VGA 101: On Kenji Eno: A Loss Isn’t A Complete Loss If Something Is Gained In the Process…

D2_signedOne of my favorite game creators, Kenji Eno, passed away on February 20th and I’d planned to write up something memorial-esque last week, but couldn’t for a few reasons. The main one was it’s actually quite hard to write something brief about what playing through some of the games he and his studio WARP created during their brief run meant to me without actually going through the library here and taking time to do so. That’s going to get done in about a month or so, barring incident. The other was I wanted to read what some of his close friends wrote about him in order to get a better insight on the man and his work. There was also a little bit of unfinished business to take care of in getting a certain something back to a certain someone, so that had to come first…

I used to work at a small import game shop here in NYC for about five years (1998 – 2003) and one day, an Eno signed Japanese copy of WARP’s D2 for the Dreamcast came in and was sold as a used game. I saw it and HAD to have it, so I bought it, took it home and as I had three other copies of the game, I didn’t play it right away. Now, before you think “damn, he’s an obsessive one!”, know ye this: the import came in a four different case variants and as a proper collector, one has to have ALL of them. Here’s a pic of my WARP games collection (minus the PC version of Enemy Zero that I got after this was taken and I think one missing game I’m still on the hunt for, Flopon the Space Mutant 2)


Anyway, it wasn’t until last December/this January before got around to I playing that signed game on my once a year trip through Eno’s nightmare world (with a surprisingly upbeat, hope-filled finale) and while I was playing (in fact, during one section where there’s a VERY well hidden UFO Easter Egg that’s very hard to find), I happened to look at the reply card in the case and saw the game had originally belonged to a a fellow journalist-type whose work I liked. I was surprised that he’d let something like this go and figured he may have brought it in needing some extra cash, the writing business being what it is and has been over the years. Given that it was around eight or so years since I purchased the game, I figured I’d try and track him down one of these days and see if he still wanted the game he sold back. I figured it had some sort of sentimental value and I wouldn’t mind parting with something like this if it ended up not intending to be sold…

Unfortunately, while I was doing a bit of being too busy to get in touch, Kenji Eno died and I actually heard the news on Facebook through that writer’s own feed. I didn’t feel bad that I hadn’t contacted him sooner, but I absolutely wanted to get the game back to him because it was just the right thing to do in this case. After reaching out and getting a really surprised response, I got an address, packed up the game really well (my bubble wrap budget was exceeded, let’s just say) and made a beeline to the Post Office nearby. I chose First Class International (which, from my eBay and other shipping experiences, usually takes about 6 days or so), and off it went. Much to my surprise, the package arrived in about three days (I guess it went back in time despite Japan being a few hours ahead!) and yes, there was a very happy person on the receiving end.

I suppose there’s some sort of lesson to be learned here, but I’ll skip it (for the moment) because Eno is still gone and won’t get any more games made and that’s too bad. His final works were music for a series of 2008 iOS games called newtonica, newtonica 2 (2008) and newtonica 2: resort (2009), the design for a deceptively simple-looking iOS game called One Dot Enemies (made by Studio-Kura), and with his last company, fyto (from yellow to orange), a 2009 WiiWare-only release called Kimi to Boku to Rittai (“You and Me and the Cubes”), all of which I’m sure will be searched for by those fans of his older games looking for something to remember the man by. Of course, those fans will need to be Wii or Wii U owners AND have an iOS device, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if there are more of those folks out there than even I think…

 To be continued…

1 thought on “VGA 101: On Kenji Eno: A Loss Isn’t A Complete Loss If Something Is Gained In the Process…

  1. Pingback: VGA 101: On Kenji Eno (2): Something Old Brings In Something New(-ish)… | "DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

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