Saturday, April 23, 2011

Video Games/Anime Spree

Last week, my animator buddy, Joseph, found 2 video games/anime/comics stores in Culver City (same owner, stores right next to each other). We and my wife went to check them out.

Joseph dived right into the video games covered from wall-to-wall. I was a bit disappointed because besides awful sports games, it didn't appear to have much Super Ninendo/Famicom games (the only console I still own - since WAY back). I lost my Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and Nintendo Famicom (red/white machine) systems when I moved.

After an hour, Joseph said a little sheepishly that he wanted to check out the sister store. At first glance, the store offered mostly DVD's and Blue-Ray's, but Joseph found huge stacks of Japanese imported PS2 games in the corner. As I sauntered about, I looked inside the store's glass counter more closely and discovered about 20 Super Famicom games.

I was intrigued and asked the store clerk to take them out. As I saw the titles, I began to salivate. Presented to me were several great games I remembered playing from my childhood--五右衛門 (Goemon), 幽遊白書(Yuyuhakusho)--and several that I wanted--Dragonquest, NBA Jam, etc. Can you imagine how I felt as I held them in my hands? I couldn't stop talking about the games and recalling stories of my days as an avid video game player. Please allow me to briefly introduce some of them. 

Goemon allows you the simple pleasure of being the Japanese Robin Hood, walking around and whacking people with a smoking pipe. (Or being his slapstick, happy-go-lucky thief sidekick.)

NBA Jam: As sports games become more and more realistic, one's nostalgia for fantastical sports games can't help but amplify. NBA Jam really is the grandfather of such sub-genre. When a player is "on fire," his ball is literally "on fire." FLYING to the basket, LEAPING, TWIRLING, 360 DEGREES, SLAM-DUNKING the hell out of the rim.

Dragon Quest: fantasy genre RPG game. Most notable for the fact that 鳥山明 (Akira Toriyama, Dragonball creator) serves as the character designer for the game. Any true Dragonball fan should be barely able to contain himself/herself when looking at the beautiful game cover.

That day was truly awesome. I really need to thank Joseph for finding the place and my wife for sharing my excitement. While anime and video games have their own strict genre rules, I took away from the visit a feeling of creative freedom and excitement -- that arts can & should go anywhere. They should excite, entertain, and challenge their audience. This applies to cinema. The excitement that I felt as a kid is the type of excitement that I, as a filmmaker, MUST impart on my audience.    

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