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Old 2008-03-23, 00:51   Link #1
Oppius
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Question East vs West in video game world

Racism is not tolerate here. Be sure anyone else will never start any racist sentiment in this topic.

As a gamer who live in a crossroad between Eastern(Japanese, Korean, etc.) and Western(American and European) games, I have lots of games to play. However I tend to like Western ones little bit better because they have no language problems unlike most Japanese ones. If I learned Japanese instead of English when I was small, I may prefer the Japanese ones better.

Many great Japanese games unable make their way outside Japan because of language. Just take a look on Super Robot Wars games as example, it has huge fanbase outside Japan but yet not-well received in general Western gaming communities. Licensing problems may one of the major reasons why it failed outside Japan. The Original Generations series, which did not have any license problems also will never make it outside Japan because the hand-held versions flopped in North America and Europe despite the praises given by the critics. This also went to visual novels. Most visual novels available outside Japan are eroges because only two companies interested translating them into English, G-Collections and Peach Princess. Hirameki is the only company that interested in non-hentai versions so far. Most Western gaming communities generally dislike visual novels because they are lack of gameplay. They claimed that gameplay is the heart of the game. I disagree with them. Not all great games need gameplay at all. The story and graphics alone just fine. Many Western point-and-click games alo lacks of gameplay but why they are better received than the Japanese visual novels? That's why most visual novel fans are also anime and manga fans as well. Some great Japanese games need to be known outside Japan.

What about Western games in Japanese point of view? As far as I know, Sony and Capcom try to bring God of War games into Japan and they flopped. Why? Because Japanese people did not appreciate Greek mythology like Americans and Europeans. In my opinion, the God of War succes is not its gameplay or story but the use of Greek mythology. Most Americans and Europeans are raised with stories from ancient Greece since they were young and they are already familiar with it. Meanwhile the Japanese people are not very familiar with Greek mythology and God of War flopped in Japan despite having A-list voice actors for the Japanese version of it. The same thing also happened to Microsoft when promoting Gears of War and Halo series into Japan and they flopped too. As for Capcom's Resident Evil games, most Japanese fans prefer the gameplay in previous three games, unlike the fourth one which is more well-received by Western gamers. In my opinion, the Resident Evil 4, which is totally different from previous three, is more aimed towards Western audiences as they prefer innovation. That's why at nearly same time, Capcom alse made Outbreak spinoff series which is faithful to the previous three in term of gameplay. Many other anime-based games which are hot cakes in Japan did not make their way outside Japan. Only Dragon Ball and Naruto games known because there is heavy fanbase outside Japan especially North America.

I want to put more examples up there but I afraid I'm running out of idea. I may add some later.
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Old 2008-03-23, 00:59   Link #2
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The Japanese just don't like some types of games. First person shooters for example never got big in Japan. I have not the slightest clue why, but they just don't grok them like Westerners do. On the other hand, erogames will never take a foothold in American mainstream. Ever. At least in my opinion. America's simultaneous fascination and fear of sex guarantees it pretty much.

That and the lack of gameplay like you mentioned. A great number of Americans don't have the attention spans to read even small novels anymore; can we expect them to do the same for visual novels which often require days to finish?



(I personally used to read a lot but I've stopped as well. In exchange I do read a looooooot of doujins and play visual novels all the time however, so I don't know if that makes up for it or not)
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Old 2008-03-23, 05:10   Link #3
Benoit
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First person shooters for example never got big in Japan. I have not the slightest clue why, but they just don't grok them like Westerners do.
The Japanese look for substance in their games instead of mindless shooting.
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Old 2008-03-23, 12:38   Link #4
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Originally Posted by Benoit View Post
The Japanese look for substance in their games instead of mindless shooting.
That's a pretty ignorant comment make if you ask me. Have you ever played Half Life 2? Or any games in the Half Life series? Or how about Halo? Which although is a decent FPS, does have some of the best presentation values around? Or how about Bioshock, or STALKER?

Saying that FPS games are about mindless is shooting is the same thing as saying erogames are about porn and sexual dominance. Kinda ignorant don't you think?

-

Back on the topic, I think many people here are generalizing the Western World and their preference in "DURF DURF" video games. That's not true at all, conversely, the same however can be said about Japanese video games.

