I've emerged from my recent frolic through second-childhood where I played and savored chef d'oeuvre music/rhythm games PaRappa the Rapper and Gitaroo Man. (Spoiler alert) The moment in Gitaroo Man when U-1 lays down his guitar and refuses to fight Kirah, followed by their overdriven guitar duet of The Legendary Theme, is one of my favorite moments in any video game. Music, narrative, gameplay, and character all come together in one rousing and resonant instant. Yes it's a silly, poorly stitched together, cliché-ridden story with giant logic gaps. No matter. It's magic.
Before I move on for good--I'm now playing No More Heroes, which is WAY beyond moving on; it's more like landing on an alien planet--I want to draw attention to a couple of items. First, a rare interview with Masaya Matsuura, creator of PaRappa and head of the pioneering music game development house NanaOn-Sha. Among other things, Matsuura talks about his creative reunion with PaRappa artist Rodney Alan Greenblat to create a new music game for the Wii. See? Sometimes prayers are answered.
Unfortunately, the Gamasutra interviewer dominates the session with a few too many of his own observations, but Matsuura manages to squeeze in a few thoughts on the Japanese market:
We have to keep increasing the chance to make more unique titles, but for us it's getting much more difficult because the game market -- especially in Japan -- is still very conservative. Many people know that the DS has very unique titles, like Brain Training, or something like that, but it's not for younger-aged market. It's kind of older people, like me. So, about the young aged market: still very conservative. So these kinds of things are very important for us.
...we have to focus on the worldwide market simultaneously. At the start of development, there are many developers that don't have to care about the overseas market, because the Japanese market is powerful enough to keep their business. But, now it's not so powerful. Actually, the offers to make new game titles are getting increased from the overseas publishers...So we had to think about American kids or European kids... (laughs)
All very interesting. But if you visit the NanaOn-Sha website, more precious treasures await. There you will find the following credo under "What is NanaOn-Sha?"
The concept of NanaOn-Sha distills into ‘Shaping Fun’.
Unfortunately, it is not the case that the world is overflowing with fun experiences. However, real fun only comes when people come together with an honest desire to enjoy themselves.
NanaOn-Sha wishes for a world overflowing with fun, and to that end we work day by day creating products that can bring smiles to anyone, and any society.
And if you play the accompanying flash movie, at the end of the 1-minute sequence appear the following words:
It's been said that
'Creative activity is like lighting a match in the pouring rain.'
Singing with a happy colorful umbrella,
NanaOn-Sha will continue to burn the flames of inspiration
For the next generations
Do you suppose they have any openings?
image from artist Rodney Greenblat's website Whimsyload