#1 Edited by Kidable (127 posts) -

Does anyone else feel just slightly put-off and uncomfortable when the GB crew (and I guess gamers in general) chalk up certain video game series as "Ehh, that game is just a Japan thing"? I've been noticing this more and more as of late, particularly from Patrick Klepek's latest delve into Japanese games (999/VLR, Fire Emblem, Monster Hunter). In fact, it was on the recent Monster Hunter Quick Look that he said such a thing that reminded me of it.

About how he USED to just think this game series was made JUST for a certain region of gamers. Maybe it's not so much racism as just generalizing. I mean, certainly the series is made in Japan, and that's where the majority of its demographic lies, but is that really a good enough reason for making those broad statements? He himself has been an advocate as well of "playing games and genres outside your comfort zone". And remember that article he made about how ZombieU 'should have been terrible' (that was the exact title of the article) just because it was a silly name and a launch title?

I guess I'm just not a particular fan of judging games before they're released, because we've been proving ourselves wrong time and time again. Dragon's Dogma 'should have been terrible'. Aliens: Colonial Marines 'should have been amazing'. I guess this all comes down to the debate over gaming previews too that's been buzzed about.

#2 Edited by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

Meh, I hate almost anything that comes out of Japan... Japanese video games, movies, anime....hate it all...

#3 Posted by Brodehouse (9586 posts) -

I agree they shouldn't be generalizing broads.

Good night everybody!

Saying that Monster Hunter's main appeal is in Japan and to people who are way into Japanese games and game design is ... an evidenced, reality-based declaration. Better avoid those!

#4 Edited by Kidable (127 posts) -

I agree they shouldn't be generalizing broads.

Good night everybody!

Saying that Monster Hunter's main appeal is in Japan and to people who are way into Japanese games and game design is ... an evidenced, reality-based declaration. Better avoid those!

That's not what was said though. I'm not arguing it's main demographic is Japan. I'm saying that to say a particular video game series does not interest you because "it looks too Japanese" is generalizing.

#5 Posted by Rokkaku (221 posts) -

@kidable said:

Does anyone else feel just slightly put-off and uncomfortable when the GB crew (and I guess gamers in general) chalk up certain video game series as "Ehh, that game is just a Japan thing"?

I think you might be guilty of your own accusation there.

#6 Posted by Kidable (127 posts) -

@rokkaku said:

@kidable said:

Does anyone else feel just slightly put-off and uncomfortable when the GB crew (and I guess gamers in general) chalk up certain video game series as "Ehh, that game is just a Japan thing"?

I think you might be guilty of your own accusation there.

The label of gamer is much less damning than an actual race of people, in my personal opinion.

#7 Posted by Soapy86 (2620 posts) -

It's unfortunate that the Giant Bomb crew rarely, if ever, have thoughtful, nuanced opinions about anything. Being a fan of something that none of them like (stealth games for example), it can be pretty infuriating listening to them spout their uninformed opinions as though they are concrete facts. However, complaining that Giant Bomb paints in absurdly broad strokes is like complaining that there's lettuce in your salad. You know what you ordered.

#8 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

but japan is weird and their games are weird, there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

#9 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Mostly the "japan things" are just really, really "japan things". Where else would your nose bleed like a waterfall at the sight of a pretty girl. Now if you wanna talk generalizations, their view on Europe is a lot more interesting than their view on Japanese things.

#10 Posted by Kidable (127 posts) -

but japan is weird and their games are weird, there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

The term "weird" is so subjective though. Japan makes a lot of things, some we find weird and some not so weird. So does France. And Hungary. And lots of places. Why is it only just a "Japan thing"?

#11 Edited by Gamer_152 (14051 posts) -

But I think these things are meant to be implicitly taken as generalisations, when they call a game "a Japanese thing", I don't think the GB crew mean that literally every person who plays those games is Japanese, they mean the same thing that you're saying, that the audience for those games is largely Japanese, that they target a Japanese demographic, or that they're largely based in Japanese culture. I don't see what's wrong with making that statement.