Look at games like Devil May Cry 4 and Lost Odyssey, which are basically carbon copies of tried and tested ideas that are archaic. DMC4 had the same gameplay problems that DMC3 had, and Lost Odyssey, well it's like beating a dead horse. If you've played any JRPG in the past five years, you can bet that you've experienced what LO has to offer.

Personally I enjoy cutscenes and nice graphics, that's why I do enjoy Metal Gear Solid, however, there is a reason why video games are games, and that is what Japanese games don't do well here. Games like Mass Effect and Bioshock, which although are heavy in gameplay, have deep stories, deeper than any game, but have a very rewarding and engaging gameplay.

The poin that I am trying to get to is that Japanese gamers fall into a small niche group. They like things a certain way, moreover they enjoy and like to place emphasis on several parts of their games. There was a time when the Western World was in awe of this, and we went along because hell it was awesome, eventually however, Western developers began to make good games that emphasized different aspects. Certain gaming genres in the Western world began to rise - Shooters and RTS games come to mind - and we began to tail off away.

To sum up my opinion, I'm Western gamer to the bone. My favorite genres are the afformentioned FPS and RTS games because they seem to provide a deep and satisfying gameplay. I do however enjoy a lot of action adventure games - Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, Onimusha ect. - but in the end those games just seem to tail off in the end.
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Old 2008-03-23, 13:01   Link #5
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Originally Posted by Shinova View Post
That and the lack of gameplay like you mentioned. A great number of Americans don't have the attention spans to read even small novels anymore; can we expect them to do the same for visual novels which often require days to finish?
As an American I find that statement offensive....... Uh, wait what were we talking about?
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Old 2008-03-23, 13:25   Link #6
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]I like both Western and Eastern games. The western games are great for competition. The eastern games are great if you like to take things at your own pace. Though one major irritating thing is that the games are repetitive as hell.
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Old 2008-03-23, 13:29   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Amex_Yohko View Post
Because Japanese people did not appreciate Greek mythology like Americans and Europeans. In my opinion, the God of War succes is not its gameplay or story but the use of Greek mythology. Most Americans and Europeans are raised with stories from ancient Greece since they were young and they are already familiar with it. Meanwhile the Japanese people are not very familiar with Greek mythology and God of War flopped in Japan despite having A-list voice actors for the Japanese version of it.
Undeniably, God of War flopped in Japan. But it's probably not for this reason. Take Tales of Symphonia, that has very heavy elements of obscure Norse mythology, that neither Japan nor US are very familiar with. Yet, it was a success on both fronts.

The other examples of Super Robot Wars and eroge/VN have to due to with less overlap between anime and video games. In the US, there are far less people with both these interests held in equal regard. I've seen Super Robot Wars, but wasn't all that interested since I didn't know a LOT of the characters so it just didn't make sense to me. Gamers in Japan are usually otaku who are also very into anime. Gamers in the US are stereotypically those who frequent WoW servers or War3 games, who are at best Narutards for the most part.

Also, Japanese people generally want more of the same, whereas Americans love innovation. That is not to say one is better than the other, just different preferences. Look at FFXII and DQIX and the hundreds of similar looking eroge titles. You'll never find that sort of homogeneity surviving in US markets. Call of Duty and Halo are only on their 4th/3rd installments and they're highly successful. That's because each sequel must be different.

In the end, I feel that it's a cultural issue, not just the language barrier that is responsible for this difference. Otaku won't be going "BOOM! Headshot!" anytime soon, and US gamers won't be sitting down for 90 hours of CLANNAD before that, but if WE can enjoy both worlds, I think that's the best arrangement we can hope for.
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Old 2008-03-23, 13:45   Link #8
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Originally Posted by Benoit View Post
The Japanese look for substance in their games instead of mindless shooting.
Ever heard of a game called Marathon? A very early first person shooter, and with one of easily the best stories I've ever seen in any Western game.
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Old 2008-03-23, 13:51   Link #9
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Originally Posted by tripperazn View Post
Undeniably, God of War flopped in Japan. But it's probably not for this reason. Take Tales of Symphonia, that has very heavy elements of obscure Norse mythology, that neither Japan nor US are very familiar with. Yet, it was a success on both fronts.

