It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, the My Famicase Exhibition!
I mentioned this briefly in the last Enjoyment Roundup; but for more context, My Famicase is a little show put on every spring by Satoshi Sakagami of METEOR gallery in Nishi-Ogikubo, Tokyo. Every year, folks from all over the world get to design brand new, imaginary games for the Super Famicom system (Japan’s version of the Super Nintendo) and have them displayed on physical cartridges for all to see! I’ve had the honor of participating in 3 previous exhibitions, but took last year off due to having zero extra creativity.
A sweet & sticky space mystery
As with most of my previous entries, the idea for the name came first. I have a note on my phone where I workshop Famicase ideas throughout the year so that once I realize “oh dang I better get started” in February or so, I can get started without too much stress. Gelatinous Cubicle (2021’s entry) was born from this list, and I’m excited about some promising candidates for forthcoming years 😎
S’MARS quickly rose to the top this time, but I needed to figure out what it meant. Would it be about a planet made of gooey, burned confectionary? Maybe some sort of saccharine puzzle game? Thankfully, a rewatch of Sunshine and a YouTube playthrough of the Dead Space remake coincided to give the idea some loose structure.
As always, things start with some rough sketches. I typically do this only as long as it takes me to scratch out a few ideas or type lockups that I like.
There’s something hungry out there...
I knew I wanted to do something with a sci-fi technical schematic look, with text overlaid using some sort of transparency or blending mode. I made the ship first, but it was a bit too complicated at first to have text reliably and legibly sit on top. But after 5 iterations or so, I hit a general layout and color scheme (inspired by NASA, ofc) that worked well.
I remade and recolored my old Famicom cartridge vector template in Figma, and voila!
The final title treatment, especially, was a blast to develop. I knew I wanted something tech-y and somewhat interconnected, but earlier NASA-esque explorations didn’t pan out the way I wanted. Plus, the juxtaposition of such stark and rigid lettering and an ooey-gooey treat is kind of funny.
With Famicase entries, though, the art is only half of it. You’re also encouraged to write a short game description that will go onto the website and exhibition booklet. It could be anything, which is intimidating! But some of my aforementioned media consumption helped crystallize into this:
Mallow Core: offline. Graham Panel Array: unresponsive. Choc Strut Integrity: compromised. We’re 84 million miles from home, and there’s something hungry out there.
I could keep writing about this stuff for a while, but honestly I didn't document as much of the process or rejected concepts as I’d hoped 😅 If you’d like to read more sometime about these (like using extensive Figma components for the first time while making Gelatinous Cubicle) or anything else Famicase-related, hit that email link below.