It’s finally out. Japansoft: An Oral History is a new book I’ve edited that’s based on interviews by John Szczepaniak with Japanese game developers of the 1980s and early 1990s for his series, The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers.
Yesterday my boy came out of his room in the cottage we’ve rented for our holiday in west Scotland. “Dad,” he said. “I finished Spelunky.”
14 years old, GCSEs ahead of him, standing at the very brink between child and adulthood. Voice breaking, sometimes sullen. He still breaks into open affection with a hug, or, more frequently, a joke, but now we feel we’ve earned it. We still tell him what to do, but maybe he needs it less than we think.
“I killed King Yama!” he said, eyes bright. “I shotgunned his hands away so he couldn’t throw skeletons at me, and then threw four bombs at his head.”
I’ve been rather remiss in noting this, but I’m currently working on a new book! Called Japansoft: An Oral History, it’s a spiritual follow-up to Britsoft: An Oral History, which means it’s a set of intimate reminiscences by members of the early Japanese game industry.
As I put it together I realised that I’ve written about Minecraft in many different ways: creativity-n-biz style features in Edge, practical guides about blocks, entertaining (that was the aim) vignettes about them, designing and explaining builds, fiction-based descriptions of mobs, almost-academic works about Minecraft’s creative culture. And then there’s my work as publishing editor at Mojang, in which I read and edit other people’s writing about Minecraft, from novels to sales blurbs.
So I want to talk about that process for the kids that’ll be there, helping them learn about researching, imagining, and putting words down, and hopefully keeping them actually interested by spicing it with little tips and a quiz.