Since the first Tamagotchi exploded onto the virtual pet scene over ten years ago, these adorable aliens have politely evolved from rudimentary three-button toys to full-fledged videogame mascots.
We talk to Nobuaki Taguchi, localization manager for Namco Bandai, about the third and latest installment in the Corner Shop series, and find out why we should still care about sugary-sweet minigames and the virtues of Tamagotchi.
What do you think makes the Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop series so appealing?
Nobuaki Taguchi: The fundamental gameplay and themes are something which makes the game highly appealing and gives a sense of accomplishment. Also, even though the gameplay seems tuned for a younger audience, the reality of it is that some of the later levels of the game ask for more than simple inputs and will really test even some of the most savvy players. In a sense, the balance within the game play makes this package something a lot of players will enjoy.
The first two Corner Shop games were quite similar, but this third one seems to up the ante with the features you've added. How do you think this one has improved upon the formula of the last two?
NT: We knew that the core mechanics of the game were well received so we did not want to change that formula too much. Instead of reinventing the whole game, we build upon it and added a few more features to satisfy those who are looking for something extra. Thus, we included new features such as journal making, fortune telling, park customizing and more. We’re hoping that our fans will enjoy the solid gameplay along with the newer features included in this rendition.
Would a competitive multiplayer mode ever have a place in the Corner Shop series?
NT: That’s actually a great idea! I can’t say whether that is possible or not at this point, but we are constantly looking out for new ways of introducing the franchise to a larger audience. While this game doesn’t have a competitive multiplayer mode, it does have a wireless feature where you create journals and exchange them with your friends. It’s just one way to try and have everyone interactively enjoy playing the game with friends and family.
We've noticed an environmental theme in some of the shops this time around, what was the inspiration for that?
NT: Tamagotchi has always been known for its cute characters as well as world themes which touch on ideals and general virtues. I think it was natural to have the characters involved with issues which can be considered friendly to society. Hence, there are shops in there such as a Recycling Center, Gardening, Day Care Center etc, all of which are something you can say is considered positive for all people. I think it is pretty safe to say that there are very little games out there which can touch on such subjects and still make it into a fun and enjoyable game.