Differences Between Japanese Video Games And American Video Games

Japanese video games and video games from the United States have long had many differences. Both in terms of the games that come individually from the respective countries and ports of games between the two. Though over the course of time both country's video games have slowly adopted many of each other's best qualities, there are still many differences. Here are some of the more dramatic examples from history and from these days:

 

Realism Vs. Fantasy

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Video games in the United States tend more toward gritty realism than video games in Japan, which tend more toward having a rabbit with crystal ears shout rainbows at a ball to make it roll faster so they can escape a floating sentient square that hates rabbits.

 

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Super Mario Brothers 2

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Super Mario Brother's first real sequel was not released in the United States. The Japanese only "real" sequel was extraordinarily difficult, and Nintendo feared that audiences in the United States would get all sad at how hard it was and kill themselves. So they releesed an entirely different version of Super Mario Brothers 2 here that is easier. In order to be even more condescending, if you did poorly enough at the USA version of Super Mario 2, Shigero Miyamoto would actually come to your door, pat you on the head, and say, 'There there," in Japanese. What's worse, you were legally required having purchased the game to pay for his air fare.

 

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RPGs

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Japanese RPGs follow a long tradition started by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest of linear role playing games that set you on a specifc course to tell a powerful and engaging story. RPGs in the United States tend to be about roaming freely through vast landscapes building up your character to take on unknown challenges. Also, RPG heroes in the United States tend to be rugged guys in their 30's with poorly groomed facial hair, whereas RPG heroes in Japanese RPGs tend to be 15 year old androgynous teens with great hair who can somehow hold swords that are significally larger than themselves.

 

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Philosophy

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Japanese video games often deal with themes related to the horrible cost of war, the danger of authority, and the value of relationships in times of crisis. Video Games in the United States generally deal with these issues in the following way: WAR IS AWESOME, AUTHORITY HAS COOL GUNS BE A MARINE, and if you have relationships: KILL THEM.

 

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Mario

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In the United States Mario looks like a happy go lucky slightly paunchy plumber, and his motives are his simple and pure love for the Princess and his desire to get her back from Bowser's evil cluthes. In Japan, Mario is a grossly overweight corrupt Italian Pontiff who breaks into innocent Koopa Troopa's houses in a speedo and eats all their spaghetti without asking. 

 

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What other differences are there between Japanese games and games in the States? Let us know in the comments!

 

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