BitSummit_opening.JPG

The second annual BitSummit began as most Japanese events do: with a short opening ceremony. Granted, few Japanese opening ceremonies start with a man wearing a Famicom for a hat playing Mario music live on stage, only to be followed up shortly with a speech from the governor of Kyoto.

BitSummit, however, is at once a celebration of the history of Japanese game development, a place to see what passionate Japanese indie developers are producing today, and (as of this year) a beacon for young Japanese adults interested in making games for the future. Last year BitSummit was a one-day event with too many people for the venue, but this year the show moved to a proper convention center and opened up to the public for two days, giving indie developers a chance to show their games off to anyone who wanted to try them out. Before the official closing ceremony, BitSummit's first awards went out to some very happy developers.

The first day was a business day to which only developers and members of the press were invited. There were fewer representatives of western media outlets than last year, which disappointed some of the developers, but the public days drew good crowds. The low price of attendance, 500 yen, encouraged parents to bring their children. The live music performances helped to draw crowds as well.

Also new to BitSummit this year were the BitSummit Awards. There was a winner and a runner up for each of nine categories, with the awards going to developers rather than specific games. Please note that some of the links below are Japanese only.

Visual Design
1st place: Team Poyhaymen (Graffiti Ninja)
2nd place: Visiontrick Media (Pavilion)

Game Design
1st place: Little Big MMO (Gangs of Space)
2nd place: Funktronic Labs (Nova-111)

Audio Design
1st place: Winning Blimp (Stratolith)
2nd place: Onion Games (Million Onion Hotel)

Narrative Design
1st place: Flying Carpets Games (The Girl and the Robot)
2nd place: Artifacts (Magic Potion Stories)

Möbius Strip Prize for Innovation
1st place: Riki (Kira Kira Star)
2nd place: Japanese Flash Game Developers & Mogera.jp (Google Shucocoooco)

Media Choice
1st place: Onion Games (Million Onion Hotel)
2nd place: Grounding, Inc. (Machi-Koro)

Public Choice
1st place: Onion Games (Million Onion Hotel)
2nd place: Silver Second (One Way Heroics)

Lifetime Achievement Award
1st place: Dracue Co., Ltd (Assault Suit Leynos)
2nd place: Nigoro (La-Mulana 2)

Vermillion Gate Award (Grand Jury)
1st place: Vitei, Inc. (The Modern Zombie Taxi Driver)
2nd place: Riki (Kira Kira Star), Funktronic Labs (Nova-111), Inti Creates (Azure Striker Gunvolt)

Some of the winners' games are due out soon, such as Million Onion Hotel, or out already, like Magic Potion Stories. Some of these games, however, may never see commercial release. Riki's Kira Kira Star, for instance, is a game for the original Famicom whose cartridge is handmade by its creator. The Modern Zombie Taxi Driver is an Oculus Rift game that won't be commercially available unless and until the Oculus Rift makes it into the hands of the common gamer.

We'll have more information on these and other games from BitSummit in the coming days, so stay tuned.

Updated 3/12: This article originally indicated that there was only one 2nd place runner up for the Vermillion Gate Award.