The other examples of Super Robot Wars and eroge/VN have to due to with less overlap between anime and video games. In the US, there are far less people with both these interests held in equal regard. I've seen Super Robot Wars, but wasn't all that interested since I didn't know a LOT of the characters so it just didn't make sense to me. Gamers in Japan are usually otaku who are also very into anime. Gamers in the US are stereotypically those who frequent WoW servers or War3 games, who are at best Narutards for the most part.

Also, Japanese people generally want more of the same, whereas Americans love innovation. That is not to say one is better than the other, just different preferences. Look at FFXII and DQIX and the hundreds of similar looking eroge titles. You'll never find that sort of homogeneity surviving in US markets. Call of Duty and Halo are only on their 4th/3rd installments and they're highly successful. That's because each sequel must be different.

In the end, I feel that it's a cultural issue, not just the language barrier that is responsible for this difference. Otaku won't be going "BOOM! Headshot!" anytime soon, and US gamers won't be sitting down for 90 hours of CLANNAD before that, but if WE can enjoy both worlds, I think that's the best arrangement we can hope for.
Still now thinking of God of War. I can't help, but to think the Japanese gamers are discriminating. Why is DMC and Ninja Gaiden accepted, but not God of War?
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Old 2008-03-23, 14:36   Link #10
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Originally Posted by 2H-Dragon View Post
Still now thinking of God of War. I can't help, but to think the Japanese gamers are discriminating. Why is DMC and Ninja Gaiden accepted, but not God of War?
They aren't discriminating if they don't like a certain game, certain gamers have different taste, and the flavor which God of War has doesn't seem to entice Japanese gamers.

I wouldn't even say Ninja Gaiden is all that accepted in Japan, considering the phenominal success of the Xbox over there, I'd say that Ninja Gaiden is recieving most of it's success over in the Western world.

Lets look at this way; look at Devil May Cry 3 and then look at God of War, you should be able to tell the difference in appeal right away.
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Old 2008-03-23, 15:28   Link #11
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There's a huge anti-western bias among participants in the game market: consumers, retailers, distributors. Supposedly, most foreign developed titles are stuffed in some special section of a store and tagged as being non-Japanese (according to Western publishers anyway. I've never been to Japan). Couple this with consumer biases, and a game has little chance at becoming successful.

Some games have successfully bucked the trend. For instance, Crash Bandicoot (SCEI) and Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo) were promoted and sold like Japanese games, so they did very well. It also helps that both were intuitive, Japanese-style platformers.

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On the other hand, erogames will never take a foothold in American mainstream.
Bear in mind that in Japan, erogames have never penetrated (no pun intended) the mainstream market. They may be successful among otaku, but the average gamer doesn't play them.

Now in the west, we don't see the same kind of otaku market.
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Old 2008-03-23, 16:51   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Jays View Post
They aren't discriminating if they don't like a certain game, certain gamers have different taste, and the flavor which God of War has doesn't seem to entice Japanese gamers.

I wouldn't even say Ninja Gaiden is all that accepted in Japan, considering the phenominal success of the Xbox over there, I'd say that Ninja Gaiden is recieving most of it's success over in the Western world.

Lets look at this way; look at Devil May Cry 3 and then look at God of War, you should be able to tell the difference in appeal right away.
Thinking about it you maybe right. Though it seems that japanese prefer a style. I have to say a pretty metrosexual one. Ah, but what can you do about it. Still I can't help to feel a bit sad for them they are missing out.
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Old 2008-03-23, 18:22   Link #13
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An example was already given in this thread but Japanese games incorporate foreign elements just fine. The Shin Megami Tensei series takes monsters and terms that come from many foreign myths, for example.

I think one of the greater differences has to do with presentation style. Many American games that I can think of focus heavily on immersing you in the game - you are the protagonist, and the graphics are important in making everything more realistic. FPS games naturally lend themselves to this, and hence they're popular. On the other hand, Japanese games focus more on third-person storytelling. RPGs are popular partly for that reason. Graphics are more important for illustrative purposes and eye candy than to make it feel real.

Just a hypothesis. I know that both types of games have come from both Japan and the West, but from what I know now I feel like those are two major areas of difference.
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Old 2008-03-23, 19:25   Link #14
Kang Seung Jae
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Originally Posted by Amex_Yohko View Post
As a gamer who live in a crossroad between Eastern(Japanese, Korean, etc.)
Just a thing: you need to split Korea and Japan.


