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Mega Man Designer Explains Japan's Waning Video Game Influence 315

eldavojohn writes "As one of the creators of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune remembers the days when Japan redefined video games. He believes those days are long gone as he reveals much in his criticisms of Japan's ailing game economy. Inafune says Japan is five years behind — still making games for older consoles with 'no diversity, no originality.' When asked why, he responds, 'A lot of designers, if they find a genre that works for them, they stick with it. A lot of designers just stick to a set formula. That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that. The business side is not keeping up with investment. You need to be prepared to invest 4 billion yen or more on a game, and then spend 2 billion yen more to promote it. But Japanese companies can't do that. So we're losing out to the West in terms of investment in games. It's a vicious cycle, a deflationary spiral. Because you don't invest, you can't sell games, and because you don't sell games, you can't invest.' He compares making games for Japan and the US to Sushi and basketball — two popular things but each done in distinctly different ways by the two nations."
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Mega Man Designer Explains Japan's Waning Video Game Influence

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  • not just japan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:12PM (#33644714)

    no diversity, no originality

    sounds like every other copypasta shooter, sports game, racing game we have from the mainstream devs/publishers here in the states. If you ask me, Japanese games have some of the most diversity and originality. America's latest Shoot 'em Up? They aren't that unique. Call of Duty maps being released as free downloads for PC, then being re-released as 'map packs' for money a couples years later. Mainstream here is mostly movie spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and rehashes. And Madden 19xx-20xx, but nothing new under the sun there either. Sims games? NCAA games? Comic-book games made after movies? Games made after movies made about games? Intellectual property my ass. More like unoriginal crap-ware extortion.

    • Re:not just japan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:17PM (#33644752)
      In reality, I can really only think of a handful of "good" American studios, Bungie, Valve, Blizzard and BioWare. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of good Japanese studios which consistently make quality games, Namco, Square-Enix, Nintendo, Sony, etc.
      • Bungie??? LOL! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The company that had so little faith in their mind numbingly mediocre Halo games to get decent reviews they sent out 900 dollar 'gift packages' to reviewers...

        Microsoft: Bribing Halo 3 Reviewers []

        Dean Takahashi: Halo 3 press kit "nothing less than a bribe" []

        Way to go Bungie! No wonder their bunny hopping shiny green Power Ranger games are the laughi

        • by morari ( 1080535 )

          And it worked, since every console-kiddie out there thinks that Halo is the best thing since sliced bread. Though really, it's the same problem all of those Nintendo fanboys had when GoldenEye came out. They had no prior experience with the genre, because it didn't work well on their platform. Thus, even the most mediocre title garnered great success... never mind that everyone else was playing the far superior Quake 2 when GoldenEye came out.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            AS someone who played all of the Quake's when they came out, GoldenEye was fantastic because me and my friends could all play together at a moments notice at anyone house. Transporting a Console game (and possibly system) is a lot easier then setting up a LAN party. That's what made it soo much fun, the group experience.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              As somebody who played Quake when it FIRST came out. (Goldeneye came out in 1997 same year as Quake 2)
              During the original Quake, online Multiplayer was fantastic because me, my friend and any other rat in the city could play together from the comfort of our homes.
              It was literally the coolest thing going. No split screen B.S.
              Using the QuakeSpy portal one could access many "Dedicated Servers" that hosted games, something still not realized even in the modern complexion of today.
              Online multiplayer capability w

              • Woosh is the sound of the point of my post going over your head.
              • "But, PC gaming will only ever be limited by the average intellect of the masses."

                Yep, that's right. A bunch of FPS-obsessed geeks are far superior intellectually to people who play casual games in the spare time they have between their graduate studies, international travel, and outdoor activities.

                I love geek narcissism - it's the most clueless, self-deluded variety there is.

      • Re:not just japan (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:43PM (#33644936) Journal

        In reality, I can really only think of a handful of "good" American studios, Bungie, Valve, Blizzard and BioWare. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of good Japanese studios which consistently make quality games, Namco, Square-Enix, Nintendo, Sony, etc.

        I'm not a huge gamer, but I can easily add a few to that list: Bethesda, Obsidian, Epic, id, Infinity Ward. Some of these developers have waned a little recently or been acquired by some parent company, but they still produce some good games. Even going by a list on Wikipedia [], there are only a few other Japanese companies I recognize (such as Konami and Capcom).

