robertogreco + keitatakahashi   27

Why Katamari Damacy's Creator Left Japan
"On March 18, 2004, Katamari Damacy was released on the PlayStation 2. The game was unlike anything else, and a sequel soon followed a year later. In 2009, Katamari’s creator Keita Takahashi released Noby Noby Boy. A year later, he left Bandai Namco and shortly after that, Japan as well.

I’d always wondered why Takahashi up and left Japan, moving first to Canada and then to the United States. As someone who left his own home country to live abroad, I could understand the desire to reside elsewhere. But why would the man behind one of the most important Japanese games of the 21st century leave the Japanese game industry? (CORRECTION 2:55 pm ET: The previous sentence originally said 20th century. Sadly, Katamari did not exist back then.)

During this year’s BitSummit in Kyoto, I asked Takahashi about his decision and about his experiences as an expat. Even though Takahashi speaks quite good English, he and I conversed in Japanese. Takahashi’s manner was relaxed. His sense of humor was dry and refreshingly blunt. Below are excerpts from that conversation.

“After I left Namco, I got an offer in Vancouver, asking if I wanted to work on an online game called Glitch,” Takahashi said. “I thought there was no reason for me not to go.”

Glitch was a 2D browser game that was launched on September 27, 2011, but shuttered a year later in December 2012. According to Takahashi, the game’s developer, Tiny Speck, started focusing more on a real-time collaboration platform that would ultimately become Slack. Tiny Speck has since been renamed Slack Technologies.

Didn’t you think of getting on the Slack team?

“There’d be nothing for me to do, right?,” Takahashi laughed, “I’m a game designer.”



With the project over, Takahashi decided not to return to Japan, but instead move to the US and began work on Wattam. It is slated for release on the PS4 this year.

When you move to a different country, your ideas of what’s typical, standard or even normal are challenged on a regular basis. It’s not just the food or the language, but the deeper you go into a culture, further differences await that strike at the core of your newfound home.

Now living in San Fransisco, Takahashi mentioned how his son goes to the local school. The experience is not only new for his son, but also for Takahashi. It’s a grade school experience that is vastly different from the one Takahashi had as a child: Kids in America doesn’t carry randoseru like in Japan and aren’t required to learn specific kanji characters each year.

Of course, the United States is different, but with another frame of reference for comparison, those variations are fascinating. And Takahashi seems to enjoy the gaps that exist between the two cultures as well as the universality that joins us all as humans.

“I often wonder why America and Japan were so different,” Takahashi said. “Why are they so different? They are different.”

“Take the YouTube clips of the Kingdom Hearts III reveal,” he continued. “I don’t know if they’re staged or not, but the reactions among Americans are so happy. There is really isn’t anything quite like that in Japan—maybe, just one percent of the reactions in Japan was like that.”

“Americans have much more confidence than Japanese people do. I always wonder where that comes from.”

It’s a mystery, I said.

“I don’t know if this is good or bad, but Japanese people seem to lack self-confidence or are worried about what others think,” said Takahashi.

Of course, I said, Japanese people have confidence in themselves, but they just don’t show that to others.

“I think so, too,” he said. “I guess it’s the differences in the cultures. In America, the teachers don’t get mad, unless the kid is really bad. They praise the children to help them develop. They have so much respect for each individual child. So I think this kind of education has a big impact on society.”



These differences manifest themselves in how people live and work.

“In America and Canada, people really put a clear separation between their work lives and their private lives.”

People in Japan say they often feel compelled to be at the office, even when their work is done to keep up the appearance of work.

“The amount of hours people work in the game industry in Japan and the US is totally different. Of course, the hours are longer in Japan.”

When Takahashi was at Namco, he said he was always working, even during the New Year’s holidays, when the entire country is on vacation.

That’s no good, I said.

“No good at all.”

When did you leave Namco?

“When I made Katamari, I was able to go abroad and everyone liked the game, and I was shown all these games that people made. I could really feel their passion, which I did not feel at all from the people at Namco.”

A passion for game creation?

“Right. They love games and so they make them. So, why do I have to make games for these Namco folks who thinking about money? It was a waste of time. The world is so big. I thought I could make different games. That was the biggest reason.”

So, I guess Namco thinks more about games as product?

