Opinion: PlayStation - Celebrating the era in which weird Ja

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Keith Stuart invites you to PlayStation's reunion disco

Usually we're taught to think of monopolies as a bad thing. "They stifle competition and lead to creative torpor!" people shout, and everyone nods sagely in agreement, secretly thinking, "Hmm yes - what does torpor mean?" But this is not always the case.... read more

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Opinion: PlayStation - Celebrating the era in which weird Ja

Postby Lionx » 26 Dec 2012, 19:07

This is where i really got interested into games. I am totally not as into the ones now that are Western(ized). I hope that it would become popular again somehow, instead of a huge disconnect.
It can be very hard to believe in the good of this world, but you have to keep on believing to make it a better place. Because if no one believes, then there will be no one to make it happen.
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Re: Opinion: PlayStation - Celebrating the era in which weir

Postby ColaFlavourChew » 27 Dec 2012, 18:35

Being a bit of an old timer my first experiences in gaming were back in early 80s Britain. As such I was already used to games based around a drunk guy cleaning up his house, flying sheep in space eating grass or mowing the lawn with a mower stolen from your neighbour.

Now that I think of it, Britain is pretty insane; I'm surprised I got through my childhood unscathed. Anyway, I'm off to hoover the cat and throw snowballs at the anthropomorphic goat that won't get off my bed...
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Re: Opinion: PlayStation - Celebrating the era in which weir

Postby Dalaeck » 01 Jan 2013, 01:11

This series of articles in interesting in that it give me insight into the generation of gamers that essentially came after mine. I more or less fell off the console scene when the playstation appeared, I played a little but I'm from the genesis, super-nintendo, neo-geo generation and migrated towards mutliplayer PC strategy games only to finally return to the console market with the advent of the Wii.
I think there's a grave misconception that weird Japanese games were playstation centric - in fact I would argue the opposite. The playstation and the subsequent Xbox were really the beginning of the end of intelligent Japanese games appearing overseas.
They started the trend towards graphics, graphics, graphics and gameplay fell to obsolescence. There was little challenge, little insight and more often than not little skill involved in playing the game. Games went from being geeky to mainstream. There were racing games in the SNES generation but the top selling game for playstation is Gran Turismo, which while I will play the occasional racing game, is a mass-market "dumb" game. Let's face it, you run around a track. This is a very western sort of activity, yes it's popular elsewhere but really it's a facet of western culture.
Then you have the tomb-raiders that led into the present day Uncharted games which take zelda-like elements but dumb it down even more, so that you're essentially never stuck, never thinking, and rarely if ever die. They add in progressively more and more western themes to appeal to indiana jones and holly-wood elements.
Add in say Tony Hawk's pro skater, GTA. These are not Japanese themes, they are very very western, and specifically geared towards well, you know.

I would say that on the whole looking at the top selling games for the consoles, the PS had a few quirky Japanese entries but these are vastly overshadowed by the westernization of video games. When the FPS finally make their transition from total obscurity in the amiga-realm (I am still amazed at how many FPS existed that I knew nothing about) you have the real end of Japanese cultural influence on games. Our culture is being spoon fed what it wants, that is to say essentially moronic point and click instant action and instant gratification. I don't blame Sony and MS for doing this, they are merely feeding the beast and trying to make money. The sad part is that it now takes online polls to have even nintendo go forward with a western release of a game like Xenoblade.

So I'm not 100% convinced that complete console dominance led Sony to export more culture, I really think the trend was already started towards feeding markets what they want. I'm not convinced either that if the Wii U obliterates the next generation console market that nintendo would necessarily export more culture, they were badly stung with the playstation generation and only recovered by making games even more mass market, taping into the "great blue sea". My personal opinion is there is a generational divide. Until people stop buying the FPS and the GTA we're essentially out of luck and have to beg and plead with online polls to get the great Japanese content.
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Re: Opinion: PlayStation - Celebrating the era in which weir

Postby toaplan » 01 Jan 2013, 20:25

Every Japanese console has its share of quirky Japanese games, but I'd agree with the article in that during the reign of the PS1 and PS2, a surprisingly large amount of those games reached Western shores. It could be because the PS1&2 software markets were so large that they could support smaller, niche games.

Examples of some of the weirder Japanese games that debuted on PS1&2 and found an audience in the West:

Jumpin' Flash
Darkstalkers and other weird Jap fighters
Dance Dance Revolution (which was novel back then)
Katamari Damacy
Silent Hill, forbidden siren and other Jap horror titles
Bushido Blade, Tenchu, Dynasty warriors, Kessen, Onimusha and other Eastern Martial Arts-based games
Persona series, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story and many, many other quirky JRPGs (not just Final Fantasy)
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus
Monster Hunter
Killer 7
Viewtiful Joe
Zone of the enders

Those are just the ones (not mentioned in the article) I could think of right now, so naturally it's by no means a complete list.
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