        These days, I don't see a reason that Japan would be greatly superior at game development than any other country. Originally they had something of a head start in the industry (many consoles have been developed there), but any more there are many talented and experienced people all over the world. Any country which comes up with something new will initially be on top, but things will inevitably level out sooner or later.

        • I'd cross Epic off the list, but that's a matter of personal taste. In any case, IW doesn't really exist any more. The name is still there, but enough people left during that debacle that they're a new studio at this point - simply with the same name.

          And although I think your list contains good developers, I don't think any of them is on the same tier as Blizzard or Bioware (perhaps Bungie or Valve). Those are studios which produce games that I will practically buy sight unseen, simply because they have suc

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by black3d ( 1648913 )

        Why is Bungie on that list? It's an awful studio which hasn't had an idea since the late 90s.

        Halo isn't even a good game. Marketing made it popular, because there's a whole generation of console FPSers out there who don't even know what a real FPS plays like. If Halo had been released on PC, it would have bombed after the first game.

        • by Cylix ( 55374 ) *

          There are a number of awful things about Halo. (Don't even get me started on match making)

          Now, in terms of originality I will give them points on smooth integration of vehicle mechanics as well as providing a balance with that very same introduction. ie, a foot soldier can still compete at a disadvantage to a vehicle mounted player. (Not realistic, but balanced).

          For their time (especially early on) they were the only game in town on their platform. The king of games title is in question as of late with incr

        • Re:not just japan (Score:4, Interesting)

          by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @01:32AM (#33645852)
          Well, I didn't make the list, but I agree with it. And in my opinion, Bungie is on the list because Halo is a great game. I wouldn't put them in the same category as Blizzard or Bioware, because they do fail occasionally (I hated ODST), and lose points for essentially making iterations on one game for the last 10 years... but it's still a really great game. And I say this as someone who was, and is, still a predominantly PC gamer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quanticle ( 843097 )

        Square Enix used to be in that list. Lately, though, the Final Fantasy series has dropped to Madden levels in terms of originality and innovation. Sure, the plot is different in every game, and the graphics get a bump up, but the gameplay mechanics have consistently been different combinations of the mechanics from Final Fantasies 6, 7, 8, and (to some extent) 9.

        From the above, I've concluded that Square Enix jumped the shark around 1999, right before the launch of Final Fantasy IX. Every title after that

    • You obviously have a very short or very selective memory. You know there are a LOT of great, original games for the NES and Super NES, there are many, MANY times more crapware/cloneware etc. games for those systems too, many coming from Japan. This situation is not new. According to 'kipedia there were 798 licensed games for the NES in NA/Europe and 1,055 for the famicom(obviously with a lot of overlap). Can you off the top of your head even name 5% of all NES games? My guess is that you cannot because
      • by Cylix ( 55374 ) *

        There were like 30 clones of gradius!

        Additionally, there were several unlicensed games that saw limited distribution inside the united states. (A good deal of them were terrible, but there was a nice version of tetris that was yanked from shelves).

        More to the point, I remember gobs and gobs of just crap titles out there. Nintendo at the time had very little restrictions on the quality of the title. It was fairly obvious how bad a title was because the value would drop considerably after release. Only the no

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tharsman ( 1364603 )

      That is not the point. World wide western games are doing much better than japanese ones. Meiji does not seem to get why, though. Reading his answers makes me think he just has no clue why. He keeps going about studying the western market.

      I think I have an idea, though: it's the sandbox element. Almost all western games incorporate the sandbox in one way or another. You may claim not everyone wants it, but once you get used to some level of freedom due to the sandbox elements, it's horribly though to go

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:15PM (#33644730)
    I really hope this doesn't end up with a lot more Japan-exclusive games while the west gets crap games like what happened in the 16-bit era. I don't -want- more "westernized" games. I -like- games that are different such as Katamari. I can appreciate multiple cultures, I don't -want- games dealing with "western" themes as opposed to Japanese themes. I want good, solid games. I don't want localization, I want translation, yes, but subtitles are fine. I'd rather have the Japanese voice actors and subtitles than crappy US voice actors.

