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Sexy girls, handsome men, and enormous breasts. What do YOU like about Japanese games?

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In a gratuitous piece of self-congratulations, the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu has an article all about how much foreigners love Japanese games.  They apparently conducted a survey of 6678 people (presumably at an anime convention or something similar where they could make sure they didn't get any unwanted opinions like "what's up with the dating sims?" or "why do all the character designs look so similar?"

These people were asked what they liked best about Japanese games.  Some of the quotes they cherry picked are below (in English except for the guy going by the name "Dr. Forbidden" who's answer translates as "enormous breasts":rolleyes:)

If I had to pick the comment I disagree the most with, it might be the one about Japanese developers having "much more creative freedom" than western developers, but maybe that's just me.

What's unclear is whether all of the comments making the westerners seem like a bunch of dudes horny for anime girls are supposed to make foreigners look bad, or make Japanese games look good for giving them what they want.

2018-04-14_13h49_30.jpg

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The variety. I'm not into all that sex appeal kind of stuff so as long as the characters look decent then whatever. I don't know whether JP has more creative freedom or if they're the only ones to act on it. You're not going to find games like Katamari, Catherine, Ico, Fatal Frame, or Lollipop Chainsaw from the US. Some games are just bizarre and funny at the same time.

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5 minutes ago, DPsx7 said:

The variety. I'm not into all that sex appeal kind of stuff so as long as the characters look decent then whatever. I don't know whether JP has more creative freedom or if they're the only ones to act on it. You're not going to find games like Katamari, Catherine, Ico, Fatal Frame, or Lollipop Chainsaw from the US. Some games are just bizarre and funny at the same time.

Well...but keep in mind that we only see less than 20% of Japanese games released in the West.  Most of their games are the same cookie-cutter garbage we're used to (albiet, different types/genres of cookie-cutter garbage).  Luckily we get to cherry-pick the ones that are worth playing, which may make it seem like there are a higher proportion of quality games coming from Japan than there actually are.

You also have to remember that innovative games are usually from smaller/indie developers, not big budget sequels from Electronic Arts or whoever, so in the West, most of that stuff is happening on the PC, where development costs are lower.  Since almost all game development in Japan occurs on consoles (or phones, these days), it makes sense that some of those smaller titles that would have probably been PC exclusives in the West get developed for consoles in Japan.

You're right that the Japanese sense of humor can come across as especially bizzare/funny/unique to people from other cultures though (although once you're exposed to enough of it, even that can start to feel a little old hat.)

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I started importing games when I realized that EU or JP were getting discs and we were only getting digital. At the same time I found a few neat games I'd otherwise have missed. They do have to be subtitled though, so my choices aren't quite as expansive. They can't be as cookie cutter as the flood of lame sports and shooters we end up with over here. For every rhythm game, RPG, or shmup they get there's a lot I wouldn't choose like horse racing, mahjong, visual novels, or train sims.

Oh obviously. Indies have really made themselves a home since the big companies hardly try anything new. Until recently I'd say big JP publishers would often experiment, but Capcom and Konami to name 2 have made some iffy decisions.

I like it. Been watching anime on Adult Swim for years now. I know some will act like that's not 'pure enough' but I'm not gonna scour the net and DL things. I suppose if you live there it's another story.

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3 hours ago, DPsx7 said:

They can't be as cookie cutter as the flood of lame sports and shooters we end up with over here. For every rhythm game, RPG, or shmup they get there's a lot I wouldn't choose like horse racing, mahjong, visual novels, or train sims.

Be careful about excusing games or entire genres from being "cookie cutter" just because you like them.  Taiko no Tatsujin is the only game I'll ever lay down money in an arcade to play, but that doesn't change the fact that each new release is basically the exact same game it was 10 years ago, just with new songs to choose from.  How is that any different from a new Madden where the biggest change is current rosters?  Are shmups really that much different than they were 20 years ago?

To a certain degree, games being derivative of other games is a desirable trait.  People enjoy a game, and then think, "I want to play another game like that one."  My only point is that I don't really see Japan as a great fount of originality any more than elsewhere in the world.

 

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It's not that simple. Rhythm games don't need to change a whole lot other than give you new music. EA/Act charging full price for the same Madden/CoD every year isn't as excusable. 'Cookie cutter' isn't a good thing. I hope you didn't misunderstand my post. Sports and shooters are a dime a dozen. The other sentence was just saying there's some good stuff but I realize JP has a lot of clone games as well. Shmups change a little.