“When they merged with Bandai...” The two companies merged in 2006, with Bandai bringing a whole host of IP licenses, like Gundam.

And then, was there less creativity?

“Yeah, and there was internal politics, too. It was all a pain to deal with.”

After all these years outside Japan, I asked Takahashi if he ever planned to return to Japan.

“If I returned to Japan, I don’t think I’d be able to find work.”

Wait. What? No. The guy created Katamari Damacy. Surely he could get a job at a Japanese game company.

Takahashi isn’t convinced. “There would be nowhere I could get work, right? Where could I get a job if I returned to Japan?”

Anywhere, I said. He could work in design, art and a whole variety of fields.

“I don’t think it would be possible,” Takahashi said.

You really should have more self-confidence!

“I don’t have any,” Takahashi replied with a laugh. “I think I’m someone who sticks out from the herd, I have a distinct style and I make games that reflect that. So the moment I quit Namco, I thought I wouldn’t be able to work for a big company in Japan again.”

The decision to leave Bandai Namco was brave but leaving Japan was even more courageous. It’s hard leaving your home country, working in a new environment, navigating a different language and culture. But doing so leads to self-reflection about oneself. Your outlook expands, you learn and you grow. Hopefully. But it can be an uneasy decision to take that big first step.

I asked him if he was worried when he quit Namco.

“Yeah...”

About how it would turn out? I asked.

“I was unsure,” he said. “but I knew that the only option I had was to continue moving forward.” And to do that, he had no choice but to leave."
keitatakahashi  japan  us  sanfrancisco  2019  culture  creativity  imagination  schools  education  confidence  children  parenting  society  canada  work  namco  videogames  katamaridamacy  bandai 
july 2019 by robertogreco
Robin Hunicke Wants to Change Video Games, But She Can’t Do It Alone | VICE | United Kingdom
""As a developer, it's my job to evangelise the games that I think are different, that are doing new things. And when they come out, I want everyone I know to know about them. But it'd be really awesome if we could somehow give away space, or create platforms of promotion, that were just about innovation."

Robin Hunicke knows a thing or two about going against what the gaming public might perceive as the stylistic grain, the marketable middle-ground, sales-numbers safe spaces of play. Having worked on MySims and Boom Blox at Electronic Arts, the San Francisco-based game designer (and professor of game design, at the University of California, Santa Cruz) moved to thatgamecompany, where she produced Journey. Perhaps you heard of it, as it was kind of a big deal.

Journey was a critical and commercial success that arrived without much in the way of how-it-works precedent, playing like nothing most that picked it up had seen before. A multiplayer game in which human-to-human interactions were all but stripped away. A short experience, coming in at under 90 minutes from start to finish, but with lasting, memory-making resonance. A story told only one way, yet left open to all manner of individual interpretation. Journey earned rave reviews and collected all manner of industry awards (dominating the 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards), and broke PlayStation Network sales records."



"Quite where Woorld fits in the wider gaming landscape, though, is hard to get a handle on. This is a new tool, a new toy, for new technology, coming through at a time when augmented reality is enjoying a spell of popularity courtesy of Pokémon Go; but without that kind of massive IP to drive its marketing, merely the wonderfully colourful and somewhat surreal visuals that Takahashi's fans have come to expect, it's not like the game is about to follow in said record-setter's monstrous footsteps. And Robin sees this problem of visibility, of public accessibility and appetite for something left of the expected, not just as a headache for Funomena, but everyone making games outside of the triple-A sphere.

"There are a lot of very different games out there, but as an industry we're not so good at presenting that in our marketing, and our PR, and the stories that we write. And that's what really carries this medium forward – how people perceive it. How many games get covered that are radically different from whatever else is around? How many of them are featured on the front of the online stores? How many are appearing in top ten lists? When your top ten lists are based on sales, and sales are influenced by marketing budgets, you're only rarely going to see a Papers, Please or That Dragon, Cancer, or Firewatch or even The Witness, right up there amongst the most popular games. And I think it's on us to change that.

"Wouldn't it be great if anyone could make the next Minecraft, or the next Journey, or the next Papers, Please? If independently made games keep growing in popularity, and we keep on expanding the marketplace – because there are a lot of people right now who don't play indie games at all – then that'd be amazing. Let's do that."

