Itchy, Tasty, a brand-new look at the birth of the Resident Evil series from Alex Aniel, is as fine an illustration of all that as you’ll ever see – certainly, maybe its greatest achievement is how it goes beyond the legend that is Capcom’s survival scary series and looks at some of the human stories behind it all.I went in expecting a detailed history on the series and its origins – and Itchy, Tasty provides all that and then some – however ended up with so much more. That’s thanks in no small part to Aniel’s technique, gathering first-hand accounts from the individuals who helped make Resident Evil a phenomenon. Alex Aniel works at Brave Wave productions as his day job, working alongside soundtrack authors and helping bring their work to a wider audience.It’s the effort Aniel goes to
give every Resident Evil from the period its due that actually impresses, too -there’s an interesting look into the Survivor lightgun series, as well as the unloved Outbreak video games whose history proves to be more captivating than the games themselves, and Aniel even tries to uncover the curious story of Tiger Electronic’s Resident Evil 2 port for the Game.com portable.”There are so many spin offs, side stories and derivative
entries,”says Aniel, “so there are really more like 20 Resident Evil video games at this point. And there has to be a lot of wise and imaginative individuals involved in the process, and with Resident Evil they’ve come and gone, however somehow the individuals at the top have actually handled to keep Resident Evil appropriate by empowering their creators to do specific things.
One of the excellent unspoken realities about video games, beyond all the intrigue and drama and the cold difficult face of all that technology, is that they are made by mere people. People like you and me, who face a few of the exact same difficulties, make the same mistakes, the very same compromises, and experience a few of the same triumphs and failures. Itchy, Tasty, a brand-new look at the birth of the Resident Evil series from Alex Aniel, is as fine an illustration of all that as you’ll ever see – indeed, perhaps its greatest accomplishment is how it goes beyond the legend that is Capcom’s survival horror series and looks at some of the human stories behind it all.I went in anticipating an in-depth history on the series and its origins – and Itchy, Tasty provides all that and then some – but ended up with so much more. That’s thanks in no little part to Aniel’s approach, collecting first-hand accounts from the individuals who helped make Resident Evil a phenomenon. Aniel – a long-lasting Resident Evil fan, even if he confesses it was Silent Hill that very first took his heart – has been a homeowner of Japan for some years, where he works as a manufacturer alongside Japanese developers.
“Resident Evil changed my life in a lot of ways,” says Aniel. “I learnt that Resident Evil was a game by Capcom, and that Capcom was a Japanese business. So that was partly responsible for why I became thinking about discovering Japanese, and ultimately came out to Japan to sign up with the video games industry too.”
It’s possibly Aniel’s experience, and his intimacy with the Japanese advancement scene, that’s enabled such honest accounts. It also helps that this is a strictly non-official affair, which all the interviewees have because left Capcom – something that’s more liberating than it is limiting, even if it does suggest this history of Resident Evil only takes us to the release of Resident Evil 4.
“Resident Evil started huge and it got larger and after that it struck trouble for a few years,” says Aniel of the timeframe he selected. “Then Resident Evil 4 came out and changed our industry, which’s type of a good kind of thing to end on. The other benefit, obviously, is the director of every Resident Evil up to 4 have all left Capcom.”
And so Itchy, Tasty offers up Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya, both on fine form as they recount their parts in the twisted, tortured tale of the musical chairs that was the making of what would become Resident Evil 2, 3 and 4 – a tale that’s been informed in part before, sure, but never ever with this clearness, insight or detail – however what truly struck me about Itchy, Tasty is how it sets about reframing this particular origin story. There’s some magnificent detail on Sweet Home, Capcom’s 1989 scary movie tie-in where everything really began, and a welcome effort to restore that video game’s director, Tokuro Fujiwara, at the heart of Resident Evil’s genesis.
provide every Resident Evil from the period its due that truly impresses, too -there’s an interesting check out the Survivor lightgun series, along with the unloved Outbreak video games whose history shows to be more fascinating than the video games themselves, and Aniel even attempts to reveal the curious story of Tiger Electronic’s Resident Evil 2 port for the Game.com handheld.”There are a lot of spin offs, side stories and acquired
entries,”says Aniel, “so there are truly more like 20 Resident Evil games at this point. And, you understand, the truth that the series has actually preserved a strong sense of identity is extremely remarkable. There are very couple of franchises that really make it to 25 years, and I’m really thankful that as far as Capcom is concerned, they’ve managed to make Resident Evil one of them. “Making one video game is hard enough? I think we can all concur on that.
Making a series last as long as Resident Evil has, it takes a lot of coordination. And there has to be a great deal of wise and creative individuals included in the process, and with Resident Evil they’ve reoccured, however in some way the people at the top have actually managed to keep Resident Evil pertinent by empowering their developers to do certain things.” What’s so great about Itchy, Tasty is how it empowers those developers when again to inform the tale of this exceptional run of games first-hand, and to provide a valuable insight into the turmoil, catastrophe and resulting magic of Resident Evil in its developmental very first years. The result is a book that’s near adequate vital, whether you’re a fan of the series or not.