Funny you mention that because I imported a copy of Taiko plus a drum controller. First time I ever played it although I was aware of it for some time. Last time there was an English version was back during PS2?

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8 hours ago, DPsx7 said:

It's not that simple. Rhythm games don't need to change a whole lot other than give you new music. EA/Act charging full price for the same Madden/CoD every year isn't as excusable.

I don't follow.  Rhythm games don't need to change, but sports games do?  Why?

The rules and gameplay of a sport are set in stone.  If they make a game that does a good job of simulating that gameplay, there's no need to make any significant changes to a new version other than to update the rosters and stats.  One could make an argument nowadays that those new rosters and stats could be sold as DLC for owners of the previous year's game, and that's a legit desire, but they still want to sell the proper game to people who don't own last year's version, and it doesn't make sense to expect a newbie to buy last year's game (or the year before last year's game) and then immediately turn around and charge them for additional DLC as well just to bring their new purchase up to date.  So they just release a new version of the game every year.  People are free to buy it as often or as infrequently as they like, though only the hardcore fans who just have to have all the latest stats are gonna shell out every year for a new copy.

And I feel the knock against CoD is a case of attacking a genre you don't care for.  Yes, the gameplay from one FPS to the next is pretty similar.  The actual level designs are completely different, so it would be hard to accuse them as being quite as unoriginal as an update to a sports title or rhythm game.  But one could argue that the gameplay of most games in any genre are very similar.  Most JRPGs play very similarly to one another just as RTS games do just as flight sims do just as Roguelikes do just as graphic adventures do just as etc etc.  I've never played a Call of Duty since I was getting out of gaming around the time the first one was released, but almost all of the FPS games I've played have very similar gameplay - it's what makes them an FPS.  It's the details like setting and level design that make them stand apart from one another.  I suppose if every single CoD is set in the Western Front of WWII or something and you can't tell the difference between a given level in one game from a level in any of the others...then yeah, that's a problem.  I can't really comment, as I said, having never played any of them.

At any rate, I suppose it's a little unfair to criticize certain genres for being unoriginal.  If the goal of a simulator is to accurately recreate the experience of doing something, it would be unlikely that a new offering in that genre would evoke a response of "WOW! I've never seen anything like that before!"  At this point in gaming's lifecycle, tweaks and improvements on last year's model are mostly all that's left.  Sports fall under this category as well.

Other genres that aren't trying to accurately recreate something real and familiar have more freedom to try new things and are limited only by the developers' imaginations, so it should really be those genres that are criticized or lauded for failing or succeeding to bring something new to the table.  And I don't feel there is a substantially different success to failure rate between East and West, is all.  The failures outweigh the successes no matter where you are in the world.

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Are you serious? In the most basic sense rhythm games aren't released every year at $60. They'll make some improvements during their development. The other stuff is copied from last year, and the year before that.

No, most shooters are ok. As long as they do it right. Don't make excuses for CoD. It's recycled garbage meant for the same idiots year after year. Think of it as a bait game - it collects all the kids you don't want playing anywhere else.

Without turning this into an essay lemme just say you're kinda missing the point. I started out saying JP has unique games you simply aren't going to find anywhere else. I wouldn't buy a console without their support. Granted, the volume of indies is adding way more variety than JP could do on their own. And then for the part you're talking about, yeah we should ask EA and Activision to close because they don't offer good games. We won't miss them.

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1 minute ago, DPsx7 said:

Without turning this into an essay lemme just say you're kinda missing the point. I started out saying JP has unique games you simply aren't going to find anywhere else. I wouldn't buy a console without their support. Granted, the volume of indies is adding way more variety than JP could do on their own. And then for the part you're talking about, yeah we should ask EA and Activision to close because they don't offer good games. We won't miss them.

Err...but it's my thread?  I missed my own point? :lol: Of course I was never suggesting that Japan has NO original games.  Of course they have games you won't find anywhere else.  So does the USA/UK.  Back in the days before consoles homogenized everything, the USA and UK were unique even from each other.  I don't know enough about other country's gaming industries to comment, but I'm sure they have some original ideas as well.  My only claim, and granted it's just my opinion, is that Japan is not MORE creative than the West, at least not currently.  It's trickier if you go back to the 80s when Japan was inventing entire genres on consoles at the same time the US/UK was inventing entire genres on home computers.  Although the platforms on which it occurred were completely different in each country, there was creativity everywhere back then, since genre rules hadn't yet been established. 

