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  • Japanese developers who care about looking tasteful in public

    Posted on April 24th, 2013 keving 1 comment

    Toshiyuki Takahashi posted on his blog yesterday about his appearance on SegaNama, a Nicovideo live stream hosted by Sega now and again. That’s him on the right, with Sega chief creative officer Toshihiro Nagoshi in the center.

    The photo reminded me of the fact that Nagoshi — the chief creative mind behind the Yakuza series, and a man who frequently shows up in the Japan gaming press to represent his company and comment on issues — has gradually gone more and more…um, what’s the word? Concerned about his personal appearance. He bucks the trend of nerdy Japanese game developers posing awkwardly in Famitsu interviews and actually spends a bit of cash on things like clothes and hairstyling. Here’s what he looked like in 1996, back when he was chiefly known for producing Daytona USA:

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  • Doing Genpei Toumaden the score-thrifty way

    Posted on April 24th, 2013 keving No comments

    I figured out how to embed Nicovideo files into this site again! It’s a world-class party for all of us!

    Genpei Toumaden is one of the most artistic games of the ’80s, one that still resonates with a lot of gamers over there. Impenetrably Japanese in a good way (as opposed to the possession-of-underage-material kind of way), it covers the exploits of the reincarnated Taira-no-Kagekiyo as he tries to recover the three sacred treasures of Japan and defeat his historical nemeses — Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune (the laughy guy who jumps around and throws knives), Benkei (the huge guy), and Minamoto-no-Yoritomo (the last boss).

    It’s trivial to get a high score in Genpei, since the game’s packed with little bugs and exploits you can use to play forever and vex the arcade operator. Instead, some gamers have gone on a quest to finish the game with the lowest score possible, an effort that’s been going on for a couple decades now. (These efforts are further inspired by the fact that a lot of things you’d expect to award you points don’t, such as taking energy-recovery candles and defeating Yoritomo.)

    The human record is more-or-less 8200 points, which has been refined to the point where the ReplayBurners video posted a couple weeks back includes a table of every point in the game where Kagekiyo has the terrible misfortune of scoring some points. With the power of tools, however, the TASser above has brought that down to 5800 points — scoring points only for nabbing the three required treasures, defeating Benkei three times, and slashing a frog. (He claims that he’ll try getting rid of the frog later, but ran into desyncing problems midway this time around.)

    Along the way, he dodges every other major enemy in the game, gets within one candlewick’s length of dying multiple times, and generally makes the numerous denizens of Japanese mythology look like idiots.

    Even if you don’t get what’s going on, you gotta love the music, penned by the incredibly prolific Norio Nakagata.