GaLboa's booth at the Tokyo Game Show this year raises a lot of questions the instant it catches your eye. What is this Oyaji Girly game? Who decorated this booth? Are those inflatable eyeballs? We asked almost exactly those questions and more when we sat down to interview Mika Nakawatari of GaLboa.
Game Revolution: First, can you tell us a bit about what exactly Oyaji Girly is?
Mika Nakawatari: Oyaji Girly is a game designed by a team of high school girls, Team Cinderella. It's a game where you go out into the world to find and capture oyaji (middle-aged men), and give them a makeover to make them cuter. You can then decorate your house with the cute oyaji. The name is a pun on the word "girly" and the Japanese word for hunting.
GR: This is really a concept that high school girls were interested in?
Nakawatari: I was surprised too! But they were very adamant about it. It seems like they want to be able to relate to middle-aged men a bit more — most of them don't really know any men of that age who aren't their fathers.
GR: Have they reacted well to the game so far?
Nakawatari: Yes, and we hope to keep improving on it.
GR: There's something really playful about this concept. It's about "makeovers" but it's not about these guys becoming conventionally attractive.
Nakawatari: Yes! The makeovers enhance the unique personality of the oyaji.
GR: How long has the game been in development?
Nakawatari: Since June or July of this year. It's not quite finished yet, but we hope to have it done in the fall of this year.
GR: Your booth is incredible, by the way. Who put this together?
Nakawatari: Oh, thank you! Yeah, the girls helped come up with this.
GR: It's so colorful, and shiny, but then there's stuff like inflatable eyeballs and sharks hanging there….
Nakawatari: It's kind of emblematic of the spirit of the game. I think everybody can appreciate the effect: stuff like those eyeballs is kind of grotesque on its own, but when you put it in this kind of environment, your feeling toward it changes. It becomes cuter, somehow.
GR: …Is that ham?
Nakawatari: …I think so.
Nakawatari: Anyways, we hoped that this booth would attract some positive attention from girls. At a game show like this, you look around, and it's mostly boys, right? And that can be a bit unwelcoming, so we wanted a booth that girls really felt comfortable approaching and engaging with. Many of these booths have models at them. As you can see, we have our own models as well — both oyaji and high school girls. It's a school day so there aren't many high school girl models here today, but there will be more on the weekend.
GR: So many booths are so serious, and the games at them are really serious too. It's always stuff like "save the world" or "defeat the enemies," so when I come here and see this, I feel kind of refreshed.
Nakawatari: As a developer, I'm really happy to hear that. That's exactly the type of feeling we're hoping our players will have when they play Oyaji Girly. We're working hard on the game, and Team Cinderella is too. We're cheering each other on.
Many thanks to GaLboa for talking with us and to Team Cinderella for their uncrushable spirit. But also not "many thanks," because just looking at this booth may have given us diabetes.
(Editor's Note: This interview was originally conducted in Japanese.)
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