My attention was drawn to this ridiculously in-depth video by relatively new YouTube channel Gaijillionaire when it was shared over on Attract Mode. Super Mario Bros. 2 –originally known as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before being re-branded for the west – has always stood out as something of a black sheep amongst mainline Mario titles, namely due to the fact that it did not start life as a part of the series. However, this video focuses not so much on the development of the game, but the inspiration behind its characters and world – Yume Kōjō itself.
A celebration of media and international culture that showcased what was then considered the future of broadcasting and entertainment technology, Yume Kōjō was as something of a cultural phenomenon in 80s Japan, and discovering the origins behind the huge event helps to bring some clarity to the designs prominent throughout the game it inspired, many of which have had great influence over the Mario series to this day. Gaijillionaire has a number of interesting videos focusing on Japanese culture on his YouTube channel, and you can check out his Twitter feed for regular updates.
Yutaka “Yoot” Saito is well known for innovation in his games, with creations such as Seaman and Odama representing an era in which developers and publishers alike were more inclined to take risks. However, his motivation for returning to game development is a little less… artistic than you might expect. According to an interview with Wired, Saito is hoping to rake in some cold, hard cash with his comeback to the industry, following a soured experience working on 3DS puzzler Aero Porter as part of Level-5’s Guild compilation.
Seemingly taking the approach that video games are products first and foremost, it’ll be interesting to see what Saito’s next project will entail, as well as whether or not he’ll return to his innovative ways, which in the past have seen him dabble in voice recognition technology on more occasions than one.
A fair few beloved series and games have reached their 10th birthday this year, including New Super Mario Bros. and Dead Rising to name a just few – if there was ever a year of anniversaries to make you feel old, it could very well be 2016. Nintendo’s quirky GBA rhythm game Rhythm Tengoku is the latest to join the list of celebration-worthy titles, and Retro Collect’s series retrospective gives us a good look at its history and the elements that make it so unique. Fans of Rhythm Tengoku and WarioWare‘s art are strongly advised to check out the Twitter feed of series artist Ko Takeuchi – its contents are surprising, to say the least.
Whilst his most recent venture may not have received universal praise, Takashi Tateishi (pictured right) has undoubtedly left his mark on gaming’s musical legacy with the timeless tunes of Mega Man 2. In a personal interview that took place back in 2015, Brave Wave’s Mohammed Taher delves into the stories and history behind not only one of the most iconic game soundtracks of all time, but the life and career of the person who created it. For fans of both the Mega Man series as well as game music in general, it’ll serve as an informative read that sheds some light on elements of the creative process that are radically different to those of today.
Now for something very niche, but also very interesting (that’s kind of what we do here). Our friends at SourceGaming conducted an interview with Amir Latif, a programmer who worked on Nintendo 64DD art software that would eventually become Mario Artist: Paint Studio, a Japan-only successor to Mario Paint that made use of a number of unique capabilities offered by the 64DD expansion. This is a particularly noteworthy discussion, as it offers a behind the scenes look at the undiscovered title, including ideas and content that didn’t make it into the final product, as well as details about the unreleased Sound Maker entry to the series. Many questions surrounding the 64DD’s development remain unanswered, and efforts for preservation of the unique addon and its library are still on-going – with this in mind, it’s great to see some information revealed about a game that could easily have been lost to time without the interest of a small but dedicated fan-base.