[In this editorial, IGF Chairman and Gamasutra publisher Simon Carless explains why Tokyo Game Show's new 'Sense Of Wonder Night' is an important event to showcase game innovation in Japan - and why Western indies should consider submitting games.]
You may recall that, on sister weblog GameSetWatch, we mentioned
Tokyo Game Show's new 'Sense Of Wonder Night'
a few weeks ago.
Well, I wanted to revisit it and make sure all our readers were aware - because it's an admirable goal and an event I hope some Westerners will be submitting their games for.
There's always been a need to highlight elements in games that are, well, different. In the West, it's good we have an increasingly rich history of doing so via events such as Jon Blow's Experimental Gameplay Workshop
at GDC - or the indie festivals such as IGF and Indiecade. And, come to that, with media outlets who are interested in focusing on the alternative.
So I think that Sense Of Wonder Night - which will be on Friday, October 10th at 6pm at the Tokyo Game Show
venue, Makuhari Messe in Tokyo - is an explicit attempt to do something similar in terms of showcasing innovation in Japan.
The titles will be showcased to creators and attendees of one of the biggest game shows in the world - many of those whom don't normally get to see such titles. And this is important, given issues with sticking to genre formulas or over-rigid thinking are just as prevalent in the East as the West.
Since it was first announced, I (acting as publisher of Gamasutra/Game Developer & chairman of the IGF) have signed up to be on the screening committee for the event, alongside some interesting existing judges such as Katamari Damacy
creator Keita Takahashi, Enterbrain's Kenji Sugiuchi, who oversees the RPG Maker
series, and the IGDA's Kiyoshi Shin. Why? Because I do think it's an important event in terms of showcasing alternate games and game ideas.
Some obvious information - the deadline for submitting your game prototype or completed game is August 31st - full information is on the official website
The event is intended to "...shine the spotlight on game developers who are seeking new possibilities of expression through the medium of games and will serve as a vehicle for a new style of presentation that broadens the possibilities of games."
Their explanation of what they want to see: "The games that we are looking forward to considering for presentation will be demos of prototypes, games with experimental elements that have already been released or that are planned for release, and games developed by students who have hit upon something out of the ordinary."
"There will be no distinctions made whatsoever between professionals and amateurs. We welcome submissions of games created by small venture businesses as well as doujin games developed by individuals."
If you're selected, then you get a Tokyo Game Show 2008 Business Day ticket and TGS Forum invitation ticket, which allows you to see the full show itself.
Now, obviously, one issue here for indies is that visiting Tokyo - flight, hotel - isn't cheap. But if you're a large enough company or can find ways around the cost issues, it's absolutely worth considering.