Back on December 12th, I attended the monthly Tokyo Indies meetup. This monthly meeting is open to indie devs in Tokyo to present their current projects, but it’s also open to anyone else who wishes to network with people in the games industry, or even just for fans of games to take a look at some games in development.
As a whole, the event was very interesting. I spent a fair amount of time talking with a game producer, who was giving advice to others who wanted to be game managers about “bossing others around.” All attendees had the freedom to wander the entire venue, talking about various topics, such as projects they may be working on. There were a few games available to demo as well, likely as minor demos or mobile games, but I was unable to try any of them.
During the event, there were several showcases done by developers. The first showcase was a prototype add-on for mobile games. The phone is put in a case, and within the case is a flap that can be placed over the lower section of your phone, simulating buttons for mobile games that utilize this type of layout.
— 東大で登壇したニム式＠ブルガリアコントローラ (@ni26mu) December 9, 2017
I’m not too familiar with mobile games myself, so I cannot vouch for how useful this case would be for mobile games, as I do not know just how common this button layout is. What I can say, however, is that it must be nice to feel actual buttons of some sort for games.
The second showcase was by developers who focused their efforts into game jams. For those who don’t know, a game jam is an event tasking anyone who signs up to create a game within a certain timeframe. Most of these were smaller games, since they were all made for or during Game Jams. Each of these seemed fairly interesting, with some being visual novels, and some being platformers. If you’d like to check out their work, you can do so here.
The third showcase was by far my favorite of the four showcases. Indie Developer Takaaki Ichijo delivered a presentation about indie development as a whole, including why developers should finish making their games despite difficulties that may arise along the way. In addition, he also discussed a game he released in 2016 on Steam, called Back in 1995. If you haven’t heard of it, Back in 1995 is a retro mystery adventure game inspired by classic games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill on the Playstation. Ichijo-san highlighted that his reason for making this game was to revive this rarely-seen genre of games, hoping that other people would do the same and make similar types of games. During the showcase, it was discussed that Back in 1995 is getting released on the Japanese New Nintendo 3DS eShop. While I do not have a Japanese 3DS to support this release, I promised Ichijo-san that I would definitely buy Back in 1995 on Steam.
The final showcase was by an indie dev working on a title called Band Saga, a game described as a “modern Action Roguelike.” It displays a simplistic yet cute art style at first glance, but taking a further look at the game, as we did during the showcase, there is a lot of attention to detail put into this game. As the name may imply, there is a large focus on music within the game, even influencing its animations and mechanics. The game also met a successful Kickstarter some time ago!
This was my second time attending the Tokyo Indies monthly meetups. Both times I attended, I had a very nice time, and saw some very interesting games, no matter if they were newly released or still heavily in production. I highly recommend anyone living in or staying in Tokyo to check it out if you have the time, whether you’re trying to make games, or simply just enjoy playing them!
For more information on Tokyo Indies, check out their website.