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kitsunebi77

495 issues of Famitsu, anyone?

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Here you go! One issue of Weekly Famitsu, vintage 1997.

https://archive.org/details/WeeklyFamitsu455Sep51997

I compressed it down to fit in a 400 MB CBR but some of the smaller kanji still look like smudges. To illustrate my point on the importance of 600 DPI for Japanese text, here's an example from page 18 of this issue.

600dpi_Jtext.png

Good heavens...yeah, I can just about make out the 'wa' at the end of the string there when it's compressed, but I wouldn't even recognize the kanji, nor be able to count the radical strokes so I could look them up. :)

Thank you ever so much for doing this just to satisfy my curiosity. That's a porker of a magazine to scan just on request. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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Well, I went away for the weekend and have come back to find that there have been 63 bids. OK, just between 2 different bidders, but still. Including shipping, the lot now comes to over $400, which is too rich for me. I'm both disappointed and relieved.

Well, maybe we'll luck out and the winner is some anonymous internet hero looking to preserve them digitally. :)

Thanks so much for keeping watch on these, Kitsunebi. These are fascinating artifacts from a fascinating culture. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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OK, THIS is why I love looking at magazines from other cultures.

Famitsu apparently offers a "Weekly Top 30" where they break down what, if I'm translating correctly, are the thirty best-selling titles from the previous week. This issue's list covers the week of July 28 to August 3. So it's late '97...what might you expect to the top-selling video game for this period? Final Fantasy VII, right; I mean, it's only the best-selling RPG in history up to this point, so no brainer, am I wrong? Or, no wait, probably an incarnation of Pokemon; yeah, that's it, Nintendo's got that beast of a game locking down sales on its handhelds the way Ash has his horde of sentient monster slaves all captured and tucked away in his balls. Obvious choice is obvious, you dig? Or what about Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha, which just got its PS1 release a week earlier? That one has to be tearing up the charts, right? Most famous fighting game franchise on the planet represent, know what I'm saying?

Yeah...not so much.

The top five best-selling games from that week are, and I shit you not you can download the scan and look for yourselves right there on page 16:

1 - Derby Stallion - PS1 - Horse racing sim

2 - Last Bronx - SAT - Arcade port of a 3D fighter

3 - Langrisser IV - SAT - RPG

4 - Minna no Golf ('Golf For Everyone', or 'Hot Shots Golf' in North America) - PS1 - Golf sim

5 - Rock Man X4 ('Mega Man X4' in North America) - PS1 - Action platformer

Final Fantasy VII doesn't even make the charts, although Final Fantasy Tactics comes in at #20.

Pokemon ('Pocket Monster' in Japan) is #6.

Street Fighter EX+ Alpha can't even crack the top 20 and was outsold by such well-known classics as 'Monster Farm', 'Mobile Suit Gundam Perfect One Year War', 'and Saga Frontier'. :lol:

Well, I got a good chuckle out of it anyway...

*huggles*
Areala

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That's one of the reasons I like Electronic Entertainment, too. They had separate sales charts for Mac, PC, and CD-ROM in general.

Famitsu has multiple charts too and I haven't figured out yet exactly how they're broken down. There is a Top 20 chart in there on page 19 where FFVII is at the top.

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That's one of the reasons I like Electronic Entertainment, too. They had separate sales charts for Mac, PC, and CD-ROM in general.

Famitsu has multiple charts too and I haven't figured out yet exactly how they're broken down. There is a Top 20 chart in there on page 19 where FFVII is at the top.

Yeah, I saw that. I thought at first maybe it was just an RPG-only list, because I saw FF 7, Sakura Taisen, and Tactics Ogre (for the Super Famicom, no less) on there, but then the fourth game down is Mario Kart 64.and number 5 is Biohazard / Resident Evil, so clearly that's not the case.

One guess: The hiragana in the little bubble above the chart with FF7 on top reads "Ima made no <I suck at kanji>". 'Ima made' itself means "until now" or "up to this point", which makes me think this might be tracking the best-selling titles of the year, and not just over that one week's duration.

The Top 10 under that is "Video Game Top 10", but based on the titles I can translate, it's ranking arcade games. #1 is Virtua Fighter 3, on down to House of the Dead at #10.

Also, how nifty is it that they're tracking the ten best-selling US games of that week too (according to Electronics Boutique)? Must have been a pretty slow period indeed when Herc's Adventures and Dynasty Warriors outsell Tekken 2. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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Just glanced at this in the few minutes I have before rushing off to work, but it seems like the top 20 list with FF7 on top is their "reader's choice" list. The top 30 with DQ7 on top is the "most anticipated" list. I'm not really positive how the main list with Derby Stallion on top is compiled. I'll try to figure it out when I get home. Thanks for uploading the scan!

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OK, THIS is why I love looking at magazines from other cultures.

