Documentary - The Untold History of Japanese Game DevelopersDamien Djaouti | 06-10-2014 | 16:08

As the title implies, The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers is a documentary about Japanese game developers. Originally, John Szczepaniak, a video game journalist, went to Japan in order to write a book about this topic (still in the works). During this trip he also filmed his interviews and encounters, which gave birth to a 4 hours long video documentary now available on DVD:



This documentary follows John Szczepaniak's journey, with video segments featuring different materials such as: interviews with video game creators, visits to collectors and historian, a trip to the Tokyo Game Show and in front of the old offices of Konami and Hudson Soft, alongside with a shopping session at Akihabara and Nakano Broadway. The interviews of Japanese game developers features both famous (Streets of Rage, Alex Kidd, Strider, Pac-Land, Solomon's Key) and unknown titles: many RPGs never released outside of Japan, images from lost DECO Cassette games like Flash Boy, amateur video games created by Yuzo Koshiro, and unreleased games created by students during their internship at Hudson Soft. The journalist have also met with game enthusiasts holding impressive games, books and magazines collections, who showed him rare pieces like a "choose your own adventure" book about Metal Gear Solid or the prototype of a MSX computer. Last but not least, the interviews with games creators highlights many game design related documents, such as preliminary artworks, game design bibles, or even in-house tools, such as a graphic design tool pictured below, created by Toru Hidaka and used by Enix to create their RPGs:


Enix inhouse graphic tool by Toru Hidaka


While the production of this documentary is a bit amateurish (many passages are filmed with a shaky camera, sound is sometimes hard to hear, and the DVD is lacking subtitles for non-english speakers), this film remains a passionating and deeply entertaining journey inside the Japanese video game industry of the 80-90's. Featuring catchy music by Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage), this DVD allows us to discover unique information about titles we grew up with, and it also finally let us put a face on the name of the people who created those great games. Despite a high price (40£, so about 67$), this movie is highly recommended to any video game history enthusiast, as its rich contents will undoubtedly trigger a lot of positive emotion inside the heart of any game collector or oktaku. This movie is only available to buy on Internet, directly through his official website.

Category : History of videogames, | Keywords : japan, history, documentary,
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