One way of doing that would be for distribution channels to place greater emphasis on highlighting experiences that are so far from the norm. "Why not have an innovation tab in online stores?" she asks, rhetorically. "Maybe the labels we're using are out of date. What are they, like, twenty, thirty years old?"

Those labels don't just mean "action", "adventure", "puzzle" or "sports"; Robin's talking about the language that flows through every way that the gaming industry presents itself, how it reflects and addresses issues that eat away at its insides.

"I've been to the White House on this initiative called Computer Science For All, and I try to volunteer for it whenever I can. That's full of fantastic people, and the last time I was there I met with the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, and she was talking about Maria Klawe's work at Harvey Mudd, and she's been promoting an idea that when people come into the college, as programmers, they get divided into two groups: people who've already programmed a lot, and people who haven't at all.

"So you have experts, and beginners – two safe communities. It's not about gender, or race, or class – it's about how much experience you have. Then, in both of those groups, unconscious bias is being removed from the learning cycle. In this exercise, you will help the robot move rocks into a pile. That's one version. In this exercise, you will help the robot move the groceries from the kart into the boot of the car. The same exercise, essentially. Then in this exercise, you'll help the girls from Frozen move these snow bricks over here so they can build a castle. Same exact programming. Separate the frame from the exercise, separate the communities into beginner and expert, and they're at parity in six years.

"So let's do that across gaming – separate the gender and the cultural status of developers from their work, and from the way we write about it, and the financing, and the relationship of scale from our evaluation of its innovative qualities, and use better vocabulary. We do all that, and in ten years, we'll have moved very far away from the problems of having to discuss things like gender imbalance in the industry, and towards a situation where our values – the things that we value – are reflected in the things that we write, and the way that we give awards, and the way that we promote.

"I think it's just about living the values that we want to live, and saying the things that we want to focus on, rather than reacting to older labels that may or may not be appropriate. There's always going to be room for great art, and room for new experiences. And, if you invest in those experiences, the chances are that one in ten, or one in twenty, will deliver a really big return, on a level with a game like The Witness, or Journey. But it's impossible for one, small person to really know how we proceed."

Impossible at an individual level, maybe, but Robin's words are essential food for thought for what could, or should, happen on a united front. During our time together I ask for her opinion on how to bring more women into the making and marketing of video games – but as she so neatly elucidates in her answer to me, I'm really speaking to the wrong person. And in many ways, video gaming is constantly asking the wrong questions to the wrong people.

Want to get more women into games? Go and speak to the guys that hold the keys to those positions, not the women knocking on the doors. Want to see more innovative, independent games being played alongside the big-budget shooters and sports sims? Consider why those cover-grabbing games are enjoying such heightened visibility, and if you need to add to their oxygen of hype at the expense of something genuinely new. We could all be better at supporting games-makers who want to progress this medium in all the right ways – through sharing, through inventing, through fun, rather than rinsing and repeating what's known to "work". Robin Hunicke is just one of many people wanting to encourage change in the way we work within and relate to video games, but it's exciting to imagine what'll happen when all of the voices around hers, singing equally inspiring songs, do band together."
robinhunicke  games  gaming  videogames  gamedev  2016  funomena  thatgamecompany  jenovachen  keitatakahashi  computers  compsci  education  learning  play  gender 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Robin Hunicke's extraordinary journey • Eurogamer.net
"Hunicke's path to this moment was unorthodox and unexpected. She grew up near the mountains in Saratoga Springs, New York, close to Vermont. Her mother taught maths and weaved. Her father was a nuclear engineer. They lived on a street alongside 20 or so other families, all with children of similar ages. In the summer Hunicke and her friends would build forts in the forest, and race twig boats in the frothing river. In the winter there were board-games and NES. It was a playful, often idyllic childhood, she recalls. Each summer during high school, Hunicke would be sent to art camp, where she'd paint and build.

One year Hunicke and her father built a grandfather clock. It had been, rather befittingly, her grandfather's project originally. He built the base from African red hardwood then, upon realising the scale of the job, shipped the materials to his son and granddaughter to finish. Hunicke's father ordered the clock mechanism from Germany. The finished clock still lives at her father's house. Every time she returns home she listen to the rounded tock of the mechanism. "It fills me with joy," she says. "I love the experience of seeing something you've made come to life."

