Running Your Own Game Company Seems Exhausting

Running Your Own Game Company Seems Exhausting

Maybe you have fantasies of becoming a famous game creator with your own game studio. You should also have fantasies of not sleeping.

This is Akihiro Hino. He is the president of Level-5, the studio he founded and the studio behind Yokai Watch and Professor Layton. He writes, produces, and designs games. He also doesn’t seem to sleep very much — something people online in Japan noticed back in 2011.

Like famed One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, Hino’s day is packed (though, Hino seems to have way more meetings).

Here, via Game Majin, you can see his daily schedule:

– Hino wakes up at 7am and goes to work.

– He’s in meetings until sometime after noon

– After taking a short break, he has another round of meetings.

– Then, he takes another, break and, then, he’s in meetings until around 9pm

– Hino then works on developing games until around 11 or 11:30pm.

– There’s another break (I’m assuming so he can go home?), and then he plays video games until 2:30 or 3.

– Hino watches TV or a movie for about an hour.

– He sleeps from 4am to 7am. Then, his day begins again.

That’s rough. Try doing that every. single. day. and see how you hold up.

Top image: Level-5


  • He only sleeps from 4am to 7am? Jeez. I heard stories that Thatcher only had to sleep for 4 hours a day, and I know people who can function on 4 and a half hours of sleep every night, but I’ve never heard of someone managing to get by on only 3 hours a night long term. Presumably he’s been doing this for a while now. Also, he could get more sleep if he didn’t watch an hour of TV every night, so some of this is self-inflicted.

    • I imagine that after all of those meetings, he needs some time to wind down. He’d only be in bed staring at the roof, anyway.

  • This is the one thing that sucks for my studying game design now… I’m currently pulling all nighters to get work done before the end of semester right now. Then this what I have to look forward to. Feels like it could be the death of me.

  • I’ve got this mental image of him ending up like Apu when he pulled a 96 hour shift at the Kwiki Mart and ended up thinking he was a hummingbird of some kind.

    This kind of schedule has to be doing terrible things to his health in the longer term, if not the shorter term, too.

  • Everyone assumes that this is the way to go, or a standard of the industry. Could it just be that the industry is full of inefficient managers with bad management skills??

  • They do good work, appreciate there games even more. But I would scrap having so many meetings surely his employees could use a little less micro mangering ?

  • Yeah but we are already aware that Japanese workers have unreasonable workloads and hours. I would find this more interesting if it were compared to an American other Western company owner’s day. (i bet it would be much more relaxed.)

  • Love level 5s work but I think he looks like he needs a holiday. I know I couldn’t function for sustainable times on 3h without crashing.

  • This story is pretty silly, since it’s just the experience of one silly dude.

    Meetings from 7am-11pm? You’re doing it wrong.

  • This seems self-inflicted, he could be home/asleep by 00:00 I assume (which I know allows no free time to do things that he enjoys, but it seems the better of the two options). Also meetings from 07:00 to 21:00 is ridiculous.

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