Toryansé and the storytelling advantages of short games

Nick Preston decided to call his upcoming series of short adventure games Toryansé after the Japanese folk song of the same name. The song is traditionally sung as part of a children’s game—Warabe uta, which is very similar to the English nursery rhyme game Oranges and Lemons—but has surprisingly dark lyrics thought to relate to a period of high infant mortality in Japan’s history. But it wasn’t only the song’s background that appealed to Preston, it was also the fact that it’s often played at Japanese traffic lights to indicate when it’s safe for pedestrians to cross. “I loved the idea…


Japanese horror game has an air of Studio Ghibli about it

“At night every town…changes” the new trailer for Yomawari tells us. The idea in this upcoming PlayStation Vita-exclusive, from Japanese studio Nippon Ichi, is to take on the role of a young girl whose sister and dog have gone missing. Despite her fears, the girl is determined to find her loved ones, even if it means traversing her town while it’s warped into a different place by the cover of darkness. With the company of only a flashlight, the girl must overcome multiple obstacles; monsters and darkness are scattered throughout her journey. The horror and stealth of the game are made immediate…


Explore the dense world of Spirited Away in 8-bit theater

“I do believe in the power of story. I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze and inspire their listeners.” – Hayao Miyazaki The above quote could easily apply to any of the stories woven by Miyazaki and his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, which have been formative to so many people across the globe. Visual artists in particular have used the storyteller’s colorful worlds to inform their own original work and tributes. From woodblock prints to art nouveau, artists have translated the Japanese filmmaker’s stories into other…


Of course someone created The Matrix’s construct scene in VR

We have one word about the famous Matrix scene being refitted for Oculus Rift: Whoa!  OK, we have a few more, but that’s a good starting point. There’s just something awe-inspiring about being in the same hollow, boundless white room where a debonair Laurence Fishburne introduces slack-jawed Keanu to computer-simulated reality. As Morpheus said, “Unfortuantely, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself,” and that’s exactly what this demo by Tipatat Chennavasin lets you do.  VR film scene tourism is a trend we’re seeing more of recently, with adaptations letting fans step…


Studio Ghibli beer, worth drinking for the whimsical label alone

The label on this bottle of beer strikes me as curious and whimsical and unlike anything I’ve seen in my lustrous beer-drinking career, which has been the downfall of many-a-beers. That’s because it comes from the hot-dog stand at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, as snapped by a blogger over at Boing Boing. You can really sense the Miyazaki-ness of this bottle that pays tribute to Nausicaä: Valley of the Wind. Now I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon dreaming of what other Studio Ghibli-themed beers might be peddled there: a Porco Rosso saison, perhaps?  Via Boing Boing


A Nausicaä-inspired work of animation that lets you be director

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is pretty outstanding. But the problem is it’s static. Once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. However, the storytelling app IDNA—which takes inspiration from that famous anime of Miyazaki—is in a state of constant evolution.  Now on Kickstarter, the episodic animated film for Oculus and iOS touts a technique called “spacial storytelling,” which is a fancy way of saying that it lets you direct the story by holding your iPad in the air and swiveling it. This sounds fascinating, as long as you have strong wrists and won’t drop your iPad.  As seen in…