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NanaOn-Sha: Changing The World Of Games
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NanaOn-Sha: Changing The World Of Games

December 29, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

And how do you deal -- emotionally, yourselves -- with people getting frustrated when they're probably doing the right thing? Or what they think is the right thing, but is not actually happening for them? Because that seems inevitable with a Kinect game.

DT: Yeah, yeah. Just try not to watch. [laughs] Well, we've done everything we can, given the time available. Like I said, it'd be great if we could put mini-animations in and other things without over-baking the cake, so to speak. Hopefully we'll get a bit more data from the players, and if we make a sequel, we can have a better crack at it next time.

One of our main goals -- from a certain perspective -- was that casual gamers will be able to navigate 3D space, which obviously with a control pad is something which has always difficult. Despite in a few ghosts in the system -- if you'll excuse the pun -- I think we've done a pretty good job with it.

Matsuura-san, a long time you were talking about how you worried that future anthropologists will look back at video games and think that we're just a crazy, violent culture. Have you thought more about that and what steps can be taken to change that? Do you think it's changing or not changing?

MM: Yeah, we are changing. I don't know about the others, but already, we are trying to contribute the OneBigGame project. These kinds of things are not directly connected to anti-violence approaches. We believe that games should contribute much more to society and the community, for solving problems. So I think that these kinds of approaches are really sympathetic for me. I really respect that everyone has started thinking about that.

So in a different way to say, if this kind of trend gets much more successful from now, maybe I think games' treating of violence will not be a big issue for me anymore. So I mean, inside [the game], the original contents -- it doesn't matter. I think the more higher layer -- of the mission of the business, or creators -- still we can have a chance to do much more from now. So that's really interesting to me.

Intellectually, I agree that games should be and should have a wider view and should address more subjects. But personally, I just like playing games where you're a little guy with a sword and you hack everything up. So it's difficult to reconcile this.

As examples, Flower I actually do find fun to play, and Ico is fun to play, but some other games more about a mood, or something, than they are about having a fun gameplay experience; they're like an art piece instead of an entertainment piece.

Do you think those two things can come together eventually?

MM: I don't know. What I just wanted to say was not a complicated thing. What I wanted to say was that layer of the content -- maybe the sword, guns, shooting someone, killing someone -- the basic contents of the game, of course it's a very important layer, but if the benefit from this game, if they can contribute to another purpose -- like charity or something -- that would be a very good thing, I think. So these two layers should be evaluated in separate ways.

I think that this higher layer of the content's meaning is still just coming out, essentially. So last time I talked about these kinds of things, maybe we don't have this kind of layer yet. So I think these kinds of violent games sometimes look great, probably. But if we can have gamification, or some charities, or new possibilities, this kind of game looks a little different for me.

Do you think people will remember these layers, or they'll only see the game in isolation?

MM: Up to the customer, I think. I don't know that we have a way to give some email of our character, something from the developer or publisher. That some developers make a very ugly and violent game, but have the possibility to contribute to a very good purpose, for example.

And maybe the customer doesn't care about what kind of purpose the money will go, but after six months the developer or publisher will send an email to thank that all players contributed to a great purpose for society, for example. Maybe the game player will be surprised to know that, as just [the game] was killing zombies with a soldier, or something like that. But I think that there'll still be these kinds of things as a possibility. It will happen, actually.

For example, in many movies we have a dying episode, or a killing episode. But not so many people think that movie contents include too much violence. But of course in movies, there's not interaction, so just watching is completely different from a game. But still, movies have many violent scenes. And also music has similar kinds of contents. So I think the problem or point is that what kind of economic influence, finally, these kinds of contents make, and also cultural influence, too.

It's interesting that government agencies are getting in to funding positive game projects like OneBigGame. These things are happening in Canada, too. The government is helping games move into a more artistic space, even as other parts of it are putting games down.

MM: You have good government; Japanese government would never do this. [laughs] Just watching.

DT: Well, I don't think the governments are trying to pull games into that space; I think they're trying to fill arts-funded space with more interactive content.

Yeah, that's probably true.

DT: Game developers have the skills to fill that, especially since iPad and iPhone and stuff is coming out, there's a lot more diversity there, so. "Oh, finally, something I can kind of understand!"

Matsuura-san, will you be making any more music of your own outside of games?

MM: [laughs] Sounds impossible.


MM: I don't know, but...

DT: You released Huge Hug through WINtA, didn't you?

MM: Yeah, yeah. It's a very difficult question, because if I make music, always the game -- or connecting a game interaction -- is embedded into my idea. So this is very hard, to divide them.

I guess it does sound impossible, because if you don't want to, obviously it's not going to happen.

MM: [laughs] But still, as you know, we did a music oriented speech. We went to the Sydney Opera House, and we joined the graphic event there. And we did a performance.

DT: We'll also be at Game Masters in Melbourne next year, which looks exactly like the kind of event we were talking about a minute ago, where they're going to try and approach video games from a wider cultural perspective than just "this is Sonic, this is Mario" kind of thing.

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