20th Entertainment Division Critiques

Some Well-Fought Debates

The Grand Prize winners will be SHIN GODZILLA, Pokémon GO, and okazakitaiiku "MUSIC VIDEO." Who could disagree? Such were my thoughts as I arrived at the jury's final meeting. I knew, of course, that we had only one Grand Prize to give. We couldn't possibly select three works. But it had to be one of those three. Yet, there was no real way to compare them. A video work, a game app, and a music video--different categories, different genres. And each with a different target. It was like trying to compare the long jump and rhythmic gymnastics and soccer. The quality of execution was indistinguishable. In which case it fell to simple gut feelings about which work fit best for the Grand Prize. I anticipated a vigorous debate over each juror's sense of what the Grand Prize represents.But as it turned out, it wasn't so simple. Some jurors put forth other candidates, and there was even a suggestion to leave the Grand Prize spot vacant. The battle was on. I thought I was grown-up enough to know how to keep my voice under control, but for the first time in recent memory I found myself getting worked up--feeling rather like I was on the disaster response team in SHIN GODZILLA. I considered it out of the question that we would skip a Grand Prize altogether for a year as important to entertainment as 2016 had been--especially with so many excellent candidates to represent the year staring us in the face, works that were in fact sure to affect the course of entertainment for years to come. But I am delighted that our well-fought debates culminated in the selection of truly outstanding works for the Grand Prize, Excellence Awards, and New Face Awards.There were, as well, many remarkable works among those that did not receive awards, such as Winning Eleven 2016, LineFORM, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4, Rez Infinite, TTT (Table Tennis Trainer), GIGA SELFIE, Orphe: Smart Footwear, and SPEED CHESS. Even many of those that did not make the Jury Selections list were of very high quality.It was difficult to advocate for some smaller, meticulously crafted games, and they were eliminated. The selections are not based on objective judgments or standards. I approached the task as faithfully as I could, all too aware of the limitations inherent in the act of judging, yet at the same time feeling that that was what made the task meaningful.

Game Designer
Born in 1964. Game designer and writer. Responsible for the concept, screenplay and direction of a large number of games, including Puyo Puyo, Baroque, King of Wands, and Sozo to kotoba (Imagination and Words). His publications include Shigoto wo 100 bai tanoshiku suru project kouryaku bon (A Guide to Multiplying the Fun of Your Job by a Hundredfold) [KK Bestsellers], Jibun dake ni shika omoitsukanai aidea o mitsukeru hoho (How to Come Up with Ideas that Only You Can Find) [Nikkei Publishing], and Shiko tsuuru to shite no tarot (Tarot as a Tool for Thinking) [Kindle]. He is a member of the public gathering of haiku poets Tokyo Mach. He serves as a full-time lecturer for the Advanced Editing and Writing class organized by Sendenkaigi, and as a lecturer for the Training Hall of Expression at Ikebukuro Community College.