Let me be the first to say that I, your faithful bucket-headed webmaster, am a lucky gaijin bastard. If anyone could have preemptively told me that our rabid little gaming blog would some day make its cameo in Bomberman Live on the Xbox 360, I’d say they were optimistic … but terminally nuts. Had someone also said that this partnership would also place me in Japan to play with Hudson”s new toys and games in their native headquarters, I’d say that was as likely as a nobody in Miami randomly starting up a popular gaming site. Stranger things have happened, I guess! I had always been hoping that a trip this epic would come up in my life for some random reason, and sure enough the moment came. This stuff happens to people and today ... I'm that guy!
The primary agenda was to tackle a towering pile of upcoming games: Bomberman Land, Otada Master, Teku Teku Angel (a pedometer/digital pet), vague embargoed thing 1 involving the cleansing of flying vessels, working game 2 involving pew-pew-pew and time, Deca Sporta, and Dungeon Explorer. I would also get to meet some key people as well: Master Higgins himself Takahashi-san, Hudson Entertainment President-san, Head of the Mobile-san, and big teams of people (sans) that do everything from sound design to Wiimote programming. I also ate as much delicious and repulsive strange food their beautiful country would dare feed a curious sharp-dressed man in a home-made robot helmet.
Sure, I could have gone out there and just blogged about the games. But how typical would that be? If you’ve ever wondered what taking a trip with a big gaming company like this might be like across the ocean, I invite you to embark on the trilogy I’m about to relay which can only be described as Mega Happy Fun Hudson Week GET!
From Sapporo to Tokyo with the bee: Press week at Hudson, Japan
Not pictured: Me not significantly much taller than anyone in Japan. Tom Selleck’s mustache lies!
I mulled over it for what seemed like … heh, seconds. When in doubt, I often fall back on the hidden wisdom of Lethal Weapon -- the scene where Gibson is invited to Glover’s house for dinner and hates his wife's cooking and, after they leave, they laugh about how bad it was. The wrong thing would be to throw up on his wife and kick her in the taco on your way out. Hudson: am I signing up to like your wife’s cooking? No. If in the end I dislike the products, I can criticize them with the best intentions in the hopes that my feedback is considered before they go to market. This is responsible, no matter who foots the bill. Beers clink, laughs are had, and life goes on.
The game web site is decasporta.co.jp – we’ll be posting an in-depth hands on impression in 2008 when it arrives on the Wii. I found it a little too simple for my single player anti-social taste, but in the company of my dad and nephew we’re going to tear this game up. Imagine that, the Wii gets yet another casual party game! At least it doesn’t have turds in it like The Game of Life, for better or worse. Canadians will go nuts over this – there’s a curling game in it! Americans: Look it up.
So the first couple of days blew by like a typical press event does and then it hits me: I'm here with Hudson for another week and a half. It made me chuckle: do these guys know what they're getting themselves into with me here? A 10 day press junket is very revealing, like a first date that lasts 2 weeks long. You know that after a certain point, someone's true nature will come out and you're either going to get along great or it's going to be like Pearl Harbor (the horrible movie, which was arguably more tragic than the actual war).
Seriously though, it's easy for a company to put on a one day show, and share the latest "image" a company wants people to see. But when the show is over, and you get to meet the people in their natural setting, you really start to see what drives them. So aside from new games and new experiences, this was going to be my goal: to paint a portrait of Hudson for the world. I'm imagining myself as a stubborn little kid propping up an unapologetically sloppy drawing in front of my art teacher.
Hudson didn't bring me here to produce a polished piece of journalism, and I can't wait to show it to my friends at home. This is going to be the real deal -- I'm going to turn in the honest sketches of what really went down. Before I could reel in my conviction it was time to jump on an airplane from Tokyo to Sapporo, a populous city in the island off the coast where Hudson headquarter staff and the guys from The Electric Playground were meeting up with us to film. Heh. Who said playing video games doesn't get you places?
On the way into the airport John Lee, my now partner-in-crime, reminded me of a little factoid he shared before the trip begain. "It had been ten years since Western press had been invited to Hudson." Jeez. We laughed about it and my eyebrows must have shot up as I traced the slate lines on the floor trying not to think too hard about it.
"No pressure, Niero."
[And so this concludes part one. Running around naked in the mountains with a towel, diseased crabs, shady business, and more is incoming as Mega Happy Fun Hudson Week GET! continues tomorrow! ]
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