    There have been some brilliant games either not brought to the west or brought to the west later that would have been excellent back "in the day". For example, a lot of the Final Fantasy games were not released for the NES/SNES in the US and the entire Fire Emblem series was neglected until fairly recently.

    I don't want westernized games.
    • I've only played Katamari on the PS3 and I freakin' love it. If there was ever a game for which there should be a level editor or downloadable content, this is it.

  • Five years behind what? The US? What have we produced that has been original lately? Another Madden NFL game? What American game has been as original as something like Katamari Damacy lately? (Granted that is 5 years old or more now). Seriously though, I would like to know, because video games are a bit boring lately. (I suppose Portal might count).

    • by cosm ( 1072588 )
      Agreed. []
    • by macshit ( 157376 ) <.snogglethorpe. .at.> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:28PM (#33644820) Homepage


      If anything, the vast budgets of U.S. game makers are what's killing creativity and innovation in game design -- it's way too expensive for them to take much risk these days, and pretty much everything coming out of the U.S. these days is the same old tired formulas with better anti-aliasing and more accurate physics...

      If Japan's economy is ailing, then that might kill off some developers (which is bad), but on the other hand, it might also mean that the focus shifts to lower-priced and lower-budget games. Even if such small-budget games tend to often be formulaic as well, the simple fact that they're much faster to develop and involve much less risk means there's actually a lot more room for experimentation. If you actually look at the selection of games available in Japan, I'd say this is true: despite a few "whales" like FFXIII, there's a vast range of quirky and interesting games for the DS, wii, etc. -- and these are what actually get the most shelf space, and seem to account for the majority of traffic in the store (well, judging by "where people are standing looking at games," anyway), even if the big monitor at the front of the store (paid for by Sony of course) is showing off the latest whale-of-the-month.

      • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:33PM (#33644844) Homepage
        If anything, the vast budgets of U.S. game makers are what's killing creativity and innovation in game design -- it's way too expensive for them to take much risk these days, and pretty much everything coming out of the U.S. these days is the same old tired formulas with better anti-aliasing and more accurate physics...

        I've been a PC gamer since the early 80's, and people have been making that kind of claim for almost that long. I prefer the same kind of games now that I did back then; long, immersive (western) RPGs--and they have gotten better and better as the industry has matured and spent more developing them.
      • The problem with that is, having the general public differentiate between crap and a good game. For example, someone who wants to get the game "Cooking Mama" for the Wii has to wade through games like "Food Network, Cooked or be Cooked" and "Order Up!" which are essentially clones of the game lacking the appeal because all have similar themes and art.

        Plus, budget games aren't necessarily cheaper. I'd shell out $50 for FF XIII that would keep me busy for 40 some hours but the newest "casual" game costs t
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by object404 ( 1883774 )

          If casual games cost $10-15, yeah, I'd buy them.

          Uh. What are you talking about? Yes they do. May I redirect you to the $10 and below section [] of the games sold at Steam? There's a ton of gems in there.

          May I also redirect you to the Mega-Love Indie Bundles []: which pack in these excellent indie casual games: Aaaaa! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, Brainpipe, Captain Forever, Cogs, Saira, Space Giraffe or And Yet It Moves, Auditorium, Aztaka, Eufloria, Machinarium & Osmos for $19.99 or all 12 games for $29.99?

          Finally, check Steam Game Sales [] which

          • by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @12:24AM (#33645546)

            Apple's app store has changed what I consider budget games. I bought Angry Birds for a couple of dollars and I've spent an order of magnitude more time playing it than I have Modnation Racers that I bought on the PS3 for $60.

            Other than Modnation Racers, I haven't bought a game that cost more than $10 in about a year (and I wish I hadn't bought MNR, it isn't very good).

          • by tsotha ( 720379 )
            I've been buying a lot of sub-$5 indie games lately. The vast majority are crap, but occasionally I hit one that's more fun than the average $50 big studio game. It only has to happen one time in ten to be worth it.
        • by bloosqr ( 33593 )

          I am curious did you buy FFXIII? When I read that article FF13 was exactly what came to mind. I've "played" that game up to something like chapter 12 and quite honestly i've never seen a game before that all you literally have to do is move forward hit X a lot and sometimes hit some other keys (aka change paradigm). Even the characters don't seem to be engaging (unlike for instance 7). Further its got a weapon upgrade system that seems unmatched to its CP thing (and not even very sensible without an online

          • It's no more linear than FFX was. While I respect your right to criticize it, it's not exactly unprecedented. in the series.

