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Tanaka's Friendly Adv.

rated 3.83 / 5 stars
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Adventure - Other

Credits & Info

Aug 20, 2009 | 6:46 AM EDT

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Author Comments

Something of a mix between Passage and Polkadot, Tanaka's Friendly Adventure is a charming little exploration game that involves gathering a group of friends to attend the titular character's birthday party celebration. There's no time limit to rush you into doing anything, and the adventure can be replayed as many times as you want. You can also visit your friends in a special section accessible via the main menu.

The game is designed by bento_smile (
Ported to flash by mirosurabu in collaboration with bento_smile (



Rated 2 / 5 stars




Rated 1.5 / 5 stars

There is no point in this.

All you do is make Tanaka walk around. You can't interact with the new friends you meet or anything. I'm really disappointed. It's cute though, I'll give you that.


Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

Kind of a downer, isn't it?

Tanaka is the perfect friend: he has great respect for authority, always moves forwards, has no time for regrets, is very charismatic and everyone wants to be around him. And yet, even when he collects every friend for his little party he has no personal connection to them, only stats and stereotypes. You can't interact with them and with all your 'friends' at your party, the game becomes pointless. It doesn't matter how many friends you have, or how great you are, or how much everyone wants to be around you, if you have no deep, personal relations with the people around you.

I've noted many of the reviews are either loathing of how boring the game is, or blissfully happy with what little the designers give. While I can't speak for Overjoy, the author, I know bentosmile and mirosurabu have worked on rather dark games, such as Depict1, Suicide is not the Answer, Air Pressure, and Tower of Heaven. These aren't happy games, and this is perhaps the most grinding of all of them; in the end, your character is bored, with a same-y world to explore and bland friends who can be wrapped up in a single sentence or less. My jaded, unhappy soul can't imagine an art game simply having a message of 'you can find friends anywhere!' when the game is clearly designed to be shallow, pointless, and mindnumbingly dull to most players. That's the point: this 'friendmaking' isn't really friendship at all. The other characters are objectified and thought of as notches on a stick. Even the sense of love that comes from an especially hard challenge to get a friend simply isn't there, unless you're going for perfect completion, in which case you've fell for the developer's trap; you've become locked in a pointless, frustratingly unsatisfying game to find as many friends as possible, perhaps in the hope that maybe, just maybe, with that final friend something will change and there will be actual fun and gameplay.

There isn't. The game is always this shallow and the time wasted looking for new friends is just that: wasted time. Friendship essentially becomes the toxic drug hinted at in Air Pressure; you just can't stop collecting the pointless little tokens just because they're there and you want to do what the developers tell you to.

Even more crushing is the comparison to Passage, a game about living life and deciding how to spend it. The striking difference here that the authors painstakingly point out in their comments is that Tanaka's Friendly Adventure has no time limit, and this time limit removes the point. In Passage, because of the time limit, the fear of death, the player has to make quick decisions about what to do, how to spend their limited amount of time, and even the tiniest choices take on large, weighty meanings. I haven't played Polkadot but from what I can tell it's extremely similar in that premise, except with a more linear story. Here, without any challenge besides finding the right pathways, nothing matters. You walk down path after path, unthinking, until you decide the game is boring, or you actually waste a huge portion of your life finding every 'friend', friends you can't even interact with. You can't die, you can't pick favorites, you can't get to know them and you damn well can't really do anything after you've found all of them, because then the game is essentially over. Your life as a rule-following friend-gatherer is exposed as the empty fraud it is.

It's a kind of a downer game, but the message is great; your friends shouldn't be objectified and simply having the most friends doesn't make you special. Following the rules doesn't make you special or interesting. Doing what the game asks you to simply makes you a tool; the game takes its time to waste your time.

That's the point. Everything this game is missing, gameplay, character interaction, even deeper descriptions, is part of the message. That's bloody brilliant. It's just too bad the game doesn't make this more obvious at, say, the party, but slapping the audience with the message would ruin the magic of the pointlessness.

Well-executed experience.

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Rated 1 / 5 stars

I dont get it... what is the point?!

I mean just about every game in the art section seems to lack gameplay ( incindetly everyone >_> go play Persona 4 anf The World Ends With You to see some artistic games with gameplay) so its noto hockign you just walk around repetive paths but... what is the point? This game doesn't even try to be saying anything


Rated 2 / 5 stars