Jingoistic Japanese Gamers


#1

Have you ever noticed that Japan stands apart form the rest of the world in video games?

In the American market, we had a variety of game machines that got over 10% of the market. When removable ROMs were introduced, there was the 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, Odyssey 2, Astrocade, 5200 and Vectrex (not to mention the obscure “Neutered by Atari in America” Emrerson 2001) And that doens’t count computers like Apple IIe, Atari 800, Commodore 64, and TRS 80. That was back when what we call a PC was known as an “IBM compatible”, and before licensing, an IBM. I NEVER knew anyone who gamed on an IBM compatible. American had so many choices, that Atari made Intellivision and Colecovision games as well as non-Atari computers under the Atarisoft Label, Coleco made games for the Intellivision and the 2600, and Intelliviosn made 2600 games under thre M-Network label. That would be like if Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo making games all for each other’s systems under altrnate Llabels like Majhong (which they do with Minecraft) Sony (which they did for Q Bert Rebooted) and Red Cap Games (NIntendo said they would rather die as a corporation than make thrid party games.)

As I was young and only following my market, I was unaware of the European and Japanese markets at the time for 1984. As far as I can tell, there were only 2 home consoles that uses swappable roms in the time all those American systems came out, the Famicom, and the Sega SG-1000 (if there are any others, I couldn’t find them with a 10 minute search.) I dont think the Japanese have been exposed to an Atari, and Intellivision, or a Colecovision. To them, Japan was the center of video games. A lot of games were exported out to Americans, who negoitated by the company, not by the system, and it was not a comany-line thing, but an individual title license. Coleco had Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior, Parker Bros had Popeye, and Atari had Mario Bros, 3 different American publishers for Nintendo Games.

But even though American were seeking American titles in addition to their Japanese imports, I have not heard of an Asteroids craze, or a Centipede craze, or any other Atari games do well in Japan. Most people in Japan think Atari is “a concept” in the board game Go. (I never played the board game Go, so I’m being as generic as possible)

And at the time Sega has both American and Japanese bases covered as they were funded by American money building games in Japan to serve American uniformed warriors stationed in Japan. It was the ultimate East-meets-West company.

Then the whole market collapsed in America. Ten we had a crippled Atari, and the Japanese success story Nintendo and the mixed nationality Sega going to American and exporting their stuff.

Ever since the Famicom beat the Mark 3, and even before where Japanese who recognized the word Atari mainly from Go, Sega had a half-American stench whihc made Japanese dominate the Japanese market. Hudson challengd witht he PC engine and made inroads, but the half-breeds Sega launched the Mega Drive in Japan to so much of a thud, that in Japan, Sega was releasing games on the PC Engine.

In Europe the computer was big, and not “The PC”. There were many brands of computers that are foreign to me that succeeded in Europe. And among dedicated games machines, the Sega Master System did well. The NES was obscure in Europe. In Brazil the Master System was such a force that even in 2019 the number one machine of all time in Brazil was the Master System.

America was was the vacuum that swept in Nintendo and Sega. The only thing that represented continuity was a non-Mattel branded Intellivision and an Atari 7800. My favorite system, the Colecovision was dead. And it was well above the Atari 5200. Nintendo made their marketing go well with their seal of quality, and tied in third party developers with exclusives, which the Japanese companies were willing to go along with anyway, because they’d rather support the 100% Japanese NES than the half-breeds Sega. In that generation there were very few multiconsole games, and usually released under different labels to technically not violate Nintendo’s uber-restrictive licensing policies. Rampage was on all 3 systems, Choplifter was on all 3 systems. Those were American licensed games.

Then Sega took off for 2 reasons. One was cultivate their Americna and European third parties, and make the various market regions autonomous. And the second was challenging in court the exclusivity clauses that were in Nintendo’s contract. Acclaim was the famous “shell game company” where LJN was a company formed to make more games for the NES, and Flying Edge and Arena were companies to circumvent Nintendo’s exclusive clause and make games for Genesis. All 4 companies were literally next door neighbors. Tengen was formed as Atari’s was to get on the NES, and Sega used Tengen to make NES games. The only reason Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior and Mario Bros were on Atari 7800 was due to a previous contract that had to be honored, and are literally the only Nintendo games released by a competitor, at least until the CD-i.

Sega did well in Europe. Once Sega successfully challenged Nintendo in American courts, they did great. Everywhere Sega was better, except in Japan, where the number 2 system was the PC Engine. Mega drive was bargain basement in Japan.

When Sega of Japan clashed with the other world divisions, Sega made the most Japanese of their systems, and it became the most successful Sega System in Japan, despite being third behind Playstation and N64, both Japanese-native systems. In the process they flushed the American, and European divisions down the toilet with it.