Famitsu apparently offers a "Weekly Top 30" where they break down what, if I'm translating correctly, are the thirty best-selling titles from the previous week. This issue's list covers the week of July 28 to August 3. So it's late '97...what might you expect to the top-selling video game for this period? Final Fantasy VII, right; I mean, it's only the best-selling RPG in history up to this point, so no brainer, am I wrong? Or, no wait, probably an incarnation of Pokemon; yeah, that's it, Nintendo's got that beast of a game locking down sales on its handhelds the way Ash has his horde of sentient monster slaves all captured and tucked away in his balls. Obvious choice is obvious, you dig? Or what about Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha, which just got its PS1 release a week earlier? That one has to be tearing up the charts, right? Most famous fighting game franchise on the planet represent, know what I'm saying?

Yeah...not so much.

The top five best-selling games from that week are, and I shit you not you can download the scan and look for yourselves right there on page 16:

1 - Derby Stallion - PS1 - Horse racing sim

2 - Last Bronx - SAT - Arcade port of a 3D fighter

3 - Langrisser IV - SAT - RPG

4 - Minna no Golf ('Golf For Everyone', or 'Hot Shots Golf' in North America) - PS1 - Golf sim

5 - Rock Man X4 ('Mega Man X4' in North America) - PS1 - Action platformer

Final Fantasy VII doesn't even make the charts, although Final Fantasy Tactics comes in at #20.

Pokemon ('Pocket Monster' in Japan) is #6.

Street Fighter EX+ Alpha can't even crack the top 20 and was outsold by such well-known classics as 'Monster Farm', 'Mobile Suit Gundam Perfect One Year War', 'and Saga Frontier'. :lol:

Well, I got a good chuckle out of it anyway...

*huggles*

Areala

Not that surprising. Up until that point the Saturn was leading PS in Japan by quite a bit. When FF7 came out and price drop of PS it turned the tide in Japan. Of course that doesn't happen overnight. And Langrisser was quite a popular series of strategy RPG in Japan.

Think of Japan as a bizarre world at the time where all kinds of Saturn games we never got here were fondly remembered and the familiar PS games up until that point for us were not as popular.

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Think of Japan as a bizarre world at the time where all kinds of Saturn games we never got here were fondly remembered and the familiar PS games up until that point for us were not as popular.

I have to keep reminding myself of this, since my entire gaming experience is centered around what I saw in North America. I thought this was absolutely one of the best reminders of that I'd seen in quite some time though. Japan, by US standards, has some truly bizarre gaming habits (and vice versa).

Later on in this issue, their four-person review crew has a go at Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64">N64, and while magazines here were only too happy to pass out the solid 10's and perfect scores, the Japanese reviewers are a lot more critical, handing down three 8's and a 7, for a final score of 31/40. Know what gets the exact same 31/40 one page later? Cool Boarders 2 on the PS1. There wasn't an American game reviewer working for any magazine in 1997 who would have dared score Cool Boarders 2 and Goldeneye 007 the same, but these three guys and one woman at Famitsu don't have any compunction about that at all. God, that's refreshing. :)

Also, these ads are awesome and I'm kinda pissed Europe and Japan got 'The Last Report' on PS1 and we didn't here in the US (at least not on the PlayStation--we did get the PC version). :)

*huggles*

Areala

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Still, Goldeneye was one of the higher-rated games in that issue, wasn't it? Now that I look at it again, it was the highest-rated game along with Cool Boarders 2.

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Still, Goldeneye was one of the higher-rated games in that issue, wasn't it? Now that I look at it again, it was the highest-rated game along with Cool Boarders 2.

Absolutely. Doesn't change the fact they gave it a 77.5%, while every magazine here in the US was falling all over themselves to give it all the Platinum, perfect, 100%, 10/10, Game of the Year scores they could hand out. Then again, magazines here seemed to over-inflate scores a lot, especially in the 1990s. Gamers grew up thinking that unless a game got an 80% or higher, the magazine was basically calling it shit and not worth playing when that's hardly the case. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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I've always heard Famitsu was notoriously stingy giving out good scores.

Me too. I kind of like that...makes it easier to separate out the truly amazing classics from the ones that are very good but flawed games. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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I found a few more issues that were even earlier than 1997, including two from 1996 and one from 1993. I wish I had some issues that actually had some FFVII stuff in it (I know you guys like that) but it doesn't seem I do. I DO however have a few issues from around the launch of FFVIII in 1998, if anyone is into that!

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OK, I took another look at the fine print under the top 30 list. It's simply based on estimated sales (which I see now that Areala had already pointed out...oops). So Derby Stallion sold 91,061 copies that week, bringing it's cumulative sales total to 1,164,543 copies at that point in time. Pokemon is the biggest overall seller on the list with a total of over 3 million copies, but it isn't clear on whether that figure includes all versions (Red/Green/Blue).

