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Seen@TGS 2013: Aomorhythm, a dual-screen regional food-flinging rhythm game


Tucked away in the more hidden depths of this year's Tokyo Game Show was a game that I still don't fully comprehend, and certainly didn't when I was playing it. Concocted by the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, Aomorhythm depicts conflict between the Japanese regions of Aomori and Hokkaido via the medium of a dual-screen arcade rhythm game.

Aomori is the northernmost prefecture of Honshu, Japan's main island, while Hokkaido is the country's second largest island, just to the north of Aomori. With the language barrier playing its part, I was told Aomorhythm was about the two regions being at war with each other, and as you can see it certainly looks like they're having a good old tussle. However, it's likelier to do with their competitive trading history, given the preponderance of apples.

Aomori has grown to become Japan's biggest producer of apples, and also has thriving fish, garlic, and yam industries. As a 1961 Tohoku Univesity paper by Norio Hasegawa notes, Hokkaido used to be Japan's biggest apple producer, but as time wore on Aomori prospered over the nearby area, its climate suited to producing better quality fruit at a quicker turnaround. So I reckon it's to do with that.

Even if I'm wrong, at least I've learned something. Namely that Aomori isn't Aoromi.

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