Now I’d like to conclude the interview by asking each of you who were involved in the development of Devilish Brain Training to say a few words to the readers.
We put in all manner of enjoyable elements in addition to the training exercises in order to keep people playing this game. I hope people will stick with it, play every day and try to go even further than three results back.
I get the feeling there won’t be too many people who will be able to do that easily.
Yes, I doubt it as well!
It would be great if all kinds of people could experience the pleasure of going more than three results back, and having that feeling that you’ve really grasped something.
Yes. Your initial goal should be to get three back.
After reaching that goal, people are sure to hit another wall somewhere, but if they refuse to let that wall defeat them, someday they will reach even greater heights.
That happened a lot during development.
Yes, it did. That’s why I hope people will refuse to give up and will keep at it. This is just my personal opinion, but I think people will really feel that something within them has changed.
Over to you, Kitamura-san.
With the Brain Training games, our expectation was that they would help prevent the brain aging, and to make the brain younger, but with Devilish Brain Training, we hope to upgrade the brain itself. I hope young people with their futures ahead of them will make use of it, so it can help broaden their horizons.
So it’s about more than simply preventing decline due to brain aging – players can hopefully increase their mental capacity.
Yes. Um… when I was a student studying for exams, there was a period when I was under intense pressure and went around visiting shrines and buying a lot of charms.
I see ... (laughs)
Ah, so are you saying that if you had a time machine, you would go back and give yourself Devilish Brain Training?
Right! There were plenty of times during development when I would find myself thinking, “If only I’d had this back then!” I made this game in the hope that it would prove useful for people who have ambitions they wish to fulfil, so I would be especially pleased if young people pick it up and train every day.
During development, Dr. Kawashima himself would often say that he would recommend it for young people who are studying now.
How about you, Kawamoto-san?
As producer this time round, I could watch the development from a certain distance. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of flavour Kitamura-san would give it. She was the director of Daigasso! Band Brothers 9 after all...9 Daigasso! Band Brothers: A music game released for Nintendo DS in Japan in December 2004. A sequel, called Daigasso! Band Brothers DX, known as Jam With The Band in the UK, was released for Nintendo DS in Japan in June 2008. Barbara is the main character of the series, and made a guest appearance in English Training: Have Fun Improving Your Skills!
Were you wondering if Barbara would show up? (laughs)
Well, sort of... (laughs) This game has sections called Brain Seminars and Brain News in which Dr. Kawashima explains the science of the brain. The way those unfold is very much in the style I would expect from Kitamura-san. They’re exactly like the Barbara manga! (laughs)
So Barbara herself doesn’t show up, but the style of the Barbara manga is evident. Would you say that was true, Kitamura-san?
Well… I did draw the storyboards. But if they had been implemented just the way I drew them, they would have turned out as the most ridiculous comedy manga.
I see! (laughs)
So I made sure I always showed the storyboards to Ito-san and had him edit them. And, well, he ended up turning a lot of them down! (laughs)
But you’re the senior employee!
And still you showed no mercy? (laughs)
It’s true. I turned them down without mercy.
Thanks to this process, I think the content in the game is both really helpful for the player, and has a lot of personality. I hope fans of Barbara will enjoy that. As for how it turned out, you’ll have to check that out in the game itself.
And lastly, over to you Takahashi-san.
This game is always described using terms like hard and difficult, but...
I’ve never heard developers use the word ‘harsh’ so often in a discussion of a video game before! (laughs)
Right, they usually say it’s ‘fun’ or ‘interesting’. (laughs)
But this game eases you in with Dr. Kawashima’s simple explanations right from the start, so I think it’s accessible to all kinds of people. We put a lot of effort into designing it so players will keep playing, and eventually everything came together to create Devilish Brain Training. I hope people will enjoy this software and use it to improve their working memory.
The concept of the game was certainly not an easy one to work with, but I think Dr. Kawashima provided us with an incredibly interesting task with huge potential. I can tell that everyone involved in the development of this title poured all their energy into it, taking a type of mental training which wouldn’t normally be considered an obvious candidate for a game, and turning it into a really appealing title.
It is sure to prove challenging for players, but is very enjoyable at the same time, and players will be able to sense a change in themselves and those around them. It’s not software that you will be able to get into instantly and see your brain age drop, but you are sure to find yourself pushing up against your own limits and experiencing that moment in which you change.
This time, the greatest change you will feel is not seeing your brain age come down, but it is the feeling you get as you attempt to go further back in the number of questions you can remember the answers for.
That’s right. I hope many people will experience that moment of change and the resulting satisfaction. Thank you, everyone.
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