(This is a blog reposted from my page "The Tao of Video Games", a blog focused on the interaction between video games and the mind)
A wonderful article appeared on Gamasutra detailing the life and unfortunate death of Ryu Umemoto. He is held in high regard among Japanese video game composers, and I was very intrigued by some of the connections between Umemoto's work and his practice of Zen Buddhism. Umemoto was using the rhythms of Buddhist breathing techniques and the visual composition of Zen temples in his music, which is a fantastic example of the fundamental connections between the art of programming and Zen practice.
It was also moving for me to learn that Umemoto played a substantial role in improving the artistic standard for erotic games. While "ero-ge" had no obvious need for well-layered narrative and carefully produced art, the teams which employed Umemoto sought to make games that had great stories paired with some steamy bonin', Umemoto and his collaborators lent their talents towards nuanced and heartfelt storytelling in their erotic work. Umemoto's particular school of Zen Buddhism has a very complex relationship with issues of sexuality, and many Japanese Buddhists have appealed to me through their openness to sexuality and eroticism. Umemoto's eroge soundtracks possess a sensuality that goes far deeper than the skin, and I am more interested than ever before to play some of the games he worked on.