It’s just fascinating how the world changes so rapidly. A couple of years back, I would easily proclaim that Japan would make better games than western devs primarily based on the diversity and variety of their games. You could always find something new and exciting among their software.

These days, however, I’d want to grab a timestone and go back to kick myself in the nuts. The Gaming Industry and the environment in which gamers thrive has been engulfed by Computer Centric Design (Or PC gaming).

What made Japan such a prominent force back in the day that makes their foundation crumble? The death of Arcades everywhere but Japan.

You see, Japan, when designing games for an Arcade environment, can do some incredible shit when given the right conditions. Shooting games, Action titles, you name it, you can remember all sorts of action games from them. The West, when designing games for a Computer/PC environment, can do some incredible shit when given the right conditions. RPGs. Strategy games, First Person Shooters, you name it, you can remember all sorts of adventure games from them.

Japan owned the Arcade world while the West owned the Computer world. They are both efficient in these key areas. Asia knows how to create better and more suspensiful action sequences than do Americans (you can tell this by their martial arts films having much better choreography and attention to detail while American MA films are mostly samey with one guy easily taking down a mob). As such, Japan could make better action games than the west in many cases. They were perfectly suited for the arcade where action games ruled.

On the other hand, Europe knows how to create better stories and fantasies than Japanese (you can tell this by their books such as the Lord of the Rings where the elements of fantasy and suspense can hook you better than Japanese stories where everything is nonsensical and illogical, almost to a fault where everyone is like a machine). As such, the West could make better adventure and RPG games than Japan n many cases. They were perfectly suited for the PC where RPGs ruled.

While Pong was revolutionary, it’s debatable that more people would remember games like Pac Man or Galaga more fondly than Robotron. Capcom was certainly the king of the arcades with Street Fighter 2 and Final Fight, while Namco had it’s fair share of titles, aformentioned ones included. These were all action games with an emphasis on kicking ass. The disadvantage of this, however, was that Arcade Gaming can be draining. Especially when it comes to fighting games, it’s a sometimes strenous activity which demands plenty of focus from the players. These games were pretty fuckin hard, especially since you had to play harder just to see the rest of the game’s content. And the quarter pumping, man, Arcade Gaming is not something you spend an absorbant amount of hours playing.
That’s where Computer Gaming comes in. Computer Gaming is a much more leisurely activity which demands nothing but attention to certain details from the player. It’s not fast or particularly adrenaline pumping, but it is a little more relaxing. The emphasis is on problem solving which means a lot more thinking and a lot less concentration and reaction. This meant you could play for hours and not be tired of it. On the other hand, it could be a little boring if you’re stuck in particular parts of the game.

Arcade Gaming was good for a few minutes – half an hour of entertainment, while Computer Gaming was good for several hours tops.

Why was this important? Because with the advent of consoles, Arcade and Computer Gaming would blur the lines forever. Usually when it came to home consoles, the most attractive titles came from arcade ports or games that felt like arcade hits. You never really heard anyone speak of games like Ultima, Castle Wolfenstein, or PC Adventure games in general. RPGs were nigh unheard of. It was all about the Mario’s, the Sonic’s, the Mega Mans, etc. Raiden, Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, just a whole bunch of arcade games. Computer games were mostly left out of the equation. We had Sim City, the Sims, and a few Strategy games around, and DOOM certainly hit a lot of good points with people, but the real popularity came from Action games in general. The problem, however, came when people started playing games more and more often, like some sort of addiction. Whether it was nerds taking over or not, console gaming began to grow into something bigger. The consoles were getting more powerful, and would soon be strong enough to deliver the exact same arcade experience as the game rooms would.
Plus the SRK fags who would show up, kick your ass at SF, and then leave without a word, didn’t help much by turning the arcade atmosphere into an asshole environment.

That said, with the longer hours people started putting into the games, computer centrism befitted this behavior appropiately. By supplanting the time needed to practice and actually get good at the games, they became easier to digest in which you can relax and enjoy the content. Afterall, you’re in your living/personal room where you go to chill. Why would you want to spend that relaxation time all amped up and shit?

What about Call of-

Shut yo bitch ass up!
As I was saying, Computer Centrism was more of a benefit to “certain” gamers than not. We could say games most action platformers weren’t so hellish that you’d be on edge half the time, but for the majority of video games out there, you’d be lucky enough to get passed level 2. Arcade Centrism is tiring, even to this day. Playing through games like House of the Dead, Castle of Shikigami, or even Metal Slug will wear your ass out after a while of playing. On the other hand, titles like Last of Us, Xenoblade, or w/e Valkirye Chronicles is… will be more… “relaxing” in a way. As such, the AAA titles that everyone happily anticipates are heavily Computer Centric. Why do they all look like movies you ask? Because movies are relaxing. By turning games into movies, they’ve become another form of relaxation. And what can you expect from that? Those that are heavily invested into games (The hardcore) will demand relaxing Computer Centrism rather than High Octane Arcade Centrism. The result is the most anticipated games are those that look like relaxing movies to watch.Game trailers look like bloated movies trailers now. And unfortunately, they’re hooking gamers better than before.

90 awards. Sounds like bullshit. But considering how impressive the game looks, and how jouralists are easily pleased by hollywood production values, I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Japan, in it’s current state, cannot compete with this. With all the controversies, mass… and I mean MASS dissappointment received from several franchises, and terrible design (and business) practices, Inafune’s words ring too true not to be heard. Japan cannot do anything within this environment. Their RPG’s fail consistently except one (pokemon), their fighting games have gone under the radar (especially with Capcom on their way out), and there seems to be no end in sight.

Japanese design philosophy is a crumbling standard in the gaming world. No longer will we cheer on the Street Fighters or the Final Fantasy 7’s, we now look to Ubisoft as the Western Capcom as we cheer on the Call of Duties, the Far Cries, the Grand Theft Autos, and the Creeds of Assasins. The industry and the audience it caters to demands Computer Centrism.The most anticipated games are of the Computer Centric build.

It is in this environment that Japan could never hope to compete. Japan is incapable of making decent Computer Games these days. There’s no market for PC games in Japan outside of goddamn Call of Duty. As such, there’s a bigger priority to make Arcade/Console games in Japan. But since consoles are being taken over by the idealogies of Computer Centrism, Japanese devs are put at a very strict disadvantage and cannot manuvuer much outside of the Japanese market.

In the words of Al Khan, “Japan is OVER!”

I suppose it was inevitable. Considering most new devs are otaku sub-humans that even Japan despises, it was inevitable. From the super animu-infused DMC4 to the stagnation of the JRPG to animu shitfests, and to the platformers that are mere fetch quests, and to the action games that are glorified RPGs, none wonder the outcome, nor care.