Here’s a spooky coincidence that involves some equally spooky games. Watching the news pour in during the recently concluded Tokyo Game Show I couldn’t help but notice how many new titles revolved around dark, ghostly or otherworldly themes. I dug up a list of every game that had a presence at the show and although these “scary games” only represent a very tiny minority I was still surprised by how many made the headlines.
Minority or not, these were some of the biggest reveals from the show, produced and developed by some of the biggest names in Japan. Konami, Shinji Mikami, Capcom, Sega, Suda51, Namco Bandai, even PaRappa creator Masaya Matsuura. And that’s without calling out Western-devved sequels to Japanese games like DMC, Castlevania and Splatterhouse. I’ll go ahead ask ‘what’s up with that?‘ but warn that it’s only a rhetorical question. I don’t have the connections or the insight to do anything but throw out hypotheticals.
Is this how the Japanese try to appeal to Western audiences after the middling attempts so far? Is this one of those Volcano/Dante’s Peak moments where everyone hit upon the same inspiration at the same time? Can you go even deeper and attribute it to a shift in the perceptions of Japanese creators and producers? I wish I knew but all I can do is point it out and wait to see how things develop. If we wind up calling ‘scary games‘ the new ‘cover-based shooter‘ in three years you’ll know I was onto something today.