Tajima-san, I imagine you were uneasy when you left for Seattle. When you played the prototype, what did you think?
(loudly) I was impressed!
Ever since coming here, I’d never had the chance to see the game while it was in development.
Because you were busy with your own work, I suppose.
My work had finally settled down, so I asked Hattori-san to send me the prototype, and it reflected the proposal nicely. It was even more fun than I’d imagined!
They polished it up nicely.
Yes! So since I’ve come here, I play it as a regular gamer rather than as a member of the development staff. Every day is a joy! (laughs)
Many of the other Japanese staff here are also playing it. We have conversations just like we might in the real world, saying things like “I’m putting together an outfit in such-and-such a brand” and “I really like this item of clothing!” It’s unbelievably fun!
I’m glad to hear that.
You’ve completely adopted the perspective of one of our customers! (laughs) Of course, we did have testers try it out in Japan.
Yes. We had members of Mario Club4 play it. A lot of girls played it, but so did some boys. At the end of development, a boy came straight to me and said, “That was fun.”
4 Mario Club = Mario Club Co., Ltd. Responsible for debugging and test play during Nintendo's software development.
That may be more gratifying than to have a girl say it. (laughs)
I was really pleased. (laughs)
So guys who are into videogames more than fashion may find it to be surprisingly deep, and before they know it realise they’ve learned a considerable amount about clothes.
Without a doubt, guys can also enjoy this game. There are considerable strategic elements, so you can play it purely as a game. To put it bluntly, you can try to save as much money as possible in a short time, stockpile all the clothes, and attempt to win first place in the contests.
And it could help you when it comes time to pick out a present for your girlfriend.
Undoubtedly. Also, it might provide fathers with something to talk about with their teenage daughters.
That’s right. Yamagami-san served as a tester the whole time too. The thing that Yamagami-san said that made me the happiest was, “I just sold my first clothes! I’m exuberant!” (laughs)
When I first tried it, I couldn’t sell anything! But after I had gone through Primavera, I could make sales. Like a real sales assistant, I thought, “Yes! I sold something!” It was a great feeling. I realised for the first time what it was that made the game fun.
It seems to me that some of you knew about fashion and some of you didn’t, but you each approached the project from your own perspective, wondering how you could make the game fun for yourself. These layers built up and resulted in a game with multiple interesting facets.
I think so too. At the very beginning, someone knowledgeable about fashion, Tajima-san, created the foundation for something that could be enjoyed in depth, and after that we broadened it into something that people like me, who only have a passing knowledge of fashion, can enjoy.I think that’s why those who are fashion savvy and those who aren’t can both enjoy the game. If one person alone tried to make such a game, it would be terribly difficult, but as a team, I think we did it.
Lastly, I’d like you to tell me, as developers, what kind of people you would like to enjoy the game and what you hope they will get out of it. Let’s start with you, Yamagami-san.
I hope those who read this article will understand that this game is not specifically geared towards children.
Children can enjoy it, but it isn’t specifically made for them.
Exactly. Adults can play it, and so can children. To be honest, I’m confident that if people in their 40s and 50s play it, they’ll have a good time.
It would be great if not just young girls, but also young women play it. Parents and grandparents can even enjoy it with their children or grandchildren.
Yes, it’s not just a game. It can be useful in choosing your own clothes each day and heighten your fashion sense. So, since it is both fun and practical, I hope adults will also give it a try.
How about you, Tajima-san?
Shall I save you for the end?
If you do that, everyone will have already said all the good stuff… I was part of the development staff when the project started, but now I’m completely an end user, so…
So you’re eagerly awaiting the release date?
Absolutely! I’m like, go on, give me the final product! (laughs)
Well, wait just a little longer! (laughs)
I’m always checking the Nintendo presents: Style Boutique homepage, and just like with a real fashion website you can try out different combinations of clothes. Each day when I see it, I get excited. So as a player, I’m looking forward to the release date. Of course, I did play it during development on ROM, but the experience will be different with the final game.
You really do talk like one of our customers! (laughs) Why do you think you’re looking forward to it so much?
When I was little, I enjoyed dressing up dolls with perfect fashion model figures. With the game, I remember those times and can express my own real sense of fashion today as an adult. The game fulfils my desires with regard to fashion. The clothing items are like real clothes, so if I go to a real store, I’ll be able to find something similar. I like the way the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurry.
So in other words you want players to enjoy a mix of both real world and virtual reality fashion.
Right. But my figure isn’t as good as that of the girls in the game, so I try out outfits in the game and enjoy my own fantasy fashion shows that way.
When you mentioned earlier that you have these fashion shows at home, I almost started teasing you about it. (laughs)
Isn’t it a fairly normal thing to do?
Girls do it a lot. Especially after they’ve just bought something new.
I’ve got to check whether it matches the other clothes I have.
I do that, too. Not as much as Tajima-san, though. (laughs)
Oh, I see… I guess I just don’t know much about women. Sorry.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the release date!
This is a first for “Iwata Asks.” Tajima-san is heaping on the praise, not as a developer, but as a consumer! I don’t know if that will be informative for the readers or not, though… (laughs wryly) Hattori-san?
I, too, want a wide variety of people to enjoy it. Young girls can enjoy it simply, like dressing up dolls, by trying out different outfits that they think are cute, and men can enjoy the strategic element, deciding which clothes to display in their shop and figuring out how to most effectively sell clothes.
It could prove to be quite useful for lots of different people.
Yes. It can be enjoyed by fashionistas and non-fashionistas, men and women alike.
Ito-san, you’re next.
It’s alright for people—including men—to play this game alone, but I’d like people to play it in groups. For example, mothers can stand behind their daughters as they play and make suggestions, and children can teach their fathers fashion lingo. Playing together with others can be a lot of fun. That time we were all peeking over Yamagami-san’s shoulders and giving him a rough time—saying things like “No-one dresses like that!”—was a riot! (laughs)
You do feel like you want others to see your outfits.
Okay, I’ll go last. Band Brothers DX5 produced some star composers. Likewise, I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of popular shop owners appear because of Nintendo presents: Style Boutique. I can’t wait to see what kinds of shops appear and what kinds of things happen. I think some players will appear whose boutiques generate a favourable buzz. When I think about that, like Tajima, I look forward to the release date—although perhaps not quite as much as she does! Good work everyone, in working so hard for so long.
5 Daigasso! Band Brothers DX: Released in Japan in June 2008 as software for the Nintendo DS. You can create music for songs registered with JASRAC and download songs that have been uploaded by others.
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