15th Entertainment Division Critiques

The time will come when we no longer call them “games.”

Submissions were concentrated around a particular device, and many had tightly focused content. Perhaps because the production environment now enables individuals to create, many entries introduced idiosyncratic concepts that made for a most enjoyable selection process.
 Our sense of values relating to culture and the arts includes both the desire to retain the good unchanged and the drive to create new trends. This year I approached the submissions with selection criteria that included a universal sense of playfulness and an innovative spirit of aufheben. In unassuming works that discreetly incorporated a clever sense of "playfulness," I felt I was able to discern the sensitivity of the young and the trend of the times. I was also struck strongly by the hope that creators would aim for the sort of next-generation works that "could be only be described as new," an encounter with which would linger long in memory.

The content of many entries also spanned across categories like video works, applications, games and playthings. With video works that also happen to be playable, and utility apps that can also be played now and then, the traditional boundaries of the game category are becoming harder and harder to distinguish. In fact, this is evidence of how both creator and user engage freely and loosely with media without a hard-and-fast game consciousness. This can be seen as an indication of the breadth of future possibilities for games and, taken together with the way mobile phones are now called by many names, suggests that games, too, may be called by some other name one day very soon.

Game Creator and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
Born in 1955 in Tokyo, IWATANI joined Namco Ltd. (now Namco Bandai Games) in 1977. In 1980 he created the video game Pac-Man. Based on the theme of eat ing, the game received high praise worldwide; in 2005 it was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most successful arcade machine. He has produced over 50 games, including Pac-Land, Ridge Racer, Alpine Racer, and Time Crisis. He became a professor in the Faculty of Arts Department of Game at Tokyo Polytechnic University in 2007. He is also director of the Digital Games Research Association Japan, a fellow of Namco Bandai Games, and the author of Pac-Man no Game-gaku Nyumon (An Introduction to Pac-Man Gaming; Enterbrain, 2005).