Monday, February 16, 2009

Introspective: Grasshopper Manufacture

Hello again blogsphere,

Yes, it's another introspective! What can I say, I'm a writer not magician; if I can't make a rabbit come out of a hat, you'd better believe I can't materialize artwork. Regardless, here's another one of my favorite things! Grasshopper Manufacture is a video game production company based out of Japan. Of course this feeds into my bias of loving that country, but I don't care; to me: these guys can do no wrong...until Suda51 dies at least.

My story with these guys is yet another story of coincidental circumstance. I think it was about 2006 that I first played a Grasshopper game; being into Anime back then, I was excited about the new Samurai Champloo game for PS2. I was working at a video store at the time, so when I found out we had it, I decided to check it out one night. The presentation was so off the wall, and the gameplay was so awkward...I don't want to sound pretentious, but I knew there was something special about it. I'm not going to lie, I set out to buy it but didn't, and I have an out of sight, out of mind type personality, so I didn't even think about it again.

The same is true of my favorite game Killer7, which you can probably guess who it was made by. I'd heard of Killer7, followed it, and when it was finally released, I didn't even bother to play it. Maybe...two years ago, a friend of mine had it, and I asked if I could borrow it because I remembered that I wanted to check it out. I lost sleep playing that game. I thought that I knew what a video game was, and should be, but Killer7 was completely different. I was baffled that there was so much in one video game; dark humor, political commentary, philosophy, ultra-violence, power rangers. It hit everything I consider to be enjoyable in one fell swoop.

There's nothing that I can compare it to, to this very day.

After that, as I do with most everything I like, I went on a rampage looking for anything and everything about the company, who wrote and directed it, it's reception, and if the company was going to make anymore games. To date, I only own two of their games which are Contact for DS and Killer7 for Gamecube, but I've played Samurai Champloo and No More Heroes, and not one has let me down. Even though I'm sure that Goichi Suda is responsible for the majority of their work, I give the entire company credit. They've got quite a bit of talent, and I wouldn't be surprised if they'll be credited with advancing the industry one day soon.

It may sound pompous, but playing their video games is like playing with interactive art to me. Every game they approach, from the writing, to the art direction, is stylized so uniquely, I've got no problem picking up anything they make without a second thought. I really can't say that about many things, and so Grasshopper Manufacture earns a place in my Pantheon of inspirations. I won't recommend their work to everyone, because I know some people think that movies are bad if their favorite character dies; but, if you're adventurous enough, read up on them. I'm sure you'll find a game in their catalogue, that would suit your tastes ^^

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