Sega tired to build it back with the Dreamcast, and it only succeeded in America. I think it was Sega of Japan’s pride saying they’d rather abandon the console race instead of being a popular American system and a laughing stick in Japan. Honor carries lots of weight. Now Sega’s tech support out of America is handled in Europe. Nice going Sega of Japan, take a whiz on the people who supported you the most.

Then Xbox picked up where Sega left off. Literally only two Japanese companies supported the Xbox Prime, Sega, which was reliant on American success before, and Tecmo, because it impressed Team Ninja. In Japan Xbox was a joke, but everywhere else ot was picking up steam.

The most popular console of the next generation was the Xbox 360. It started with the Wii, in American, but lost ground when most third party game makers were hamstrung by the motion controller. The Xbox 360 picked up because of its consumer-friendly policy for online games, that forced developers of anything that wasn’t available on disc to have a free trial demo. And not surprisingly, the try-before-you-buy policy made hits like Limbo, Super Meat Boy, and Braid, and made the Xbox version of multi-console downloads the most popular. The most games I own are Xbox 360 games, and that’s in large part to the try-before-you-buy policy.

But even in that worldwide success, Xbox 360 was kept in the bargain bins in Japan.

Xbox blew it in America with consumer-unfriendly policies, like getting rid of try-before-you-buy downloads and floating the idea of serial coding discs so they only work with one Xbox Live account, which was an affront to used game merchants, like Gamestop, as well as consumers. They got rid of the serial discs, but kept the buy-in-blind-faith downloads, and only kept those because Nintendo and Sony had those too, and was considered par for the course.

In America, Xbox tried the One S, which was trying to be the world’s cheapest 4K movie playerin addition to being a game console, kind of like the PS2 and PS3 strategy. And that worked for a year. Then Sony undercut them by offering a cheaper stand-alone 4K player, but you still can’t play 4K movies on a PS4. And the PS4 not playing 4K movies was a deliberate choice.

But in all this, Xbox One is a whimper compare to PS4 and Nintendo in Japan.

My point is that Sega and Microsoft had to work harder because one big market shut them out for not being a native son. Even when Sega TRIED to be Japanese, though it improved in Japan, it sunk the rest of the world, and wasn’t even enough to get #2.

My point is that people say Japanese embrace American Culture. Yes they have McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, to start. But it’s a very selective embrace. In video game culture, American culture is unwanted. I bet you if I wore a T Shirt with a cartoon image of (I don’t know what the official name is, but I named him) Hector the Centipede (as a play on the metric prefixes centi- and hecto-) and a screen shot of the arcade game Centipede, the Japanese would either be confused or be labeled a cultural invader. The only thing I can think of that’s equally as selective is automobiles. American cars are as rare in Japan as American Video Games are in Japan.

America is a nation of immigrants. Japan is not. We welcome Mario. They put up a mushroom wall in front of Hector with no gaps in it. This is such a one-sided exchange.


#2


#3

Japanese Games are great


#4

Is somebody doing a term paper in fucking February?


#5

Study Japanese Games


#6

I’m not ciriticzing Japanses games. I was not suggesting some sort of Western Jingoism. Of the 7 generations that had swappable ROMs meaning not dedicated games like Pong, Odyssey 1, Game and Watch, etc…) the Generation winners while they were considered current generation STRICTLY in the US, (ignoring all other markets) were Atari 2600, Colecovision (if you strictly compared it to the Intellivision and 5200, and not the 2600), Nintendo NES, Sega Genesis, Playstaiton 1, Playstaiton 2 and Xbox 360. Only one company was number one twice this whole time, Playstation, a Japanese company. Counting generations, that’s 3 Japanese victories, 3 American victories, ad one half-breed victory. The only wholly American company after the 1984 crash that was #1 was Xbox 360. Sega was in American eyes was an East-Meets-West company with an origin of American money building games in Japan meant to first cater to American uniformed warriors stationed in Japan. At one time it was under the same corporate banner as Paramount Pictures at one time.

Many Americans appreciate Japanese games, as much as I do. That’s a perfectly cool thing to do. Just as American Cinema, Baseball, Basketball, McDonalds,and Kentucky Fired Chicken are America’s gift to the world, Mario, Link, Pac Man, and many characters in Japanese games are Japan’s gift to the world.

