Tenya Wanya Teens: Hands on with the Katamari Damacy creator's custom controller experiment

Jeffrey discovers what Keita Takahashi's latest and R. Kelly have in common.

Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi has premiered his new indie offering Tenya Wanya Teens at GDC's Experimental Gameplay Session last week. Lucky for us, I was there to attend. Lucky for everyone, it's bats*** insane.

Tenya Wanya Teens is a two-player game played with peculiar 16-button controller designed by programmer George Buckenham. As can be seen below, it's a big, almost hilariously clunky thing that's meant to draw the eye at a crowded arcade or party rather than take up precious real estate on a living room's entertainment center.

Tenya Wanya Teens is a collaborative effort between Takahashi and his wife Asuka Sakai's studio Uvula, indie developer Ricky Haggett, programmer George Buckenham, website Venus Patrol, and event organiser Wild Rumpus.

The game takes place over the course of about five minutes as two players must compete through a series of randomised few second vignettes, not unlike a competitive WarioWare.

My playthrough begins with another player and I starting in a bathroom. An on screen prompt tells us to hit the green button to brush our teeth. All the buttons are green. It's a no fail scenario, so my rival and I just keep on brushing.

After a few seconds we're whisked off to a some urinals and told to hit the red button to pee. Looking down it becomes apparent that eight of the 16 buttons are now red. That's not too hard to keep track of.

But the scenes keep changing and the actions keep piling up. Hit a yellow button to confess your love to a girl, hit the blue button to turn into a bear and scoop fish out of a stream, hit the purple button to study some porn you found in the woods. Eventually there buttons for getting naked, punching pinata monsters, kicking a football, and eventually going to bed.

Keeping track of what each button does is a Herculean task in and of itself, but madness reigns when the buttons keep changing colour mid-game. Suddenly that yellow button I was about to use to pour out my heart to a girl turns red and I end up pouring out my urinary tract onto her instead. Whoops!

No commercial release for Tenya Wanya Teens has been announced, but the developers are thinking about converting it to be playable without the custom controller.

The scenes get progressively more complex as the day wears on. Initially you'll only be given one task per scene, but by the end you'll have three objectives to accomplish with a dozen or so various actions in your arsenal. When the day is over you and your supposed sibling are scored on who performed the most actions fastest and a winner is declared.

According to the results tally, I lost. But I say that any day spent getting naked in front of one's crush, punching fish, studying toilets and peeing on the bed is a success. In Tenya Wanya Teens, we're all winners.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

Contributor  |  mrdurandpierre

Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.


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