👑 Pickup! Dejigehaku 20232023年 11月 13日
Yesterday we went to this year's Digital Games Expo, often called デジゲー博 (Dejigehaku)! It's a huge annual event located in Akihabara, and attracts scores of indie and doujin game developers. Dejige is one of the more established events in the Kanto region, having first kicked off about a decade ago and continuing every year since.
When we went, it was so packed with folks and games, it was quite overwhelming! This year saw around 250 exhibitors and games. I tried to grab as many flyers as I could because there simply was not enough time to play all the demos that I wanted to see. I would gladly spend another day or two there if I could. There were of course large publisher-backed games, but far more hobbyist projects made by individuals or small teams. There were also lots of games sold on physical media that you can’t get anywhere else.
As always, this event had a lot of overlap with previous events such as August's Yokohama Game Dungeon and July's Tokyo Game Dungeon 3, so please also check out those lists for even more games. You can also look at the full Dejige circle list for even more game and developer websites. But without further ado, here are twenty really cool games we saw at this year's Dejigehaku!
🍬 candyhouse by pocgamez
What is it? A simple and sweet boss rush shooting game where everything is candy! Enemies can reflect your giant gumdrop bullets back at you, and also have big flashy attacks. The character designs are fun and the hand-drawn visuals and animation make candyhouse stand out.
🌼 Dear Flower by popiicorn
What is it? A point-and-click adventure game with beautiful hand-drawn environments. The game is told from the POV of three characters interacting with their monochromatic world. There is no text or dialogue, and is quite melancholy and atmospheric.
What is it? A strategy-RPG in the vein of old school Fire Emblem, combined with the drama and politics of a high school motorcycle club. The art style is super charming and reminiscent of '80s school days anime. Relive the burning passion of youth!!
Where can I play it? Dramatic Road: the origin of wind is out now on Steam in Early Access. Visit developer Alaska Ohdanbu's homepage for the latest updates and to find more information about their previous games, including the original Dramatic Road.
📺 Dream Channel Zero by Fuming
What is it? An adventure RPG where you have been sucked into the world of retro video games. Find televisions strewn around levels to change the "channel" to a different environment. But this is no light-hearted isekai story, as you find signs that something dark is lurking beneath the surface of all these friendly NPCs...
Where can I play it? Dream Channel Zero is coming to Steam in 2024. Visit developer Fuming's homepage to get the latest updates and to find more information about their previous game, the occult adventure RPG Zelle.
✏️ 闘う受験生 Entrance Exam by ヘソライダー
What is it? A wacky and fun shooting game where you play as a student cramming for entrance exams. Each "subject" is personified as a boss fight where you dodge arithmetic, geography, English, and more! It's silly and fun, with some great visual gags for some of the boss attack patterns.
👁️ Eye On The World by LilyCompany
What is it? A hidden object adventure game set in charming voxel art dioramas that you can spin around and view from a bunch of angles. Developer LilyCompany previously made other toy-like voxel games such as Crazy Trains and Crazy Donuts on mobile, and Eye On The World feels like the culmination of years of perfecting this modeling style. You are tasked with spying--er, observing the town via surveillance cameras and searching for lost children, pets, and maintaining the social order... or are you?
Where can I play it? Eye On The World is currently in development and coming to Steam. Visit developer LilyCompany's homepage for the latest updates and to find more information about their other works.
What is it? A super charming action platformer with a great and colorful cast of characters, wonderful pixel artwork, and levels interspersed with Sunday morning anime "episodes." The idea is that this is the ultimate cartoon experience, and both gameplay and animated cutscenes are bursting with love. For this millennial, Kokoro Clover is pure comfort food.
What is it? 3D rail shooter with unbeatable amounts of flair. Lock onto targets and while pirouetting around enemy fire and snagging power-ups. The graphics are crisp and colorful, somehow both chaotic while also immediately understandable. And man, just seeing the whole screen light up in explosions is too much fun. If you haven't played a Terarin shooting game yet, it's time to start!!
Where can I play it? Missile Dancer 2 is currently in development and coming to Steam and Nintendo Switch. Visit developer TERARIN GAMES' homepage for the latest updates and for more information about their other works, including the original MissileDancer.
🐥 Non Eternals by asiram works
What is it? An active-time RPG that reminds me a lot of managing hotkey cooldowns in an MMORPG. Manage your party members and their various skills to take down super round and super cute enemies in this fantasy world. The art style is cheerful and sweet, to the point where I don't really want to fight these blobby monsters because they are too adorable.
Where can I play it? Non Eternals is currently in development and is coming to iOS and Android in 2025. Visit developer asiram works' homepage for the latest updates and information on their other works.