Video games were a natural fit for Hunicke's nascent interests, combining her mathematical talent ("At night, when I couldn't get to sleep, I'd count the leaves on a branch out side of my bedroom window," she recalls. "I'd multiply that by the number of branches I estimated the tree to have, and that figure by the number of trees in our yard, then our road, then our town, then our State") and her artistic sensibilities. But she has a magpie temperament. "I was interested in everything", she says. "So when I went to college I made up my major, a combination of fine art, film studies, women's studies and computer science." While at the University of Chicago Hunicke's aptitude for computers earned her a job at a police station where she would schedule the officers on a database system. "I soon discovered that was less fun than working on the computer lab at college so I got a new job managing the Mac lab there." As Hunicke learned more and more computer languages her focus narrowed. She began studying for a doctorate in artificial intelligence.

Video games had, up to this point, played only a supporting role in Hunicke's life. Her first love was M.U.L.E., the Commodore 64 game in which players compete against each other and the computer in a bid for survival, which she'd play at a friend's house when she was 12. "I loved trying to outwit each other and the game at the same time," she recalls. It was only when Hunicke started her PhD in AI, and became interested in adaptive difficulty in video games, specifically Half-Life, that she began hanging out with game-makers."



""I needed a break," she says. Perhaps, but the peak she faced in Bhutan mirrored other towering questions in her life. Was she going to stay in Los Angeles? Was she going to stay in her current relationship? Was she going to continue making games? While ascending the mountain Hunicke met other English-speaking climbers who were also taking a step back to examine their goals and challenges. "It made me realise we are all on a similar journey," she says. "That helped me with imposter syndrome." As she came over the top of the mountain, a burden lifted, she says. Then, when she arrived in Los Angeles, she received a message from an old friend, Jenova Chen: would she like to be lead designer on his new project, a game about a pilgrimage to a mountain where, en route, you meet people who fleetingly join you. "It felt right," she says.

When Hunicke joined thatgamecompany she was the sixth employee. The team was working from a "closet-sized room" and had just completed a prototype of the game, which would later be named Journey, in Flash, in which players were represented as coloured dots. "I supervised the first four player playtest," Hunicke recalls. "We brought people in through different doors so nobody knew it was a multiplayer game. Then we brought them together to discuss what they'd seen. These were just coloured dots that could only move or, if the player hit the space bar, say 'hey!', but people immediately would project emotions and personalities onto the dots they were playing with, calling them the 'mean' one, or the 'helpful' one. That's when I knew the idea was special.""



"Takashi and Hunicke make for a harmonious paring. Both designers have a background in arts and crafts and Hunicke's new studio Funomena, founded in 2012 with her former colleague Martin Middleton, is filled with sand, clay, pipe-cleaners, wire toys and so on. "We often model stuff by hand before putting them in our games," she says. Funomena is currently working on three games, one of which, Wattam, is being directed by Takahashi. Wattam, for which a release date has not yet been announced, reflects the foundations of Hunicke's childhood: playfulness, creativity, collaboration. "Keita's view on childhood and play is similar to mine," she says. "People should make things. We want this game to be more about you as a player than about us as the designers, artists and musicians behind it."

Games that encourage this kind of playfulness rather than than seek to force a specific message are at the core of Hunicke's interest. While she holds up Papers, Please and Cart Life as prime examples of what games can achieve she wants her work to have looser interpretations. "I know people who make films who feel their film has a single interpretation," she says. "But they are rare. The majority of people who write or make films and art are just trying to get something out of them. When it's in the world it's there for everybody to draw what they will from the work. Besides, you can't control the context. For example, art that's made in this moment around Brexit could have a very different interpretation in ten years depending on what happens to Britain's fortunes."

