Western gaming vs. Japanese gaming: What's the difference?

January 21st, 2008 by Brandon

When you walk into a game store and browse through the selection of games available, I'm sure you don't stare at them and think "Hmm, this one must have been made in Japan." No, often times we'll ignore the background of these games and buy them for their content, which is great. However, in a world filled with cultural differences and varied entertainment, it's not at all hard to pick out the western games from the eastern games. Why is this, you're wondering?

Well, think for a second about the kind of games you enjoy playing. Are they violent, bloody shooters with super hero style characters? Or, are they stylistic role-playing games with flashy environments, colorful extravagant characters, and detailed storylines? Surely, I don't need to further explain which category these two types of games belong in, you can probably figure that out by yourself. The real question here is, why are these two cultures so vastly different, and why do they affect our games?

In the first part of a three-part series, Portable VIdeo Gamer explores the cultural differences between western and Japanese gaming.

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Rikitatsu4665d ago

But when it comes to FPS and RTS, western devs are great at it ... but the rest? leave it to japan

socomnick4665d ago

Fighting games, and puzzle games = Japanese dominate.
Rpgs, shooters , platformers,etc= Western devs

chrno64665d ago

no, jrpg is still more popular than wrpg in general. There are often polls about which rpg is more favorable, and jrpg always prevail.

RecSpec4665d ago

There are three main types.

Western is usually more freeform, with less focus on a written story, more about the trip rather than the destination.

Eastern is based more on story and characters. There is a goal and you are trying to get to it. Tends to be more linear

Oh that's right, the third. Rocket Propelled Grenade. Used to blow up stuff a staple in most FPS games.

It's all personal preference.

Leathersoup4665d ago

In Western RPGs you are presented with a main story line to be completed, but you are not held to a specific sequence of events. You are permitted to explore the world in which your character exists. Yes.. your charcter. Most of the times in a Western RPG you are permitted to play the type of character that you want to. You can choose what that character's skills are and how the character advances the skills that he or she has.

In my limited experience with JRPGs I have found that they are more like a movie. The developer creates an fantastic world as long as you stick to the prescribed path through the game. In order to hold the illusion, however, the player must follow a specific path through the game. At various points down the path, the player is prompted for inputs (fights, etc.) but there's usually not a lot of decision making in a way that the story will be altered. Admittedly plots in video games are very hard to make variable in such a way that the decisions that the player makes will greatly affect the outcome of the game. Unfortunately JRPGs for the most part completely stay away from it to the point of where it seems as though you're playing a rail shooter with conversation trees.

Earlier I did mention that I did not have a huge amount of experience with the JRPGs. The one's that I did try, however, led me to not want to play them in general.

Led Zeppelin4665d ago

I'd take Oblivion and all the Elder Scrolls games over Final Fantasy any day...

IntelligentAj4665d ago

I would say JRpg's are better. The story often trumps the free world with no strict objective model of the Western RPG's. Of course this topic is purely preference which makes it impossible to come up with a definite answer.

antoinetm4665d ago

jrpgs have more style and are more immersive.

althought i enjoy the freedom of baldur 1.
(they totally ruined it in the BG2)

baldur 1 > jrpgs > wrpg

but idd its a matter of personnal preferences

Leathersoup4665d ago

...and FallOut3 is going to rock!

mikeslemonade4665d ago

Why are we only talking about RPGs it's western vs eastern in general. Western is younger, but it's growing at a faster rate than eastern and European Western development is my personal favorite it has the art that I want and the online play that is also included. Such as Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain, etc. are interesting games.

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INehalemEXI4665d ago (Edited 4665d ago )

Western RPG's and MMO's are improving. Still they don't drive a story as well as a Jrpg yet.

On the flip side the level of interactive control always seems better to me in a western rpg though most times at the expense of losing the element of a solid party system.

Xbox is the BEST4665d ago

Old IPs (turned based RPG) vs New IPs (action RPG)
Western Devs give more interaction.

Ignorant Fanboy4665d ago

His quote:

"If you are talking about eastern and western developers, I have to admit, we have already lost."

He believes western games are more innovative, its from an article a few months back in EGM.

allforcalisto4665d ago (Edited 4665d ago )

honestly the crap some people post sometimes its ridiculous.

what so his word is law? the guy who can't seem to make a good game to save his life? he's an old fashioned old man, who doesn't know enough about contemporary game development and what gamers want. Sakaguchi's opinion is worth nothing. We can decide if games are good or not, we're the ones playing them

the japanese didnt just make rpgs for gods sakes. What so devil may cry, resident evil, shadow of collosus, are all rpgs?
jet set radio, viewtiful joe, zone of the enders guitaroo man?

i love how whenever these debates come up, people have to amass ALL western devs to justify a comparison to japan.

in terms of technology the western devs are ahead for the most part. In terms of quality and originality in games, the japanese have been owning since forever.

Greysturm4665d ago (Edited 4665d ago )

The guy that hasnt made a hit since final fantasy? The guy whos current jrpgs havent been able to make a dent in the japanese market which has reduced his reputation as a representative of the east?

Let me see what some people would say about that ... Cough-Sellout-cough or just crappy developer.

The Wood4665d ago (Edited 4665d ago )

but i hear where you're coming from. When I think of technology i think poly(whatever)digital. Can anybody tell me a game that is more technically astute than gt5 or the gt5p even. I personally thought that rpgs originated from Japan or Asia so why not call western rpgs: wrpgs. Its so typical of the western world which I am a part of.


kool leathersoup,

just started to do a a little research on it

i will get to the bottom of this, lol

Leathersoup4665d ago (Edited 4665d ago )

Although the computer rpg started in the west, they became the most popular in Japan. (according to wiki). I mean the first Wizardry came out in 1981 on the Apple II.

The game became very popular in Japan and ended up with several sequels in Japan that never made it to North America.

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