With its latest entries having just appeared online, the Famicase exhibition — curated by Tokyo game culture shop Meteor — once again proves why it's a yearly art/game highlight. The premise? A collective of Japanese designers and artists imagine cartridges for their favorite Famicom (8-bit Nintendo) games that never were.
While this year's crop has strayed away from anything as blatantly/lightly controversial as last year's Bush Jr cart, it takes no less a sardonic swipe at Western culture with Burp'n'Shoot! above. The game, the artists say, is a "fun lazy redneck experience" that involves "sitting on the backyard couch drinking Budweiser and shooting at empty cans, watermelons and a broken TV" while avoiding the errant basket- and baseballs of the neighbor kids (Note: "Budweiser and gun controls required").
Below is a gallery of my other favorites from this year's exhibition, the full series of which can be found at the official Famicase 2010 site.
OLULU UP CENTER's Neco Touch is a game "all the rage among German children" that awards points for befriending feral cats with careful touches on the nose (eliciting purrs is a 1000pt bonus).
Takuya Nomura's YAMAB-ECHO utilizes the microphone on your console's player-2 controller to simulate the experience of hearing "confessions of love" echoed by distant mountains.
FrogPort's The Secret Society, as you might expect, sees players on a mission to "uncover the whole truth behind the secret societies that manipulate the world", complete with the disappearance of friends and family, and unidentifiable black shadows.
Takashi Nakamura's The Machiavelli is an ends-justify-the-means "simulation of evil", and the precursor to later literary games The Kierkegaard (a game about "the escape from despair") and The Nietzsche (an Übermensch RPG).
Tibori's Tokyo Sightseeing is a game delivering all the banality of asking strangers to take your photo, losing your children and grouping onto buses, in an effort to see as many sights as you can (and filling your 'sightseeing gauge'), as quickly as possible.
âˆž bit computer, says its creator, is a game containing the first levels of every NES game ever. Clear stage one and you go on to stage one of the next game and then to the next… forever.
Shiyunsuke Hasegawa's This World is Mine is a biblical Genesis simulation where players can head off all future "population growth, social inequality, violent crime and environmental destruction" by — as best I can translate — limiting creation to cute animals and beautiful blonde women.
Minoru Takahashi's Family Genom lets players sequence their own genetic "passwords" to create any number of happy mutants.
Yeah, you can joke, but I'll bet you that someone, somewhere, has got this actually working in an emulator.
And finally, a game that probably is actually half-commercially-viable: Taigo Furukawa's MADRIS — an educational puzzle game "developed by Soviet scientists to improve the housing of Japan" — lets you fit falling living rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms together to complete your dream floor-plan. An edit mode makes this also a useful CAD tool for serious residential housing construction companies.