These days you can’t scroll through Facebook without finding something upsetting on your feed. It was thanks to this that I discovered that Akira Tago, the puzzle designer for the Professor Layton series, died on the 6th of March this year.
As someone who has been a fan of the Professor Layton franchise for years, it was heart-breaking to hear that he died. Mr Tago gave these games their heart, and made the franchise more than a bunch of games, but an experience.
Mr Tago was a professor of psychology at Chiba University, Japan. He mostly helped children with learning difficulties. He also was the writer of the best-selling quiz book series Atama no Taisō (literally Head Gymnastics), which had 23 sequels. He is credited in all the Professor Layton games as the “Puzzle Master”. He passed away due to interstitial pneumonia, aged 90.
As I have mentioned in previous rambles, I only got into gaming during high school. My uncle gave me a copy of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. That game was like nothing I had ever played before. Even to this day very few puzzle games challenge me the same way Professor Layton did. I was hooked the second I was given the first puzzle.
This game series is without a doubt one of my favourites. Even if Mr Tago’s puzzles were so difficult that I wanted to throw my DS/3DS out the window, nothing compares to the feeling of solving one of those puzzles.
The franchise ended a few years ago back in 2013, and it was said to be due to the drop in sales. In 2013 there was talk of another entry in the series for iOS, Android, and Nintendo 3DS. It looked like a completely different type of game and was categorized as an RPG. However, even now there is no more information given about this game, so it looks like it was only released in Japan – if it even was released at all. Despite searching the internet for hours, I couldn’t find any Japanese release date or any more information regarding the game. Since it has been three years I highly doubt it will be available in the West.
Including the Layton Brothers spinoff game, there are seven games in the series as well as a movie. I love this series so much and even have a copy of the movie on DVD. If you haven’t played the games, and you own a 3DS, you should really consider getting them. They are a great challenge for puzzle lovers of all ages. Like I said, I started playing the series when I was in high school and I still enjoy it to this day.
Mr Tago, thank you for all the wonderful and sometimes nearly impossible puzzles you crafted. You helped make me the puzzle lover I am today, and I can never thank you enough for that.