July 13, 2010

Across this great divide, we are all connected.

As 12 a.m. hit on July 11th Dragon Quest 9 was avaible to us here in the states. There was no long lines, no midnight gamestop openings and no rush of DS hardware off the shelves. Little less than a year ago the same game was being released in Japan; there were long lines, midnight opening and a colossal surge in DS purchases. Two countries both heavly involved in gaming and yet both our taste are completely different. Both of our countries sell vast amounts of handheld hardware. The DS has reached world record sales while the PSP sell fair in this country, but Japan dwarfs any number we have ever had. In Japan everyone is interconnected. You search for a game to join on your handheld and find tens of games right on the subway train your riding. I rode public transportation for over a year while attending college and I would see the same woman break out her DS on the subway and that was it, so much for multiplayer on the go.

The Dragon Quest games, which started out as Dragon Warrior back in 1986 on the NES, has had a huge following in Japan. The same can be said about Capcom’s Monster Hunter series on the PSP, when a new iteration comes to shelves they fly off just as fast as they were stocked. When these games come out expect Japan to be on paid vacation for a week. Japan no longer functions as a whole and everyone is questing and trying to round up people to go monster hunting. The same could be said about a neigboring country to Japan, Korea when it comes to Star Craft. Now that we are on the dawn of Star Craft II finally breaking it’s incubation bubble, expect Korea to cease to function as well.

As Americans we don’t see the same genres as console movers. We would rather perfer our FPS onslaught to that of classic turn based RPG or a miniature action RPG that envolves us working together. Now don’t get me wrong there are alot of gamers out there that do appriciate these things and are not so heavy on the modern combat shooters, but they are fewer and farther in between. Call of Duty Modern Warefare 2 was the biggest game last year here in the states. In Japan it was Dragon Quest 9, a DS game outsold every other console title out there and pulling up in third was Monster Hunter 3 a PSP game. Here’s the break down according to Amazon Japan.

9. Ryu Ga Gotoku 3
8. Resident Evil 5
7. Wii Fit Plus (software only)
6. Wii Sports Resort
5. Hatsune Miku PROJECT DIVA
4. Tales of Vesperia (PS3)
3. Monster Hunter 3
2. Tomodachi Collection
1. Dragon Quest IX

America’s top ten look a bit different.

01. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision, Xbox 360)
02. Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo, Wii)
03. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo, Wii)
04. Wii Fit (Nintendo, Wii)
05. Wii Fit Plus (Nintendo, Wii)
06. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo, Wii)
07. Wii Play (Nintendo, Wii)
08. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision, PS3)
09. Halo 3: ODST (Microsoft, Xbox 360)
10. Pokemon Platinum (Nintendo, DS)

I know we are all different and we our taste are diverse, to not see this it would be ignorant. The point is this maybe just once, you try someting new. try something that maybe not everyone in your group of friends, co workers, or country are aware about. Maybe Dragon Quest 9 will be in the top 10 for July’s NPD numbers maybe not. Maybe America will jump on the bandwagon with the rest of the world and take soccer seriously, but that’s hopeing for a miracle. My first taste of something truly different from Japan that pulled me in was Patapon for the PSP. It was a remarkable little RTS mixed with a rhythm game and I could not put it down, I was taken in and loved it; my heart breaks to see it sitting at a clearence price at work and no one ever even looks at it. Ever since then I have always tried to go out side of my comfort zone with games, try something new and exciting that may not have been delveloped here in the states.

We are all connected as gamers. We all spend time infront of the T.V., computer monitor, or handheld, being entertained and connecting to world out side our own. So why can’t we as gamers take a journey and discover something new from somewhere out side of our home land.

Editor note : I ment for this article to pertain to Japan as well as our own country. I see how I wrote it and it can seem alittle one sided. I hope both sides can lean something from each other. I picked up a copy of Dragon Quest 9 today and hopefully with in a week I can get a review to you, thanks again.


  1. ScrotusKilmystr - July 15, 2010 1:24 pm

    I do agree with eveyone here but It’s also a matter of cultural taste. soundman brings up a great point about Japan’s colorful history and mythology. We are young by comparison for sure. I just don’t think a turned based stradigy game based in the 1700’s would fly here maybe if it had something to do with the witch hunts of salem but we just don’t have the amazing historical mythologies that the rest of the world has and so we can’t relate to the subject matter.

    Also most of this country hss s painfully short attension span myself included. I currently am playing several rpgs and I know I wont finish them for a year or so….

  2. DianaQ - July 14, 2010 8:57 pm

    I would tend to agree that the more we all look at something that is maybe different than what we are comfortable with, we may surprise ourselves. Taking a look at something different expands our knowledge and creates a new dimension of thinking. Other countries can teach us about history and culture, thus expanding our thought processes. Go beyond what is comfortable and learn something new! What is challenging is a game that requires one to think out a process or action. In this way, you are keeping your mind sharp!

  3. thsoundman - July 14, 2010 8:20 am

    I would have to agree with this assesment. I’m starting to become a fan of japanese games. I’ve recently played Lost Oddyssy and Final Fantasy XIII both of which didn’t have that great of sales here in the US but in Japan flew off the shelves.

    I think it’s that Americans don’t want to think at all when they are playing games that is the real issue here. Most of us prefer our twitch shooters because it requires no real coherant thought. I actually prefer games that make you think such as Myst, Syberia, Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, The Witcher, Dragon Age, etc. I do enjoy my occasional FPS but I don’t live and breath it like some people do.

    You also have to take a look at their myth and culture. They have a much more “Colorful” mythological history combared to the US where we have a much shorter and more “military” based history. Perhaps it means nothing perhaps it does. I don’t know.


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