SENSE OF WONDER NIGHT 2008 センス・オブ・ワンダー・ナイト


Organized by: Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association / Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.
In cooperation with: International Game Developers Association Japan Chapter


11/5/2008 Linked to videos of presentations.

9/17/2008 12 titles to be presented at the SOWN have been announced!

SENSE OF WONDER NIGHT 2008 (SOWN 2008) is a new event that will be held at the Tokyo Game Show 2008. SOWN 2008 will shine the spotlight on game developers who are seeking new possibilities of expression through the medium of games and will serve as a vehicle for a new style of presentation that broadens the possibilities of games.

The objective of SOWN 2008 is to unleash on the world new games that can give people a "sense of wonder" a feeling that something will change in their world and make them gasp at the moment they lay eyes on the games or hear the game concepts.

Moreover, we would like to open up new possibilities for games by sharing ideas with the participants who view these presentations.

Presentation outline

Date and time
October 10, 2008 (Friday), 18:00 to 20:30
Held in conjunction with the International Party (17:15 to 20:30)
Restaurant NOA, 1F, International Conference Hall

Presentation Titles


Jesus Cuauhtemoc Moreno Ramos

The Unfinished Swan

Ian Dallas, University of Southern California
United States



PixelJunk Eden



Trash Box Team, PlayStation C.A.M.P!

Moon Stories

Daniel Benmergui

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom

The Odd Gentlemen
United States

Genocide Automation

Naoya Sasaki


Review by the screening committee


“Sense of Wonder Night” objectives

  • To introduce games with a game design and ideas that are experimental and creative, and that cannot be called conventional or traditional
  • To heighten awareness of the importance of creating games that give people a “sense of wonder”, and to revitalize the game industry with the selected games
  • To offer people creating experimental games opportunities for the future
  • To create new domains in game design

The games that we are looking forward to considering for presentation will be demos of prototypes, games with experimental elements that have already been released or that are planned for release, and games developed by students who have hit upon something out of the ordinary. There will be no distinctions made whatsoever between professionals and amateurs. We welcome submissions of games created by small venture businesses as well as doujin games developed by individuals.

If you would like to make a presentation of a game that can give people a “sense of wonder”, please read through the following entry guidelines and then submit your game for consideration.

Games that meet the “Sense of Wonder Night” selection criteria

・A game realizing an innovative user interface
A game that employs features such as natural language processing, image recognition or gesture control to present a new kind of experience
・A game that is created through an automatic generation process
A game that creates a world where the game play or the environment in which the user plays is changed dramatically according to selections made by the player
・A game with an interactive story-telling concept
A game that presents a story experience in a new way and that has the potential of developing into a tool to create a totally new story
・A game that has emerging elements
A game that creates a new form of game play by skillfully incorporating the physical system into the game play elements and by combining the AIs
・A “terrific!” game, even though the reasons are not immediately clear
A game that at any rate gives a strong impression that “this is terrific” as soon as you see it

Games that do not meet the “Sense of Wonder Night” selection criteria

・A game where the focus is on elements that do not necessarily have any relation to the game itself
Games where the wonder is centered on the actual elements that comprise the game such as an innovative background setting or situation, character design, graphics, story and audio
・A new genre created by the rehashing and combination of already existing genres.
However, a genre that creates a truly new game experience will be considered for selection.
・A game whose reason for being new is the targeting of a specific demographic
Examples are games that target women only or games that are designed only for a mature audience. However, if such games leave a deep impression on a large number of people they will be considered for selection.
・A game whose appeal lies in a purely technological innovation, experimental business model or distribution mechanism that has no effect on game play itself.
Such games will not be completely excluded from the screening process, but the game must clearly show that it is capable of directly and definitely changing the game experience.

The above guidelines are vague and incomplete. Things that are unexpected always go beyond rules prescribed in this way by words when they appear, and that is why many people are surprised. Therefore, please understand that the above points are merely guidelines.

The games selected for presentation do not have to be completed games or successful games. The reason for this is that there is much to be learned even from game designs that may ultimately fail, and the knowledge thus acquired may become elements that lead on to the next step. The games selected for presentation should offer an element of wonder, but enjoyment is not an absolute condition.

The size of a game’s budget or of the development team, whether the game’s release has been decided, or whether it has already been released will not have any influence whatsoever on the screening process. Moreover, games do not have to be complete when they are submitted. Furthermore, games can be developed on any type of hardware?a consumer game console, a hand-held game console, mobile phone, personal computer, or original hardware. The reason for this is while there are cases where well-established teams have succeeded in creating games that are different, there are also cases where small teams have succeeded in the introduction of unusual games to the market. These scenarios have been repeated many times in the game industry.

Furthermore, there will be no distinctions made between submissions from people in Japan and those from people overseas. Equally high hopes are being held for both the submissions from Japan and those from overseas.

However, since selections will be based on the information supplied at the time that the games are submitted, the submission of a playable demo and/or video clips of the game being played is an extremely important factor.


Selections was made by the “Sense of Wonder Night” screening committee.

Screening committee members
高橋 慶太氏 杉内賢次氏 (エンターブレイン) 片山崇氏 (ベルクス) Simon Carless氏

Keita Takahashi

Kenji Sugiuchi

Takashi Katayama

Simon Carless
Independent Games Festival/Gamasutra
Born in 1975 in Mojiko, Fukuoka Prefecture
Joined Namco (Now NAMCO BANDAI Games) in 1999
Released the “Katamari Damacy” software for PlayStation 2 in 2004
Currently developing “NobiNobiBOY” software for PlayStation 3
Joined ASCII Media Works in 1988
After a stint at editing the computer information magazine “Log in”, he was in charge of planning and developing the game construction tool “Maker Series”.
Currently working for Enterbrain, he oversees the producers of that series.
Representative works are the RPG Maker Series and Panzer Front Series
Participated in setting up an online game business as part of the SoftBank Group, and then established ELEVEN-UP Inc. After a stint as the president and representative director of ELEVEN-UP, he is currently a director of VerX Inc., a company which is under the umbrella of the Vector Group, and is in charge of producing online games and establishing new services. Is Chairman of the Independent Games Festival, which holds its awards at Think Services' Game Developers Conference yearly, and has helped popularize independent and innovative gaming for 11 years. He is also a Group Publisher at Think Services, encompassing game products such as the Maggie award-winning Game Developer magazine and the double Webby award-winning Gamasutra website, the top information sources for professional video game developers in North America.
新 清士氏      
Kiyoshi Shin
International Game Developers Association
Japan Chapter
Is also a game journalist, a lecturer at the Ritsumeikan University College of Image Arts and Sciences, and a member of the board of directors of the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA)      

As of July 17


The “Sense of Wonder Night” event has received a lot of inspiration from the “Experimental Gameplay Workshop” that was started at the Game Developers Conference in 2002. We would like to express our thanks to the many people who helped to make these workshops a success and to all our friends.


SOWN Secretariat:
(Only email enquiries will be accepted)

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