As I look at my dusted up library and remember the glory days of gaming, I realized something. Most of the games I have were made in Japan. The Japanese have made such a stunning library for us during the PlayStation 1 and 2 days. But as I look at the PS3, I question myself, “What happened with Japanese gaming?” All the games I see today are mostly made from either American or European publishers. Where did all the Japanese games go?
There are many factors that could lead to (some say) the demise of Japanese gaming for us Americans. But how did it happen? Where did things go wrong? The Red Sun has never shown a downfall in their country, but it obviously has shown in ours.
The hugest factor in my opinion has been internet gaming. Microsoft, being the pushy Americans we are, decided to launch their next-gen console first, the Xbox 360. Although with its many defects on the console, it revolutionized internet gaming. This sets the bar for other companies as well. The one genre being used the most in gaming today is FPS (first-person shooters). I am not a huge fan of these games but I do play them once in a while. But, how many FPS games can you mention that came from Japan that made it big in the States?
Another reason that has affected Japanese gaming in the “Land of Opportunity” would be the culture. A lot of the games being published today in Japan wouldn’t be able to make it over here in our territory. But how could such geniuses, people who have made Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Devil May Cry and many other great classics, NOT be able to find that golden age they used to make for us, today? I honestly have no answer for this question but it’s really beginning to show that something is obviously gone wrong somewhere.
Another example I can give about culture differences between consoles would be the PSP. This portable device was a mini giant when it first appeared in stores. But today is a different story, at least in the U.S. The PSP still shines of gold in Japan and shows no stop of slowing down, but there has obviously been a decrease in published PSP games here. The most recent good games I could mention are: God of War Ghost of Sparta, Kingdom Heart Birth by Sleep, and Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. Sure there’s the Monster Hunter franchise but that hasn’t shown the popularity that it has across the sea. Japan’s library of PSP games spans over 3 times as much as ours does, and shows no stopping whatsoever, even with the NGP on its way.
If we looked back at the days of PS1 and PS2, we could mention a great deal of Japan’s greatest games and franchises: Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Zone of the Enders, Final Fantasy, Onimusha, Mega Man, Tekken, Street Fighter, Castlevania, Kingdom Hearts and many more. These titles during that time were exclusives to the PS1 and PS2 (most of them anyway). But as PS3 arrived, those Japanese exclusives diminished extremely. Heck, exclusives ENTIRELY have been diminishing on both the 360 and PS3, leaving many to wonder if there’s a point between owning both just for 5 or 6 exclusive titles.
The list continues on and on of how this slow demise commenced, but I don’t have enough knowledge to understand how or why. Diversity has really changed the look and feel of our games, including Japanese gaming. But my greatest moments will always be kept with the otaku’s of the past. In my mind, the age of Japanese gaming might be coming to an end for us.