As previously reported by the lovely Alex, many games from western indie developers are coming not only to Switch, but also to make their mark in Japan, which came to fruition under the new Nintendo umbrella 'Indie World'. A cute pixellated world exhibiting both existing hits and upcoming titles, the initial reveal recently wasn't as clear how literal that idea would turn out to be.
At this year's BitSummit indie games show in Kyoto, Japan, Nintendo did something rather novel in an attempt to increase prolonged interest in the impressive line-up of titles from around the world at the show. In the West, this unusual practice would be known as a 'stamp rally', but in Japan it's an old and much-loved pastime that's enjoyed by all ages.
In Japan, the term historically comes from 'goushin', which used to be strictly for older people who would visit temples and receive both an inked seal and a personalised kanji in a special book. This trend in various forms has overflowed into mainstream popular culture. From the most sacred of temples to Pokémon characters, the most common events among children are associated with different areas or train lines during the school holidays.
As for BitSummit 2018, each entrant was handed a small booklet of information about the titles on show, but it didn't end there. There were 11 games with dedicated pages, from up and coming releases such as Lumines Remastered, PixelJunk Monsters 2 and Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, to imminent/recent Japanese launches of popular titles such as Yooka-Laylee, Death Squared and Celeste.
There was also a small yet exclusive reward for completely filling your book with stamps from all the titles at Nintendos booth. What is even more impressive is that the majority, if not all, of the indie titles that are out or coming to Switch and playable at the show were issued with their own stamp, escalating the number to dozens.
Additional stamps and space made the overall experience of BitSummit much more Nintendo and Switch focused, both in terms of real estate and consumer interest. Nintendo has been known to include traditional Japanese designs in some marketing material in the part, for example club Nintendo calendar pages or the issue of 'otoshidama' (traditional new year money giving) envelopes at the end of last year.
The completed book was a nice memento of the experience, and it will be interesting to see their approach to TGS considering both the increase in presence of indies and Nintendos inexplicable absence from the event year on year.
With E3 on the horizon and at least one more mega-franchise out this year, Nintendo might not need these kinds of gimmicks to get systems in hands, but it was a fun and supportive gesture nonetheless. What direction the 'Indie World' takes going forward is still unclear, as the indies showcase directs have proved popular.
What do you think of these snazzy little stamps from BitSummit? A cool little addition for attendees or a forgettable gimmick? Share your thoughts below...