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Games Honored in Japan’s Media Art Festival

The Media Art Festival in Japan, sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs branch of the government and held at the Media Arts Plaza, has no specific category for vide...
The Media Art Festival in Japan, sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs branch of the government and held at the Media Arts Plaza, has no specific category for videogames, but that didn’t stop a select few titles from winning awards this year. Outside the main categories for animation, manga, and traditional art forms is the fourth “Entertainment” catch-all category, for which everything that doesn’t fall into the other three divisions is eligible. Last year, Nintendo and Square Enix were co-winners of the category for the use of connectivity in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. This year, Nintendo takes the grand prize for the Entertainment category again with Mawaru! Made in Wario, the Game Boy Advance sequel to the game that came here last year as WarioWare: Mega Microgames. (Mawaru will be released early next year in North America as WarioWare Twisted.) The design innovation of using a motion sensor within the cartridge to sense the Game Boy being spun and tilted was what netted Mawaru the prize. Other videogame winners in the Entertainment category included Nintendo’s PictoChat software, built-in to its new DS handheld, and the epic (and expensive) CG intro movie for Capcom’s Onimusha 3. A special prize went to Rakugaki Oukoku 2 (Magic Pengel 2), the sequel to the doodle-based PlayStation 2 game, using an engine developed by Tokyo University researchers. The Agency for Cultural Affairs is particularly susceptible to a unique interface, it would seem.

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