Moderator
#12 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6087 posts) -

I think it's a perfectly legitimate way of describing things. Take a look at the Persona or the Disgaea series - those games both feature stories and characters that are distinctly Japanese, aimed for Japanese gamers, and are full of quirky Japanese-isms. I can completely understand someone saying that they look "too Japanese" because their design choices don't appeal to them. It might be taking the easy way out of describing exactly what it is that they don't like about certain games, but it's a generalization that honestly works because it's prevalent in a lot of games and it's something easily understood by just about anyone who's picked up any quirky Japanese release.

And hey, it's not an entirely negative description, either. Sometimes that wacky Japanese-ness is exactly what seems to draw the GB crew to a game. After all, how many of the ERs have been centered around really crazy Japanese games. I agree that the crew's bias against playing Japanese games can get old at times, but give Patrick some credit here for giving them an honest shot. I think the whole point of this exercise is to help him get rid of - or at least examine - that bias.

Moderator
#13 Posted by Kidable (127 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: Yeah I can see where you're coming from too. In fact, the whole reason this came up was specifically BECAUSE Patrick is now playing and enjoying all these games that he USED to chalk up as being "too Japanese", but has actually found out that he (a non-Japanese gamer) is enjoying them. My case is this; If a game LOOKS to Japanese, but he can still enjoy them, what use is now writing off games that look too Japanese?

You can say a game looks too Japanese all you want, that's not what really bugged me. It was that they were writing the entire game off BECAUSE of that accusation. Japan has its own quirks and humor, sure, but it's not like the gameplay is made different JUST for them. I am terrible at explaining myself. Hopefully I did a better job here?

#14 Edited by Mirado (990 posts) -

@kidable said:

@officegamer said:

but japan is weird and their games are weird, there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

The term "weird" is so subjective though. Japan makes a lot of things, some we find weird and some not so weird. So does France. And Hungary. And lots of places. Why is it only just a "Japan thing"?

Because the focal point of the video game industry moved over to Japan after the Crash and has only recently started a movement back to the west. On top of that, there is a greater rift in cultural norms/customs between Japan and the US vs the US and Europe. We call Japan "weird" because we feel (or there is the perception that we feel) like there is less of a mutual understanding with Japan; it's one of the reasons why you hear so many stories about a Western developer or publisher (or the ultimate example, Microsoft) having such difficulty in just understanding how best to conduct business in Japan without offending sensibilities that the West frankly does not have.

France puts out weird things. So does Hungary, and lots of other places besides. But Japan puts out more video games than any of those places, Japan is responsible for the majority of the success of some of those franchises (like Monster Hunter), and there seems to be a greater cultural rift between Japan and other countries.

It isn't a slight to Japan. It simply is indicating that Japan puts out a lot of games that don't seem to take off in non-Japanese markets. Hence, "a Japan thing."

EDIT: I don't think they mean it as "the underlying mechanics are inherently foreign." Just that some game seems to have a greater degree of success in Japan, and for whatever reason that success isn't immediately understandable outside of it. Playing Monster Hunter, I personally don't understand why the franchise has been such a huge hit. Nothing in it seems that addictive or well-crafted, hence my fallback answer of "I must be missing something that Japan gets." Which can be directly boiled down to "It's a Japan thing."

#15 Edited by JasonR86 (9608 posts) -

The internet is a place where generalization is the norm. It's like everyone here is in high school and think they understand everything there is to the world.

...no offense to the high school students I just broadly generalized by the way.

#16 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6087 posts) -

@kidable: I think so? But I think most of us are guilty of writing off some games or genres. That doesn't excuse the easy dismissal of all things Japanese from gaming journalists who, frankly, should do their best to provide coverage of a wider variety of games than just their favorites or the things that interest them. But yeah, I see your point about the gameplay, and I agree.

Moderator
#17 Posted by Kidable (127 posts) -

@mirado said:

@kidable said:

@officegamer said:

but japan is weird and their games are weird, there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

The term "weird" is so subjective though. Japan makes a lot of things, some we find weird and some not so weird. So does France. And Hungary. And lots of places. Why is it only just a "Japan thing"?