            Furthermore, I think you'll find that battles are more engaging (if more difficult) if you don't use the auto-battle command. I personally find that once I got to a certain point in the game (I just got to Gran Pulse, but forget which chapter that is), I couldn't keep up with the pace of battle that way... but it's there if you can pull it off, and it does add quite a bit. I also feel

          • by pspahn ( 1175617 )

            That's funny. You explained exactly how I felt about FF7. Haven't played anything after it, but I imagine it was the same formula.

            Granted, the series was pretty formulaic before FF7, it just seemed that with FF7 the story became primary and the gameplay came second.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        it's way too expensive for them to take much risk these days and pretty much everything coming out of the U.S. these days is the same old tired formulas with better anti-aliasing and more accurate physics...

        How many counter examples would I need to cite before you'd admit you're wrong? Is one enough? Portal. Two? Mirror's edge. How many? Red dead redemption fits too much into the "Sandbox western themed formula" that have been all you see on shelves these days?

        Too much budget is the problem you say? So is there a reason we're overlooking smaller releases, downloadable games, and indie games? Those don't count for the US? Because it seems odd to make an argument that games in the US are too big budget

    • I dunno, the indie game scene seems to have at least some interesting stuff floating around these past few years, like World of Goo [], And Yet It Moves [], and Fluidity []. (The latter two are European, not USian, but hey.)


      • by Cidolfas ( 1358603 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:50PM (#33645384)

        A few more for your list:

        Minecraft [] isn't American, but is really good and so popular these days that the guy behind it has flown to talk to Valve and had to shut down his registration and payment system (which also means it's free to play right now!).

        Dwarf Fortress, of course.

        Lugaru HD [] is another classic indie title, and I think the non-HD version got open sourced as part of the Humble Indie Bundle deal. The game is a bit sparse at times, but for me the gameplay was top-notch.

        Darwinia [] will make you more attached to little green pixel men than should be right.

        These are some of the well-known ones. Really there are too many to list, but I HIGHLY recommend buying fresh, innovative indie games. They don't have the polish of AAA big-budget titles, but they make up for it in interesting gameplay mechanics and sometimes genuinely good storytelling that wipes the floor with the "everything you do must be epic to the extreme!" plots that the AAA titles have. I've gotten more hours of fun from VVVVV (look for it on steam for $5) than I got from playing Gears of War 2 which cost 10x that much.

        Seriously, support your indie developers. The more people who buy their games, the more they get to make. Here [] is a good place to start looking.

      • And on the japanese side:


    • Dwarf Fortress?

    • Red Dead Redemption is pretty cool.

    • by bonch ( 38532 )

      He wasn't talking about originality. He was talking about sales and influence.

  • Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10... pretty fuckin' badass videogames. Implemented in 2009-10 using 1986-8 technology.

  • We Americans really excel at engineering ways to screw off no matter the cost. See lawn darts [] for an example.
    • by Moryath ( 553296 )

      No, we Americans excel at being fucking morons.

      Take a look at lawn darts from your example - a perfectly feasible, fun game. Banned in most states because of a whopping three deaths that were the result of "the darts" being thrown around by a couple of drunken retards. More people are killed by drunken retards wielding cars. More people were killed by HORSESHOES that same year, but oh no, we has to ban the eeeevil lawn darts...

      Or take the fear that people have towards Monosodium Glutamate - a completely saf

  • by object404 ( 1883774 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:22PM (#33644780) Homepage

    "You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality."

    In general, that is what has been plaguing the entire gaming industry since the late 90s: graphics over gameplay. That being said, the rise of casual games these past few years has been a welcome change over shiny 3D graphics with dull repetitive gameplay formulae.

    • "Casual" gaming has killed gaming. Just look at the Wii, yeah, there are some pretty good casual games out there, but the problem is, the clones simply just fail. At least a Pac-Man or Mario clones were entertaining but casual game clones just fail. I'd rather play the worst Mario clone than play the newest "Cooking Mama" or "Wii Sports" clone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by g_rampage ( 1117503 )

        How does Cooking Mama's existence mean hardcore (for lack of a better term for not casual) gaming doesn't exist? The gaming market isn't a fixed size. The increase in the casual market has not killed the existing market at all. In fact it's probably caused some crossover and improved gaming in general, but I have no stats to back that up.

