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If You Had Fun, You Won

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Lately, I’ve had to go on a lot of international business trips and when it’s time to go, I always think about how I’m going to entertain myself on the flight. I’ve got DVDs to watch on my laptop! Books! And of course, I want to make some progress in the games I’m playing.

In this particular case, I decided I wanted to play Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the Gameboy Advance. 暁月 is written as akatsuki or dawn and 円舞曲 is written as enbukyoku or minuet. It’s a great and transparent title… like you’re already dead.

This is a Castlevania game, a series which has found new life ever since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night released on the Sega Saturn. I’ve always had fun with the action in these games so I knew they wouldn’t betray my expectations now!

It had been awhile since it launched… Maybe a year or so, but even though it was on my mind, I still hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it yet so this seemed like a good chance. My mind was made up. Let’s buy that game!

But… It seemed like all of the online retailers were out of stock. It couldn’t be helped I guess, so I stopped by the stores near the office. Nothing. I planned on killing some time at first, but when I saw they were out of stock it just fanned the fire and I wanted the game even more. Before I knew it, I was going around searching for the game whenever I had the opportunity.

And then it happened. I found it in Osaka! They had one copy at a certain large volume retailer in front of Umeda Station.

I could hardly contain my excitement or the smile on my face. I needed to calm down. Grabbing the game and running to the register is something a child would do but I had to play it cool. I’m just going to maintain a poker face and take a little look around at the other games available to cool down. So I gently hid the target with a copy of Prince Mackaroo and took an aimless stroll. What’s that…? It looks like there are some people poking around my hiding spot. Don’t touch that game! If I see you so much as look at that game! … In the end I was able to buy the game without an issue.

So the lead in for this one was a little long, but let’s get to the main topic. Things and products have a value attached to them that can’t be seen but is still important. Price is considered the standard for what the value of something is. In other words, how much does the game cost? However, the true value of something varies from person to person depending on how they feel toward it. We can’t just replace price as an indicator of value though. Our viewpoints, ways of thinking, situations, and what we know all vary greatly.

I’ve been paying attention to some of the things posted on various forums around the web and I’ve noticed that there are people who feel inclined to lower the value of things. They don’t necessarily have anything to gain but are just causing harm. It’s a shame.

At least for me as a game creator, I enjoy games from the bottom of my heart. Saying they’re just fun is an oversimplification though. If you can feel a creator’s passion, hard work, and skill, and respect what went into making something, then that will raise its value to you as well!

Value is based on your own experience and the happiness it brings you, so I think that internal element is a big part of what something’s value is. Compared to that, how interesting a product itself actually is, is less of a factor. For example, having a story to tell you all about searching for a game is factored into that game’s value.

Overall, If you had fun, you won. Are you jealous of me having fun and leaving it at that? Are ya?

Looking Back

Sakurai:  This was actually a story I was writing about before GDC, right?

Interviewer: Oh, is that so?

Sakurai: When I was a kid I would go buy games at the store, put them in the basket on my bicycle, and celebrate as I brought them home. Lately, though, I’ve been buying games online. You just pay with a credit card and it’s delivered right to your door before you know it. That fun I had as a kid is disappearing but it’s so convenient nowadays. I can’t quit.

Interviewer: It is pretty convenient, isn’t it? If it’s a game I didn’t preorder or think I won’t have any trouble buying then I usually walk to the store and buy it.

Sakurai: You’re the editor of a game magazine so I figured publishers were sending you games or that you could just borrow them from the editorial department. I guess it’s not quite like that after all.

Interviewer: That’s not to say it’s not the case sometimes, but it’s rare. As a game magazine editor, I’m always playing games so when a new game I want comes out, I enjoy going to the store and picking it up. It makes it kind of painful when there isn’t a game shop close to the office though.

Sakurai: Enterbrain is located near the Imperial Palace and Yasukuni Shrine right? That is a bit out of the way…