For today's context with its climate of fear and uncertainty, of strongmen on the rise, of nations baring teeth, playfulness is, Hunicke believes, a necessity. "We've been spending a lot of time thinking about mechanics and systems as an industry," he says. "Doing something a little more open is important right now for this difficult, sad and important time. We're having conversations about all of the forces that inform how we behave, and how we sustain our planet. They are crucial conversations. But that needs the counterbalance of playfulness. All of the games I'm working on at the moment are about interacting with others in purely playful ways. I hope they encourage people to help one another, not for what they can get out of it, but just for the sake of it.""
robinhunicke  games  gaming  videogames  gamedev  2016  funomena  thatgamecompany  jenovachen  keitatakahashi  childhood  computers  compsci  education  learning  play 
august 2016 by robertogreco
11 video game trends that will change the future of the industry | Technology | The Guardian
"1. VR with friends rather than alone

2. Physically collaborative games

Virtual reality and its experimental tech contemporaries are exploring new ways to incorporate the body as more than just an anchor to the physical world. As Ghislaine Boddington, creative director of body>data>space, noted in her talk on virtual reality and the “internet of bodies”, the hope for the future is in recognising and augmenting physical bodies in games and play. She offers technologies like programmable gels used with the body in more intimate ways, such as rubbing “gels on to erogenous zones”, allowing partners to “connect together at a distance”.

Boddington also noted the future of physically collaborative and increasingly social spaces in AR, as seen in the very popular Pokémon Go: “Pokémon Go is definitely a collaborative share space. The Pokémon Go site, along with many others, allow the individual to join with the group into the middle, both in a physical and a virtual way.”

Implications of the physical are vast, as Robin Hunicke, co-founder and creative director of Funomena (Woorld, Luna) and previously of thatgamecompany (Journey), noted on the psychological impact of VR brought about by gestural controls, and recognising the capacity of range of movement from players. What does it mean for a player, psychologically, to encourage them to stand tall and strike a powerful pose? What might it mean to force them into a crouched position, to feel small? The necessity of an embodied experience in VR also brings up new questions, such as what the platform offers by way of accessibility.

3. The future of augmented reality

Pokémon Go came to the UK on the third and last day of the conference, and it felt like everyone in Brighton was catching Magikarp and Shellder and Seel and all the other water Pokémon the seaside town had to offer. Had this international hit been available a little earlier, the conference schedule would surely have contained a few more panels about augmented reality. Whether we can expect to see an AR-heavy Develop 2017 will depend on whether Pokémon Go represents the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a one-off success carried by an already successful brand.

Ismail thinks the latter. When asked what he would do with Pokémon Go, he said that he would sell it, and that it hasn’t proven anything about AR itself. “We’re seeing a lot of discussion right now about whether AR just beat VR, and I think that would be a very wrong statement. Like, Pokémon beat VR, that’s for sure, but I guess Pokémon beat everything at the moment. Pokémon beat Tinder and Twitter, which is a big deal.”

Hunicke might not be looking to make the next Pokémon Go, but she’s still interested in the potential of augmented-reality games that “make the world more silly and joyful, and less logical”. One of Funomena’s upcoming games, Woorld, is described as “a hand-held Alternative Reality experience”, a “whimsical, exploratory application” that lets you place virtual objects against the backdrop of your physical environment. Created in collaboration with Google, with art from Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy), this colourful augmented-reality game and sandbox will be available on devices that include Google’s new AR-enabling platform Tango, like the upcoming Lenovo Phab2 Pro.

4. Incremental console updates …

5. The next step for mobile: TV …

6. Sayonara, Steam: the rise of specialised stores

The number of games on Steam is on the rise, and with it, the number of games that go unplayed or unnoticed. Nearly 37% of all registered Steam games go unplayed , and it’s no secret that many indie games – even good, critically acclaimed games – get lost amid a sea of other green lit games.

In light of this, smaller more specialised distribution services are becoming more important. Itch.io, an “indie game marketplace and DIY game jam host” is already hugely popular in the indie scene, offering pay-what-you-want and minimum-pricing models. Just last year, Itch’s co-founder Leaf Corcoran revealed in a blog post about the site’s finances that they had paid out $393,000 to developers. Since then, the platform has only grown and it’s likely that we’ll see more specialised distributors following Itch’s model.

7. The rise of indie studios …

8. Rejecting crunch

Crunch, ie mandatory (and often unpaid) overtime in the weeks or months leading to a game’s release, has long been an issue for this industry. More than a decade since Erin Hoffman wrote about her husband’s experiences of unpaid overtime when working for EA, in an originally anonymous blog post known at the time as “EA Spouse”, crunch is still commonplace in studios of all sizes, and people are still fighting it.