        • When was the last title worth buying for the Wii? The last game I bought was Brawl and I haven't seen a need to buy a new Wii game since then because the "causal" market for it is so big it cannibalized all the decent games. I bought lots of games for the GameCube but hardly any for the Wii. Its gotten so bad I went out and bought an Xbox just so I could actually play some games. I don't consider myself a "hardcore" gamer, I just want games with substance and not silly control schemes like Super Mario Galax
          • You don't want casual games, and yet you bought a Wii...the entire point of the Wii is casual, family-friendly party games. I recommend you buy a PS3 or Xbox360 instead, where actual vidya games still roam free.
      • by morari ( 1080535 )

        I'd blame the original Playstation for the rise of mainstream gaming more than anything. Casual games haven't destroyed the industry, popularity of the hobby has. I'd rather play a game like Order Up than something like Madden. Once the jocks become the target audience, you can pretty much count intelligence and creativity out. :P

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kirijini ( 214824 )

      that is what has been plaguing the entire gaming industry since the late 90s: graphics over gameplay.

      People have been saying that since the beginning of time.* And yet, there is still a gaming industry; people who were raised on the "old classics" (whether "classic" is defined as pacman, tetris, mario, wolfenstein 3d, warcraft, quake, fallout, halflife, counterstrike, god of war, etc.) still play games (if they have time) and still love gaming. I play a ton of TF2 now, and, yes, there has been constant innovation in terms of gameplay over the past 20 years of FPS multiplayer. Name the genre,** and there

    • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:43PM (#33645344)

      I get tired of the "Get off my lawn, the past was so much better." No, not the case actually. Games are great these days. You can have graphics AND gameplay and indeed there are games that do. Name the kind of game you like, I can give you a few examples of ones that do it really well. There's more crap out there too, of course, as you get a bigger market you get more of everything. However if you don't think there are any good new games it is only because you are walking around with your hands over your eyes.

      In reality, there are a few things at play:

      1) We remember the past through rose coloured glasses. This is just a human condition. You remember the good and forget the bad. Psychologists think it is part of our coping mechanism. So you remember some of those games as being a hell of a lot better than they were. Go back and play them some time. Whip out an emulator and try them out. You'll discover many were not nearly as good as you think. Like Final Fantasy 2 (in the US, FF4 in reality). Loved that game as a kid, and it was hard. My friends and I would sit around and play it together to figure things out. Story was really good too... Well, not so much. I've played it now as an adult. The story is pretty cheesy when you get down to it and difficult? Shit I can knock it out no problem. The enemies are so simplistic, easy for me to figure out. I can practically play it with the turbo speed button in the emulator held down all the time. It can't hold a candle story or gameplay wise to the new RPGs.

      2) You remember the good games better because you spent more time on them. You probably bought mostly games you liked, and if you got one you didn't, you didn't play it much. As such you don't remember all the pure shit out there. Consider that there were almost 900 NES games released in the US. You really think they were all good? Did you ever play the Barbie Sports game? How about Bible Games (a religious 3-pack game)? There are bunches of crap games out there, you just didn't play them much if at all so they didn't leave an impression. The good ones you played a lot.

      3) General curmudgeon/hardass syndrome. For some reason, people get all tough guy about the past. "Oh games back then had shit graphics but they were REAL GAMES. We didn't NEED graphics, they were so good!" It is silly, so don't do it.

      4) When videogames were brand new, it was easier to be "innovative" because nothing had been done. In reality most weren't, they were just doing things in games that had been done in other mediums, but it was still a "game first." Well when something matures, it is harder to do something truly unique that has never been done at all before.

      So seriously, don't be a stick in the mud, open your eyes, and discover that there are many, many good games being made these days.

      Now if you'll excuse me, I want to go play Dragon Age, which is a really good game.

