“Games That Make Me Want To Watch” – Sakurai’s Famitsu Column, Vol. 124


The new Ace Attorney game, Spirit of Justice comes out today for North America and Europe! To celebrate, here’s a translated Famitsu column from 2005 where Sakurai talks about watching promo videos for new games at Tokyo Game Show, and why the first Ace Attorney stood out to him. Thanks to Soma and Marie for editing help. Speaking of Tokyo Game Show, it’s in like 10 days! Source Gaming’s supreme leader, PushDustIn will be attending, so please stay tuned for all the news and updates, straight from the source. Enjoy!


Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs and link to this translation.When reporting on this translation you must mention that it was translated by Source Gaming. For additional information, please read this post. This translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect the opinions of Masahiro Sakurai. The following is a selection from Famitsu. If you enjoyed this article, I would strongly encourage you to support Sakurai by buying his books.

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Games That Make Me Want to Watch

Originally published in Famitsu Vol. 124, 21 October 2005


It’s scary how quickly customers get used to things.

The 2005 Tokyo Game Show had a record high turnout, perhaps influenced by the next generation of hardware. There were game demos with three hour wait times, making it difficult to actually get ahold of a controller and try a game. Because of that, I spent a lot of time watching the promotional footage of new games that played on the big screen TVs.

I came all the way to Makuhari**, but all I did was watch videos the entire time. It was kind of a weird feeling, but I learned about a bunch of titles in rapid succession, so that was certainly convenient…

TN** Tokyo Game Show is held at Makuhari Messe, one of Japan’s largest convention centers.

However, I was bombarded by shiny CG movies from all directions, so naturally I got sick of them. In addition, I felt like people’s attention was directed only towards their favorite characters and series. Now, this is a bit of a conundrum. We live in an era where good promotional material doesn’t necessarily translate to good sales. And if that holds true, then companies might need to come up with new marketing tactics to promote their games.

Amidst all that, I did see one very funny movie on display. At least for me, I laughed 5 times while watching it. It was called “A Special Courtroom” and the video was for Ace Attorney**.

TN** The video he’s talking about can be found here.

The screen mimicked that of the courtroom adventure game Ace Attorney, with protagonist Phoenix Wright and rival Miles Edgeworth arguing about the new Nintendo DS version of the game. This won’t capture the same fun as watching it live, but it went something like this.

Wright: Objection! Here we have the user’s manual for the Game Boy Advance. And on page 16… It’s written clear as day. “Please do not put [the Game Boy Advance] in your pants pocket!”

Edgeworth: W-, What!?

Wright: I’ll explain, Prosecutor Edgeworth! The moment you put it into your back pocket, you handled it improperly!

Edgeworth: I don’t believe it! My back pocket, improper…

Judge: Prosecutor Edgeworth. You should probably stop using your back pocket.

Maya: I think it’s bad, too. Using your back pocket.

It was funny! The depiction had nearly the same atmosphere as the game, with added voice dubbing. I was surprised by how natural it felt to hear voiced lines in Ace Attorney. The layout and visuals of the production were just like the game, and the scenario was just like those written by the director. It must’ve taken a fair bit of work.

The video was based on the game itself, it made people laugh because of that, and above all, it had a presentation method clearly different from that of other games, which all made for a very enjoyable experience.

Not a lot of games could pull off this kind of video presentation. It’s no small task to create something specifically for use at a trade show, and if it puts development behind schedule, that would be unacceptable. However, I felt that this method of drawing the crowd’s attention to their new display had a lot of value.

The next generation of hardware has arrived. But even with stunning CG cutscenes, movies packed with illustrations, and the computing power to put hoards of enemies on screen—if a game’s systems and presentation style aren’t inventive, then customers will probably just get used to it and move on, in the blink of an eye. Whether on the game screen or on the show floor, having a more diverse “presentation style” is quite important.


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