At this year’s Develop, Machine Studios (Maia) founder Simon Roth gave a talk called “Killing the Indie Crunch Myth: Shipping Games Alive”, which began tweet:
People who support crunch are going against 100+ years of data and science. They are the flat earthers of software development.

9. Design that puts feelings first

The design practice underlying Hunicke’s studio Funomena, and the focus of her keynote, is one she calls “feel engineering”. As Hunicke describes it: “Feel engineering is the process by which you create a game backwards from the feeling you want to create in a person forward towards the mechanics and the dynamics of the game itself.” She notes that while feel engineering isn’t easy, due to its time commitment, high cost, and level of emotional investment asked from development teams, it’s worth it. Hunicke speaks to the positive studio culture of feeling-focused engineering, and its contrast to the toxicity of crunch is evident. “The process of making it is so delightful,” she adds. “It’s so much better than anything I’ve ever done.”

We’ve already seen aspects of feel engineering in the mobile market, with games looking to reverse-engineer social situations people already find fun. Haslam outlines how the design of “co-operative shouting game” Spaceteam was inspired by the social experience of playing a board game with friends, an experience its lead designer Henry Smith already enjoyed.

10. Trying – and failing …

11. Feeling twitchy about YouTube and Twitch"
games  gaming  videogames  future  2016  vr  virtualreality  ar  augmentedreality  youtube  twitch  funomena  kickstarter  crowdfunding  indiegames  design  gamedesign  spaceteam  social  collaboration  braid  worldofgoo  steam  itch.io  mobile  phones  smartphones  pokemongo  keitatakahashi  robinhunicke  thatgamecompany  ghislaineboddington  body>data>space  bodies  play  physical  oculusrift  ramiismail  jordanericaebber  katbrewster  pokémongo  body 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Funomena
Funomena is an independent game studio located in downtown San Francisco, California. The company was founded in January of 2013 by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton – two passionate game developers who believe that games can have a positive impact on the world.
funomena  games  gaming  gamedesign  robinhunicke  keitatakahashi  sanfrancisco  martinmiddleton  vikramsubramanian  chelseahowe  charliehuguenard  bencerveny  austinwintory  kelleesantiago  videogames 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Keita's Quick Ideas | Glitch
"Keita Takahashi came up with nearly 200 ideas for enhancing the gameplay in Glitch. They were all lovingly documented and illustrated in the company's internal wiki. This section contains all of those ideas!"

[via: http://www.uvula.jp/post/49401910693/my-almost-all-silly-ideas-that-came-up-with-for ]
glitch  gaming  games  design  ideas  keitatakahashi  videogames  play  srg  edg 
may 2013 by robertogreco
in Vancouver - コミニー[Cominy] / ブログ
"I started serializing about life and game development at Vancouver in the Famitsu blog. That blog has written by English and Japanese. I'm glad if you are interested in it." —Keita Takahashi

[Here: http://www.uvula.jp/love-letter-from-canada ]
keitatakahashi  cascadia  vancouver  britishcolumbia  canada  blogs  bc  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Gamasutra - News - Interview: 'Intuition' Led Keita Takahashi To Tiny Speck's Glitch
"…he decided to join Tiny Speck's team for one simple reason: "It was intuition. I just like Glitch!"

Butterfield added, "Keita told me that one of the reasons he wanted to work on Glitch was that there are no console developers, platform issues, & no publishers. There are fewer hoops to jump through;"…Takahashi confirmed.

As for Takahashi's role on Glitch, Butterfield said that even though the game has been in development for over a year, much of that time was spent on technology & platform development, & Takahashi joined just in time to add some of his own unusual flair to the game's design.

"Going forward, Keita will be a part of [Glitch's] core game design. We'll also start working on mobile apps which aren't Glitch itself, but which tie into it – mini-games that tie into the big game that help you progress. Also we'll have apps that are not quite games, but are more like toys, that have people doing creative stuff, like making art, that will tie back into the game."
glitch  tinyspeck  keitatakahashi  stewartbutterfield  2011  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Working With Your Heroes: Welcome Keita Takahashi | Glitch Blog
"Everybody has heroes. Some are fortunate enough to have a chance to meet their heroes face-to-face. And some have the exceptional fortune to work directly with one of their heroes on a shared goal. And … that’s us!…

A few months ago we were lucky enough to start talking to him [Keita Takahashi]. We played some Glitch together, batted ideas back and forth and found that we shared the same values — deep beliefs in curiosity, humor, absurdity, and above all a belief in the positive power of play.