      • While much of what you say is true, you're dead wrong about old games not being hard. Load up Mega Man 1 or Contra if you don't believe me.
        • Ghouls n' Ghosts is bloody impossible to me. Even to this day, I have a hard time getting past the first level. The only way I ever managed to beat it was with MAME and all cheats turned on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rreyelts ( 470154 )
        I guess you're choosing FF2 to make a point about remembering not-so-great games as otherwise, but FF3(6) and Chrono Trigger were two of the best games I have ever played in my entire life. I periodically go back and re-play the games in an emulator, and they still stand out compared to today's games. Somehow the 16-bit graphics are just as enjoyable now as they were then. Something got lost along the way, and I'm not sure what it was. Call it gameplay if you must.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Raenex ( 947668 )

          Something got lost along the way

          Yes, your innocence. What you're feeling is nostalgia.

      • I wish there wasn't a cap of 5, because you deserve far higher moderation. That was well said. Even if I still can't beat ninja gaiden or the first castlevania.
      • Turn it all around and see it from a different perspective:
        - While in the Past, we looked to the Future as a direction of improvement but it that didn't came to be.

        It's not as much that the Past was better than the Present, it's more that back then we had lower expectations and we hed hopes for the Future that in the end didn't quite materialized all that well.

        Specifically for Gaming, the Past had the added advantage that everything was new and fresh and wonderful purelly because computer gaming at home was

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        "I get tired of the "Get off my lawn, the past was so much better."

        I get tired of newbie gamers who have not noticed that game quality in many genres is going down or stagnating. I'm sure most older gamers have noticed how almost EVERY fucking game is a first person shooter. Most gamers probably remember an age where the FPS was one of the genre's and not THE DOMINANT genre of gaming like it is today.

        How many first person shooters have we had since doom? You'd think after all these years FPS games would

        • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @10:03AM (#33649192)

          I get tired of newbie gamers who have not noticed that game quality in many genres is going down or stagnating.

          Well, I agree with the OP, and I've been playing since the Magnavox Odyssey in 1975. :-) The only person I ever met who tops me is a guy who played some of the original experiments done on oscilloscopes.

          I'm sure most older gamers have noticed how almost EVERY fucking game is a first person shooter. Most gamers probably remember an age where the FPS was one of the genre's and not THE DOMINANT genre of gaming like it is today.

          Or some of us older gamers actually *look* are reality and disagree with that assessment. A lot of the big name games are FPS, but behind the big names there's metric shit-tons of other stuff. There's an equal number of third person games. My goodness, man, there's more game types out there than ever before what with downloadable content now. Go play Limbo- awesome little game. Check out the Indie game scene.

          How many first person shooters have we had since doom? You'd think after all these years FPS games would be played out...

          I'm sorry that a genre you don't like is popular, but that doesn't make it bad. I pick out an FPS to play about once a year, and yet my gaming slate is more than full.

          but now they are even turning RPG's into FPS games (oblivion --> Fallout 3), Gears of war --> Mass effect 2.

          The Elder Scrolls series were a revelation in RPGs for me. Play on a big HDTV with head phones and you will achieve major immersion.

          And GOW and ME are third person. GOW is not an RPG, and ME is an action RPG.

          If you hadn't noticed this trend of homogenization of games then you clearly are incapable of seeing what has happened. It only sounds to you like it's "Get off my lawn" but look at final fantasy 12 and 13, the battle systems in those games can't hold a candle to the battle systems of earlier games.

          Your opinion is not fact. I thought the FF13 system was piles of fun. I liked the gambit system in FF12 as well- that one actually harkened back to several games in the early days where you would "program" your game characters to follow scripts. Dragon age had that, too. It's a fun thing.

          I've watched final fantasy series be butchered by movie/story types who don't like the loot/equipment/battle and stat management aspect of oldschool RPG's, compare a game like FF1/FF6/FF7 to FFX and beyond.

          I just played FF1 on the Wii. You call that stat management?

          So play some western RPGs. There's endless hours of looting and stat spreadsheet management to be had these days. You just aren't looking or something. Steam alone has lots of isometric, stat heavy RPGs to play. Try Sacred 2 on the XBox. Not perfect, but I'm finding some fun there. Major stat management, piles of loot, open world, etc.