🎴 音札 (Otofuda) by Otofuda Project
What is it? An incredibly unique two-player competitive rhythm game where you don't just tap the buttons at the right time, but also swipe your hand over a sensor to grab at hanafuda cards and "pick" them to add to your hand. Your final score combines both your rhythmic accuracy as well as the point value of your cards! All of the music is original to this game, and the arcade cabinet has got this super awesome hand-made vibe to it all. It is frankly impressive as all heck what they were able to put together!
Where can I play it? Unfortunately, I don't think you can play this unless you happen to see it at a gaming event. Visit their homepage to see where they'll be exhibiting next!
🌈 RAYGING BLUE A by sectionS
What is it? Made by sectorS, a doujin STG circle that used to be active in the early 2000s and restarted activities in 2022 after a fifteen-year absence, is back with the legendary series RayGing Blue!! Play as one of three girls blasting through enemy ships, and use each character's unique and powerful AWAKENING ability to do huge bursts of damage. Incredibly stylish and fun, and is sure to make old fans very happy!
Where can I play it? RAYGING BLUE A is coming to Steam in 2024. Visit developer sectionS' homepage for the latest updates, and for more information about their other works, including previous RayGing Blue games!
🖲️ Retro Game Aliens by qbert
What is it? An adventure game about feeling nostalgic for ADVs from the 1980s! Play through three original game-in-game titles to rekindle your love for old PC point-and-clicks, and connect with a mysterious girl in the overarching story. Made by games journalist qbert, who in the process of working on Retro Game Aliens, made some zines of the history of Japanese ADV!
Where can I play it? Retro Game Aliens is currently in development and is coming to Steam and itch, with a downloadable demo on the latter. Visit developer qbert's homepage for the latest updates and more information about their other works.
What is it? Cerebral and atmospheric bullet hell where enemy fire turns invisible while you are shooting. The key is to observe and memorize and predict enemy patterns, then weave around them and shoot. The artwork looks dreamy, filled with watercolor and pastels.
✌️ Shadow Love by Strawberry Gohan
What is it? An action platformer where everything is depicted with shadow puppets: the stage, your rabbit(?) protagonist, the various enemies, everything! It's delightful to see what new expressions are in each level, themed around different environments like jungles, deserts, and so on. It is super charming and very creative. I may have mentioned this game before, but I feel like I need to talk about it every time I see it again because it always makes me smile.
🥌 SOULPTOR by FROGEEKS
What is it? A curling game where you set the souls of different warriors into the curling stones before sliding them across the ice. The souls have different effects on the stones: some will turn it into a barricade to block your opponent's shots, others will fire shots and destroy the nearest stone, another will create a new scoring zone, and so on. Whoever gets the most points by sliding stones onto the green scoring zone wins! It is super simple yet incredibly fun.
Where can I play it? SOULPTOR is currently in development and will release on PC. Follow developer FROGEEKS on Twitter for the latest updates.
What is it? A puzzle game where you connect together blocks of numbers that add up to 10 to clear them from the field. When you clear blocks, the rest contract together, so try not to leave blocks that won't add up to ten later. Super simple and easy to get started, but quite thinky and hard as the levels go on. There are tons of levels plus a daily and weekly puzzle, so you'll always have something to stump you.
What is it? A visual novel that is also kind of a one-on-one book club. Read excerpts from real Japanese classics, then discuss them with your friend Shiina to deepen your relationship. It is a super cute and interesting idea, and a great way to get people interested in and talking about Japanese literature.
Where can I play it? Tell me your thoughts! is currently in development. There is a demo available on booth. Visit developer Mihanada no Sora's homepage for the latest updates and for more information about their other works.
🦞 TetsunoEbi by 鉄之海老制作班
What is it? A top-down tank game where you control what looks like a, well, iron lobster. Take cover behind blocks, then destroy them to annihilate your enemies. Each stage is very short but satisfying, tasking you with taking down a set number of targets per level. There are also quite a ton of levels interspersed with boss fights. It is a strangely addicting and fun game once you get started!
What is it? A creepy and cool visual novel married with a point-and-click adventure game. You wake up trapped in a room filled with monitors, which are connected to people just like you all over the world. Talk with the other people under surveillance and try to figure out what is happening. The other interesting thing is that if you play this on a dual-monitor setup, you can have different characters appearing on each screen for that real immersive "I'm trapped in a panopticon nightmare" gameplay!
🐸 WELL BOUND by gameshalico
What is it? A vertical wall-kick roguelite where you play a frog who falls down a deep well and must kick off of the walls and other obstacles in order to leap to the top. On the way, grab pickups and take out enemies, and try not to crash and fall! It's a simple premise executed well, with some stylish pixel art.
Where can I play it? WELL BOUND is currently in development and will release on Android and PC later this year. The demo is available to download from the Game Creators Guild page. Visit developer gameshalico's homepage for the latest updates and more information about their other works.