Because the focal point of the video game industry moved over to Japan after the Crash and has only recently started a movement back to the west. On top of that, there is a greater rift in cultural norms/customs between Japan and the US vs the US and Europe. We call Japan "weird" because we feel (or there is the perception that we feel) like there is less of a mutual understanding with Japan; it's one of the reasons why you hear so many stories about a Western developer or publisher (or the ultimate example, Microsoft) having such difficulty in just understanding how best to conduct business in Japan without offending sensibilities that the West frankly does not have.

France puts out weird things. So does Hungary, and lots of other places besides. But Japan puts out more video games than any of those places, Japan is responsible for the majority of the success of some of those franchises (like Monster Hunter), and there seems to be a greater cultural rift between Japan and other countries.

It isn't a slight to Japan. It simply is indicating that Japan puts out a lot of games that don't seem to take off in non-Japanese markets. Hence, "a Japan thing."

EDIT: I don't think they mean it as "the underlying mechanics are inherently foreign." Just that some game seems to have a greater degree of success in Japan, and for whatever reason that success isn't immediately understandable outside of it. Playing Monster Hunter, I personally don't understand why the franchise has been such a huge hit. Nothing in it seems that addictive or well-crafted, hence my fallback answer of "I must be missing something that Japan gets." Which can be directly boiled down to "It's a Japan thing."

And that's exactly where my problem lies. Why is it just something that "Japan" gets, when there is clearly gamers over here that enjoy it too. Like Patrick Klepek, who was in the exact same position not too long ago before he gave it a good, honest try, like with Fire Emblem. It was so easy for him to call it a Japan thing before he tried it himself and realized it actually is a Patrick Klepek thing too. I can't comment on if you gave it a good honest shot, but if you did and didn't enjoy it, then that's fine. It's just another game that wasn't for you. And I think it being too Japanese wouldn't have been the problem, rather just design choices that you didn't agree with and such, not its "bleeding nose humor" or anything.

The other things you said in this post is making me understand other people's stance on it more clearly though.

#18 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

You just stated a bunch of things with logical backing and said they were unreasonable. In fact, you even confirmed the accuracy of one of the generalizations. When he says "that's a japanese thing" he means exactly what you said: it's predominately a Japanese franchise. That's true.

And Japan, compared to America, is a very peculiar place. And vis versa. To act as though there are not cultural differences is ignorant and silly. They are into things we aren't into. Doesn't mean no one can enjoy them, but at the same time, it's fair to say "eh, I don't really like eastern games" because most of them are pretty "eastern." I'm not being an asshole just because I generally dismiss anything with spiky haired characters, I just don't like the stuff that comes with that sort of stuff.

If these generalizations weren't accurate, all culture would be identical. The UK wouldn't have a completely different structure to it's television, and Japan wouldn't have so much weird shit on it's televisions, and we wouldn't have all of these overly commercial shows on television. Like it or not, places are different.

Hey, guess what. I think JRPGs are generally shitty. I think that they are poorly designed, have fucking terrible writing and characters, and are usually really dumb looking. I say that because that's the response my brain has provided me every time I've gone near any JRPG save for Persona 4. And you know what? That'll keep on happening because those games continue to be the same. And awesome for people who like em that way. But acting like I'm a bad person because I recognize the tropes and don't enjoy them, or the same about any of the guys on the staff is totally unfair. They have tastes, and you can't expect them to like everything. They don't show any ill will towards those who enjoy those franchises, just because they don't go around lauding them for their excellence doesn't mean they are doing something wrong.

#19 Posted by Mirado (990 posts) -

@kidable: Gamers over here may enjoy it, but the majority do not. If that wasn't the case, those companies would have brought those series over here a long time ago, because they would have made buckets of cash out of it. Or, perhaps, that might be the heart of the matter right there. Why didn't it take off? Why is Dragon Quest a huge system seller in Japan, whereas it's much less popular over here? Why did Pokemon take off all over the world? It may have something to do with the fact that the early entries in those series were Japan-only, and new titles can ride that previous install base. Pokemon, on the other hand, released every (main) entry worldwide, and that may be the reason why it has done so well. Along with the marketing end of it, of course.