The people of the two countries have widely different tastes in video games.
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Old 2008-03-23, 20:06   Link #15
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Most Western gaming communities generally dislike visual novels because they are lack of gameplay. They claimed that gameplay is the heart of the game. I disagree with them. Not all great games need gameplay at all. The story and graphics alone just fine. Many Western point-and-click games alo lacks of gameplay but why they are better received than the Japanese visual novels?
As for visual novels - you've noticed the word "novel", right? A lot of us don't consider them a game - it is a book with pictures (not even on the level of manga) that has several endings - but that's all.
And casual gamers HATE reading as there's a conflict: books are usually read during travelling or commuting but you don't pull out your PC and play eroge in a tram...
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Old 2008-03-23, 20:09   Link #16
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Unless it's a laptop with headphones and either it's a long-distance train or you just don't care what the guy or girl next to you thinks.
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Old 2008-03-23, 20:52   Link #17
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I don't really distinguish other than the market people are aiming for. Some gamers from both sides tend to be very set in their ways and won't try anything different. It's also kind of strange when I'm starting to enjoy some Doujin games more than mainstream titles.

One thing I don't like though is that certain game companies are getting too powerful and have too much influence on both sides of the Pacific. EA is buying up smaller concerns left and right and forcing them to conform to their way of making games (meaning what may have been a group that went on to make a defining franchise now ends up getting assigned the task of making generic licence game #156895) and Square is giving too much power to Tetsuya Nomura who in my opinion is killing Japanese games by popularizing cutscene fests and pedantic storylines and since Square is basically the be all end all in Japanese gaming others follow suit. If I have to see one more character decked out in a ridiculous outfit with an emo swoosh haircut giving monologues about "Darkness and Light" that nobody cares about.....

By the way, I've actually heard rumours that in Japan if you buy an XBox360 system or related piece of media that stores will give you an opaque bag to put it in so that nobody will see you walking down the street with it and you can save face.
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Old 2008-03-23, 21:53   Link #18
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It's not so much an east versus west as it is cultural. Japan is a very image conscious culture that is driven by trends, fads, and "the next big thing". It's also a country that one might say prides itself on being "Japanese". It's not really a big wonder why a domestic product would do better than a foreign one, and why a foreign product may even be looked down upon. It's not that unique really. In America, there are people who refuse to buy foreign products, and sometimes even treat them as inferior (talk to a car nut sometime, especially someone who loves classic cars).

As far as design and aesthetics go, there is a large difference in eastern and western design. It's not just gameplay, but presentation and themes. An example, Metroid is produced by Nintendo, a japanese company. But despite being an excellent series, it does not perform as well in Japan as it does in Western countries. This is even before the shift to first person.

Another thing to note is that PC gaming is not very big in Japan. While the market in the US is smaller than its console counterpart, it's still big. It posted a 1.4 billion profit last year. For a declining market, that's a hefty sum. From this market sprung many types of genres - simulation, visual novel, real time strategy, first person shooter, adventure.....the largest gap in the PC market is one of Japans larger genres - RPGs. Sure, the PC market has a long history of great RPGs, but nothing like the juggernaut of the Japanese market, Final Fantasy and Dragonquest.

RPGs are one of the biggest ways of showing the difference in cultures. Western RPGS are generally more realistic and high fantasy, where Japanese RPGS tend to be less realistic and more of a mix of fantasies. The gameplay is also staggeringly different. There are few lone heroes in Japanese RPGS. Sure, there's the HERO, but he's got his posse.....which is usually not found in Western RPGS.

Then compare this to Korea, where online gaming is huge. Starcraft tournaments draw in massive crowds. Lineage has millions of subscribers. It's a completely different climate compared to Japan.

East vs West has influence, but cultural/societal preference factors in a lot more. Heck, I didn't even touch on the differences between European and American preferences.
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Old 2008-03-24, 06:47   Link #19
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whereas Americans love innovation.
That is an oxymoron if I ever saw one when you consider how horribly oversaturated the western market is with FPS. Theres only so many ways you can spinoff the FPS genre and chances are they've been already done 7-10 years ago. All they're doing now is making them shinier.
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Old 2008-03-24, 07:03   Link #20
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The Japanese just don't like some types of games. First person shooters for example never got big in Japan. I have not the slightest clue why, but they just don't grok them like Westerners do.
Motion sickness, pops to mind. That is a reason i hear a lot from japanese people.
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