Perhaps it's difficult to see the creativity coming from a country you live in because you're surrounded by it so it seems ordinary or even generic.  It may be easier to see Japan's uniqueness because of one's distance from it, and perhaps if the only games you had ever played were the ones for sale in Japan, you would be able to look at the large number of Western exclusives and more easily recognize the ones that offered gameplay experiences you couldn't get "at home."

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So what? No, my point. I thought you were replying to me not your own thread as a whole. 

Yeah maybe you aren't seeing it then. I gave a list earlier and they're all without clones in the US at least. And again as of a few years ago I'd say JP definitely had the edge in the creativity category. US devs were playing it too safe. It was 'too risky' to make something that wasn't a sequel. Wouldn't surprise me if that stagnation was why people were proclaiming the death of consoles. Now we have so many indies going above and beyond what any bigger company used to experiment with. The market is stronger than ever. So to bring it back to your original question it's the variety that I like - stuff I will probably not find developed in the US.

Have you always lived over there or what? Just wondering. I haven't been outside the US (unless you count a trip to Canada) and I never explored import games until region locking went away.

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2 hours ago, DPsx7 said:

Yeah maybe you aren't seeing it then. I gave a list earlier and they're all without clones in the US at least. And again as of a few years ago I'd say JP definitely had the edge in the creativity category. US devs were playing it too safe. It was 'too risky' to make something that wasn't a sequel. Wouldn't surprise me if that stagnation was why people were proclaiming the death of consoles. Now we have so many indies going above and beyond what any bigger company used to experiment with. The market is stronger than ever. So to bring it back to your original question it's the variety that I like - stuff I will probably not find developed in the US.

I think it goes both ways.  I probably see less originality from Japanese titles because I'm surrounded by so many of them that (to me) are nearly indistinguishable from one another, while you have the same issue with western games.  Regarding "the death of consoles" and the resurgence of indies, the main difference is that the West has a thriving indie market on PC, whereas in Japan, the PC is a gaming wasteland of nothing but visual novels and porn.  So any decent games coming from Japan are coming from 2 places: Sony or Nintendo systems (or mobile devices, possibly, but I don't play mobile games so I can't comment of their merits).  In the West, decent games could be coming from those systems or the Xbox, but most indie development and therefore a lot of the more unique titles are going to appear first and sometimes exclusively on the PC, and most of those games will never make it to Japan.

Obviously both East and West offer unique titles and we're lucky to have the opportunity to play games from both.

2 hours ago, DPsx7 said:

Have you always lived over there or what? Just wondering. I haven't been outside the US (unless you count a trip to Canada) and I never explored import games until region locking went away.

No, just the past 10 years.  USA before that.

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I'm not counting mobile or PC's, they're dud platforms. Mobile because the games are disposable - play for 2 days then discard. PC failed me way back when I bought HL2 which was infected with Steam. I've told the story many times before and the short version is that malware got in the way of me playing the game on several occasions. This is why I prefer physical games, quit PC's, and won't go near things Valve glues their name to.

Ok, so when you say the US has unique content you're referring to indie stuff. We've been kinda mushing 2 timeframes together. Before indies and after. Before was the stagnation period. Talking about today, yeah the unique stuff comes from all over.

I didn't get the impression you were raised there. So I didn't know if it was a business thing, a temporary trip, or what. Always said if I ended up visiting a country outside the US it would probably be there. Video games and crazy technology are more my speed than historical landmarks and museums. Engrish, cat cafes, the ability to buy nearly anything from a vending machine, even something as simple as the shows/advertising. I've seen videos online and I don't know what to say after most of 'em. Takeshi's Castle, prank shows, flying banana people, talking dogs...

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17 minutes ago, DPsx7 said:

I'm not counting mobile or PC's, they're dud platforms. Mobile because the games are disposable - play for 2 days then discard. PC failed me way back when I bought HL2 which was infected with Steam. I've told the story many times before and the short version is that malware got in the way of me playing the game on several occasions. This is why I prefer physical games, quit PC's, and won't go near things Valve glues their name to.

You're not very good at this whole rational debate thing, are you? :lol:  Seriously, though, I understand your opinion on the extremely short liefespan of mobile games, although hard statistical data proves that it isn't true for the majority of mobile users, so you should make it clear that you're just making a statement of a personal dislike of a platform.  Likewise with PCs, stating that they're a "dud platform" when you're basing that comment entirely on a personal anecdote of a single time you had technical difficulty with a game really hurts the credibility of anything else you might say afterwards in a debate.  I had a brand new PlayStation disc snap in two the first time I tried removing it from the case, but how seriously would anyone take me if I tried to call the entire platform a dud because of it?

