Gaming Discussion – Japan, War, and First Person Shooters

Gaming Discussion – Japan, War, and First Person Shooters - AkihabaraNews.com

Losing the War
At the Infinity Ventures Summit (a conference for IT higher-ups in Japan) late last year during a panel on the future of gaming, the Management Director at DeNA, Kenji Kobayashi, pointed out that war-based video games such as first-person shooters don’t gain popularity in Japan (in Japanese). Haruki Satomi, CEO of Sammy NetWorks Co., Ltd., agreed and followed up that only countries which won World War II make war games. Kobayashi then elaborated that people in those countries are accustomed to seeing war stories in movies and on television, inferring that the opposite led to a lack of such games being developed or catching on in Japan.

But can we really tie game trends to World War II? In Germany, for example, BioShock Infinite, Far Cry 3, and Battlefield all ranked in the top ten most popular games at some point last year. Of course, comparing Japan to Germany might oversimplify things. Similarly so for lumping all the “winning” countries of WWII together.

Just Being Squeamish?
So perhaps something else is going on. Could it be the violence? For example, although Japanese horror movies have achieved international fame, the genre is much less popular here than in places like North America. Japanese men and women alike often express their distaste for shows of blood and violence. Certainly there are exceptions to any generalization (or those movies wouldn't have been made); nevertheless, bloody violence occupies a much smaller niche in Japanese popular culture compared with other places.

Yet, Japan certainly doesn't lack violent games. Resident Evil, Ninja Gaiden, and Silent Hill are rife with flying blood, dismemberment, and gore. And as for war, recent Resident Evil games have increasingly grown to resemble foreign FPSs. Let’s also not forget that war is the basis of the hugely successful Metal Gear series. So there seems to be a precedent for a Japanese-made, war-based game as well as a Japanese audience ready to enjoy it.

Killing in HD
But there is a key difference between FPSs and the violent games that come out of Japan: realism versus fantasy. In Resident Evil or Silent Hill, you face zombies and other monsters. Ninja Gaiden typically hides the faces of the more human-like enemies and then throws in dragons, demons, and dinosaurs. You see similar face covering in Metal Gear, and the genetically and mechanically enhanced bosses are more like Resident Evil's mutations than people. What's more, you can skip most of the killing altogether. The point is, these games are rarely, if ever, focused on violence against people.

Older Japanese games may have had more person-on-person violence, but they lacked today's hyper-realistic graphics. I think it's here where the real schism forms.

The Heart of the Matter
I'm reminded of something a Japanese friend said. Despite being an avid Resident Evil fan, he had a hard time enjoying the copy of Max Paine I lent him, and he shies away from war games. The reason, he told me, is that that it just makes him feel bad. It's emotionally painful for him to kill realistic human characters. "We Japanese," he said, "we like peace." 

___
Your Thoughts
So what do you think? Do you think it's related to war or something that goes deeper culturally? Could the lack of guns in Japanese society contribute to the situation? Or is it something simpler--developers simply sticking to what's familiar?

We'd like to know what you think, let us know in the comments down below, or discuss on Facebook.

• • •

AkihabaraNews contributor Greg Flynn is a Yokohama-based gaming, photography, and why-did-you-walk-so-far-across-Tokyo enthusiast. His interests range from chiptunes to chocolate chip cookies to inexpertly lobbing darts now and then. Look for his posts on gaming and life in Japan.

Source: 

Related Articles

USJ (Universal Studio Japan) , located in Osaka prefecture, is going to hold an event called "Universal Cool Japan" for a limited time only from January 23 to May 10 in 2015. Through the event, you can have fun at attractions made based on Evangelion, Attack on Titan, Bio Hazard, and Monster Hunter.
The Three Bullets: Lessons from Japan's Survival Games Subculture - AkihabaraNews.com

In addressing the question of how to restore Japan’s economic prosperity and make the nation a model for reform, Japanese political and industrial leaders should look for inspiration from an unconventional source: the growing airsoft-based Survival Games subculture.

From Contributor and otaku/subculture enthusiast Reece Scott:

Grand Theft Auto V - Touch & Try at Tokyo Game Show 2013

Japan is getting a taste of the phenomenon that is Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V at Tokyo Game Show 2013.

At its own Touch & Try pavilion at the show, Rockstar showed what it's like to navigate Los Santos and Blaine County. The company has built an incredibly detailed and lifelike world, which we are told will take inestimable hours of time sitting on your couch to fully explore and appreciate.

Those at the show are being given a taste and the consensus that we heard matches the enthusiasm that we're reading online.

Tokyo Game Show 2014: Day One on the Floor (VIDEO) - AkihabaraNews.com

The Tokyo Game Show Industry/Press Days are Over. Long Live the Industry/Press Days
We're preparing to head out for our last day of #TGS coverage (it's Cosplay Night!), and of course it's exciting to be able to spend more time at this great event, but today a sobering reality weighs heavy. 

Mesmerizing GIFs Show Nintendo & PlayStation Controller Evolution
Sony may have nailed the utility right off the bat, but Nintendo’s bold choices from the SNES onward have arguably been much more fun and inspiring. Have a look at the GIFs below...it’s hard to look away!
REVIEW: Shuttle XPC SZ87R6 & SH87R6 Barebones "Black Boxes" - AkihabaraNews.com

Veteran Contributor Ike Leus has returned! Specializing in the techier/geekier side of our coverage, his extensive collection of absurdly popular home server and gaming rig reviews, along with a variety of other tech coverage, can be found here. Welcome back!

Eurotechnology Japan KK - October 05, 2013

Japan’s top 9 iconic game companies, Nintendo, Sony, Sega-Sammy, Bandai-Namco, Konami, Takara-Tomy, Square-Enix, Capcom, Tecmo-Koei created much of the world’s games markets, and many of the world’s most loved game characters.
They are now seeing brutal disruption.

With the Financial Year ending March 31, 2013, for the first time, just three Japanese newcomers (GREE, DeNA and GungHo) achieved higher operating income than all top 9 Japanese iconic incumbent game makers:

Akihabaranews.com - Eurotechnology - SoftBank and GungHo invest in Finnish game maker Supercell

Smartphones and the “freemium” business models are bringing a dual paradigm shift to games and create a new truly global market. To take advantage of this global paradigm shift, its necessary to overcome the cultural disconnects between markets. SoftBank and GungHo‘s investment in the Finnish smartphone/tablet game maker Supercell, announced on Oct. 15, will help to overcome the disconnect between Japan’s and other game markets for both Supercell and GungHo.

Earphones that comes with Game Boy-like remote-control microphone will be released for ¥2,138 on December 19 by Datel Japan.
Mouse Computer has just released new gaming laptop series "NEXTGEAR-NOTE i71100" from their gaming brand G-Tune today. There are 4 models available and the price range is ¥299,800 - ¥399,800.
7 More Obscure Japanese Gaming Consoles You've Probably Never Heard of (HD GALLERY) - AkihabaraNews.com
As stated in the previous entry (the first 7), of particular interest here is the shear number of consoles that were available throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The following are another set of Japanese-only offerings.

Pages