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Keita Takahashi Games Set to Debut Locally

Hosted by indie game collective Juegos Rancheros
James Renovitch, 4:16pm, Mon. Apr. 1, 2013
A few letters from A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈

This week our local independent video game collective's hit streak continues with two new games from Keita Takahashi, the childlike mind behind games like Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy. It's this Thursday, 7pm, at the North Door and completely free and open to the public. Keep reading if you need more convincing. But you shouldn't.

Juegos Rancheros has been outdoing itself lately with visits from Dishonored developers Arkane and, just last month, LittleBigPlanet creators Media Molecule. The informal meet-up continues bringing great games to our fair city this month.

Takahashi has become, by design or by fate, one of the faces of "art games." Katamari Damacy has been played in living rooms and museums all over the world (including Austin's Arthouse). Since then, his often confounding games can be recognized by their uniquely whimsical art design. But it's been a while since we've seen anything new from him. That dry spell is set to end.

Tenya Wanya Teens is a production of Uvula (Takahashi's studio) and local game-culture blog Venus Patrol among others. It debuted last week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and is described, somewhat elusively, as "a coming-of-age tale about love, hygiene, monsters and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods.” Of course it's a multiplayer game, just to ensure that any revisited awkwardness associated with puberty is shared.

The second title is the world premiere of an in-development collaboration between Takahashi and local developer Adam Saltsman. A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈ (I'm told the quotation marks under the letters are important) is being made as a reward to backers of the LA Game Space Kickstarter and according to Saltsman is a cartoon racing "massively single-player offline game." There are 26 characters, naturally, and different courses have players controlling several characters at once. When asked about the experience of working with Takahashi, Saltsman points to the differences in their approaches to game making. "It's really not easy, for me anyways, to just sit down and think up something really pure and funny. I get bogged down in the details," he admits. "The emails he sends me are so fresh and whimsical and deeply, childishly fun."

You should RSVP on Facebook so the North Door bartenders and pizzamakers can gird their loins appropriately.

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