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Nippon Marathon Developer Talks About Capturing The Feel Of Japanese Game Shows

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Nippon Marathon aims to put players in a ridiculous multiplayer foot race across Japan, all while having them deal with increasingly goofy, outlandish pitfalls and traps. Fake doors, shopping cart rides, rolling barrels, thrown fruit, and persistent Shiba Inu mean to throw the player off of their game, and all while all kinds of wacky events and silly situations play out.

Siliconera spoke with Andy Madin, developer of Nippon Marathon, spoke with Siliconera about capturing that spirit of silly Japanese game shows, and how they worked it into a multiplayer game of nonstop mayhem.

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Nippon Marathon is a pretty wild idea, what inspired the game?

Andy Madin, Developer: One of my favourite things about the games industry is the huge range of genres and ideas. So, when I decided it was time to make a game, I started experimenting a lot and ended up with a single player prototype version of Nippon Marathon. It looked funny and played with an amusing unpredictability, and when I added local four-player support for some reason, it just looked and felt like a playable version of a wacky Japanese gameshow. So, from there I just had to follow that design concept and see where it led me!

What’s fun about making interactivity is the challenge, and it’s challenging to try to make something that draws inspiration from another culture: something that’s fun, isn’t too violent, is funny, and wears its Takeshi’s Castle inspiration on its sleeve without feeling derivative…. That’s the challenge!

Nippon Marathon is currently in Early Access, what do you plan to add to in the final release and have there been any ideas from the launch that changed your plans?

It’s been crazy since we launched. We’ve had at least half a million views of Nippon Marathon on YouTube across the world! We’ve been right back into implementing localisation support and working towards the next couple of big features – for our Japanese fans (and for fans of Japanese voices in games), our commentator is recording a Japanese language pack right now. Then there’s L.O.B.S.T.E.R mode, which is a turn-based party game of one-upmanship. From the feedback it seems ‘Story Mode’ has piqued players’ interest for sure!

What was the most surprising response you received from Japanese gamers?

Everyone loves Zenbei! The response across Asia has been very surprising and very welcome. I’m glad is has been taken in the way that it was intended. Also, all the Let’s Plays that are appearing around the world are phenomenal! I’m also surprised that people are already picking up on the many, many Easter eggs and nods to pop culture dotted throughout the game.

Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!