Anne Ferrero is one of my favorite creators of video content (Branching Paths, Toco Toco TV) and she has just launched yet another series you can watch on YouTube called The Manga Concierge. As the title suggests, each episode takes a look at a few manga series. The first episode is themed on games, and includes the titles Banjo no Polaris (about chess), Final Re:Quest (inspired by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, with art that looks like an 8-bit game), and Gutshot (about poker).
Patrick’s Tokyo’s Coolest Sound blog has all the details on the new CD/DVD compilation of the anniversary concert that was held for the Legend of Zelda series last year (which I know a few friends had the great luck to attend, bastards).
I’ve recently been enjoying posts by Motoi Okamoto that take a look at the mobile gaming scene in Japan, offering up analysis on how these games are successful — he’s been sharing them on Gamasutra, but you can follow him directly through his blog as well. His latest post offers up a look at Fire Emblem Heroes. Okamoto spent many years working at Nintendo, and currently runs his own development studio, with a focus on social/mobile games.
I can’t read it because it’s hidden behind a paywall, but looks like the Financial Times has a long piece on Japan’s arcades, and how they’re still quite popular. Would love to read it, to see how it compares with what we covered in our Arcade Mania book a decade ago.
Update: You can read the article by simply copy/pasting the title (“Game on: why Japan’s arcades are still winning”) in google, and then following the link. It’s a nice feature, and I was quite pleased to see Arcade Mania mentioned (Brian was interviewed for the article).
Time went a bit nuts this week with great Nintendo coverage, starting with an interview with Nintendo President Tatsumi Kishima, an interview with Nintendo Director Shinya Takahashi (with lots of fun Wave Race trivia, a game I constantly wish would get updated), and this piece about the Switch. And for a bit of fun, there’s this 51-question segment with Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma from Game Informer.
The latest episode of Toco Toco TV covers pro gamer Fuudo, and for me it’s an especially nostalgic episode as most of it is set in Ikebukuro — where I lived for around 13 years — and shows off the arcades I spent a lot of time in while working on the Arcade Mania book.
I’ve recently become excessively obsessed with Jeremy Parish’s fantastic YouTube Channel (yes, I’m ridiculously late to the party on this), and among everything I’ve been watching, I’ve been quite enjoying watching his “Good Nintentions: 1985” series (available in this handy playlist), which acts as a perfect accompaniment to my current 1985 movie marathoning (22 movies so far). Each video is a fantastic little documentary on the game it covers, and it’s just insane how he is able to produce such great videos, in such quantity, on such a consistent basis. The best news is that he has just stepped down from his role as editor-in-chief of USgamer (leaving the site in the capable hands of Kat Bailey) to devote all of his time on these videos and podcasts — you can support him through Patreon (and this Patreon is specifically for the video stuff).
It was pretty exciting to see the photo you see here, taken as a giant banner for the game I worked on for most of 2016 was being put up in Akihabara. We all know that western releases don’t get that much attention in Japan, and so it’s pretty great to see For Honor get featured front and center in the heart of Tokyo’s “electronic” district. I also see that Famitsu is hosting a special site dedicated to the game.
I should have shared this much soon, as the deadline for submitting abstracts is just around the corner on February 1, but it’s not too late. Replaying Japan 2017: 5th International Japan Game Studies Conference looks like quite the intriguing gathering, taking place August 21-23 at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. There were certainly some interesting talks at last year’s conference, and I wish the material was available online.
Kojima Productions now has its very own slick home in the Shinagawa part of Tokyo, and it recently shared a gallery of photos that show off the new digs (which I came across through this Kotaku post). IGN has posted a 5-minute video featuring interviews with Kojima and key staff talking about the studio, and how it all came together.