Maybe we need to retool it to say it is a "traditionally" Japanese game, as it the earlier entries were not exported to the west?

Why do you think that Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, and other games that you may hear a person call "a Japan thing" aren't as successful in the West? There's no denying the fact that there are far more fans of those in Japan; to cite 1UP, they've sold enough copies of Dragon Quest to give at least one game in the series to 1/4th of Japan's whole population, and 95% of all people in Japan are aware of its existence. That is success unheard of anywhere in the world.

Why, in your opinion, hasn't it taken off to the same degree? Until it does, someone saying it's a "Japan thing" doesn't seem so out of order to me.

#20 Edited by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

Telling me I can't say something is "too Japanese" for me is to deny Japan it's own unique, national aesthetic and design philosophy that I'm free to prefer or not prefer. It would be crazy to imply every Japanese game dev operates independantly of their cultural background.

#21 Posted by believer258 (11635 posts) -

@mikkaq said:

It would be crazy to imply every Japanese game dev operates independantly of their cultural background.

Pretty much this. Even when a Japanese game tries to appeal to a Western audience (Resident Evil), it's so very, very obvious that it was made somewhere else.

I don't think it's really a generalization to say that something is "very Japanese" or "has a lot of Japanese-ness" to it when it was made in Japan.

#22 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

#23 Edited by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -

but japan is weird and their games are weird

No, they aren't.

there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

It definitely can be, though. More often, people say "Japan is weird' in a derogatory tone than in a celebratory tone. Plus it's hard to rank something so utterly subjective as "the truth".

#24 Edited by MEATBALL (3067 posts) -

The "Oh it's a Japan thing" comment didn't sit too well, that's a silly reason to dismiss a game. Not getting into Monster Hunter is perfectly understandable, I'm only just finally getting into it now (after not really clicking with prior entries), but dismissing it "because Japan" is silly. That said, I'm sure that's not actually the reason Patrick hadn't gotten into Monster Hunter prior and that he was just using that as shorthand, nevertheless, it's concerning shorthand.

#25 Posted by Knochenkotzer (17 posts) -

This is the reason why japanese developers and publishers still don't release their games outside of Japan in many cases. Just how some of us think "This is too Japanese" they think we wouldn't get it. Always hated that attitude as well even when there's some truth to it.

#26 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

@officegamer said:

but japan is weird and their games are weird

No, they aren't.

@officegamer said:

there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

It definitely can be, though. More often, people say "Japan is weird' in a derogatory tone than in a celebratory tone. Plus it's hard to rank something so utterly subjective as "the truth".

I've noticed from my brief time on these forums that blind political correctness trump anything else so I'm not expecting much consent, but basically my argument is that stereotypes exist for a reason.

#27 Posted by mylifeforAiur (3482 posts) -

He's not a military man, though.

#28 Posted by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -
#29 Posted by Hailinel (23901 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@officegamer said:

but japan is weird and their games are weird

No, they aren't.

@officegamer said:

there's nothing wrong with admitting it, it's not racism or generalizing it's the truth

It definitely can be, though. More often, people say "Japan is weird' in a derogatory tone than in a celebratory tone. Plus it's hard to rank something so utterly subjective as "the truth".

I've noticed from my brief time on these forums that blind political correctness trump anything else so I'm not expecting much consent, but basically my argument is that stereotypes exist for a reason.

Japan really isn't the beacon of insanity that internet culture would have you believe. You could just as easily paint Americans in the same way by selectively picking the seediest, most embarrassing parts of our culture and presenting them as part of perfectly acceptable everyday life across the country.

Stereotypes may have a basis in reality, but they are not reality.