Final Fantasy VII was released on Jan. 31 1997, while most everything else on this list is much more recent (only Pokemon and a Puyo Puyo game are older.) So it's understandable that FF7's weekly sales would have dropped out of the top 30 by late July.

Regarding the Goldeneye score, I'd say it's pretty good, considering (a) it's a western game, which are notoriously thought of poorly in Japan, and (B)it's a first-person shooter, which are also famously unpopular there (although the genre has perhaps been gradually more accepted in more recent years).

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Here you go! One issue of Weekly Famitsu, vintage 1997.

https://archive.org/details/WeeklyFamitsu455Sep51997

I compressed it down to fit in a 400 MB CBR but some of the smaller kanji still look like smudges. To illustrate my point on the importance of 600 DPI for Japanese text, here's an example from page 18 of this issue.

600dpi_Jtext.png

Thanks a lot for the japanese magazine. Some interesting adverts of ps1 games that will be added to their entries of the PSX Datacenter in the future.

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Well, it looks like someone wanted those mags more than me. WAY WAY more. Closing price comes to $1800!

Watching it end, I learned something interesting about Yahoo auctions...if someone places a bid in the last five minutes, the ending time gets extended by five minutes. So there's no way to sneak in last-second "sniper" bids like as happens so often on eBay. The bidding just keeps going and going until somebody finally gives up out of impending bankruptcy.

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Well, it looks like someone wanted those mags more than me. WAY WAY more. Closing price comes to $1800!

Watching it end, I learned something interesting about Yahoo auctions...if someone places a bid in the last five minutes, the ending time gets extended by five minutes. So there's no way to sneak in last-second "sniper" bids like as happens so often on eBay. The bidding just keeps going and going until somebody finally gives up out of impending bankruptcy.

Two responses come immediately to mind.

First: GREAT SNAPPING ARSEHOLES, who has that much money just laying around to spend on video game magazines?!

Second: I've gained a new-found respect for Yahoo auctions. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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That's interesting about Yahoo auctions.

Thanks a lot for the japanese magazine. Some interesting adverts of ps1 games that will be added to their entries of the PSX Datacenter in the future.

It's my pleasure! There'll be plenty more where that came from after I'm done with NextGen, maybe in a few weeks.
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There'll be plenty more where that came from after I'm done with NextGen, maybe in a few weeks.

*SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE~!*

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I'm looking forward to those as well. Outside of auctions, I'm not sure where else I could find older issues (the used bookstores I've checked had some recent Famitsu monthlies, but no weeklies, and nothing older than the past year or so.) Maybe a used game shop in a big city might have some...

In a moment of weakness after the above auction finally closed at a bazillion yen, I went on the rebound and placed a bid on a different auction, ending up with 44 issues of Famitsu for a couple thousand yen. Of course, they're all pretty recent, so unfortunately they aren't allowed on this site.

And now I've got THIS staring at me from my apartment floor...what have I done?
photo.jpg

Having never bought any issues of Famitsu brand new, something interesting I noticed is that the cover price of each issue goes up and down each week depending on the page count of the issue. For example, issue 1393 is 266 pgs for 480円 and the next issue is 226 pgs for 430円.

Also interesting (but pretty much what I expected based on what I see around me) is that the top 30 in any given issue is VERY heavily weighted towards the handheld systems. In the most recent issue in this lot (Sep3 2015), the top 30 selling games break down like this:

12 3DS

11 Vita

3 Wii U

3 PS4

1 PS3

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I listen to the 8-4 play podcast out of Japan, basically ex EGM guys who run a translation and localization company who work out of Tokyo. And they provide a pretty good pulse on what's going on in the Japanese game industry. And for a numer of years they have reported on the dominance of handheld gaming and the crash of consoles there. Really most of Japan has gone mobile with phone games. And only the handhelds really are still prospering with the old dedicated console model.

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I listen to the 8-4 play podcast out of Japan, basically ex EGM guys who run a translation and localization company who work out of Tokyo. And they provide a pretty good pulse on what's going on in the Japanese game industry. And for a numer of years they have reported on the dominance of handheld gaming and the crash of consoles there. Really most of Japan has gone mobile with phone games. And only the handhelds really are still prospering with the old dedicated console model.

That goes a long way to explain why Konami has pretty much shuttered their console game division to focus on the mobile gaming market. If handheld/mobile is the only stuff that sells, then there's little impetus for them to focus on home games. Sad, but economics dictate everything.

*huggles*

Areala

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I don't follow current gaming trends at all, but I work with kids, and were I to ask a roomful of them, probably 90% will own a 3DS or Vita, but probably only a few of them would own a console. I was never sure if that pattern extended beyond their age bracket or not, but apparently it does.

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