Four Things You May Not Know About Masaya Mastuura
Before the start of GDC this week, the crew from Majesco was on hand to show off the final build of Major Minor's Majestic March, which should be in stores just in time for the end of March (get it?). Also on hand was designer Masaya Matsuura, famous for his Parappa the Rapper series and generally regarded as the father of the modern rhythm game genre. Look for some impressions of Major Minor on the site soon. For now, here are some interesting tidbits from my quick interview with Matsuura:
- He considered making Parappa a clam: Mastuura said that artist and collaborator Rodney Greenblatt had a "very strange reaction" when he was first told about the idea behind the design for Parappa the Rapper. After the design for the gameplay was worked out, it took the pair a few months to work out the designs for the characters. During that time, Matsuura said they considered focusing the game on "sea creatures" and putting Parappa "in a clam shell." I think we're all pretty grateful he didn't.
- He's not against realistic graphics: Despite the bright, colorful abstractions in the Parappa series and Major Minor, Matsuura said he's fine with the trend towards more complex, realistic graphics in many of today's games. He cited Jenova Chen's Flower in particular as a game that he admired for using realistic graphics in the service of a very abstract concept. "The children growing up with this, in the future they will not even think of it [as realistic]," Matsuura said.
- His favorite Rock Band instrument is the drum: Why? When he plays the guitar, Mastuura says he has a tough time telling whether he's actually making the sound with the guitar in his hand or if it's just coming from the game. When he plays the drums, though, he can tell he's making the music by the thwacking of the sticks, which is often louder than the drumming from the TV. "So maybe that's the instrument for me," he laughed
- He'd love to get a Parappa sequel made: What's more, he said that there's pretty much no one he's talked to who's against such an idea. The problem is getting the entire team back together now that they've split up and moved on to various other projects. Matsuura also said the timing may be off, since it's been so long since the last Parappa game came out. "It's not like Larry King Live, where we put out something every night... so maybe it's too late," he pondered.