And frankly, it is disappointing any time that the staff makes a comment along the lines of "Oh, Japan..." or "That's so Japanesey" because, in a way, they're denigrating rather than discussing. It's not intelligent debate, it doesn't suggest anything of substance, and their general willingness to remain oblivious doesn't make it any better.

#30 Posted by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

@soapy86 said:

It's unfortunate that the Giant Bomb crew rarely, if ever, have thoughtful, nuanced opinions about anything. Being a fan of something that none of them like (stealth games for example), it can be pretty infuriating listening to them spout their uninformed opinions as though they are concrete facts. However, complaining that Giant Bomb paints in absurdly broad strokes is like complaining that there's lettuce in your salad. You know what you ordered.

You hit the nail on the head.

#31 Edited by Hippie_Genocide (537 posts) -

MH is made in Japan, its popular there. Not here. I have no problem with him simply stating that. He was giving the game a legitimate shot, not like he just wrote it off and never played it. What else do you want? What I do have a problem with is the OP conjuring the word 'racism' in this context. As far as prejudging things, its human nature to apply past experiences to future events. Ubisoft launch games have historically been terrible, ok? So, people have come to expect that. An imaginary gaming enthusiast outlet where no one has any personal biases or preconceptions about different projects and everything is a well reasoned thoughtful response to what they're experiencing sounds coma inducing, to be honest. No thanks.

#32 Posted by Hailinel (23901 posts) -

MH is made in Japan, its popular there. Not here. I have no problem with him simply stating that. He was giving the game a legitimate shot, not like he just wrote it off and never played it. What else do you want? What I do have a problem with is the OP conjuring the word 'racism' in this context. As far as prejudging things, its human nature to apply past experiences to future events. Ubisoft launch games have historically been terrible, ok? So, people have come to expect that. An imaginary gaming enthusiast outlet where no one has any personal biases or preconceptions about different projects and everything is a well reasoned thoughtful response to what they're experiencing sounds coma inducing, to be honest. No thanks.

It is possible to be entertaining while also being thoughtful. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

#33 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Everything made in one country is exactly the same.

#34 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (537 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@hippie_genocide said:

MH is made in Japan, its popular there. Not here. I have no problem with him simply stating that. He was giving the game a legitimate shot, not like he just wrote it off and never played it. What else do you want? What I do have a problem with is the OP conjuring the word 'racism' in this context. As far as prejudging things, its human nature to apply past experiences to future events. Ubisoft launch games have historically been terrible, ok? So, people have come to expect that. An imaginary gaming enthusiast outlet where no one has any personal biases or preconceptions about different projects and everything is a well reasoned thoughtful response to what they're experiencing sounds coma inducing, to be honest. No thanks.

It is possible to be entertaining while also being thoughtful. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

Heresy!

#35 Posted by Slag (4007 posts) -

Here's the thing about generalizing when it comes to spoken media

The average person talks in generalities and seems to prefer listening to generalities. I can speculate as to why that is but it's really beside the point for this discussion.

You look at what formats are exploding and what stays popular in mass media these days, it's usually opinion shows that don't delve in specifics. Taking the Cable news networks for example the airtime content of the three main networks (CNN, MSNBC and FOX) is now more than 50% opinion oriented shows based of a study I read this week. MSNBC in particular is in the 85% range or so. There is a reason for that.

Now I like specifics, I prefer expert opinion, but I can't help notice looking at what sells so to speak, that blanket absolutes and provocative statements are what move the ratings needle. My suspicion is that the average viewer of Giant Quick Looks and such is fairly different than a forum participant. We are probably more passionate and analytical of the crew than the 99% that lurk the site just watching videos. I really doubt this bothers most of them, and heck they may even prefer it.

To be fair to Patrick, how are his statements really any different than Ryan's on many issues? Ryan in my experience tends to throw absolutes almost nearly as often. But I think that actually probably works for them, it makes for good entertainment. Maybe not accurate information, but is a cheap & easy way add punch to a show. Like it or not.

Sucks, but it is what it is.

#36 Posted by clumsyninja1 (817 posts) -

I actually was surprised how much I enjoyed Ni No Kuni...