It was like talking to an old friend and it did not take long before we decided that we had to work together. So, a little over a week ago Keita and his family packed up and moved from Tokyo to join the team at Tiny Speck in Vancouver.

Even though we’re starting to get used to the idea, it’s still a huge thrill and a significant honor to be able to say: we get to work with Keita Takahashi! Glitch’s awesomeness will continue to increase."
keitatakahashi  glitch  tinyspeck  2011  heroes  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Electric Dreamers on Vimeo
"Short documentary film shot at NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc in March 2010 in Tokyo, Japan. Features interviews with the genius creator of the Katamari and Noby Noby Boy video games, Keita Takahashi, and the man behind the strange and wonderful Muscle March, Shinya Satake.

Following Keita Takahashi's departure from NAMCO BANDAI in autumn 2010, the film was never released, but we were pleased with how it turned out and NAMCO BANDAI have kindly given me permission to show it here."
keitatakahashi  games  gamedesign  katamaridamacy  nobinobiboy  nobynobyboy  namcobandai  shinyasatake  sculpture  brianholmes  musclemarch  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
All about playground session in GameCity - uvula
"The overview of my concept has not changed since the beginning of this project. It is to create something that anyone can play with, kids, adults, dogs. But the way 3 years old kids would play is very different from 5 years old. Besides that, who to play with is also a big element that changes the way they play. For example, they would play more safely with parents, while they would play more adventurously with other kids. I designed the equipments considering such things, although I am not sure if my designs fully reflect them. As a result, I think the design has become something very simple and familiar, while respecting the plays which already exist.

Now, I will introduce each of the equipments."

[Now here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/555294/uvula_archive/posts/2010/11/all-about-playground-session-in-gamecity.html ]
playgrounds  design  keitatakahashi  play  competition  children  dogs  equipment  toys  games  gaming  gamedesign  animals  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
in the Japanese Embassy of London - uvula
"public place, part of all of our lives, where children & adults can gather & discover something exciting…playground…

I don’t intend to create something game-like, electronic or high tech…what I want most from the park is for it to be a space for children & adults (dogs or squirrels too) to be able to play, although it might be a little bit dangerous…

this might seem harsh, but I think it would be great if we could take ‘video’ part out of ‘video game’. Now the term ‘game’ thought about simply is too restrictive so we could change it further to mean ‘play’. To put it another way, ‘play’ is another word for ‘fun’…

So what is the meaning of the existence of games? Is it merely something for passing the time? an instrument for eliminating stress? a business? Because it is a thing that can make people happy, by playing them, by making them, & even more so, by broadening our perspectives, they can make the world a more enjoyable & at the same time more peaceful place to live."
keitatakahashi  play  games  videogames  learning  experience  nobinobiboy  nobynobyboy  perspective  happiness  well-being  playgrounds  gamedesign  discovery  gaming  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
uvula [Keita Takahashi's new blog]
"We mainly work with music and video games. However we have recently started designing a playground. We want to widen our horizons. So we would be glad to make something new with you. Thanks."
katamaridamacy  keitatakahashi  glvo  partnerships  music  videogames  design  japan  blogs  play  playgrounds  making  creativity  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
An interview with Keita Takahashi : The Setup
"MacBook Pro…w/…anti-glare display…

My music player is an iPod. It is an old model w/ blue-white LED backlit display. The capacity is only 20GB, but I love the design so I keep using it…

This year, I bought a digital camera after waiting 7 years…DSC-HX5V. It has a stereo microphone & GPS, & can take so-so movies & photos. I am moderately satisfied…

My vacuum cleaner is a Numatic Henry (Green). It is the vacuum cleaner I always yearned for. I was dreaming of it when I graduated from university, & bought it with my first salary…

My refrigerator is a SHARP SJ-XW44S. The door can be opened from either the right or left. Cool…

Basically, I don't use especially impressive software…

Until several years ago, my main web browser was OmniWeb. So, I bought OmniFocus to try it. I learned I was not well suited for such kinds of GTD software…

What would be your dream setup?

