I worked with Sean and Crystal on this one.
With the Japanese game culture being such a massive community, it is expected that their video games provide some of the best forms of escapism for players. Whether it is by the intricate detailed graphic designs or character development, Japanese video game distributors have been able to produce some of the most outstanding and visually appealing games throughout history. It is needless to say for many people globally, admirable heros that were introduced through Japanese video games have been easy to grow attached to such as Mario, Link, and Kirby to name a few. However, although the Japanese dominating the video gaming industry for about three decades, it is said that there has been a decline for them ever since the 2000s which could partially be a result from the lack of innovation and capitalism.
According to other sources on the other hand, the Japanese have not completely dropped the ball just yet. Their creativity is still recognized in games released from recent years and people in the U.S. are still in favor of Japanese developers keeping their games unique. Catering to the American culture would ruin that originality. In this article published on Eurogamer.net, John Greiner says, “Japan’s changed, but it’s not dead – it’s just that it’s more the future now than the past.” It is fair to say Japanese games are still worth investing time into despite the recent sales statistics. There is still a hefty fraction of players who are in favor of Japanese developed games that should not be overlooked. We believe this is the reason Japan will learn to gain a better grasp on their imagination to create stunning stories for the world to enjoy overtime.
Japan has a strong console gaming culture and remains so to this day. The west on the other hand is between gaming platforms. Console gaming and PC gaming both have strong presences here in the west though lately one could say that PC gaming has gained serious momentum and even surpassing console gaming in the last few years giving rise to eSports. The west’s trend of playing FPS, MOBA and MMO style games has been something that Japan has missed the mark game development wise just being one step behind. This is where Japan’s creativity needs to and can shine. Games like League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Hearthstone to name a few are all relatively easy games to play on a computer graphics wise so a high end computer isn’t needed as it’s the sport and team mentality that counts so really anyone can play which is great for community building. The community is part of the power and drive of eSports. This is the kind of thing Japan could excel at when developing games. Japan now has to switch gears again and slide into this eSports movement which has captured the attention of most of Asia and has definitely caught fire here in the west. I think while Japan gaming is pretty staunchly console based the right push could some of that console community into the eSports community which in turn will bring more. Groups like the JCG who Daniel Robson writes about here are attempting to do just that featuring League of Legends among other for starters.
Generally, the Team Fortress community, while strong in both places, seems to grasp the concept of “Team” Fortress much better in Asia, perhaps because of the strongly unified culture of places like Japan and Korea. The only issue with the Asian Team Fortress community is a lack of populated servers. Things could be different with the console version of the game, but for the intents and purposes of this post we will be sticking to the PC version of the game.
The most often populated servers are owned by the Puni Puni na Are group. However, these servers have a plugin that kicks people with ping above 150, so it was difficult to get a read on how the community in those servers is. The other servers we tried had a generally excellent community, though. Never once did the one of us that was in charge of actually playing on these servers feel like their teammates were at fault if they let a Medic die.