There are some games that are Japan’s gifts to themselves, like games that are non-sense to American sensibilities, just like American Football is America’s sporting gift to itself. Very few people outside America understand and like American football. We’re the only nation that plays American Football. Even neighbors play a game that 90% the same, but call it Canadian Football and emphasize the 10% difference. It’d be if I watched a Cricket match. I have no idea what’s going on. I would be totally stumped. That’s how most foreigners feel about American Football

I’m not some gung-ho flag-waving “Uhmuhrican” ( somewhat I am , but not to the point of building cultural walls without a way to penetrate in a controlled manner, like a checkpoint, and definitely no zero-tolerance death penalty mentality for breaching.) I’m just questioning whether Americanand Eurpoean game culture is exchanged just as freely with Japan.

Case in Point, looking at Japan only, Nintendo, and Sony were the only two systems to top the market. Atari, Coleco, and Intellivision were never invited. Sega was perceived as too American for Japanese tastes. And Xbox is consistently in the thirft store bargain bins in Japan more often than Nintendo or Playstation.

NEC/Hudson and SNK had decent runs in Japan NEC/Hudson had a bad localization team in the US, and Neo Geo was considered a Rich Boy’s Toy, having limited appeal in the US.

I’m not criticizing the quality of Japanese games. There are quite a few good ones.

I just noticed that most things that aren’t uniquely Japanese in Game Culture have a rough soil to grow on in Japan. Am I right about Japan’s cultural wall for outsider games?


#7

Jingoism isnt the word i woulda chosen…


#8

When I use the word Jingoism, I mean an extreme (in this case video game-cultural-) patriotism that contains active dislike of the foreign element just because it’s foreign. There may be isolated games that succeed kind of like the Russian example Tetris tearing down the iron curtain rebuilding it with tetraminos, just to tear it down with Tetrises.

A lot of the great early Japanese Gams had an American distributor. Bally/Midway was distributing in the arcade Taito games like Space Invaders and Namco games like Pac Man and Galaxian, at least until Atari took over with Pole Position and Dig Dug.

Have there been any successful American games in Japan? Were the Japanese exposed to the flapping birds of Joust or was their first taste of that kind of action Balloon Fight? Did Atari or Midway have any in-house American hits hit the Japanese market well?

We know, for systems at least, American console companies are catching diseases that the Japanese companies are immune to, but the Japanese games can walk all over our land.

I guess just like it’s considered culturally mainstream to like American Movies abroad, but enjoying foreign movies in America puts you in the Judy Funnie category, a beatnick type. It might be the same way in Japan and American games, people going to the “art-cade” to play Centipede or Smash TV, like the cultural salmon going to the art-house theater in America.

I’m just kind of upset because I designed a few games, both electronic, and non-, but the non-electronic cultural capital is now Germany, and the electronic game cultural capital is Japan. As an American aspiring game designer, I have the play the Jingo Bells and just focus on the American market and hope word of mouth goes to Tokyo and Berlin.


#9

Market’s were much more separate in the 80s, and information didn’t flow as freely as it does today. Each market was able to develop their own platforms and gaming culture and not everything crossed over. For example, Europe and the UK also had stuff like the BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, etc. and their own games as well. Japan simply had their own set of stuff with the MSX, NEC PC-88, etc.

Main reason the Japanese side of things grew is that they (well, Nintendo) were able to capitalize on the 1983 crash. Only Nintendo had the balls to try to launch a new system post crash when everyone else thought that the market was dead. Everyone else either didn’t learn the lessons of the crash (e.g. Atari), or were focused on other markets (e.g. Sega, which had a much bigger presence in Europe).


#10

I couldn’t finish all of that but Japan is known for a lot things. Although their platforms seem more in line due to their preferences.


#11

American gamers are way more negative toward Japanese games than vice versa. Worth noting that core gamers on both sides are way more accepting of games regardless of where they come from.

The biggest reason American games would be ignored is mainly cultural differences though. The shit American games focus on probably isn’t appealing to the average Japanese games consumer.


#12

@d3V As I said the 3 markets were islands unto themselves. Europe had formats I haven’t heard of much, most of them would be considered non-IBM compatibles. Even in America for a long time IBM Compatibles were only propped up by the business world. No serious gamer gamed on them until the CD-ROM and Myst, and Doom made the nighttime Office Lan Party a big thing. Before that, Atari 800 and Commodore 64 were the big 2 game computers, followed by Apple IIe and TRS-80.

The only reason why the Japanese gaming culture is the most recognized throuhgout the world is because Nintendo filled the American vacuum. I don’t think any system dominated like NES did in America. The previous generation had like 7 systems and 4 computers getting 2-20% apiece, and all succeeding until the crash. I think NES had like 90-95% US share, Atari 7800 was actually more popular than Sega Master System in America having like 4% and 2% respectively.

@gasaraki I think you’re referring to the PC Master Race Culture. If we’re using race analogies, then that’s probably the Computer Confederacy.

