Pretend to be friends with Japanese developers with these neat documentaries
Drinks are on them
Where does Suda51 get a drink after work? Sounds like the beginning of a (baffling) joke, is actually the pitch of Toco Toco, a series of short documentaries that follow Japanese creators on a tour of their favourite places. Some episodes are career retrospectives told through old haunts; others are just Trip Advisor, but with extra clips of fighting games. They are all beautifully shot and make me want to leap in the screen and start hanging out.
Personally, if I was a famous anything I don’t know if I’d tell the general public where I’m most likely to be found. What if some maniac turns up, or it becomes another pilgrimage site for western fanboys to come and ruin (see: the retro videogame stores of Akihabara). No, despite the generous invitation, I think I'll sit back, whack the video up to full screen and just pretend that I’m mates the guy who made Nier Automata for a couple of minutes.
Here are a few highlights from the gaming personalities, though I really recommend checking out the wider series of artists, musicians and comedians. Oh, and you can support the rebranded channel, Archipel, on Patreon here.
Suehiro, aka Swery65, aka him what made Deadly Premonition, lives a very charmed life, shuffling from boutique bar to boutique bar. I particularly like the Canadian hockey-themed establishment where the kindly owner collects newspaper clippings of Swery’s international press like a proud dad. I wonder if he’s a got a print out of Alice’s Have You Played? Of all the interview subjects, Swery is the only one to extend an open invitation to the viewer to join him for a whisky. If I could drink the stuff without choking, I’d be on the first plane to Osaka.
I’m not 100% sure how much of Suda51’s rebel persona is just a schtick for journos who lap it up - around the time of No More Heroes he would do some interviews sitting on a toilet which was surely uncomfortable for all involved. He takes us to a batting centre, a soba noodle/rock music emporium and an 80s music bar where the bartender has to serve drinks through a wall of vinyl. That last one looks trendy but hugely impractical, which is also my review of every Suda game.
What nightmarish locales might inspire the creator of Silent Hill? Tellingly, Toyama spends most of his episode holed up in his gleaming Sony office, staring out of windows like a man who has spooked himself about the outside world. Or maybe it’s because he’s on the final stretch of his (then) latest game and can’t spare the time to show a documentary crew a lovely pond or something. Either way, I’m envious of the tiny cinema he visits at the end - seems a very comfortable place to dream up discomforting meat horrors.
Yes, he wears that big moon head for the whole episode.
This post was originally written for the RPS Supporter Program.