Unless we're talking about whether or not GamePro was worth reading (NO!) :P I try to take a more rational even handed view of things, which is what I've done this entire thread.  All of the current platforms have validity.  They all appeal to someone and have games people enjoy.  If that isn't true for you or for me, that's fine, but our personal opinions don't make anything a dud.  Nor do I think any one country or platform is responsible for bringing the most creativity to the table.  I think it comes from everywhere, though we at least agree that in general, the more money is involved in the creation of a thing, the more "safe" they're going to make it, meaning that cheaper indie products are the ones left to take creative risks (which often fail, but still.)

32 minutes ago, DPsx7 said:

Ok, so when you say the US has unique content you're referring to indie stuff. We've been kinda mushing 2 timeframes together. Before indies and after. Before was the stagnation period. Talking about today, yeah the unique stuff comes from all over.

Mostly, yeah.  But another point I was trying to make is that even the stuff that's a dime a dozen in the US will seen unique to a Japanese gamer, since almost none of it is released here.  Likewise, Japanese games that are a dime a dozen might seem unique to a US gamer since so few of them are released there.  So even major stuff can seem unique provided your exposure to it is limited.

35 minutes ago, DPsx7 said:

Video games and crazy technology are more my speed than historical landmarks and museums. Engrish, cat cafes, the ability to buy nearly anything from a vending machine, even something as simple as the shows/advertising. I've seen videos online and I don't know what to say after most of 'em. Takeshi's Castle, prank shows, flying banana people, talking dogs...

What I love about Japan is that it's none of those things you think it is.  I had the same impression of Japan before I came (let's call it the "Internet's view of Japan")  Then I got here and realized that no one older than college age owns or plays video games, Japan is the LEAST technologically advanced first world country I've been to in most areas outside of cell phones and toilets, the ONLY thing available in 99% of the country's vending machines is drinks, interesting commercials are as uncommon as they are in America, and television programming in general is so abysmally awful that I gave up watching TV my first year here and threw mine away since it wasn't worth having to pay the yearly fee to NHK for owning a TV when the only thing on 99% of the time is variety shows about people watching other people eat.

Nah, the reason I like Japan has to do with how normal it is, and the character of the people who live here.

Well, there is a fair amount of Engrish, I guess.:P

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The topic of consoles is big enough on its own. I've never considered mobile a gaming platform and PC's were excluded over 10 years ago. It gets kind of stupid when we do include them because then people fight over software being exclusive or just console exclusive, or timed... It's easier if we focus on the consoles.

I have no way to know how much US content makes it there. If our crap is unique for you then ok, whatever. I'm mildly curious as to what types of games you're referring to. You saw my list of games before.

Oh I understand it's limited to a couple areas like Akihabara, not the entire country. Really, nobody over college age? Huh. TV isn't great here either, it's just a handful of notable shows. I was just using a few examples of why I'd go there over somewhere else.

 

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No one I've ever met, no.  Once people are out in the real world working 12 hour days, they don't have time to come home and waste the few hours they have left on games, especially if they have families.  Although their kids almost definitely own some sort of gaming system (most likely a 3DS or a Switch.  Sony is more for teenagers and college students).

Whether or not you have an interest in mobile platforms or PCs doesn't make a bit of difference if we're discussing games.  I was never attacking or defending your own personal gaming preferences and predilections, I was talking about the industry as a whole.  The fact is, they ARE valid gaming platforms and must be included, especially if you're going to make an argument about Eastern vs Western game development.  Most Western games worth a damn have traditionally either been PC exclusive, or developed for the PC and later ported to consoles.  Only very recently have certain high profile Western games started their life as console titles before being released on PC.  Ignoring PC games because you don't like it as a platform and thus declaring Japan the winner because they have a higher percentage of winning console titles is no more fair than me ignoring console titles because I don't care for the platforms and declaring the West as the winner because Japan's PC gaming scene is not even worth mentioning.

No, actually it's easier to focus on games.  Who gives a crap what platform they're on?  We're adults, we can afford all of the platforms if we want to, so there's no need for fanboy elitism of any kind.  I can appreciate a good game whether it's for PC, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, handheld or mobile just like I can appreciate a good movie no matter what company makes the TV I watch it on.

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Kind of surprising. Gaming is what I do in my downtime and I don't have much else to fill it with. Probably why portables are so popular so they could play while commuting to work. 12 hours is normal? Yeesh.

