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

We had the opportunity to speak with Narufumi Iwasaki about making narrative games and organizing indie game events like Indie Game Moku Moku Kai and Tokyo and Yokohama Game Dungeons!

English (Translated)

Translated by Renkon

Screen full of character stats in カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades)

(2020) カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades)

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Iwasaki and I am a solo game developer. I enjoyed making games so much that I started a community of game developers and organized Tokyo Game Dungeon starting from 2022. My real job is in real estate.

How did you get started making games?

Around 2014, my friend told me, "My hobby is making smartphone apps," and I was shocked that such a thing was possible. That's when I started looking into it myself and made my own games. I've never worked for a game company and I've never been an engineer, so there is a lot that I don't know. But despite that, I want to keep making games until the day I die.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite games and genres?

My favorite game is Ace Attorney. My favorite genres are adventure and story-based games. I want to experience games that make me think deeply and touch my heart.

Promo art for Yokohama Game Dungeon on 2023 August 27

The next Yokohama Game Dungeon is on 2023 August 27!

Please tell us about Tokyo Game Dungeon. What do you think sets it apart from similar events?

My primary consideration of Tokyo Game Dungeon was to make indie and doujin game creators happy. The biggest departure from other events is that here, we do not judge entries, and applications are on a first-come, first-served basis, allowing as many people who want to exhibit their games as possible. I myself felt some dissatisfaction when showing off my works at other events, and with Tokyo Game Dungeon, I would like to resolve those issues.

How did you get started organizing Tokyo Game Dungeon?

I decided to start at around the end of 2021. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was raging and many offline events were postponed or canceled. For individual developers like us, exhibiting our games at events is an important way to promote our projects and stay motivated. So since nobody else was stepping up, I decided to take the lead.

Tokyo Game Dungeon 2 Walkthrough on Unity Room

Tokyo Game Dungeon 2 Walkthrough on Unity Room (currently unavailable)

So far, there have been three Dungeons. What has the response been like? Have there been any changes since the first Dungeon?

My game development friends often tell me, "I didn't think there were this many people making indie games." I myself didn't honestly think that there was this great of a need for events like this. Also, I had assumed that exhibitors would be individual developers living around Tokyo, but I was very surprised to see more and more exhibitors coming from as far away as Hokkaido and Kyushu.

What was the most challenging part of running Tokyo Game Dungeon?

I think the biggest challenge was running the first Dungeon in August of 2022. The seventh wave of coronavirus had just hit, and Tokyo saw over thirty thousand people infected on the day before the event. During that time, I dreamed every night that not a single visitor would show up and all the exhibitors would pick me apart.

Tutorial screen for カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades) where players learn the different functions of the cards and where to swipe them

Have there ever been any surprising incidents during these events?

There were a lot of children at the second event, and I was surprised when one of them got lost. It's not right to say they got "lost in a dungeon," though it is funny to think about. But not to worry: we found their guardian soon after that.

Since you work with many indie game developers, can you tell us your general appraisal of Japanese indie games?

Japanese indie games are still in their infancy, and I think it will be some time before it becomes established as its own culture. People who don't make games generally don't realize at all that games can be made by individuals or small teams.

It is said that there are 600,000 prospective manga artists in Japan who draw manga as a hobby, and I want to create an environment where people can easily create and publish indie games in the same manner. There is a lot of controversy over the differences between indie games from Japan and from overseas, but I would like to learn from the good parts of overseas games and spread that knowledge throughout Japan.

Title art for Indie Game Moku Moku Kai

Indie Game Moku Moku Kai

On top of organizing Game Dungeons, you organize Indie Game Moku Moku Kai (Silent Meeting). Can you tell us more about that?

Indie Game Moku Moku Kai started in 2016, so soon it will have gone on for seven years. It is a completely non-commercial event, and though it used to be held once a month, now it's held every week.

It's a meeting where everyone gathers together in one place on the weekends to work on their own projects. It especially benefits people who can't concentrate at home. Afterwards, we all go out to eat and have fun.

Originally, this event was limited to Unity users. But after exhibitors at Tokyo Game Dungeon told me, "I want to participate in Moku Moku Kai, but it's too bad that I don't use Unity," I removed the restriction on game engines.

Title screen for カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades)

And of course, you yourself make games! Can you tell us about any games you've worked on in the past?

When I started developing games, I made doujin games that were part of the Toho Project universe. Over time, I started wanting to make my own original works, and now I make story-focused games. My game カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades) has been featured by many YouTubers, and is a work for which I hold a lot of fondness.

Do you have any indie games that you'd like to shout out? What do you like about them?

This War of Mine is a game that left a big impact on me. It's a dark and painful game, but the experience was heart-wrenching, and I played the base game and its DLC for a long time. I recommend it to those who like narrative games.

Screenshot of 脱出ゲーム 灯せ灯を (Escape Game: Light Up the Light) where the player is walking outdoors and pointing a flashlight at a dead tree

(2021) 脱出ゲーム 灯せ灯を (Escape Game: Light Up the Light)

Can you tell us about anything you are currently working on?

The last event for this year will be Yokohama Game Dungeon in August, but Tokyo Game Dungeon 4 will be held in January of next year. Next year, instead of increasing its scale, I would like to focus on enhancing the contents of the event. Also, because I have been managing events for a while, my game development has stalled out, so next year I would like to complete a game and exhibit it.

Do you have any messages for your players?

If you encounter an interesting game at Tokyo Game Dungeon, I would like you to also start making your own games and become an exhibitor. Making a game takes a huge amount of time, but it is totally worth it.

Screenshot of カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades) where a character smirks, 'Oh, do you think this is a proper shelter?'

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

日本語 Screen full of character stats in カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades)

(2020) カルネアデスの扉







Promo art for Yokohama Game Dungeon on 2023 August 27






Tokyo Game Dungeon 2 Walkthrough on Unity Room

東京ゲームダンジョン2 Walkthrough(現在は非公開)





Tutorial screen for カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades) where players learn the different functions of the cards and where to swipe them






Title art for Indie Game Moku Moku Kai






Title screen for カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades)




「This War of Mine」は大きな影響を受けたゲームです。とにかく暗くて辛いゲームなのですが、心がえぐられるようなゲーム体験ができ、DLC含めて長い時間プレイしました。ナラティブなゲームが好きな方にはおすすめです。

Screenshot of 脱出ゲーム 灯せ灯を (Escape Game: Light Up the Light) where the player is walking outdoors and pointing a flashlight at a dead tree

(2021) 脱出ゲーム 灯せ灯を





Screenshot of カルネアデスの扉 (Plank of Carneades) where a character smirks, 'Oh, do you think this is a proper shelter?'


Iwasaki Follow Iwasaki on Twitter @iwski and find more of their games on Unity Room. Visit the Tokyo Game Dungeon and Indie Game Moku Moku Kai homepages to learn more.