Why are the Japanese Superior to Western Game Developers?

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
20 replies [Last post]
LordKarnov42 (not verified)
I see game design in Japan as

I see game design in Japan as stagnating in the last five years or so. I think it has a lot to do with the corporate structure of Japan and the lack of exposure of younger Japanese consumers to older video games. Japanese video game companies are not very public and their employees are, societally, not really candid (and when they are, there's a huge backlash there, like when Keiji Inafune recently criticized Japanese Game Development). The companies are run by the same people that ran them in the mid 80's and they rarely hire people with new ideas. The major exception to this is Suda Goichi's Grasshopper Manufacture, which has been acquiring some Japanese game industry legends as of late (Akira Yamaoka [Silent Hill], Kazutoshi Iida [Artdink and Doshin the Giant], Yasuhiro Wada [Harvest Moon], Yoshiro Kimura [Moon, Chulip, Little King's Story], Suda Goichi [Killer7, No More Heroes]). If there is a resurgence of innovation, I expect it to come from them. Regarding the youth exposure to older games, recently a game development teacher in Japan surveyed his class. Out of his entire class, the number of people studying to be game developers who had heard of Yuji Hori [Dragon Quest], single-handed creator of the Japanese Console RPG*, was.. zero.

* With, of course, some obvious and acknowledged inspiration from Ultima and Wizardry. He also created some of the first graphical text adventures for the NEC PC-6001/PC-8801 computers which where very influential in the development of that genre as well.

Keith Burgun
Keith Burgun's picture
Joined: 09/06/2010
It's simple-

Their heads are only half inside the ass, whereas American game developer heads are securely tucked deep inside the ass.

Really, though. American video game culture is very, very slow at understanding what video games are in my opinion - most of the world has it better figured out than we do.

Nathaniel Tolbert
Nathaniel Tolbert's picture
Joined: 11/06/2010
Guitar Hero was done in Japan First

The first version of a game like Guitar hero was Guitar freaks, with it's counterpart Drum Maniacs. These two games came out in the late 90's and were very popular in Japan, although good luck finding them here.

Joined: 01/21/2009
CREATIVITY! Now this is

CREATIVITY! Now this is really going to sound strange, but look at the WIERD crap that comes from there! Look at the Wierd Fetishs (err dont look, some things cannot be unseen), the strange food, the gameshows (jackass is not new, they been beating the crap out of each other for money for years over there,as for the gross side of Jackass, they can beat that anyday(see above fetishs mentions))

Japan has done alot of things right, they (unlike us in the USA) pay the worker who works the hardest, where we pay the worker becuase he shows up. You put a kitten in a room with 10 people, he stands out, you but 100 kittens in a room with 10 people 90 kittens get no love. In Japan you need to excel to stand out. Being great at work, school (as mat mentioned) is a great thing, here in the good old USA, not so much.

No I honeslty think both sides are stagnet. I'm almost sure the only games with any budget in the USA are sports or FPS.. In Japan, its JRPG, and Dynasty warriors, Devil My Cry beat um ups (which I actually like so I'm happy) and tons of F2Play MMORPG's. Both sides have made almost nothing new.

Tell me the somewhat new games in the last couple years? I cant think of many, lots people "call" new but are really great updates of older concepts.

gutair hero (i dont think this is new myslef, many color match games before (ruppa the rapper, Simon)
Minecraft (ok I love this title, but not really sure its new, its kinda a god game in FPS)

errr... ahhh... name me some more.

Nathaniel Tolbert
Nathaniel Tolbert's picture
Joined: 11/06/2010
I'm not certain I would say

I'm not certain I would say that the Japanese are better at game design than Americans or Europeans. I state this simply from the historical perspective. Computers were a western creation. The first video games were played in universities in the western world (I think the first one was played on an Oscilloscope if I remember correctly) The first console (to play more than just pong) was made in the west. Most, if not all of the greatest computer games ever created were created in the west. What the Japanese are known extremely well for is their ability to take something already created, and reverse engineer it into something even better. Camcorders? That technology was created in the United States (shocking! I know.) Yes a chunk of the early computer games were based off of arcade games that were created in Japan, but a large chunk of the most successful games were created right here in the United States. The Japanese culture has the console world pretty much locked down, except for one system. The Xbox 360 has a vast majority of the games made in the West. The reasoning behind this is Simple. The Japanese are fairly Xenophobic people, and they have a strong sense of National pride. They don't like to buy foreign made anything if there is a competing product created within the Nation. The Japanese also have a different set of sensibilities than westerners do. Where as the common statement made by young American teens is that the games have to be pushing out amazing textures, amazing polygons, and who gives a rats rear end about story, the average Japanese game (ones that we never see here) is still in 2d, with animation style graphics, and a very complex story. Those aren't released in the USA because it doesn't fit the demographic of gamers any more. Me I wouldn't mind seeing more complex story based games, but I'm in the minority. I still play adventure games with two on my list that I plan to purchase as soon as I have the money (The Whispered World, and Kaptain Brawe: A Brave New World.... Well, three if you count me holding my breath to get a copy of Gobliiins 4) and so plot is important to me. I took Japanese for 5 years (still can't speak the language, but I get an inkling of what is being said.) but my opinion is this. When it comes to consoles, the Japanese are for the most part more progressive than the West, but if you look at the overall scope of games, including games in history you will see that there is just as much or more innovation coming out of the West as there is the East.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Aw, please. You're talking

Aw, please. You're talking about this?

That's just American hate on Japanese right there. If *only*, if *only* American games ONLY had a small glitch like this:

Nintendo says that the bug, which renders players unable to advance, occurs if players obtain the Ice Beam and then backtrack after defeating the "two-legged spiked enemy" instead of opening the next door. The company says that proceeding forward after the battle should prevent the glitch from occuring.

F*** s***. I'd be tickled pinker than any Japanese comic relief creature if that's the only bug I found in an American game. Over here, we're goddamned lucky if the son of a b*** even installs and runs, much less make it through the whole game without re-installing Windows.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
I don't know, to me (and I

I don't know, to me (and I think many others), Japan has fallen way behind the curve in game development and are now no longer on the bleeding edge of game design. Western developers have caught up again and are now trouncing them. Heck, even Nintendo's vaunted "Metroid: Other M" for the Wii had a game BREAKING bug in it, so even the meticulous argument is right out the window.

I like the Japanese, but I've never fully embraced their wacky culture, so I for one welcome them slipping in terms of game development. We're probably better off with Western focused game development anyway, because Western game developers seem more likely to embrace divsersity over their Japanese counterparts who are very much in tune with the whims of Japanese culture. In other words, I can do without the anorexic, androgynous teenage heroes in every game, and the effeminate and eccentric comic relief creature. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't want that in EVERY darn game.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.