Naka feels the Magic

Sonic Team's head honcho talks up Sega's touchy-feely DS launch title.

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TOKYO--At yesterday's Nintendo DS event in Japan, Sega producer Yuji Naka appeared onstage to talk about Sonic Team's DS launch title Kimishine, which is being released in the US under the title Feel The Magic: XY/XX. In the game, you take the role of an average guy with a crush on a nice-looking girl. To get her attention, the guy joins a performance group named Rub Rabbits (or possibly Love Rabbits--the two words are pronounced identically in Japanese, which is where the game's original name "Project Rub" came from).

From the demo presented at the event, Kimishine played like a collection of minigames. You'll have to stab the stylus at raging bulls that dash toward you, or you'll have to gently brush the girl to get rid of dirt on her clothes. One of the most amusing games was a screen with a candle in which you actually blew at the candle's fire to blow it out. Naka would not comment on how it was done, because "It would be like telling the secret behind a magic trick," he said at the conference. (The minigame in question uses the DS's microphone input, it was revealed later.)

"Since we're making a new game on new hardware, we wanted a different kind of name for it. We wanted a dramatic-sounding title, and that's why we chose 'I Would Die For You,'" Naka said to Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto while they were onstage together.

"Having two kinds of input devices is a big change, but I think the best part [about the DS] is that it can be played with just one hand. I think it really makes it easy to get into games, kind of like how it’s easier to play the piano with only one hand rather than to use both,” said Naka. “It's also easier to show someone how to play a game, since you can show them the screen with one hand while using the touch screen with the other. It's very different from traditional gaming devices."

Naka later commented to the press that Kimishine was developed under the notion that the particular stylus pen that is packaged in with the DS will be used by people when they play the game. "Kimishine is balanced for play with the default stylus," commented Naka. "Playing with normal-sized pens will change the level of difficulty, so please go with the default stylus."

Commenting on the game's tone and art style, Naka mentioned that Sega decided to go with this type of game because the company originally thought that the Nintendo DS would be aimed at an older audience. The development had cost less than expected and wasn't as difficult as the company had originally imagined, thanks in part to development tools, libraries, and support provided by Nintendo, said Naka.

Although he said that Kimishine will not use the DS's wireless connectivity, Naka pointed out that Sega's next DS title, Puyo Puyo Fever, will allow up to eight players to challenge one another simultaneously, with four player-windows displayed on the top screen and the remaining four on the bottom.

"Puyo Puyo Fever has lots of sound effects, so every time a player attacks, [the game] gets louder and louder," commented Naka. "I was pretty surprised that the DS could handle all the sounds and the processes of eight people playing all at once without any problems."

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