Contra, Castlevania, coincidence, and closure: a tale of serendipity

It’s been a tough couple of weeks at 1UP (I can’t really complain, because it’s been tough everywhere — Sega, Midway, IGN, Eidos, Gamespot, Jaleco…). But a few things have kept us going. You know, besides a desperate need to pay rent. One, the support of readers, listeners and viewers; fans, really. Knowing that people actually do give a crap about all the hard work we put into the admittedly frivolous task of writing about video games is hugely encouraging.

And two, the occasional reminder of why I took this job in the first place. For me, that took the form of a series of blogs I posted last week focusing on the work of a guy named Hidenori Maezawa. Chances are that before last week you probably hadn’t heard of him. That’s OK; before Sam and I interviewed him, I didn’t know who he was, either. But the 90 minutes we spent chatting with him in his home studio in Tokyo’s suburbs last October were 90 of the most rewarding and exciting minutes I’ve experienced in my five and a half years with 1UP, and that’s saying something. It’s been great talking to the likes to Shigeru Miyamoto and Keiji Inafune, no question, but to be honest my interviews with corporate bigshots like that have always felt a little empty. I don’t blame the subjects; after all, they need to be cautious (and in Miyamoto’s case, they have a team of PR and executives hovering around them at all times making certain they don’t let anything slip). That’s just how it goes.

Awed as I’ve been at times simply to be in the presence of the men who shaped a medium and entertained me for so many hours of my childhood, though, none of that compares to the simple open intimacy of talking to a relative unknown and discovering just how influential he was in creating so many of my fond memories.