PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.
CEDEC 2014 Recap
September 5, 2014
CEDEC 2014 (Computer Entertainment Developers Conference) took place in Yokohama, Japan from September 2st~4th, and as always, more than anything, it was a true test of just how my current level of Japanese listening/reading/speaking is going. In summary, I only understood about 50% of everything I saw/heard, which is down from last year's comprehension rate of ~70%
In other words, I need to get on it with Japanese. Seriously.
However, one of the most refreshing things that happened right off the bat was that the first keynote speaker's title (above photo) was "The Power of Story." I am glad that the CEDEC powers that be find value in this aspect of the medium of games.
This year I was able to attend with my Plain Box Interactive game dev partner, Mr. Xin Yang, who was able to secure the IGDA Student Scholarship to attend CEDEC! Great job, Yang! The photo below is us looking uncomfortable as an unknown photobomber fixes his hair behind us.
This year the conference organizers deployed wifi routers at regular intervals. These routers were taped down to regular chairs with conspicuously-placed signs which instructed people not to sit on the chairs. Later on I saw someone sitting on a wifi router chair. I was too chicken to get a photo.
The sign approximately reads, "The job of the Planner~Game Designer." This was a very enlightening talk by Kensuke Shimoda, a veteran of the Japanese Game Industry. There were a lot of great insights about the differences of the Planner and Game Designer, and the topic was discussed in terms of both AAA-level studios and Japanese indies.
Ramen recharge after the 1st day of the conference.
After the sessions on the 2nd day of the conference, I was fairly mentally-tired. I was straining my Japanese to the max and still getting overwhelmed by the beast that is the Japanese game industry. The game industry is a complex and capricious organism. The Japanese game industry is particularly unique. I'm resting the brain for a little while at the nearby mall, but I keep ruminating on what this industry is all about. Of course, it is folly (Boromir, 2001), but I can't help it.
First keynote speech of the 3rd day, Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of the gamed Yakuza game franchise talks candidly about his experience in making these games.
During a session about the production of the Puyo-Puyo franchise (which until this point has passed under my notice), I began to transcribe notes in cartoon-form. The speaker was talking about how to expand an already-huge franchise across various mediums, and that led to the franchise(s cooperation with Red Bull.
It's about 1 in the morning on my last night in Yokohama, and I can hear several women outside who periodically say (in unison, mind you), "Thank you, we'll be waiting for you to come again." It's the sound of the hostesses at the surrounding snack bars seeing the customers out--the sound of Bashamichi at night.
On my last night in Yokohama this time around, I came across an import liquor store while searching for dinner, and thankfully they carried a single bottle of Drambuie. Per the label, it's "The unique blend of aged scotch whiskey, spices, and heather honey," and it's my drink.
I'll be the first to proclaim that I am no connoisseur of any drink, and as far as I know, and I'm the only fool who enjoys drinking Drambuie neat, which further leads me to believe that it is a conventionally bad tasting drink.
But it's my weapon of choice, and I'm glad to have come across a bottle on my last day in this beautiful city.