Abe-san, it looks like you’d rather not talk about you know what.
If possible, I’d rather not reveal it here. There’s some sleight of hand involved.
I see. Sleight of hand.
I really don’t want to reveal any spoilers. I want players to approach the game in complete ignorance, and then, when they’ve played, feel like shouting out, “You got me!”
Well, just like with magic, hearing about it is quite different than actually seeing it.
Yes, it makes quite an impact when you see it.
Okay, without touching upon you know what, shall we talk about what we can talk about?
I think it’s great the way you can play without touching the Nintendo DSi.
Is that why the catchphrase is Don’t Touch?!
In Snapped!, you can capture your face or hand on camera and it will show up on screen as a silhouette. I thought that is a really great way to play a video game. Because, even though there have been games before using images of the player, they were always a little embarrassing to play. This time there are four modes. The players’ response when they play will be, “Oh, I see, I see.”
It was that way for me.
See? Not “Oh, this is interesting…” but “Oh, I see.” But I’m actually pleased about that response. It’s precisely because of the silhouettes that you know what has such effect at the end.
When you see it at the end, it’s almost cathartic. Hmm, we keep coming back to the forbidden topic.
We sure do...
I think we should stop trying to avoid it.
Are you sure?
There’s no drama to Snapped! if we don’t talk about it. I mean, that was why when we had everyone try the test model, they had such a good time.
You even came to my room to cause trouble.
I was surprised. I thought all I had to do was move my silhouette to complete various tasks, but the truth was my face was being recorded, and when I completed the tasks, the game showed what my face looked like when my guard was down while playing! (laughs)
How did you ever come up with such an idea?
As Abe-san said, there was a period when the project was getting bogged down and we were teetering on the edge of an abyss, and then we were going to submit our final proposal. Just before that, I ran into a programmer on my way home, and he told me that the camera was actually running the whole time someone was playing the game.
In other words, only the player’s silhouette was showing up on the screen, but the camera was actually capturing the player in full detail.
Right. I thought, wouldn’t you be happy if you could see those pictures when you cleared a stage? As an extra treat. So the day before we submitted the proposal, with nothing to lose, we added the bonus section at the end.
Along with the humorous photos in the bonus, it said, “You make funny faces while playing, so play as cool as you can.” When I read that, I thought it looked like a lot of fun.
We took that photo with an underwater camera during a company trip to Okinawa. If you take a picture under water, everyone’s face looks funny. At first no one wanted to have their picture taken, but eventually everyone came to see what was going on. I thought the psychology behind that was interesting, and that connected to the Snapped! project.
But at that time it was only a proposal. A working model didn’t exist.
The bonus was just on paper, but Abe-san jumped all over it.
Boy did he ever! (laughs) If he hadn’t, we would have fallen off the cliff down into the abyss.
Of course, we couldn’t make a decision based solely on the proposal, so we made a working model. And when we actually played it, it was really fun, so we decided to have you look at it as soon as possible.
You didn’t come to ask me to look at it, you came to play dirty tricks! (laughs) Anyway, at that point, what was the response at IS?
Everywhere I went people were bursting out laughing. Even people who are usually extremely serious were saying “No! No!” but in the end would see themselves and practically bust a gut laughing. In all my time making games, I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Now that I think about it, when you came to my room to have me play the game, you had a big grin on your face.
Sorry about that. (laughs)
I thought something was suspicious, but I had a responsibility to decide whether it would be worth it businesswise to push development on to the next stage, so there was no way I could go without trying it out. But never since becoming president has anything made me think “You got me!” the way that did.
What’s more, Abe-san looked extremely pleased as he took the Nintendo DSi and left. He said everyone was waiting. Did they see the pictures of me ?
Of course! (laughs) I begged him to bring them back and show me.
He showed me, too. I was…very pleased.
Did it reward all your hard work?
Absolutely! (laughs) We passed them around to everyone!
Is this what you call work? (laughs)
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