Hurray! Keita Takahashi has made a wonderful new plaything

At the Game Developer’s Conference in 2013, I cruised through the expo floor areas on a student pass. With such a limiting pass, I wasn’t able to do much. That was, until I stumbled upon Tenya Wanya Teens (2013), a never-publicly-released experimental party game from none other than game designer Keita Takahashi, of Katamari Damacy (2004) and Noby Noby Boy (2009) fame, and composer Asuka Sakai (also, incidentally, his wife). Tenya Wanya Teens is fun in its purest form. The game has a strange controller, a panel with 16 multicolored buttons, and a joystick for moving characters around the environment.…


Death of the author: A Review of The Ice-Bound Concordance

In the glacial caverns beneath a polar research facility, someone hears a distant groan. No, that’s not right. Maybe she hears laughter instead, but that goes against the tone of the piece—an air of mystery with a heavy sense of foreboding. Distant whispers… no, faint whispers breathing through the ice makes far more sense. Changing that bit of language, of course, only fits one particular moment in a much larger narrative. Still, it feels significant enough given the delicate nature that comes with editing a novel—especially one written by the author’s digital ghost. Such are the considerations needed in The…


How the magic sounds of Proteus are making their way into the real world

Ever since the Walkman, ordinary people have had the ability to soundtrack their lives. You can play familiar music to reinforce or change your mood, music that either fits the tone and speed of your situation or is purposefully set against it. Earbud listeners can seek solace in this private musical headspace, an environment of their own making. Now imagine this, what if your personal soundtrack could change dynamically? What if technology existed that took into account weather, time of day, and your exact location and activity? When you breach the threshold of your door, one song crossfades into another.…