Interviews// Tetsuya Mizuguchi

Posted 14 Nov 2007 18:20 by
For many, Tetsuya Mizuguchi needs no introduction. For others, he does. It?s not surprising ? ever since he made his name working on the original SEGA Rally for the arcade, Mizuguchi-san has been one of the industry?s most revered cult game designers. You have him to thank for games such as Rez, Space Channel 5, Lumines and Meteos - games that the mainstream gamer may have missed, but trust us when we say we highly recommend them. To play them gives you such a sensual cocktail of aural and visual pleasure that you may never wish to cease drinking.

Soppy metaphors aside, Xbox 360 owners will be treated to Rez HD very soon, while Every Extend Extra Extreme was released on October 17th - both are games that will be released onto Live Arcade. SPOnG managed to catch up with Mizuguchi-san to learn more about his career, inspiration and playing games while zoned out on the couch.


Space Channel 5
Space Channel 5
SPOnG: Mizuguchi-san, thanks for joining us today. Could we learn more about your career history? What got you into video games and what was your first project?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Hmmm... (long pause) I don?t remember (laughs). I think it was around 1990 when I started working on games so? I was at university doing a course in Media Aesthetics and whilst I was there I studied different art, media and forms of expression. And from that I wanted to create something global, involved on a worldwide platform and connected with the world. Games weren?t so popular back then ? companies didn?t perceive them as big business and those that did were limited by what they could do and how they made the games. So you could say there was a bigger picture out there for video games, and I wanted to take it to that next level. There?s a big part to play for the multimedia aspect of gaming, and I feel that gameplay should be fed via graphical and aural technique ? so players should relax, settle back in their chair, have mushroom-gazed faces? (laughs)


Lumines Live!
Lumines Live!
SPOnG: Get the munchies?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Yeah (laughs). Acting as well, that has become a greater asset in video games too. And you need a story... Look at the movie industry ? that has also changed and evolved as it became more acceptable as an art form. And games are now following a similar process, I think. It?s that kind of expression and artistic compassion that I really love and it?s what drove me towards creating video games in the first place.


SPOnG: A lot of your projects are very music-focused. Does your inspiration for game design, such as Rez?s graphical appearance, come simply from listening to certain types of music?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Well, for example with Rez, the music is very much a big part of that, so designs did come to me when listening to music. With games development, I want to join the sounds (of a game) to the visuals and to the player. Particularly for Rez I felt that this was important.


SPOnG: You said in an address last year in Brighton (at Develop Conference) that video game development is a lot like a sponge. Do you still believe this or is it more like a loofah these days?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: (Laughs) I still believe in that, yeah!


SPOnG: Could you explain the meaning behind the metaphor for our readers?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Yes, it?s like a metaphor for human desire and basic instinct. It?s like water and a sponge in that regard ? so our desire and passion combines with our basic instinct. It?s very natural, and much like a sponge, if you get free-flowing ideas all the time you can?t stop them from being reality if you put your mind to it. Your desire picks up all those ideas and instincts to create something. All the time there is a form of media running through another like that (puts hands together) and in game creation, you get what you are seeing with many different mediums put together.
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