Too Japanese

It seems I have spent a disproportionate fraction of my blog on Japan and its related information. My Tuesdays are already marked exclusively for Japanese anime, my Wednesdays are smattered with music from the only country I listen to, and once in a while I sneak in Japanese elements in my Thursday entries. Today’s entry is similarly influenced, so Japan-phobics may wish to turn their heads away and wait for tomorrow’s entry, which may or may not also be peppered with Japan. I cannot say. I do not see into the future, much as I would like to have such a skill.

Some of you, while waiting for tomorrow’s entry, may choose to bury your heads in computer games, which is the focus of Friday entries anyway. You may choose to play Guilty Gear XX, which I heard released an enhanced version known as Core Plus on the Playstation Network in North America on 4th December. Some of you who prefer fighting games may be jamming on your XBox Live Arcades now playing Virtua Fighter 2. Or if you are like me and prefer role-playing games, the PlayStation Vita has a new port for Persona 4 known as Golden.

For me, who isn’t savvy with games and doesn’t have a whole lot of consoles at home, I can happily content myself with Pokemon White while waiting for Mystery Dungeon to come up.

But really, my point with all those examples is that there are many successful Japanese games out there, so you can’t say I’m stretching it too far by bringing Japan into a Friday entry. Things like Final Fantasy and action games by Sega are popular worldwide, and some of them have been translated so well we forget their original source country.

And then there are the eroge.

Short for “erotic games”, they offer a tone and mood that just differ from American or European games. Eroge is a niche product in Japan and appeals to a select group of fans, a group that is steadily growing in number in recent years. The Japanese have a fascination with youth and cuteness. Japanese men and women, I daresay, have a strange tendency to look young, speak young and act young well into adulthood. And this love for youth (is it maybe related to their longevity?) translates into their game material. Eroge uses animations and artwork to create the perfect girl who happens to be of legal age and yet looks like she just came out of middle school. The Westerners (and Japanese alike) also particularly enjoy the brand of submissive language used by Japanese ladies. The way they say things timidly and shyly, their tendency to be not-very-clever, weak and tricked easily by men. Japan is a very masculine country and believe in the power of males over females. This is why you, as a male character in typical eroge, often have a harem option, to “collect all the girls”.

Most people have praised Japanese games for their rich storytelling (no, not only the eroge). Even visual novels centred on dating tend to have a tearjerking storyline you cannot bear to skip through. The East is usually known for subtlety and generating emotion, and it seems this indirectness is appealing to the West as well, compared to typical American games which emphasise practicality and efficiency.

Some readers enjoy articles, and I happen to find one that talks about Japanese games, incidentally. It was written in May 2012.

… Okay those are all creepy games. I know none of them.

They say Japanese games have gotten less popular over the years though, and American games have caught up to the gamer market. Indeed, Japan’s economy is really languishing on all fronts. They have been criticised for long development times and slow release dates on home video game consoles, lack of third-party game engines and being too insular to appeal to a global market. What do you think?


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