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Taro Omiya
Experimental indie game developer and a #OneGameAMonth challenger. よろしく!
Experimental indie game developer and a #OneGameAMonth challenger. よろしく!

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Apologize, haven’t blogged in a while.  Let’s see if we can fix that in the near-future.  Anyways, just testing this out for now.

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Imagine that you’re going to attend your first math class. You’ve asked everyone you trust about math, and they’ve told you that you need to be good at English before entering. And you’ve studied everything you can about English. You’re prepared; you can…

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Anpanman, the inspiration of One-Punch Man

Note: this is a cross-post from a Facebook post I made. Seeing that my Facebook timeline is being filled with a lot of One-Punch Man‘s existential crisis, I should probably talk about Soreike! Anpanman (それいけ!アンパンマン), a show I grew up with and what…

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The Tragedy of Racism in Japanese Media

Warning: racism will be openly discussed in this post. In a podcast earlier, there was a mention of black face appearing in the Dragon Ball Z anime, which the US localization team did their best to cover. The brief discussion about it being racist left me…

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Today, I want to talk about heavy topics and how it relates with my anti-censorship beliefs. As a warning, I’ll be discussing about domestic abuse, and make very brief mentions of rape. With Ludum Dare 33 over, and our Tech Valley Game Space stream…

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In retrospect, I'm really glad I didn't grind anyone during Steve Jobs' passing. I may not have liked his company's product, (and consequently thought his motto -- bringing high quality technology to common people -- was noble but poorly executed) but there were a ton of people who cared, who saw him not as a celebrity but a visionary, a role model, maybe even a mentor. For all the ills I perceived of Mr. Jobs, I too, understood what an effect he had in the world, and was thankful for that.
Yesterday, Satoru Iwata's -- head of Nintendo -- death was announced (edit: age 55, lost to cancer. Not unlike Jobs.). I think a lot of people see him either as a celebrity, or a symbol of Nintendo, and I'm fine with that. Personally, I know he was a businessman, and a former programmer who simply followed instructions other game designers gave to make their products. Yet, he was also a role model to me, one who spoke strongly against the stagnation of the gaming industry. He was the loudest in championing gameplay over graphics; he argued that making games only for gamers will doom us the same way the comic industry fell into obscurity (until recently that is); he flat out stated the console war is not worth fighting for, and lead the world's most well known video game company into making game controllers more accessible. The motion controls and touch screen on your smartphone? You've got Nintendo to thank for making them popular.
But ironically, it wasn't the sad fan art depicting his death or path to heaven that got me. I guess I can easily put up with the thought that someone is no longer there. It seems like a very natural thing to me. No, I burst into tears when I read Shigesato Itoi's incredibly optimistic letter that summarizes that Iwata never left. He's right. Today, more people are playing games than ever before. They might not call themselves gamers, heck, all they might be playing is Solitaire and Candy Crush, but their devotion to said games are really telling. More people than ever today value games as more than time wasters, and I think we have Iwata to thank for that. His vision, much like Steve Jobs, is now.
Edit: song is a remix from Earthbound, an old Nintendo cult-classic well-known to have a rocky development history, and yet, the largest online game fanbase. Legend has it that after 4 years of development and nothing much to show for, Iwata swooped in to the rescue, leading the development team to start over from scratch and finish it in 6 months. As a programmer, this is an unthinkable, monumental task, yet here we are today.

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From Shigesato Itoi, about Satoru Iwata's passing:

In any farewells, all you have to say is "See you again".
Friends see each other again.
There's nothing strange about it.
Yes. See you again.

I heard that you are going on a long journey.
It was supposed to be in the far future.
You never said it in words, but wearing your best outfit, you were saying "Sorry for it to be so sudden".

You always looked after somebody instead of yourself.
As such friend, maybe this journey is your first time being selfish.

To be honest, I still don't really believe anything.
I feel like you'll be sending me email to ask for lunch.
Just like always, you can call me and ask "If you have some free time".
Of course, I can always ask you too.

Anyway, "See you again".
You can call me anywhere, anytime, and I'll be calling you too.
There are things I want to discuss, and good ideas I want to tell you.

See you again.
No, we are seeing each other right at this moment.

Shigesato Itoi is a celebrity, and a talented Copywriter in Japan.  He has worked with Satoru Iwata on the Earthbound series.

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For quite a long time, Device 6 has been my absolute favorite mobile game.  Now, though?  I think Square Enix's lesser known JPRG, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix (TWEWY) tops it.  It's so easy to get cynical with mobile games being shallow and unengaging, especially when Square Enix ports classics to the mobile and completely botches it.  But TWEWY is a feast, something that compels you from the very beginning and isn't afraid to shake the formula every 30 minutes.  There's always something new to look forward to in the game, and throughout its 10-20 hour gameplay, it never lets you go.

One thing I find so amazing about this game is as the player, I'm compelled to experiment and change my play style even when the game doesn't ask me for it.  It's a JRPG where I feel like grinding isn't some monotonous task, but an opportunity to test that new thing I just picked up minutes earlier.  It's so fitting that the game takes place in Shibuya, because you'll be changing your equipments a lot in this fashion-conscience district.

I highly recommend this game.  I don't care if you think the $18 price tag is too expensive, or that you think mobile games are terrible.  Heck, I still don't care if you think the game has too much text (there's a lot of text to go through in the beginning, and unfortunately that doesn't wittle throughout the game), or the Japanese themes don't appeal to you.  This is an amazing game that deserves more attention, especially on a platform that needs a shake-up.  It is worth more than $18 in my eyes, and I'll gladly donate to the in-app purchase items because it's that awesome.

I should share more often here.

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I’m back with a Ludum Dare game, this time for the Compo (solo development challenge)! After a lot of programming, grumbling, stress, and complaining the graphics is not pretty enough, I have Star Drill Ultra, a Star Fox-inspired space combat adventure…
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