Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
The Japanese seem to approach video games as just another form of media to be exploited just the same as any other and just as open and varied for experimentation as TV and radio are.
Video games in the west seem to still be stuck in a rut of traditional thinking in that video games are just games and nothing more. The Japanese see video gaming as a hobby or a way to interact or even a way to learn and most of all another platform with which they can express themselves. Anyone who doubts my claims has only to take a look at the shelves of the Shinjuku or Akihabara game stores to believe what I am saying.
Software for the PS2 alone in most electronics stores can be anywhere between three rows of shelves 20 foot long to as much as whole floors. Yes, there are that many titles available for widening your gaming perspectives.
Japanese games can range to the most mundane of topics and themes such as running a convenience store or a fast food restaurant to games that bring you to the very edge of your own emotional boundaries (Aeries`s death in FF7 anyone?). Western game developers seem to exhibit little scope and imagination beyond sports and violence. Pretty bold statement, but, think for a second and tell me if I am wrong. (Well… not exactly true but we get the point. Drew.)
Now you agree with me I guess that we can agree that attitudes in the business of video game conception and creation from idea to finished product appear to be vastly different in Japan than from the west and this shows in the quality and range of games.
Unfortunately, and I mean unfortunate for those of you that do not live in this land of gaming utopia, the Japanese are somewhat xenophobic when it comes to not only buying foreign games and consoles, (Hence Xbox failing big time here and the 360 following suit.) but also releasing the games in foreign countries. (This is unfortunately is more down to poor sales of obscure titles in the west. Drew.) Prime examples being various anime related games such as Gundam Wing shoot ’em ups and the somewhat ignored but sometimes incredibly funny to play bus driving or train driving games which, I think given a little western twist could be huge, which brings me to my next point. (Again Gundam has been released here in many guises however the vast majority of them were shit. Drew.)
The Japanese as a whole see gaming as a mainstream activity and now quite so much as a niche market. But I still think the west has things to offer and for Japan to incorporate into its game making process, for example story-lines and plots seem to be just too over the top and complicated for your average player in some Japanese games I have played. They (Japanese game makers) expect you to be an *Otaku* or anorak to have bought this particular game in the first place. For the most part Western game makers tend to make their games more accessible for bigger markets and ease of play for people who have never played yet still make it involving enough for a seasoned video game vet. The Japanese in order to open up their games and companies to bigger audiences and recognition that they deserve they need to take some lessons from their western counterparts.
Western powers that rule will always hamper attitudes to video games and this is one problem the Japanese do not have which gives free reign to all the variations on games you can think of, some may say that the Japanese in some ways are more liberal and willing to rely on the common sense and responsibility of people themselves to know right from wrong than the west is therefore not needing to make games with extreme content and more focus on the game. But what about Resident evil and metal gear solid I hear you hark are they not extreme to the maximum? The games made by the Japanese for example Resident evil and Metal gear solid have scenes of violence but with a few subtle differences, mainly the killing and violence is in accordance and tune with the whole game and it is dealt with in a manner that creates moral choices and not just seen as a way to have fun `a la` GTA. This all again stems from Japanese attitudes to gaming and social morals in Japan.
Western gaming seems to be caught in a rut of needing to cause a stir or media outcry rather than producing quality gaming experiences, releasing progressively more violent games year after year and only serving to give the do-gooders a new case in which to throw mud at the industry, I have never even seen a news special in Japan even once about violence or effects of games on children as they seem to realise what we already know folks…..it’s a crock of **** (Well apart from that kid who starved to death playing World Of Warcraft! Although you could argue that is a Western game! Drew.)
Let’s all have some more of that Japanese attitude!!!
Man in Japan.
Do you agree with the man in Japan? Leave your comments below.