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Artikel mit dem Stichwort ‘HORII Yūji’

The Note: Author’s tool, author’s weapon

Donnerstag, 15. November, 2012

In a series of interviews from Cloud Message1 A promotion compilation book from late 2008 covering several then upcoming Square Enix titles with art, game screenshots, interviews and preview articles for these games., the interviewed creators were asked to give an item they frequently use for their work, one that would characterize their work. Final Fantasy scenario writer Kazushige NOJIMA chose a note book which he uses to write down ideas for his stories. Obviously it truly symbolizes the work of the author and from the title of his 2009 game Sakura Note we can tell how important the note is for NOJIMA as the canvas of the stories he writes. The note probably holds similar importance to most people involved in writing, may they write games, or more traditional word based media like novels or comics. Same is actually true for other artists working with the pen, like the artists of comics for example.

Editor TORISHIMA tells freelance writer HORII about the game programming contest at Enix.

Contest Winners

Games originally didn’t even need any writing so it is no surprise that some of the writing expertise used in games borrows from earlier media like comics. Yūji HORII, one of the few game writers broadly known by name in Japan and the inventor of Dragon Quest, started his career as a freelance writer for the manga anthology magazine Weekly Boys‘ Jump. He also was an aspiring programmer and when an ad for a game programming contest ran by Enix was placed in Jump, HORII entered with a tennis game and won one of the three awards. Another award winner, Kōichi NAKAMURA, was to become at first HORII’s rival and later his partner on later games published by Enix, among them Dragon Quest. Jump editor Kazuhiko TORISHIMA, who had told HORII about the contest at Enix, was coaching Akira TORIYAMA at the time, the author of the immensely popular Jump series Dragon Ball, and TORISHIMA suggested that TORIYAMA should do the character and monster designs for the new game Dragon Quest. So two of the key figures that contributed to Dragon Quest’s success were of Jump descent and it was Jump writing and Jump art that would define the series. In a way, Jump was the cradle were Dragon Quest was born.2 From the 1990 Making of Dragon Quest manga by artist Shōtarō ISHINOMORI and writer Hiroyuki TAKIZAWA.

Meeting Akira TORIYAMA

So games and comics aren’t that far divorced in their subject matter and style and I want to compare two works from recent years of these two fields in their treatment of the note as a symbolic item. The worlds in Jump stories are often completely original and fantastic, but when they are set in the real world something quite normal becomes attributed with magical powers or takes on a fantastic dimension. In Yūgi-Oh, trading cards not unlike the ones used by the young readers of Jump summon real magical creatures. Soccer players in manga may use trick shots not unlike the spectacular hissatsu waza (special moves) of fantastic martial artists. And Hikaru is trained in the game of Go by the ghost of his deceased grandfather.3 Hikaru no Go is a collaboration by writer Yumi HOTTA and artist Takeshi OBATA, who would later also draw Deathnote and Bakuman. (mehr …)

  1. A promotion compilation book from late 2008 covering several then upcoming Square Enix titles with art, game screenshots, interviews and preview articles for these games. []
  2. From the 1990 Making of Dragon Quest manga by artist Shōtarō ISHINOMORI and writer Hiroyuki TAKIZAWA. []
  3. Hikaru no Go is a collaboration by writer Yumi HOTTA and artist Takeshi OBATA, who would later also draw Deathnote and Bakuman. []

Electric Pinocchio V: The Mute King

Mittwoch, 1. August, 2012

In the previous installments I illuminated different kinds of Geppettos and Pinocchios: creator and puppet, creator and robot, game creator and game character, parent and child, player and player character, bildungsroman and reader, game and player…

The Beginning of Dragon Quest

In this installment we will look at another one of these pairs: king and hero, as portrayed in Dragon Quest, the starting point of the Mario myth turned JRPG. The hero, being an avatar for the player, is mute, so the player can give him his own voice. The king on the other hand, being the most important non-player character (NPC), does talk. The function of the NPCs is to tell the player what to do, they are the voice of the game creator(s) explaining how the game is played, the king being the first one the hero meets in the original Dragon Quest (1986).

The king also commands the most authority, obviously, and can both save your progress and also tell you how much experience points you and your fellow party members need to reach the next level of your bildungsroman. In the Mother games (1989-2006) by ITOI Shigesato, where the Dragon Quest formula is transferred to a contemporary setting, the king in this function is replaced by an absent working father only reachable over the phone; in the later DQ games christianity-esque priests (fathers) serve these functions.

But at the end of their quest of becoming the legendary hero, the heroes themselves get to marry the princess and are crowned king. The hero of the sequel Dragon Quest II (1987) being their son. Finally in Dragon Quest III (1988) we get to play as the original hero Roto (or Erdrick, as he was called in the early NES Dragon Warrior translations), that served as a role model for the hero in DQI. In game he ends up being named what the player chose to name him, sent off by his mother to go out into the world and to again fulfill the king’s missions:

(mehr …)