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Where is the indie game ofJapan?Conventions and creativities formed bytechnology, distribution, cultureShin Imaiaka.shinim...
Who am I ?● Graduate School of Humanities andSociology, The University of Tokyo● Major:popular music studies, aesthetics,p...
Background:Indie Game Rising● Western Indie Scene○ Internet [Antholopy2012]○ mod tools or engines [星野2007, 新2008]○ GDC, es...
6 traits of doujin/indie games[七邊2009]1. Value(enjoy than business)2. Autonomy(liberty to develope)3. Flexibility(agile de...
Many original high-qualitydoujin games [七邊2011]1. Diversity of creators:jobs, academicbackground, gender2. “Original” titl...
Japanese Indie games haveless presence● BitSummit(2013/3/9):an event forJapanese indie developers.● James Mielke says “Jap...
Why does JIG have lesspresence ?● This question can divide into two parts.1. Really many original high-quality JIG?⇒ (A) H...
(B) Fragmentation ofdistirbutions● doujin conventions or doujin shop⇒ Doujin Games● downloads online⇒ Free Games● Feature ...
(B) plural cultures● Doujin Games○ PC, physical○ ¥ 1000~ ¥2000○ fighting games, visual novels, shoot’em up● Free Games○ PC...
(A) Originality on video gameOriginality of various elements1. Game design2. Visual, Character design, UI3. Story, Theme, ...
(C) Creativity on video gameDiscriminate between originality and creativity.● Originality:newness on each elements● Creati...
Confer[井上2008]
(C) Not originalbut crative games● If each elements have less originality, a videogame can be creative.● Also if oriented ...
Cave Story[開発室Pixel2004]● Indie game classic!● It doesnt have high originality on gamedesign, visual, story, music, etc. ,...
Don’t Look back[T. Cavanagh2009]● Outside JIG● Game design, visual, story, music are allbanal, but the game is creative in...
Hellsinker.[犬丼帝国2007]● Mashup with many game desings of exisitingshoot’em up.● Legendary doujin STG, create followers stil...
Helens Mysterious Castle[さつ2011]● Much material is ready made(RPG makersruntime package).● As result of sophisticated mini...
(C) Creativity of Japaneseindie games● Each elements arent necessarily original.● Rather than the characteristic of JIG is...
(C) Creativity and game play● By comparison with JIG, Western indiegames seem to be original.○ Braid, Minecraft, Fez, etc....
Con. In spite of creativity, thereason why less presenceAesthetics premise:creativity of video gamesmust be actually play ...
Supplement● Comparison examination between Japaneseand Werstern indie game○ Except 2(The PC platform is niche),conditions ...
Reference● 七邊信重(2011)「なぜ多様で良質なオリジナルの同人ゲームが日本で開発されるのか?」デジタルゲーム学研究 5(1), 65-78.● 七邊信重(2009)「持続的な小規模ゲーム開発の可能性」デジタルゲーム学研究 3(2)...
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Where is the indie game of Japan? by Shin Imai

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International Conference on Japan Game Studies 2013@Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studyies 2013/05/26