        • Every game is a FPS? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @12:34PM (#33651962)

          Tells me all you do is whine, not look. Let's go have a look see at the most recently released titles, and what they are. We'll stick with the PC, since that's what I use:

          Civilization 5, Sep 21, 2010: Turn based strategy
          Patrician IV, Sep 17, 2010: Real time strategy
          Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Sep 8, 2010: Horror
          Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker, Sep 7, 2010: RPG (expansion)
          Aion: Assault on Balaurea, Sep 7, 2010: MMORPG
          R.U.S.E., Sep 7, 2010: Real time strategy
          Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep, Aug 30, 2010: Adventure
          Black Mirror II, Aug 30, 2010: Adventure
          Ship Simulator Extremes, Aug 27, 2010: Simulation
          Might & Magic Heroes Kingdoms, Aug 27, 2010: Turn based strategy
          Worms Reloaded, Aug 26, 2010: Strategy
          Elemental: War of Magic, Aug 24, 2010: Turn based strategy
          Mafia II, Aug 24, 2010: Action/Adventure
          Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Aug 17, 2010: Third person shooter

          This is just some of the larger releases in the last couple months (a lot of games come out around this time of year). There are more minor/indy releases. Notice something about that list?

          I'm not saying there are plenty of FPS games because guess what? FPSes are fun. Bad Company 2 is one I like myself, as well as Team Fortress 2. However if you think that's all there is the only thing that says is you walk around ignorant of the gaming world. There are TONS of games of every kind out there, many of them quite good. Just open your eyes and look.

  • I don't blame them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:28PM (#33644822)
    I don't blame them for not branching out into other as it seems as though [] the audience doesn't care too much about anything new and wants more of the same. That might not be healthy for the industry, but why should a company invest massive amounts in flashy graphics, new tech, and marketing for something that's probably going to flop when they can just push out something using the same engine as their last game, reuse some of the art assets, and have an install base that will probably pick it up without a huge marketing push? If there's money to be made in something new, someone will make it, even if it's not the established players.
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:31PM (#33644836)
    read this one:

    "I want to find ideas that are global."

    I've been saying this for a while now. Videogame culture is not defined by national boundaries. I have more in common with a Japanese gamer than I do with the sport-freak American down the street. Videogame culture is about 40% American/Other Western Countries, 40% Japanese/Other Asian Countries, and about 20% original.

    Yes, Japanese developers are very behind in game design. You look at, say FFXIII. Big-name game, big-name people. They're about par with America in terms of art, music, maybe a bit behind in programming because they don't pay as well. But their game designers are probably ten years behind. Go to an American game-design site like Gamasutra. They'll talk about interaction looks, gameplay design AS the story. Then go to Japan, where most of their game design is "like this game, but with different numbers and colors." They just do not get game design as a science.

    In interests of fairness, however, there is a lot American developers could learn from Japan. First, story. Japanese writers are good at making unique characters. Compare (to use well-known examples) Cloud Strife to Master Chief. Both have unique art designs, but look at the characters. One is an ex-elite soldier recovering from torture/experiment-induced amnesia and a feeling of duty to a dead comrade. The other is a supersoldier who is REALLY good at killing things, and is the last survivor of a battle that, until last week, was never really shown. Now, which sounds like a more interesting story?

    Inafune-san, on the extremely slim chance that you read this, I understand what you're saying, and I'm glad that you're coming to us to learn. However, don't give up entirely on Japanese developers. They have much to teach us as well.
    • by elynnia ( 815633 )

      "I want to find ideas that are global."

      I'm not entirely sure that making a game 'global' would lead to its popularity in this day and age.

      Up until the 90's, limitations in graphics and programming meant that games had to be abstract, to varying extents. When playing Asteroids, Donkey Kong or even Pokemon, their semblance to reality didn't really matter as we all knew it was just a game to have fun with. Thus, games were inherently more globalised, with less direct referencing to existing cultural products (

    • by solios ( 53048 )

      One is an ex-elite soldier recovering from torture/experiment-induced amnesia and a feeling of duty to a dead comrade. The other is a supersoldier who is REALLY good at killing things, and is the last survivor of a battle that, until last week, was never really shown. Now, which sounds like a more interesting story?

      One's a pointy-haired emo whiner, the other is a heavy metal astronaut.

      Now, which character would you rather play?

  • How many PS3 Anime style RPG/action games does japan crank out a year? The gameplay is exactly the same in every one. You have a party of 3 characters (most are of the 'cutesy' type) run around a map, collect roots/sticks/bugs/trinkets randomly encounter some cuddly monster, have a live action battle with it and the 3 characters in your party. Then resume running around.

