December 14, 2012 by misterblank22
There is no denying my obsession with Japanese culture; I love everything about it from the noble attributes to the bizarre ones. This goes into everything in my life, my favorite movies are from Japan, my favorite books are from Japan, and even my favorite food is from Japan. Someone, who I suppose thought himself to be a really smart poet came up with this phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side.” He was right because you’ve never been to the “other side” yet so of course you are going to think that it is much better than the dying tan grass you’re standing on. But the guy left out one detail, grass tends to die the longer you stand on it. But I’d rather stand on fresh new grass then remain on the dying patch I’ve been standing on for years. This can be applied to my continuing battle with JRPGS. I could be comfortable playing Halo for weeks and then something hits me and I want to play as a high-pitched pink haired girl with no muscle mass who has to fight in a turn based setting. Maybe because it’s the “other side” of an FPS.
Here in the West we tend to chain ourselves down to a bizarre set of rules that we rarely try to deviate from. “How about the character flies and carries a weapon that doubles as a stuffed teddy bear.” says a creative man from the east. “No let’s make him a marine that has to battle an enemy, yeah, but the enemy can like destroy the world.” says the uncreative man from the west.
The ideas that westerners have are very creative in their own way but tend to remain in this little bubble. As the years have progressed it seems that this bubble is beginning to get weak and redundant. Some of my favorite games are made here in the United States but they are almost backtracking in their design or morphing perfect franchises into clones of other ones to get better sales. Soon Mario will be carrying a machine gun with the task of stopping the evil plans of an alien race; the princess will most likely be an AI on his spacecraft.
A trend that is big in Japan is the Visual Novel, a genre of games that never get ported to America, maybe because it requires us to read. These games, though sometimes rooted in complete insanity, can be very emotional due to the choices the player is given much like Mass Effect. The choice is in your hands with these games, yes there is almost no playing involved apart from reading and choosing dialogue choices or the occasional puzzle but The Elder Scrolls feels that way sometimes.
The truth is my addiction to JRPGS and Japanese culture in general costs me money, sometimes more than I’d like to admit. I own poetry books written in Japanese along with a stack of games that I can’t seem to finish, but I plan on going out and purchasing Final Fantasy 13 soon, even though it is not in my best interest. The battle continues…