Today was an enjoyable day, taking in Montreal’s annual GameLoop “unconference” — “unconference” in the sense that as a group we crowdsource the sessions for the day, with each session then acting as a salon-type discussion.
After leaving Japan and moving to Montreal, it’s taken a while for me to decide to start attending this sort of event again. It was a big part of my life in Tokyo — from running the PechaKucha Night series there, my PauseTalk series, and then other types of talk events and workshops I organized throughout the years (and then there are all the events that I attended as part of the audience).
But after the move, my new goal was to concentrate on my new career path (working in the games industry) — you could also add to that the lack of knowledge I had about the creative scene here in Montreal. Then, a couple of months ago I finally decided to check out one of the events organized by the Mount-Royal Gaming Society, Art-UP (also prompted by the fact that my friend Renaud Bédard was one of the presenters), and it not only scratched the itch I had to experience this sort of event, it also made me want more, both in terms of attending and in terms of organizing.
It prompted me to reach out to the person (Nicolas Marier) who was organizing the long-in-hiatus PechaKucha Night series in Montreal, and not only did we hit it off on our first meeting, but it looks like things are brewing in a positive way to reactivate the series.
I then attended the Canadian Gaming Expo, with a day of talks that I found to be hugely inspiring (mostly revolving around indie game studios) — and it was nice to see a few of those presenters as participants in today’s GameLoop event.
It’s good to be bathing myself again in this sort of knowledge sharing — something I try to participate in and push at work as well — and I’m hoping that I’ll get to have a hand in organizing and supporting more events here too.
This month’s Toco Toco episode is about game creator Yoshiro Kimura, who shares an interesting career trajectory — leading up to the mobile game he released recently, Million Onion Hotel.
Please allow me a bit of flag waving. First off, I was very pleased to see the following list by Forbes of the best employers in Canada, with Ubisoft Montreal (where I work) coming in at #6, and then #1 for the province of Quebec. I find it to be a pretty great work environment, and so it’s nice to see it recognized as such.
Also, this week marks my first official title change since I started working in the games industry in 2015 (following my move from Japan). After working as a production coordinator at both Eidos Montreal (on the Shinra Technologies project) and Ubisoft Montreal (first as part of the For Honor team, and then on the studio’s Game Operations Online team), I’ve now taken on the role of project manager. I actually did the transition back at the end of the summer, but it took a while for all of it to become official (it accompanied a level change, which I’m also very happy about).
Pictured above is the meeting room I book every week to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at lunch time with a couple of colleagues — we started with episode 1 of season 1, and are now in the middle of season 2.
Chip Tanaka (better known as Hip Tanaka) created the gaming soundtrack to your childhood, and this week he’s releasing his first full-length solo chiptune album, called Django (and he’s present on the newly released Diggin’ in the Carts compilation). The Japan Times has published a great piece looking back at the man’s career.
Although not part of Anne Ferrero’s Toco Toco series, this wonderful short documentary on Yoshitaka Amano that she helped produce for Mana Books is very much Toco Toco-like, and a great look at the man and what inspires him.
I know it’s a bit of a silly thing, but I’m lusting for this mini-version of the Commodore 64. No info yet on the price or when it’s coming out (other than “coming soon”).
Gamasutra has a good piece up interviewing Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro about The Good Life — the game he’s currently crowdfunding — and how he approaches game design.
Hey, I get to put on my employee hat, and write something that relates to Japan today. On October 9, at Shibuya Hikarie, is Ubisoft Japan’s annual “Ubiday 2017” fan event. Lots of details here. Why no sign of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle? The game’s Japan release is set for early next year.
The Japan Times recently published a piece that gives a nice rundown of what Dangen Entertainment — a publisher+ that wants to be the bridge between Japan and the west — is all about. Glad to see my buddies Ben, John, and Nayan getting so much great coverage for their new business.
Even though I’m sure I’m going to end up playing it soon enough (and despite not being a particularly huge fan of the series, the first game is the game I think I’ve put in the most hours ever), I’m not really onboard the hype train for Destiny 2, but I sure as hell love this commercial they produced in Japan to hype the game.