I never owned an IBM compatible. My only computers were an Apple IIe and an Atari 800 XL before the advent of the internet. Once the internet came, we owned Apple Macintoshes all the way. And my computers have never gotten sick on the internet, except one time in a Mac’s dream when it was in PC mode, just to play certain PC games unavailable to Mac, like 8-bit Mega Man 7 de-make and 8-bit Mega Man 8 de-make. That caught a virus. Luckily it was isolated. Never again.

But am I right, do most people in Japan think of the word “atari” as a concept in the board game Go, and not a video game company?


#13

I do, because I’m your mod and I’m awesome.

I can’t tell if this is some sort of really complicated troll thread. Why is the OP so long and why does he care about racist Japanese people not buying american video games?


#14

What the hell are you fucking talking about even? I’m not talking about PC gamers I’m talking about people that play games in general. Unless the game doesn’t look very Japanese at first glance(like Demon’s Souls when that came out) people in the US don’t really hold JP games in high regard. Nintendo is the sole exception to massively get a lot of positive reception. And MHW has been a huge exception too, but I also feel like opinions toward JP games has started to shift a tad more positively, at least a tad more than last gen was.

Also you ignored where I point out you’re wrong about Japanese gamers. The core gamer crowd over there can get into western games just fine, just as long as they aren’t FPS because FPS almost never does well there which I think has more to do with a much larger percent of the population getting motion sickness from them compared to the US or other western countries


#15

@Pertho the reason was more of an appreciation of Japanese games in American Video Games> Nintendo, Namco, Konami, Capcom, Taito, SNK are big arcade type games that are Japanese companies. I’m just saying American are much more culturally inclusive, and appreciate the Japanese games, even though a lot of the games are not “uniquely Japanese,” and fit decently well in American culture.

I heard something about an American Car import into Japan limit while Japan can export as many cars as they want. On the news they said it’s an uneven playing field.

Then again I’m way less picky about games than food. If I were to shift it to food, there are some nationalities of foods I wouldn’t go to on my own. I don’t hate those races or countries, that’s just not my first choice. In a restaurant where I have no idea what to order, I try to find the least offensive thing to me I’m way more adventurous in games than food.

@Gasaraki At most of the “geek-fests” a lot of the cosplays are of Japanese originated characters. But then again, the American style of game usually casts you as you. In most classic Atari games you are in a ship, or you control a generic person, or nowadays it’s a first person POV.

Atari games are not known for their characters. Bentley Bear was the only real character enough gamers know that existed in Atari Karts. All the other Atari characters are either made just for Atari Karts, or were Jaguar-era characters I don’t recognize.

@gasaraki I never experience anti-Japanese racism in American Gamers I met. I only assumed it was a PC thing because I’ve never been in the PC gaming culture, as demonstrated by my comments. All my gaming friends have to some degree embraced Japanese gaming culture. I just saw a stat that the Super NES/Genesis battle was the closest system war worldwide since the American battle between a gang of 7, and won’t be that close again until Xbox360/PS3/Wi era. Then I found Super Famicom dominated Japan, and if the worldwide battle was close then Sega had a pretty big lead in the US and Europe. Then looked up that Sega did poorly in Japan. Then I noticed Xbox 360, despite being number one in the world, was barely a blip in Japan. And my theory why every generation was dominated by either Nintendo or Playstation locally within Japan.

And yes, I agree. The best (in terms of US Sales numbers) games have universal appeal, and look like an obviously culturally-unspecific-or-mixed game. Most of Nintendo characters are not “distinclty Japanese” and fit a “NIntendo world culture” mode.

A funny thing is that Konami made a few American-themed games, despite the fact they are a Japanese company, namely their NES military 3-some, Contra, Jackal, and Rush N Attack. They may have had American trappings for the American market, and may be different in Japan and elsewhere worldwide.

It’s sort of like the American version of Mille Bornes saying you have to travel 1000 miles, 50 miles a turn is considered a city speed limit, and a no 200 mile card is a safe trip but 100 mile cards can be played and still be a safe trip. Something got lost in the translation.

Knowing that’s a French game, the numbers make much mores sense if you kept the numbers the same and replaced the word “Mile” with “Kilometer.” 50 km/h is a reasonable city speed limit. 100 km/h is a safe freeway speed, but 200 km/h is not, assuming a turn is one scale hour. The game is much more beautiful with Kilometers.


#16

I see you don’t actually listen to what people say. Have fun.


#17

Play Idolmast3rd Strike. It’s a Good Japanese Game.


#18

Thats fine I guess.

Does anybody know the song from the Evo trailer?


#19

#20

These are some of the most long winded bullshit filled replies I’ve read since Zoolander was a regular.