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Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Honored By Japan Media Arts Festival


imageFor the past thirteen years, the Japan Media Arts festival has been voting on the best media art with categories that cover manga, animation, and video games.

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Only one video game won a prize this year and it was Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. Here’s why CyberConnect2’s game received an excellence award from the committee.


The main reason why this work received an award is due to the excellence of its graphics, movement, and presentation. That “the graphics are beautiful” is not necessarily a universal compliment for games, as we can see from the fact that text oriented adventure games and puzzle games that lack graphics have never died out. However, this piece not only has beautiful imagery, but intuitive controllability that successfully draws players in without relying on characters and stories. The combination of all these features has resulted in an exciting interaction—a very game-like merit. It is relatively common for popular franchises to move from manga to animation, and then to games; but many of them tend to be commercially unsuccessful when they reach the third stage. This is because of the character of games “as media” literally. However, this work has not fallen into such a trap, and shows us an example of an integrated game that originated in manga.


The festival also presented a special achievement prize to Shigeru Miyamoto for creating Mario, “a work loved by people beyond language and culture” and inspiring game developers around the world. Miyamoto had this to say about the honor:


“I would like to express my gratitude for being chosen for this prestigious award. As you may know, creating a game requires many people’s support. I feel very honored to receive the recognition for this personally, and I humbly accept it for my many years of service. The time when I first started to create games was the heyday of personal computers, but I felt that a thick wall existed between PC developers and game developers. I think the wall has now completely come down. One important factor in this development is that the generation who grew up playing games are now active in the field of PCs. I hope that I can continue to create things that can convey the fascination of interactive media to people in the future irrespective of genres.”


Last year, one of Miyamoto’s games won an excellence award.


The jury also recommended the following games as excellent works in the entertainment division.


Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (Xbox 360)
Discipline (WiiWare)
Dragon Quest IX (DS)
Fable II (Xbox 360)
Let’s Tap (Wii, iPhone)
LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
Love Plus (DS)
Patapon (PSP)
Pokemon Rumble (WiiWare)
Race Driver Grid (Xbox 360, PS3, DS)
Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360, PS3)
Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360, PS3)
Style Savvy (DS)
Wario Ware: D.I.Y. (DS)

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