our staff an opportunity to
be always familiar with the newest images and sounds.

I hope they will be excited and moved by
what they see and listen to, and
through that experience come up
with new ideas and new ways of communication.

See ya.