vol. 1 ISHII Yoshio

webgame creator interview vol.1 Yoshio ISHII

1. about the site "NEKOGAMES"


There are some creators who produce brilliant titles unless being buried in thousands of web games. I'd venture to interview with those web game creators. The interview series will cover where their ideas come from, their developing process for the one to be released, their source of motivation, and their plan ahead, etc..

The first interview is with Mr. Yoshio Ishii of NEKOGAMES. NEKOGAMES is popular for cat series games with unified blue pictures and "HOSHI SAGA" etc. and he revealed peculiar ideas in "Cursor*10", "Panchira" and others. Where did those ideas come from? I asked him about some specific games, his working style and all that jazz.

Enjoy.

HOSHINO

This is an interview with web game creators, and I have Mr. Yoshio Ishii from NEKOGAMES to introduce. Thank you for coming, and I appreciate your co-operation.

ISHII

Thanks in advance. photo

HOSHINO

Because it is first time for me to interview people, and whom I interview is also first time to be interviewed, it's hard to tell how this interview goes. (laughs)
I would like to split this interview into two parts. In the first part, I would like to talk about the titles you have released. In the second part, I will talk about your overall works and styles for creation.
The titles I want to pick up are, "Cursor*10" and "Panchira" which I have also introduced in my blog. I also want to talk about "HOSHI SAGA" and "HOSHI SAGA 2", those were worldwide-hyped. Actually, I want to ask more, for example "Shippo neko shooting" or "Xananeko". But the time is limited, and, I don't want to do so much dictation from long recorded audio. (laughs) So I chose three [titles].
Now, before talking about main topics, can you tell me I about the history of the site? When did the site NEKOGAMES start opening to the public?

ISHII

Let's see...
I guess its 1999, I'd bet.

HOSHINO

I have your site on the browse right now.
Can you say which contents are released in early days?

ISHII

Which one...
This one (Suika hayagui sensyuken: Watermelon speed-eating contest) must be very old.
It says in 2000, yes, then it is the early one. screenshot

HOSHINO

Oh, I didn't know there was a game like this.
Wow, now I realized I haven't tried this one.
Can I ask you How to play?

ISHII

I'm afraid even I can't tell.
I made it so long time ago.

HOSHINO

Wow-ees, this one is difficult.

ISHII

I have already deleted most of the old ones on the site.

HOSHINO

Oh, really?

ISHII

Yeah. I withdrew the old ones. [Because]They're too hairy.
There were too many hairy games. (laughs)

HOSHINO

So, have you made those series of blue cat games a little later on?

ISHII

Yeah, I think so.

HOSHINO

Did you create them just for fun?

ISHII

Around that time...
Yes, it's for my personal fun.

HOSHINO

In 1999...which means..

ISHII

I was still developing games in the company around 1999.

HOSHINO

At first, you belonged to the company. And once you went freelance.
Now you belong to the ROBOT (ROBOT Communications Inc.). Right?
What kind of work did you do previously?

ISHII

[As for my previous work,]I was employed to the game company, OHIRA GIKEN IND. where I did designing stickers to put on the appearance of the prize game which usually located in the gaming arcades.

HOSHINO

You were a designer, weren't you?

ISHII

Yes. I was a graphic designer.

HOSHINO

Oh, I see.
Actually, I had an impression on you that you must be tech whiz because of your great programming skill.
But now I understand why your cat series games have beautiful pictures.
Have you started to create the cat-themed contents after that?

ISHII

Yes.

HOSHINO

Do you like cats?

ISHII

Yeah, I like cats.

HOSHINO

Cats also have shown in this page.
Is this (dailycat) also a very old one? It seems old.
By the way, how many cats do you have for a pet?
Oh, why I am talking about cats. (laughs) screenshot

ISHII

Four.

HOSHINO

You had updated this page everyday, in earlier years.

ISHII

Yes, it's about 6 years ago.

HOSHINO

What I first realized impressive is found here, wherein rows of games in same colorations and same cats. And, what I would like to ask you from my bottom of heart is this "XANANEKO".
This one is so hard to complete stages. screenshot

ISHII

The first XANANEKO is hard, indeed.

