Sundae (Not So) Funday: The Past Week’s Disaster


Happy Sunday, everyone. We usually begin this column in a light-hearted manner before moving on to recap some of the week’s stories, but obviously, there are other things on everyone’s minds this week, like the recent disasters in Japan. It would be wrong to keep updating the site without so much as a mention of the tragedy that befell the Japanese people — and everyone else affected by the disasters — this past week, so this is like our acknowledgement of it all.


In the context of the site, I guess the first question on a lot of our minds when we found out about the earthquakes this past week was how the game developers and publishers we adore and admire were doing. This doesn’t mean we didn’t care about everyone else…just that the people you’re familiar with are the ones that your immediate thoughts go out to.


The two disasters reported on most frequently this past week were the earthquakes and aftershocks in Sendai and Tokyo, and the resulting tsunami. While Sendai and the surrounding areas took the brunt of the impact, Tokyo saw its own share of damage, and it’s where a lot of our game developer friends are.


So far, we know that 5pb, CyberConnect2, Square Enix, Marvelous Entertainment, Namco Bandai, Konami, Nintendo, Mistwalker, JAST USA, EasyGameStation, Falcom, Dengeki, Nexton, Hendane, Circus, Carnival, Grasshopper Manufacture, Gungnir, Cave, Taito, Age, Game Arts, 8-4, Tango Game Works and Sega are, for the most part, okay.


This news comes via various Twitter feeds, blogs, our own friends at those companies with whom we managed to get in touch, and other equally concerned friends like Novelnews’ Zalas3 and Falcom fan-site EndlessHistory’s Floofy. At their own site, Anime News Network have a list of Twitter updates from various members of the entertainment industry.


Unfortunately, there’s no way to find out specifics on just how much “extended” damage has been done to these companies by way of losing friends, family or colleagues at remote offices. For example, Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono tweeted yesterday that some of their R&D staff’s families were in one of the disaster-stricken areas, and they don’t know how they’re doing.


Naturally, game developers are a fraction of the people that were affected in the earthquakes and the following tsunami this past week. As recently as yesterday, efforts were being made to prevent further crises at nuclear power plants in Fukushima. If you’d like to keep abreast of these happenings, IDG News’ Tokyo bureau chief, Martyn Williams, has been doing a fantastic job of keeping on top of the situation.


If you’d like to help out by donating to disaster relief funds, the most reliable way is through Red Cross. The most convenient way to donate is to text REDCROSS to 90999, and a $10 donation will automatically be charged to your phone bill.


I could talk about the severity of the damage done to Japan as a whole as a result of this disaster, but I doubt I need to. A lot of you have likely already seen the images and the news reports. It isn’t pretty, and it’ll be a long time before a lot of lives return to normal in every part of the world that was affected by the tragedy.


I guess the one thing I would like to mention within the context of our industry is that the disaster will certainly affect Japanese entertainment companies in some manner or the other, and it would be nice if everyone could express a little understanding and tolerance in the weeks, or maybe even months to come, as Japan tries to get back on its feet. Remember, both lives and entire livelihoods were damaged this week.


Image sourced from Reuters via ABC News.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.