Creating our first game app. Looking back on “God’s Hand”-1-
Hi, my name is Ryosuke Sugimoto.
In this GOOSY NOTES, we are going to introduce our games, development diary, and daily thoughts. As this is my first entry, I thought I’d split it into two parts, one for t he first half and the other for the second half, to give a brief review of our activities so far. I hope you find it interesting and enjoy reading!
Our first game creation – 『God’s Hand』
Last year, I started an indie game studio called CREATOR GOOSY ( a.k.a GOOSY) with my friend Ryu Okubo (a.k.a Dragon) who is an artist, and we eleased our first game 『God’s Hand』.
Once again, thank you for all your help and support!
This game app 『God’s Hand』 is a very simple casual game, but it took about two years from the start of production to its release, and that’s because the two of us at GOOSY are complete strangers to game production. We were a team of amateurs who had never even touched programming or Unity before. We started making 『God’s Hand』 as an extension of our playfulness, saying, “We wanna make a game, right? Why not?”
A game that doesn’t look like a game
We have received a wide variety of feedback from people who have actually played 『God’s Hand』. “It’s not a game.”, “It’s like a movie (or a picture book) .”, “It’s neither.”, “It’s both.”, and so on. Such comments were all compliments to us . Because making a game that doesn’t look like a game was one of the objectives in the making of 『God’s Hand』.
We spent a lot of time discussing what kind of game we wanted to make and what kind of activity we wanted to do before we actually started working on it. We introuduced our favorite games to each other, read some books on games, watched Dr. Soshiki’s play videos. We only talked about games every time we met. The things we referred to at that time became the basis for making “God’s Hand”. It would be too many to list them all, so I’ll introduce three that I think have been particularly influential on GOOSY. (The list may be different for Dragon and me.)
- Florence(Game software)
- genron 8 (review magazine)
- Sokpop Collective (indie developer)
The first one, 『Florence』, is a game about a cute female protagonist, her love life and her personal growth. When I played it, the first thing I felt was, “Is this a game? I remember that I had a strange feeling that it was nothing like what I had imagined a game to be.
I think there are many reasons for this, such as that the game is made up of simple mini-games that have no difficulty at all. Also, the operations required in the mini-games themselves are skillfully connected to the characters’ emotions, and the fact that these operations are performed using a touch screen(Incidentally, the game can also be played on devices other than the touch screen, such as the Switch version).
Anyway, it looked more like a trick book than a game for me.
I remember that the second one, genron 8, was very popular at the time of its publication because it was a special issue of a critical review called “The Age of Games”.
It was very interesting because it was not an analysis of individual games, but rather an examination of what games are from various angles. I really gained a lot of knowledge from this book.
However, what particularly influenced me was the talk show that was held to celebrate the publication of this book. (You can watch some of the videos for free, so I’ll post them here .)
I was fascinated by the discussion of the “visual and tactile plane” (active and passive existence) and the “not game” (a game that denies being a game) developed in this video. I’m not going to go into details at this time, (if you’re interested, please watch the video, and there’s a detailed article on the visual and tactile plane in the paid article on genron α), but the decision to release 『God’s Hand』 as a smartphone app, and to make it a monotonous game system were all directed by this book and video. This book and video gave us direction.
The last one I mentioned, Sokpop Collective, is a group of indie developers. They can be said to be characterized by their tremendous development speed, releasing a game every two weeks . They also have an impressive number of games with a nonsense style .
Looking at the Sokpop Collective’s website, you’ll be surprised how much more compelling the nonsense is when shown as a whole, rather than how fun each games are.
This is a charm that is backed by the speed of development, so it is not easy for GOOSY to imitate it now, but we intuitively felt that the kind of atmosphere they created was necessary for our own activities. We decided to take cues from them and try to make “a game that makes you think about what a game is”, and then try to make “a game that doesn’t look like a game ”.
And making “a game that doesn’t look like a game” was a lot harder than we thought it would be… In my next article, I’ll look back on that, so I hope you’ll look forward to it.
Thank you for reading this far! Finally, I’ll end this article with links to the docum ents and other materials that appeared in this article. See you soon!