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Ito-NekoFrom Japan, Yoshio Ishii designs Shockwave and Flash games, and publishes them all on his website ece4co.vis.ne.jp. Many of his games feature a cat ("neko" in Japanese) and are rather plain looking, using just two shades of aqua green to draw all the graphics for each of his "neko" games. Ito-Neko is his latest, and like the others before it, Ishii proves that designing a game that is fun to play does not require fancy-shmancy graphics. Using the mouse, click and drag to draw a wire to catch the falling neko before it lands into the water below. By manipulating the drawn wire, bounce the neko around to collect the jewels that increase your score. Click.

Cell BlastUpon closer inspection of Ishii's site reveals many other marvelous games he has designed, yet does not display them as prominently as his "neko" series of games. Take for instance Cell Blast. This game is a beautiful shoot-em-up with a distinctly old-school style graphic design. Using the mouse, click to fire while avoiding all the enemies and their weapons. There is no score in this game, just try to survive the entire stage. And if you finish, check out Cell Blast Stage 2. These are my favorites of all the games he has made. Click.

RaysplineAnother gorgeous game design is this psychedelic shooter called Rayspline. Most probably an experimental concept game as deduced from the "ver. 0.1" indicated on the opening title screen, Rayspline features beautiful particle effects set in motion against a captivating soundtrack. Together these elements create a very engaging experience, even if only an experimental one. An elaborate stage select screen between stages allows you to chart your own course through the game's many levels. The only downside is that once the game is over, there is no restart button... the game must be reloaded in the browser. A minor inconvenience for such a magnificent creation. Click.

RaohAs I mentioned before, most of Ishii's games are developed in Director, though he has created some in Flash. This Flash game is also a shooter and is played by wielding what looks like a Mahjongg tile (Update: actually, they are Shogi tiles - thanks Grant0 for pointing this out). All of the enemies are Shogi tiles as well and feature unique patterns of movement and attack that make this game so much fun to play. It sounds a bit strange, yet it works extremely well. Click.

Update: Yoshio Ishii's games are back online and available to play(!) Be sure to check out his site for links to many other exceptional games he has created.

13 Comments

Very good games. Rayspline especially has amazing graphics. The shooter with the tiles are not Mahjong tiles. They are in fact from Shogi, the ancient game of Japanese chess. I think that the one that you are is a king, because the top is the word for "king" but it has something under it. Anyone speak better Japanese than me?

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The symbol beneath it means general - you can see it on one of the 'kings' in Chinese chess

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is neko a copy of toby or the opposite?

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Tom - those games were all created by the same person: Yoshio Ishii.

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Cell Blast and CB2 are no longer available, Jay. The rest of your games are fabulous.
Thanks, Barb

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flyzerodive July 24, 2005 4:42 PM

rayspline is very similar to a game that was on dreamcast many years ago, rez. i heard something about rez being ported to ps2 sometime ago as well. if you liked rayspline, rez is definitely worth taking a look at.

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Hey, Jay! I don't know if it generates a flag in here or not letting you know if there is a new post, but I thought I would let you know that there is still hope for at least Rayspline. I cannot find an original website, but I know that another game site, MoFunZone.com has a working version of Rayspline. Maybe they would be willing to share?

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Hi Tjay - yes, I receive an email for every comment posted to the site(!) That's a lot of emails, believe me. =) It helps me keep tabs on things. ;)

As far as MoFunZone, if they have a copy of the game my guess is it's an illegal copy. Thanks for the tip, though. Cheers!

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So I guess none of these games work anymore? :(

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I believe, just the URLs have changed. Instead of /shockwave8, try /shockwave.

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Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Mordecai, as I just rechecked Ishii-san's site and have discovered that many of these games are once again available. I'll work on updating the entry with the correct links.

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I Love Rayspine!

The plain opponents are Circle and Line.
Circle-The weak spot is the center star
Line-The weak spot is the head star.

After the plain opponents have been eliminated, a boss appears.
These are Spiral, Dna, Carousel, Worm, Box and Core Star.

Strategies:
Spiral-Doesn't need a strategy at all! Weak spot is the core star.
Dna-Take out the spiraling stars of this boss, then focus on the center star. Weak spot is the core star.
Carousel-Facing this guy head-to-head means BIG Trouble.
But try to learn his pattern and focus on attacking his core. Weak spot is the core star.
Worm-This guy doesn't fire most of the time. But remember. HE'S A LINE! Weak spot is the head (he is a line, after all).
Box-This is the fourth of the five bosses, so be careful! Weak spot is the center star, which is covered in four layers of tough stars.
Core Star-This is the last boss, so be careful! Do not be distracted by the star trail! Weak spot is itself (It's a core star).

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On Raoh, you play as an osho which means "reining king".
I think the final boss is a gyokusho which means "challenging king" beacause if the king is captured, that player loses.

Gyokushos are rare in We Love Katamari.

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