Ikachan and Nintendo’s Growing Doujin Library

188157_Ikachan

For some reason one of my most anticipated releases this month has been Ikachan which should be coming out on the 3DS eShop on the 31st. Another Japanese indie game showing up on Nintendo hardware has me thinking about how eShop could shape up in the future in this regard.

If you don’t know about Ikachan (1up has a review of it up now), it’s more or less the predecessor to Cave Story. It’s the game that Daisuke Amayama made before Cave Story and has some narrative connections. I hear it’s a pretty short underwater Metroid-style thing.

Just like Cave Story you can already download a freeware version at Amayama’s website. For some reason though I feel like buying it as a product and playing it on some kind of console or something. I bought Cave Story+ on Steam and intend to one day play it with a controller on a TV screen. Ikachan just looks like the kind of game that would feel good to play with buttons on a gaming machine (without going through the hassle of downloading the freeware English patch and hooking up a controller to the computer). This will also be the first handheld version of the game.

Anyway, you’ve got this game up now along with multiple versions of Cave Story available from Nintendo, as well as La-Mulana — all Japanese indie games not available on other console digital services. Plus, you have more and more indie developers comparing the Wii U eShop favorably up against Xbox Live and PSN in terms of developer relations.

I think that combined with Nintendo’s current position as the most Japan-oriented platform holder, there’s a possibility of more indie games from that sector showing up on eShop. Cave Story and soon Ikachan have already come from Nicalis, who are also trying to release Yatagarasu on the 3DS.

Ever since the DSiWare store Nintendo’s digital libraries have looked incredibly distinct from those of Sony and Microsoft. To be honest, the most compelling reason for me to keep playing my 3DS in recent months has been games like Crashmo, Mighty Switch Force, Aura-Aura Climber, and the Virtual Console library.

Out of all the game platforms with DD services, the 3DS is looking to have the most content exclusive to it, and in the future a good deal of that could be Japanese indie games. I’m hoping we can see this environment transition to the Wii U.

BULLETS:

  • Oh wow. World Heroes 2 is out on Virtual Console: http://t.co/ovV3ISIy
  • Looks like people have started posting art shots from the Crysis 3 beta: http://t.co/dXe2oxf2
  • A good explanation of a 3,000-player EVE online battle for the layman, complete with internal politics and character flaws. http://shar.es/ClVxa 
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