CN: There's been a lot of discussion and concern about "games as art", and I think people are kind of missing the point -- because people don't even have a definition of what they mean by "art". Since you referred to moving away from mainstream art, are you concerned with the concept of games being art, or do you think that it's inherent? Is it important, or doesn't it matter?
KT: It's difficult to answer that question because, as you said, there's no definition of what art is.
CN: That's the problem; I think that people sort of talk around it because they don't have an approach. Do you think that it's important to have an approach to that issue, or do you think that it's even just an irrelevant issue?
KT: I believe that there's no sense in trying to define what art is, and it's okay to be something really abstract; it's okay how it is.
MK: I was wondering what you think about the people who enjoy your games because of the characters in them and the world rather than, say, the gameplay.
KT: There's nothing wrong with that; I'm just happy that they like the characters.
MK: Do you always think that for the type of characters and the worlds that you create, that games is the place you want them to exist? Would you be happy to see them in other formats, other spaces -- like have within animations or something along those lines?
KT: Like the BOY muffler? [Ed. note: Takahashi's mother knitted a BOY scarf for him, which he brought to GDC.] It's good; if there's opportunity to allow these characters to come out of the games for that scarf over there, if something outside the game can be created, then that's great. Like Noby Noby chopsticks. (laughs)
CN: I find it funny that people tend to take most games very much at face value -- say for example something like Gears of War, which has a complicated and basically ridiculous scenario, but when it comes to your games, people stop taking them at face value and they start to try to think what's the inspiration for it.
Actually, I think, your games are more prone to be taken at face value; they're there to just be enjoyed and that's about it, which is great. I think the gamers tend to take conventional games at face value when they're the complicated, affected sort of thing.
KT: I designed a game which would provoke a lot of thinking, and I really hoped that people that play the game would think about what's the inspiration; what is he trying to express?
That's exactly what I want to do, rather than some superficial entertainment that would just provide a very short entertainment for a period of time. That's not something that I want to create.
MK: And is attempting to inspire people yourself to be creative part of what you're trying to do?
KT: I love to give a lot of inspiration to others, and if that would help to make the world a better place, that's great; that's something that I would want.
MK: So how do you think that would make the world a better place?
KT: (laughs) No money, no financial stress...