Written by Daikon

Indie Tsushin 2023 June-July issueThis article was featured in our 2023 June-July issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.


Anyone in the world can make video games. I don't know much about what it was like to make games in the past. But it's definitely true that today, you can find powerful computers in ordinary households, and game engines, both free and paid, are accessible to the average person. Yet even though it is more accessible than ever to start making your own game, you may struggle to know where to begin, and it is tough riding it out to the finish line. There will be times when you want someone to guide you through the game development process.

The game I'd like to talk about this time is BATTING CARDGAME by Tsunehiko Shimazu, who conducts online classes in Unity under the name Studio Shimazu. Their games are made in collaboration with the students that join their online classes, and they are a great way of seeing what you can learn to do in a short amount of time.

BATTING CARDGAME physical cards spread out on a green felt cloth.

You don't need to know anything about baseball other than that you need to connect your bat with the ball!

BATTING CARDGAME is, as the name sounds, a one-on-one card game based on the final round of a baseball game. It is sold as a physical card game, and there is also a free browser version that allows you to play online or against the CPU. Both versions use the same rules. The two players alternate between pitching and batting. Each card has a pitch, such as Strike or Ball, and a batting move, such as a Swing or Pass. Because of this, every time you throw a pitch, you are throwing away one of your swings, and vice versa. The idea is to strike out your opponent by observing what cards they have played and anticipating what they will play next from their remaining cards.

Matches are short and can be played in a few minutes, and the rules are easy to understand. It's a good idea to first play against the CPU in the browser version as a tutorial, since that makes it easy to get into it without having to read a lot of rules. However, the game is definitely best played against another person, and especially one who is glaring daggers at you from across the table. For this reason, I cannot recommend the physical version enough.

BATTING CARDGAME cards spread out on a green felt cloth, arranged to show the different pitches and swings available.

Games are quick with very little setup. Each player has the same number and kind of card, so it's all a matter of figuring out what your opponent is holding and what they'll play next.

The entire deck is quite slim, made up of only sixteen cards. It feels like a game that has been boiled down to its essentials, leaving you to focus on sizing up and faking out your opponent. The cards use the same pixel art as the digital game, which is both charming to see in physical form, plus the visual consistency makes it easy to switch between playing digital and analog versions. The cards are made with nice pliable cardstock with a matte finish, and feel durable and great to handle. Flipping through these physical cards adds a bit of spice while you're engaging in psychological warfare with your opponent.

The browser version, on top of having an online mode to play against friends who can't physically share the same space as you, also has some fun animated pixel art for the cards. If you can't get the physical cards, the free browser version is more than adequate to have a great time with your friends.

Player holding up a hand of physical cards. In the background are more cards spread out on the table.

Dang though, these cards sure are cute.

As I mentioned earlier, Studio Shimazu is active as a game dev lecturer, and juggles many plates. BATTING CARDGAME was an entry to an analog game jam that they hosted with the other members of the Studio Shimazu online salon. Together, they challenge themselves to make not only digital games, but analog games as well. If you had fun with BATTING CARDGAME, it is surely because it was made by a person who wants more than anything to convey the fun of making games.

Game development can be a rough road at times, but it can also be a ton of fun. The joy of reaching your goal, the joy of working with a team, and the joy of playing and talking about your games with others is immeasurable. Everyone has their own goals, such as releasing games on certain platforms, adding it to their resume to join a company, or just to make something they can personally cherish. No matter your goal, getting there is both difficult and fun. If you ever feel like giving up, why not check out what people like Studio Shimazu are up to? They may give you the push you need to get back on track.

Digital version of BATTING CARDGAME with the cards in the player's hand tilted along the bottom of the screen.

Get the physical version of BATTING CARDGAME or play it in your browser at Unity Room. Follow Studio Shimazu on Twitter @simanezumi1989 and find more of their work on their homepage and YouTube channel. And you can watch us play BATTING CARDGAME on stream!