The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Opa Opa Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:55 am

I cannot speak, read, or write Japanese. We have some members here that can, but for the most part, Japanese for us might as well be moon-language.

I was playing Final Fantasy X (at the infamous laughing scene of all places) and stopped to think that we really don't know what other titles we may be missing out on. For every one JRPG we get how many stay in Japan?

We're really at the mercy of publishers to provide us with these games. Do we really know what constitutes a good JRPG?

What do you guys think?
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by AppleQueso Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:57 am

Most JRPGs that get brought over here are brought over partially because they were popular in Japan to begin with.

That, combined with all the games that we have access to via fan translations and the like (we aren't at all at the mercy of publishers for these), tells me that, yes, we know what constitutes a good JRPG.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Xeogred Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:23 pm

Yes. I think the real issue is that Japan itself are no longer the biggest force in the gaming market, topped off with the fact that handhelds as huge as they are here, are way more popular in Japan. So they're still getting tons of JRPG's on the PSP and other handhelds, but there's probably so much coming out and they can still be so niche' that publishers don't even bother to bring them over. I think it says something when a Final Fantasy game (Type 0) of all things, is looking like it has an almost zero chance of coming over here at this point. It's been out two years or something I believe.

I'd say the same for anime, but fan translations = there is a potential market there publishers are failing to provide.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by dunpeal2064 Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:37 pm

This is somewhat on topic I suppose, but I always found it interesting that, while Japanese gamers are often considered more "hard-core", that in Final Fantasy VII, the 2 hardest bosses in the game were added in for the US release. I always thought this was so strange as a kid. Why, when they only gave us the "easy" mode Final Fantasy IV, would they then give us more of a challenge in VII?

The only conclusion I've ever come to is that perhaps, while Japanese gamers fly through RPG games, without feeling the need to complete every aspect of the game, we are usually the opposite. I know I feel attached to an RPG by the time I get near the end of the game, and I want a ton of stuff to do once I kill the last boss.

This could have something to do with us getting only the cream-of-the-crop, or it could just be a crazy hypothesis from my youth.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Xeogred Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:43 pm

That's an interesting thought I don't think anyone can explain. Considering they sometimes give us easy modes, or they go the complete opposite and make the games way harder. There's definitely no consistency at all with that thing for some reason from what I've seen.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by isiolia Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:55 pm

Xeogred wrote:That's an interesting thought I don't think anyone can explain. Considering they sometimes give us easy modes, or they go the complete opposite and make the games way harder. There's definitely no consistency at all with that thing for some reason from what I've seen.


May be somewhat rooted in the tendency to resell games due to lack of a rental market? As I understand, the standards for buying back games there tend to be higher, and values drop quickly. If so, I could understand why they'd assume fewer players would want to spend an inordinate amount of time with a given title. In the U.S., where rental at least used to be a big deal, they'd want to convince players that there was enough game to make it worth buying.

Or maybe part of it is just that, due to typically staggered release dates, they get a lot of feedback to work with, and possibly a bit of time to work on changes/additions.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:21 pm

I can read Japanese (not well, but good enough to import games) and have played tons of JRPGs, foreign and domestic. It's my favorite genre.

I can tell you that (in my humble opinion) the best games that the genre has to offer (Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Tales of Symphonia, Skies of Arcadia, to name a few) have all been released in the West.

We mostly lost out in the 16-bit era - before Final Fantasy VII caused the JRPG explosion in the states. Case in point, we missed out on some great titles like Bahamut Lagoon, Mystic Ark, Seiken Densetsu 3, Star Ocean, Tales of Phantasia, Ys IV (both versions) and V, the Lunar Saturn and Game Gear games, the Phantasy Star Game Gear games, and many others. Thankfully, most of those have translation patches.

That still leaves tons of great JRPGs that were never released here or patched unfortunately, rendering them virtually unplayable to someone who only speaks English. The Xanadu and Far East of Eden titles come to mind.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Xeogred Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:06 pm

I'd say when it comes to failure to localize, this gen to me feels like the worst since the SNES days by a long shot. Maybe it's the internet creating an illusion here, since we're all more well informed about what does and doesn't come over here, but yeah. I definitely feel like Nintendo (especially) and others have gotten lazy again or are failing to deliver a lot of great titles outside of Japan as they did back on the SNES. That or it also gets annoying when it takes 2+ years or whatever for something to finally make it over. And this definitely isn't just exclusive to JRPG's, just Japanese developed releases in general.

With us in a digital globalized age right now I wish these issues weren't still around, but no matter what they probably always will be in some form. Culture and market barriers I guess.
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Forlorn Drifter Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:05 pm

I haven't actually played that many, but one of the things I've always liked about JRPG's is that they are somewhat open, while still retaining a sense of direction. Why save the world in Skyrim, when I can collect leather to make armor I will immediately out level?! :P

Some RPG's that are "so western" have a bit of this feeling. Like the Mass Effect or Witcher games. You can do what you want, but damn it all, the main story HAS to go on! I liked that about them, although I think Mass Effect quit being fun for me after I marathoned the first to games and picked up on all the flaws.


I'd honestly like to get into JRPG's more, but I'm not a fan of turn based combat. That's one of the issues I have with them. And, as has been pointed out, how many great games have we missed? I'm starting to wonder... (Far East of Eden sounds interesting...)
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Re: East versus West: Our taste in JRPG's.

by Menegrothx Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:28 pm

dunpeal2064 wrote:This is somewhat on topic I suppose, but I always found it interesting that, while Japanese gamers are often considered more "hard-core"

I never got the idea behind this stereotype. There are alot more Western hardcore games than Japanese hardcore games, stuff like Grand Strategy, simulators, rogue-likes etc. Games with 700 page manuals and ûber high learning curve. For a long time, before games like KOTR, Skyrim, Mass Effect etc casualized the WRPG genre to it's current form (2D/isometric+turnbased combat->3D+real time combat) , WRPGs were a lot more demanding and "hardcore" than JRPGs. One thing that Japan has that the West doesn't is the hardcore SHMUP scene. There really haven't been any Western SHMUPs in a long time, while Japanese developers are still pushing out more and more demanding bullet hell SHMUPs.
There are basically 3 types of competetive gaming; 1on1 fighting games, FPS games and RTS games+World of Warcraft. Japanese people dominate the fighting game scene, but FPS is dominated by westeners. South Korea (!=Japan) dominates Starcraft/Starcraft 2/Warcraft 3 but there still are western SC2&WC3 pros. Other RTS games have a lot more Western audience. WoW PvE was dominated by American guilds during the early part of the game and after that it was dominated by European guilds for years. There are some top level South Korea and Chinese (again, not Japanese) WoW PvE guilds. Most of the best WoW PvPers are Western, although there are some very good South Korean players.

Japan is culturally fairly isolationist so we don't know if Japanese people would dominate at FPS and MMORPG games if they played them like we do, but the way things are, I think this whole trope feels a lot like "positive discrimination".
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