Yuji Naka is famous for being the lead programmer on the original Sonic the Hedgehog, which in videogame terms is a bit like a musician being famous for inventing percussion. How many platform game developers would be poor and destitute if they hadn't had this man's work to riff on for two decades?
Sonic creator Yuji Naka has had enough of the speedy blue hedgehog.
SEGA has announced WiiWare title Let's Catch, which launches this Friday alongside Wii-exclusive shop-shelf game Let's Tap.
When you first open Let's Tap's oversized box and pull out about seven nicely decorated pieces of cardboard, which the packaging implores you to assemble into further boxes and rest your Wiimote upon, it makes absolutely no sense. In the same way that Wii Sports Tennis has people waving tentatively the first time they play it, reluctant to believe that their actions will translate onto the screen in any meaningful way, there's a bit of a belief barrier between the average person and accepting that you can control a videogame by tapping a cardboard box.
Still, let's play along. Assemble the boxes, rest your Wiimotes face-down on top of them, stick in the disc, and a tutorial appears, which won't help out much in the sense-making department if you don't read Japanese. Thankfully that's the full extent of the language barrier here - once you make it through to the main menu and into one of Let's Tap's five mini-games, it all falls into place. The game's control system is so simple and so natural that it almost defies explanation; you'll watch others tapping away with a furrowed brow, but as soon as you sit down to play you suddenly understand what to do without a shred of clarification.
We'll give it a go anyway. There are five different games, each controlled by tapping the box. It doesn't need to be a special Let's Tap-branded box, obviously - discarded pizza boxes work just as well. It registers hard, medium and light taps, but that rarely comes into play. One tap moves between options in menus and two taps selects, or you can pick up the Wiimote and point for easy navigation. The menus are all bright orange, loud and energising and bolstered by arcade-style Japanese techno, and each of the arcadey mini-games has its own, endearingly minimalist visual design. There's a definite old-school SEGA flavour about the place.
SEGA has announced that Let's Tap is due for release on Wii this summer in Europe and North America.
SEGA secretly unveiled two new Wii games during the Nintendo conference yesterday.