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I saw Matsuura demo this at GDC about two years ago, and even then it was really impressive. NanaOn-Sha strikes me as one of the few companies that are trying really new things. Mojiribbon's predecessor, Vib-Ribbon, is one of my favorite games of all time (and similarly never made it to the States).

At the GDC demo, Matsuura mentioned that the Japanese input method for the PS2 controller that he'd developed was so good that he could actually write faster with it than with a keyboard. Is this true?



This was at GDC last year as well. I believe it was in the experimental games workshop. Although I suppose one could make a technically-similar game using Western caligraphy, it wouldn't play similarly at all. This may be one of those rare games that is simply untranslatable... at least until the West adopts an ideographic script, and then lets it mature for a millenium or so.

I wonder if there are Western games that are similarly "untranslatable" to the East?


I would love to see this game in motion. Anyone know of any movies online I can watch of it?


That rarefied world of aesthetic refinement has faded from the earth.

Was it ever ON the earth?

Not to go all Marx about it, but the only reason those palace fops could spend their days folding paper and perfecting their calligraphy was that masses of average folks worked long and hard to maintain the luxeries of their pampered class.

I will say the game looks enchanting. It would be nice to see a "What the hell..." release in the US. Alternately, you could do a Western alphabet version, I think. How about one with old Nordic Runes or hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt?


Bowler, there are some movies linked from here:


Not to go all Smith about it, but those Hollywood fops could only look so young and fabulous because of the masses of average folks who worked long and hard for their movie ticket. Not to mention the politicians and government contracts, Enron and your retirement money, the CEO taking 1000x your salary...

And my fellow American fops with their big gas guzzling cars, their insane water/water/food/energy waste, rampant consumerism can only sustain such gluttony on the back of masses of developing world factory workers, and the lungs of our grandchildren.

Inequality is still with us today. But we're at a time where the cultural output of a long extinct exclusionist class can be enjoyed by most. And we can be thankful for that. Now my peasant self is now going to see the 'Return of the King', and picture myself in it.


Inequality is still with us today. But we're at a time where the cultural output of a long extinct exclusionist class can be enjoyed by most.

Another thing to thank Capitalism for. :)

I still think the game might sell here. Not GTA3 numbers, to be sure, but with the right approach, you could interest people in it.

I know quite a few people who are fans of Opera yet do not speak Italian. Perhaps a similar appeal could be made, based on the visual appeal of the writing?

PS - Enron never got a dime of my money. I knew it was a house of cards from the get-go.


Plus, NTSC-UK has a good review if you want to know more.

It's sad that NanaOn-Sha don't have a decent fansite anywhere - I want to know about the exact differences between the US and Japanese versions of Um Jammer Lammy, I want someone to host streaming versions of some amazing Parappa and Lammy music videos I saw at GDC once, and I want to know more about the Parappa anime which showed in Japan - it's out on DVD now over there, but I've still never seen a fansub anywhere :(

On the plus side, Rodney Greenblat does have an excellent personal site - just check out some of the amazing goodies in his store which are Parappa or Lammy related. I guess he didn't have anything to do with Mojibribbon, mind you.


I'm one of those "fringe" generic-white Americans wo would LOVE to see a game like this hit the shelves (I'm so sick of raceing/gun/sports games).
Something fresh needs to be injected into the American game market. I haven't seen anything all that "innovative" lately (although the amount of exercise I get from DDR is something I can newly appreciate-no more flabby thighs for me)!
As for cultural seperation-it's the only way for humans to be able to function. The "equality amongst everyone" was tried before-it was called Communisim. Looks good on paper but will never work (human nature won't allow it to). Which, quite frankly, is fine by me-I'm a HUGE commercialistic consumer and I LOVE it! I plan on being so for a VERY long time :)
So-now I'm gonna' set my burgoise butt down in the middle of a 4 story mall w/ a load of credit cards and go shopping for this holiday we farceingly call "Christmas"...and you know what? I'm savor every minute of it w/ pure, unadulterated glee.


Is this game all that popular in Japan? When I was in school over there we had to go to calligraphy class and everyone HATED it. This game sounds like homework.


well tickle my buttsecks.


Great article! I have been toying with the import ever since it came out, it's a shame I do not understand a bit of what I'm doing, but nevertheless I am loving every minute of it. I wish that it would be able to come stateside, alas, oh well.



So, this is the sequel to Vib Ribbon...

I'm seeing on
It has a label for "USB" peripheral.
The usb peripheral is the head set? Or is there something additional to that.

Anyone know if the headset is a pack in item? or sold seprately

JP Kellams

Let me preface this comment by saying I haven't played mojibribbon yet.

However, I doubt the game pines for Heian aethetics as much as you make it seem. Your review seems more like a love affair with your Japanese literature courses than a critical examination of the game. Poem exchange, etc. continued way beyond the Heian aristocracy. How do these "implicitly [heian]" level up conditions really reflect the hallmarks of Heian aesthetic? Furthermore, it is obvious and somewhat trite to bring up, but a game focused on kana is a bit different from mainly manyoogana and chinese texts of the period. I am not saying that you aren't right, but I am saying that bringing up a McCullough translation, Sei Shonagon, and Heike does not a game review make. If you want to talk about Heian in games, talk about Heian IN GAMES.


Rain at seven, fine at eleven.


Think simple. Learn different. Macinstruct.net


Think simple. Learn different. Macinstruct.net


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