Well, sorta. I guess if you're a heavy PC user then you'd readily include it. Once you do that though then is anything actually 'exclusive' or original? I like keeping focus on the strongest part (consoles) just to avoid going too wide with the discussions. The way mobile is designed it's got its own little separate world. Not like you're going to find ports of console games on a device without any actual buttons.

We're almost on the same page. I agree the hardware isn't that relevant when you're discussing games. But that's also why I ignore PC's, anything worth playing comes to consoles and it's not like the games are different enough that we need to be "console this" and "PC that". I say consoles to keep it simple rather than specify each individual platform. I hope that makes sense. Sometimes I know what I'm trying to say but it doesn't come across clearly.

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Is 12 hours normal?  Depends on what kind of work you do.  For office types, 12 hours might be a conservative estimate.  I work in the public school system, and I can tell you that yes, it's normal.  So is working 6 or 7 days a week.  I'm excused from it (being foreign has its privileges), but most Japanese people tend to stay at work much longer than (in my opinion) is actually necessary, simply because leaving before everyone else makes you look bad.  No one wants to be first out the door, so people tend to linger at work until ridiculous hours.  Don't get me wrong, some of them are actually quite busy and need to stay to finish their duties.  Overwork is a huge problem in Japan and is literaly killing people.  Look up "karoshi" (death from overwork) if your're interested in learning more.

4 hours ago, DPsx7 said:

Well, sorta. I guess if you're a heavy PC user then you'd readily include it. Once you do that though then is anything actually 'exclusive' or original? I like keeping focus on the strongest part (consoles) just to avoid going too wide with the discussions. The way mobile is designed it's got its own little separate world. Not like you're going to find ports of console games on a device without any actual buttons.

We're almost on the same page. I agree the hardware isn't that relevant when you're discussing games. But that's also why I ignore PC's, anything worth playing comes to consoles and it's not like the games are different enough that we need to be "console this" and "PC that". I say consoles to keep it simple rather than specify each individual platform. I hope that makes sense. Sometimes I know what I'm trying to say but it doesn't come across clearly.

And now we've finally come full circle.  I'll make one final token rebuttal, but there's really no point, since I'll simply be repeating what I've said in the past in response to the exact same comments you just made.  My attempts to bring attention to the fundamental differences between opinions and facts didn't do any good then, so they won't do any good now, but...

First of all, I never mentioned "exclusivity" at all as a factor related to originality.  An original, creative game might be exclusive to a single platform, or it might be ported to all the platforms.  Assuming the port doesn't somehow ruin the game, it wouldn't  affect the qualities that make the game original.  So you're right that mobile games are their own thing, but that doesn't mean they can't be creative.  The different nature of the hardware's capabilities and control methods actually invites creativity from developers willing to step up to the challenge.  This often works in Nintendo's favor as well, since their unique hardware in recent years hasn't been confined to standard gamepad control.

And finally (we've been here before) "anything worth playing comes to consoles" is your opinion and one that I do not share.  A lot of games (including almost everything from Japan) eventually comes to consoles, but (this is not an opinion, but a fact) a lot of games don't and are only available on PC.  Of those games, a lot of them are worth playing (this is my opinion.)  So if I want to talk about a subject that has nothing to do with specific hardware platforms ("creativity in game design"), I'm not going to ignore any platforms.  And if anyone remembers at this point, the point of the discussion in the first place was to look at creativity in game design in the West vs. Japan.  In the Western world (i.e. not just the USA), the PC is the most popular gaming platform.  I'm not saying its the best, just that that's the platform on which most games are played.  Likewise in Japan, consoles are pretty much the only gaming platforms taken seriously (I can't really say "the East," since PC is by far the more popular platform in other Asian countries like Korea).

To discuss only console games would limit the amount of titles one had to consider, true, but then the topic under discussion would have to be changed to "creativity in console game design in the West vs. Japan."  In which case, I tend to think Japan would come out on top, since nearly 100% of their development resources go into creating games for consoles.  But that wasn't the topic, and isn't really fair to Western developers, most of whom are developing primarily for the PC.  http://www.businessinsider.com/most-popular-game-platforms-developers-chart-2017-3

Just look at the most famous and respected game designers through history you can think of off the top of your head.  Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, Yuji Horii, Yu Suzuki, that guy who created Pokemon (whatever his name is - he needs a better PR agent:lol:)... all consoles.  Sid Meier, Will Wright, Richard Garriot, John Carmack, Peter Molyneux...all PC.  To ignore creativity no matter where it originates is doing a disservice to the industry as a whole.

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