Tokyo CGM Night (episode 4)

Video game development is a tough mistress; especially within a studio system you end up chained to your desk for the largest part of the day, turning your eyes and brain to mush as you try to cope with ridiculous decisions from higher up that somehow only seem to affect your schedule, not management’s, then if you do ever make it out to socialise you are bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements and just end up in massive bitching sessions, propping up other developers’ complaints with your own similar stories of how naff it all is, so more often than not you just end up going home straight after work to spend some quality time with your beloved bottle of wine. So it was with some trepidation and not a little amount of strain that I have been making efforts to go to events, social gatherings, dinner parties and whatnot to meet a wider variety of people and talk about the finer things in life, one of those being the fact I’m an independent now and am free to talk about whatever I wish to whomsoever can stand to listen to me.

The last day of April I attended, finally, one of pro-blogger and part-time stormtrooper Danny Choo’s Tokyo CGM Nights. I had previously made plans to go to earlier versions of this social event, yet something always seemed to crop up, be it another arbitrary and ultimately useless deadline or a total lack of energy after spending a week re-exporting work due to some minor change in the tool technology.

The event was held at SuperDeluxe close to Roppongi Hills, a basement-level club of sorts which was reserved for this event alone that night but looked like it might be a jolly good lark as a regular club space. The crowd was slow to build at first, which gave me a good opportunity to chinwag with some random people, all of whom were very friendly and interesting, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, though all somehow involved, sometimes just tangentially, to blogging or podcasting.

This blog being a little specialised I was not surprised few people had heard of it, which also wasn’t helped by the fact my business card has a name on it different to what I write under here. That said, it was good to meet with people in a way that didn’t inevitably lead to loud moaning sessions about the state of the game industry, though I did try, out of force of habit, I guess.

Once the room had filled up Danny Choo started his presentation, an informal affair with three projectors beaming images on the wall, showing at first the new Nikon commercial he stars in and some talk about the various blogs and businesses he is involved in. Next followed several more people all talking about some recent projects, mostly revolving around new ideas in blogging and information sharing, after which there was, what I gather to be the tradition, the handing out of presents through the traditional Japanese sport of rock, paper, scissors.

Taking photographs seemed to be the done thing at the event, and though I did try, the light conditions were just too bad for my little mobile phone camera, and standing there with that little device made me very self-conscious as everybody else seemed to have the latest, most massive professional equipment around. Danny Choo’s site usually acts as an aggregate to the various blogs that write about the event, so interested parties should keep an eye open for better information and, no doubt, a ton of photos via other people’s sites. I didn’t particularly hide from the cameras but I didn’t push myself to the forefront either, so my fragile, and by now meaningless anonymity may last a bit longer.

Though the event is a great place to meet new people it is, however, somewhat closed off. Though it was easy enough to get in, invitations are only sent to people within Danny Choo’s network who are related to blogging or other IT businesses, with the caveat that no details of the event will be broadcast before the date. This makes it hard for me to recommend it to people visiting Japan, but if you end up moving here and, as seems to be the Law, start blogging about Japan, there is a good chance you’ll end up at one of these events at some point.

11 comments:

  1. Ever done the Pecha Kucha thing at SuperDeluxe? Plenty of beer and bitching last time I was there, with interesting stuff going on in the background :)

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  2. Not yet, but I think I might try to worm my way into the next one!

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  3. I'm a game developer living in Japan but I don't have a blog and I'm not thinking of having one. Would that automatically exclude me from joining at least one of those dannychoo's Tokyo CGM Nights?

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  4. @Anonymous: Nah. Email me directly (click the "About" box top left) and I can put you as a +1 when/if I go next time.

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  5. Will do!
    Thanks JC.

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  6. I am an student in Australia, and also an otaku. I love Japanese manga, anime and games very much. Although most of them are not sold here, I could buy them from Amazon. I think Japanese games are very different with games from other countries. The games, manga, anime and also novels interact a lot with each other. A good manga could be produced into an anime, a game, or written by novelists into novels. And a famous game could also be produced into anime, drew in manga, or written to novels. That’s the special acg (anime, comic, game) industry of Japan. I love this kind of culture very much. Sometimes an audience is not satisfied with the ending of an anime, manga or a novel. Then he could change it in the game with the same story background. Sometimes the players want the characters in a game to do more actions, then they can watch the anime of it. This kind of interactive greatly increases the fans of a series and also does great benefits to the sale of the acg products.

    I just talk about two series of Japanese acg products that I love very much. Code Geass: lelouch of the rebellion is an anime produced by Sunrise, and also has its novel and psp game. I was first crazy at the anime, then read its novel, and then buy the psp game. I also love Legend of Hero VI: Sora no Kiseki of Falcom very much. I have played all the three games of this series and now reading its manga.

    However, I think the disadvantage of Japanese games is that they are not widely known outside Japan. The games are only designed for the taste of Japanese players. None of my friends around me knows much about Japanese anime and games. I can only talk with the internet friends on forums. And it also cause that Japanese anime and games could not be easily found in shops here that I have to buy them from Amazon.

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