June 24, 2021

"Something we can't do without": a game designer considers the moon

Ahead of tonight's Super Strawberry Moon - the last Supermoon of 2021 - we thought it would be interesting to take a look at our moon through the specific lens of Japanese video games, focusing in on one series in particular.

Art can take us to whole other universes. Often we want to stay fairly close to home, though. The moon remains the most significant space object in our collective and creative consciousness, from mythology to pop culture, and of course it looms large in video games. Whether as an allusion, a symbol, an actual destination, or even a threat, the moon has played more roles in games than it has phases in the sky.

For a country commonly associated with the rising sun, I personally find it fascinating how significant the moon is in Japanese culture - and how often it makes it into Japanese games as a result. In the wider culture, one of the most popular Japanese mythical figures is Lady Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a story about a princess who hails from the moon. There is also a Shinto moon deity called Tsukuyomi. As a child you may have heard stories about the moon being made of cheese, but in Japanese folklore, rabbits live on the moon!

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