Porn is a master developer of tiny, bite-sized games that then turn around and bite your head off. Even a cursory perusal of his game catalog is enough to make one's head spin; you never know what to expect from this relentlessly inventive, relentlessly funny fellow. While most of the Japanese game creation scene — be it professional or amateur — has come to know of the "adventure game" as a barely-interactive story-based experience with static backgrounds and 2D sprites, Porn captures much more closely the original meaning of the phrase: his pieces are often full to bursting with interactivity, they're a wild adventure to play, and you often make progress by (hilariously) dying.
During our negotiations, Porn and I had a long conversation about the nature of novel game localization, and about the differences I see between the interactive fiction of the West and the uniquely Japanese novel game genres. We were granted the rights to officially translate his piece into English, but only after we showed him definitive proof that our localization was both accurate and stylistically correct. It drove home once again the point that not all creators are happy about having their work translated by just anyone; if it is at all possible, one ought to ask permission first and show the original creator that you are a worthy translator. We also agreed that — painting in broad strokes — the Western interactive fiction is more "interactive" than "fiction", whereas the Japanese novel game is more "novel" than "game". There are, of course, exceptions on both sides; Adam Cadre's Photopia is certainly an example of a story-driven "puzzle-less" interactive fiction, whereas Porn himself develops novel games that — while not more "game" than "novel" — certainly do much to move the needle back toward equilibrium.
Porn has won several awards over the course of his career, most recently capturing 1st place at the 12th Three Minute Game Competition with 「灼熱姫」 — the piece that we present in English-localized form today as Crimsoness. He is always happy to interact with the people who play his games, and as such has asked me to translate any commentary we receive for Crimsoness into Japanese and send it along to him. We, of course, will do this.
28 November 2008
© 2007 Porn; © 2008 Edward Keyes and Seung Park
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