Published in: Entertainment & Humor, Design

Where is the indie game of Japan? by Shin Imai

  1. 1. Where is the indie game ofJapan?Conventions and creativities formed bytechnology, distribution, cultureShin Imaiaka.shinimai@gmail.com
  2. 2. Who am I ?● Graduate School of Humanities andSociology, The University of Tokyo● Major:popular music studies, aesthetics,philosophy of music, theory of contentsindustry● Job:part-time lecturer, writer about musicand videogame● About indie game○ AGM Blog(Playism)○ interview with developers and columns
  3. 3. Background:Indie Game Rising● Western Indie Scene○ Internet [Antholopy2012]○ mod tools or engines [星野2007, 新2008]○ GDC, especially IGF● Japanese Indie Scene○ Internet [Ito2007]○ RPG Makers[Ito2007],engines and library [三宅2011]○ dojuinshi conventions○ free soft review sites, doujin culture● Both expanded by technology, dituribution(but cultures are a bit different).
  4. 4. 6 traits of doujin/indie games[七邊2009]1. Value(enjoy than business)2. Autonomy(liberty to develope)3. Flexibility(agile development)4. Development speed(short term)5. Distance between dev. and users(close)6. Sales and income(low)⇒ “Possibilities of sustainbale small-scalegame development”● In the same way, Western indie games havethese traits.
  5. 5. Many original high-qualitydoujin games [七邊2011]1. Diversity of creators:jobs, academicbackground, gender2. “Original” titles rather than fan fictions:theresult of restriction by contents holders3. Improvement of games:feedback from usersand developers⇒ “Many original high-quality doujin gamesare developed in Japan”● In the same way, Western indie games havethese traits(except 2, as explained below).
  6. 6. Japanese Indie games haveless presence● BitSummit(2013/3/9):an event forJapanese indie developers.● James Mielke says “Japanese indie gamesdeserve more attatinon along withWesterns.”[ファミ通.com], “There is plenty oftalented indie develpoers in Japan.”[Game*Spark]● However previous studies have shown thatthere is the scene of JIG and many originalhigh-quality doujin games are developed inJapan.
  7. 7. Why does JIG have lesspresence ?● This question can divide into two parts.1. Really many original high-quality JIG?⇒ (A) Halfway YES!2. Despite that, Why does JIG have lesspresence ?⇒ (B) Fragmentation of JIG⇒ (C) Aesthetics problem about Creativity● The following explains (B), after that (A) and(C).
  8. 8. (B) Fragmentation ofdistirbutions● doujin conventions or doujin shop⇒ Doujin Games● downloads online⇒ Free Games● Feature phone network⇒ mobile game before smart phones● As a result fragmentation of the indie gameculture, the core of JIG is unclear.
  9. 9. (B) plural cultures● Doujin Games○ PC, physical○ ¥ 1000~ ¥2000○ fighting games, visual novels, shoot’em up● Free Games○ PC, downloads online○ Free (rarely shareware)○ Mainly J-RPG● Mobile games○ Feature phone(shifted to smart phone)○ Subscribe or pay downloads on wireless carrier○ puzzle, card, casual, J-RPG
  10. 10. (A) Originality on video gameOriginality of various elements1. Game design2. Visual, Character design, UI3. Story, Theme, Motif4. Audio, Sound, Music5. etc...● Hichibes “original” is 3:not fan fiction, but variousstories and themes which arent featured by consumertitles.⇒ Surely YES! JIG is “original” in this sense.● But this isnt necessarily high-quality.
  11. 11. (C) Creativity on video gameDiscriminate between originality and creativity.● Originality:newness on each elements● Creativity:the result of combination witheach elements, holistic assessmentetc ADVSetcgame X=creativeDesign:not originalStory:originalAudioVisualgame Y=not creative
  12. 12. Confer[井上2008]
  13. 13. (C) Not originalbut crative games● If each elements have less originality, a videogame can be creative.● Also if oriented toward exsiting game genrerather breaking new genre, it can be creative.● In this sense, JIG doesnt necessarily haveoriginality, but have high creativity.
  14. 14. Cave Story[開発室Pixel2004]● Indie game classic!● It doesnt have high originality on gamedesign, visual, story, music, etc. ,however surely high creativity.
  15. 15. Don’t Look back[T. Cavanagh2009]● Outside JIG● Game design, visual, story, music are allbanal, but the game is creative in whole.
  16. 16. Hellsinker.[犬丼帝国2007]● Mashup with many game desings of exisitingshoot’em up.● Legendary doujin STG, create followers stillnow.
  17. 17. Helens Mysterious Castle[さつ2011]● Much material is ready made(RPG makersruntime package).● As result of sophisticated minimalist gamedesign, great creativity.
  18. 18. (C) Creativity of Japaneseindie games● Each elements arent necessarily original.● Rather than the characteristic of JIG isstrongly oriented existing game genres.○ J-RPG, visual novels, shoot’em up,fighting games○ Famous titles like TohoProject orHigurashi When They Cry are orientedexisting game genres too.● Creativity can achieves by combination witheach elements.(cf. sampling on music)
  19. 19. (C) Creativity and game play● By comparison with JIG, Western indiegames seem to be original.○ Braid, Minecraft, Fez, etc...○ Oriented toward making new genres.● Unlike originality, creativity of video gamesmust be actually play to be understood.○ How can you explain Cave Story is greatvideo game without actually play?● JIGs “genre oriented” is one of reasons whyJIG have less presence.
  20. 20. Con. In spite of creativity, thereason why less presenceAesthetics premise:creativity of video gamesmust be actually play to be understood.1. JIG are released to niche markets includingthe PC platform.(reason:easy development)2. The PC platform is niche.(reason:popularityof game consoles in Japan)3. Overwhelmingly shortage of palyers.4. Media and critique cannot be grown.5. As the result, in spite of creativity JIG getless attention.
  21. 21. Supplement● Comparison examination between Japaneseand Werstern indie game○ Except 2(The PC platform is niche),conditions and environment are same.○ If 2 change, JIG will gather moreattention.● Quantitative and qualitative research.● Aesthetics discussion.● Important of player and media, critique.
  22. 22. Reference● 七邊信重(2011)「なぜ多様で良質なオリジナルの同人ゲームが日本で開発されるのか?」デジタルゲーム学研究 5(1), 65-78.● 七邊信重(2009)「持続的な小規模ゲーム開発の可能性」デジタルゲーム学研究 3(2), 171-183.● 三宅陽一郎(2011)「日本における同人・インディーズゲームの技術的変遷」デジタルゲーム学研究 5(1), 57-64.● Ito Kenji,(2007)“Possibilities of Non-Commercial Games” in Suzanne deCastell and Jennifer Jenson, eds., Worlds in Play, 129-142.● 新清士(2008)「MOD およびオープンコミュニティについて調査」デジタル コンテンツ制作の先端技術応用に関する調査研究報告書, 265-295.● 星野留美子(2007)「デジタルゲーム・メタクリエイション」季刊政策・経営研究, 1(1), 31-41.● 井上明人(2008)「ゲーム作りの文化のために」日本デジタルゲーム学会2008/9/26● Anna Anthropy(2012)Rise of The Videogame Zinesters, Seven StoriesPress.

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