HOSHINO

I remembered Karma (in Xanadu(*1)).
I ran out of steam halfway through when I realized the tacit existence of Karma.
I felt that this one was so immersed when I was playing.
Somehow, it's like one picture edition of Xanadu and has same atmosphere.

ISHII

I myself haven't played "Xanadu"

HOSHINO

Have you? (laughs)
I have played it by the tape version of X1(**2).
Did you create yours as you imagined the game [Xanadu] would be like this?

ISHII

I created mine through my memory when I peeked at the screenshot on a magazine.

HOSHINO

But you adopted the Karma system cleverly. (laughs)
Why did you make it by cats at that time?
I assume one reason is simply you like cats.

ISHII

No particular reason. [To stretch a point] it's easy for me to draw pixel art by using Director.

HOSHINO

So, your start was from just a feeling to try to move your drawing, and make it to game, huh?

ISHII

Yeah, kind of like that.

HOSHINO

You didn't update the site for a while after this game, or did you?

ISHII

No, I didn't. I wonder why...

HOSHINO

Maybe you were too busy? Or Was it time when you went freelance?
Then, personally, which should I ask, which was earlier "Shippo neko(means cat with tail) Shooting" and "HOSHI SAGA" ? I think "HOSHI SAGA" came earlier.

ISHII

"HOSHI SAGA" was released later.
I started developing "HOSHI SAGA" much earlier [than "Shippo neko"] though. It was released later.

HOSHINO

I understand. "HOSHI SAGA" must have been hard to develop.
It has different interfaces and different game elements for every stage.

ISHII

Yes.

HOSHINO

Did you release "Shippo neko Shooting" around in 2005 when "Flash Game Festival" was held? screenshot

ISHII

I bet it's in 2007.

HOSHINO

Oh, that was rather new.

ISHII

Yes, very recent one.

HOSHINO

I thought "Oh, cats again" [when I saw it first].
I would like to take a look of it first as I won't pick this game as a topic for this time.
The sound of whistle is so cool.
This is the sound you whistled, isn't this?

ISHII

Yes, It's me. I did by myself.
This is so special, the super fastidious game.

HOSHINO

The whistle during the fight with boss is also very nice.
A kind of grueling effect is well put.
And nostalgic tunes are performed by the whistle.

I just thought this shooting game would please cat-lovers, but when I introduced this game to one ailurophile, the feedback was he felt painful to see cats beaten, which was also understandable.
(In play to fight boss at the stage 1)See? This is "R-type".

I had observed that you were getting active again around this time. Was it in 2007?

ISHII

Might be so. photo

HOSHINO

I thought your game itself was improving so much.
Even though I was under the impression that you imitated typical game play with your images [for early released games], it changed to the completely new, or, maybe it wasn't new but some sort of new coverage to the existing one.
Even I felt [your] respect for the old ones which made me comfortable.
I started feeling very interesting to your games. And, here are games I want to ask about today.
"Cursor*10", "HOSHI SAGA" and "Panchira".
"Panchira" was a smash hit for me. Most impressed, personally. (laughs)
But I will ask in that order anyway.

(Interviewer: 0stage, HOSHINO Ken'ichi)

*1 Xanadu was released in 1985 and mostly played and spread in Japan. Faxanadu was a different version which was developed for Nintendo Entertainment System. Faxanadu was not accepted in the early Japanese gamers as contrasted with Xanadu's popularity.

**2 X1 is a series of home computer released by Sharp Corporation from 1982 to 1988. See an entry in Wikipedia. (Wikipedia :Sharp X1)

links
- NEKOGAMES
- NEKOGAMES.COM
- Cursor*10
- HOSHI SAGA
- HOSHI SAGA 2
- panchira
- Shippo Neko Shooting
- XANANEKO
- Suika hayagui sensyuken (Watermelon speed-eating contest)
- dailycat
- Flash Game Festival
- Flash Game Festival 2007
- ROBOT Communications Inc.
- OHIRA GIKEN IND.

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