A big house with a vast garden. A miraculous notebook that enhances my ideas. That's perfect."
keitatakahashi  software  media  design  games  gaming  hardware  interview  computing  simplicity  mattescreens  vaccuum  ipod  refrigerators  gtd  omnifocus  thesetup  2010  usesthis  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
notgames
"This is Keita Takahashi. I became a freelancer in October. I want to continue fun activities and help somebody with fun people of the world along with my wife who is a composer."

[original: http://www.uvula.jp/2010/09/blog-post.html]
keitatakahashi  partnerships  fun  games  gaming  gamedesign  glvo  work  freelancing  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Noby Noby Boy [iPhone] - Perfect absurdity! Please download + save the world from boredom!! | CreativeApplications.Net
"The long awaited Noby Noby Boy from Keita Takahashi is now available in the AppStore. We wrote about it few times in the past, most recently only few days ago with the release of wonderful videos but now we can finally immerse ourselves in the wonderful world Keita has created. What first started as a PS3 downloadable, described as a virtual playground than a game (fingergaming), Noby Noby Boy puts players in control of a stretchable, snake-like creature that can devour objects in the world around him."
nobynobyboy  nobinobiboy  keitatakahashi  iphone  applications  games  gaming  videogames  ios 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Noby Noby Boy's Keita Takahashi Interview | PS3 | Eurogamer
From page three: " I don't think that the problem comes form the game missing any objectives. I think that it is simply just not fun. I think we can make fun games without any objectives in it. So this all because of my lack of ability...
keitatakahashi  nobinobiboy  nobynobyboy  videogames  humility  iphone  games  gaming  applications  ios 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Born for Wii: Katamari Damacy - Nintendo Wii Fanboy
"A port of the original Katamari Damacy with a reworked control scheme would be right at home on the Wii, especially at a competitive budget price point."
games  gaming  videogames  nintendo  wii  katamaridamacy  keitatakahashi 
june 2008 by robertogreco
INTERVIEW: Playtime with Keita Takahashi : Next Generation
"Fittingly for a man who doodles incessantly while he talks, Takahashi’s presentation is conducted live on his MacBook’s desktop: he draws, manipulates tiny windows showing short slapstick videos, and toys with Google Earth. His unorthodox methodologies and unusual topics of discussion all make an acutely relevant point: everything is a game to this man. In a rather lengthy analogy, he compares his obsessive quest to obtain Miffy-branded paraphernalia via a sticker-collecting promotion to leveling up your character in an RPG."

'noby' = ‘stretch’ & ‘free’, can also = ‘postpone’

[Now at: http://www.edge-online.com/features/interview-playtime-keita-takahashi

Now gone, so Waybacks for both:
https://web.archive.org/web/20071130162218/http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8107&Itemid=2
https://web.archive.org/web/20140704183408/http://www.edge-online.com/features/interview-playtime-keita-takahashi/ ]
videogames  games  gaming  gamedesign  philosophy  design  presentations  lifeasgame  keitatakahashi  glvo  gamechanging  playgrounds  nobinobiboy  nobynobyboy  katamaridamacy  play  life  creativity  uk  nottingham  culture 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Nobi Nobi Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Nobi Nobi Boy (のびのびBOY) is a game in development exclusively for the PlayStation 3 video game console by Keita Takahashi of Namco Bandai, creator of the Katamari Damacy series. One of the meanings of "Nobi" is "stretch" in Japanese."
art  design  games  gamedesign  play  videogames  gaming  keitatakahashi  katamaridamacy  nobinobiboy  nobynobyboy 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Wonderland: Keita Takahashi's GameCity presentation
"He began by apologising for having agreed to do a keynote, because he's shy and doesn't do well in public, and he followed by putting on gentle sounds of water and birds tweeting, "to calm us";. Then, using a combination of Edgies and Desktastic (this is why macs pwn windows/powerpoint for presentations), he took us through a number of stories: how his favourite Havaiana flipflops broke at the thong, which is a bad omen. "Maybe my plane will crash"."
games  videogames  design  presentations  humor  glvo  gamechanging  storytelling  stories  creativity  introverts  introversion  play  imagination  keitatakahashi  nobynobyboy  katamaridamacy  nobinobiboy  gamedesign  nottingham  lifeasgame  intorverts 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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