    I swear in one of these games, you were attacking these... these CHICKENS. Sure they were bigger than you, but to me this type of game

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @02:02AM (#33645948) Homepage Journal
      Japan, seriously, how many times do we need the protagonist to be a 13 year old boy with no fashion sense and spiky hair? Also, would it kill you to have the story make some goddamn sense for once?

      Seriously, when I find out that the main character is the dream of a ghost and the answer all along was that we needed to combine all of the feelings of love throughout the world to break the time loop or something I just want to kick the writer in the nuts.

      That's why I tend to prefer western RPGs, even if they do spend way too much time stealing ideas wholesale from Tolkien, again. I'd love to see more studios go the Mass Effect or even Alpha Protocol route just to freshen up the genre.
    • I once read an account--I'd link to the site, but I don't remember where it was--of the reason JRPGs and Western RPGs are so different:

      Western computer RPGs came first, but were on such limited hardware that they were only able to imitate the simplest (to program) parts of the the pen-and-paper/tabletop games that they were based on--that is, the dungeon crawling, stats, and combat system. Putting actual role playing in a game is pretty damn hard as it turns out, and it took even the West quite a while to

  • he wants to make games less japanese, but his declared strategy is

    My strategy was to bring robots into the game

    Maybe he doesn't realize that the rest of the wold perceives that as the most japanese of strategies?

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf ( 895604 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @12:04AM (#33645464)

    A dating sim set during the landing at Omaha?

    Call of Super Awkward Duty Fight 3: Gun Date

  • FTA:

    That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that

    How come that's what 90% of the market is? Tweaked graphics on the same games from 1997

  • ... is because the amount of work and talent to create a modern game is huge, much more then it was in the 80's and early 90's, to build a game you need a LOT of talented people the problem is that it's extremely hard to get consistency and cohesion of art assets and gameplay vision because of team sizes.

    Few games get it right, but games like God of war for example or soul calibur 2 are excellent examples of when a project comes together well.

  • The big innovation in gaming is figuring out new ways to extract money from players. The concept that you can buy your way up in a game has become mainstream. Too mainstream; YoVille brownies in 7-11. []

    This idea originated in Japan, where you've been able to buy stuff for your virtual girlfriend [] with your mobile phone for years. But that was a niche product. Farmville peaked at 82 million users.

  • by fabs8611 ( 1487177 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @12:53AM (#33645670)
    I've been living in Japan for almost five years now and I can say that this same situation applies to a great number of companies and organizations here. Here city office are still almost completely paper based, employees are expected to work longer hours instead of working more productively, there are only a handful of computer in the teaching lounges of high schools, organizations will hire half a dozen people for what can be done with a single computer and some custom build software, workers are frowned upon if they try to innovate or rock the boat in any way, and stubbornness and diligence are two of the most important traits workers can have. Japan is one of the most xenophobic countries in the world ( [] ), and this doesn't just apply to their attitudes towards foreign people, it applies to business practices too. Japan isn't going to fall behind the rest of the world in technology, they already have. [] There is a famous ancient proverb here that couldn't be more true in Japanese society today: "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down" And get hammered down it does.
  • When the Japanese say they are behind the west, they mean the profits made in the west. They just want to make big bucks and will ruin the Japanese-ness of their games to chase that money.
  • Mainstream gamers shy away from complex combat flight simulators but the DCS series by Eagle Dynamics is really coming along.

    Check out these youtube clips of the high-fidelity modeling of the Ka-50 BlackShark and the imminent A-10C. Plus the medium-fidelity (easier to play) LockOn. Some of the newer aspects of these games were simply not possible with computers five years ago. The state of the art in flight simulators is moving forward at a rapid pace: []
  • And yet in Tokyo... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @03:39AM (#33646384) Journal
    ... some video game stores have a whole floor selling locally produced amateur video games. I haven't seen it anywhere else yet.
  • Originality is good and everything, but there's still quite a bit of room to improve the good old 2D SHMUP imo. A freeware game I downloaded just 2 days ago has a bit of UN Squadron, or R-type about it, but still feels fresh, and gets a lot of things right: []

Loose bits sink chips.