Off-topic: Japan and its “charming” racism

nazonoamerican.jpgYou might’ve seen a couple of these Indian Math Drill games…ASK made one too. Covers like this which say “What’s 75×75? An Indian person can clear it in TWO SECONDS” is just general lack of cultural awareness. But Sega took it to the next level.

Take a look at Miburi & Teburi, and the first thing you’ll notice is a giant white man covered in fake hair. That is what they call a ‘Nazo no American,’ or a hint-giving American. There are several others in the game too, such as a woman wearing an American flag, a Hard Gay lookalike, and others. Scroll down and watch the videos. The top video is the in-game stuff, and it doesn’t seem so bad. They have depictions of ‘hyper-Japanese’ people in there too, it seems. But the lower video is problematic. It “stars” the voices of two “Americans” who say things like “I love Japan, I love Japanese people” in uniquely horribly faked American accents. It’s the equivalent of someone saying “I rike fly lice” to describe how a Japanese person might talk. Of course Japan isn’t the only culprit – we’ve still got Mad TV…somehow. But I think in Japan there’s a lack of awareness that this is insulting in the first place, which increases the problem. I honestly think I’d have less of a problem with it if they were truly playing with American conventions and American Japanese fetishism – but they’re just unconsciously making fun of a group of people. And I’m not sure anyone will tell Sega this isn’t appropriate. It’s a fine line, but I think this crosses it.

News: Elminage – dungeon RPG

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Two weeks later, I finally get around to talking about Elminage, a 2D/3D dungeon crawler in the Wizardry vein. These games are basically only still “popular” in Japan, and even there it’s a pretty small niche. Pretty neat to see this stuff still coming out though. It’s coming to PS2 on March 27 for a staggering 7,140 yen (tax included) – but it makes sense if you think about it. People who like this kind of game will buy it at any price – lowering the price by 2,000 yen isn’t going to make anyone else buy it. Illustration work is by Takeshi Miyauchi, and Basiscape is handling the soundtrack. Hitoshi Sakimoto (Vagrant Story, as well as all this) composed the main theme. There’s an OST, and I’m not sure if it comes with all versions, or if there’s a special edition…

News: Lazy difinitivistic videogame titling reaches Japan

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I noticed this game a bit ago, and it’s got a rather fantastic title – Night Wizard The VIDEO GAME Denial of the World. They even refer to it as ナイトウィザード The VIDEO GAME in official text. Developer 5pb has broken down the barrier – this means no more re-titling games like “Ubisoft’s Peter Jackson’s King Kong – The Official Game of the Movie” – you can bring it over as-is! (Actually I think they did that anyway.) If for some reason you’re actually interested in Night Wizard The VIDEO GAME, you can check out a trailer here. It’s not exciting.

News: Oo Okuki

oookuki.jpgOo Okuki (or oh okuki as some people have romanized it), which we mentioned way back here is finally coming out in Japan. I’ve been monitoring it for a long time, because the idea of a back-stabbing harem game is pretty neat. It’s coming to PS2 on April 10 for a full 5,800 yen. I found it back in May 2006, so this is coming out about two years later. Bizarre, but I’m sure all 15 people that buy it will be very happy. No matter how the game turns out, the illustration style is just fantastic.

News: 07 Commando

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I meant to mention this ages ago (maybe I did?), but 07 Commando, a Chinese Metal Slug clone, is coming to DS. The developer is Mana Soft, and the reason I may have neglected to mention the game is that I actually evaluated an early rom of the game from 2006. Talk about dedication to the genre, the game is finally coming to market this year, about a year and a half after the build I’ve played. It’s quite difficult, a bit too linear, but has great graphics, decent music, really nice animation, and is all around a pretty passable product if you get it on the cheap. You can see a trailer here. That music isn’t in-game, of course (thank goodness). There’s a video tab on Mana’s site too, but no video…they do have this awesome sentence though, which applies to the Youtube version as well: “Due to the being compressed of the video,the definition and running frame rate of the effect are damnified.” They also did some nice earlier 2D games on mobile phones, like Fire Power EX (wait for the videos to load, it’s worth it). 07 Commando comes out in 08, naturally.

News: Super Ghouls and Ghosts lovely video

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Eric-Jon showed me this very nice video of a person going through the first level of Super G ‘n G without firing a shot until the boss, with a surprisingly appropriate soundtrack, and nice titles. It’s a bit difficult to describe why it’s so uplifting, but it is! It’s apparently the result of this Something Awful challenges thread, which has lots of other nifty stuff in it.

News: Retro Sabotage

biginvader.jpgSome dudes sent me a pitch to link their website, Retro Sabotage, and maybe it’s been around, but it deserves at least a casual glance. It’s a series of flash games that try to re-imagine classic games and play with conventions in a way somewhat similar to the ‘jinsei owata’ or ‘I want to be the guy’ sense. As an aside, we were trying to come up with a genre term for these over here – closest we came was “platform hell” and “life-endingly impossible.”

With these games they’re sometimes attempts at humor, which can fall a bit flat. The content is touch-and-go, but it’s kind of ‘cute’ and doesn’t cost you anything. I like the concept more than anything, and they do one of these per week. As of now they’ve tackled Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Pong.

News: KOF XII is 2D, and awesome

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Dreadfully sorry, I haven’t been able to keep up with this stuff lately, but check this video of KOF XII at the AOU 08 show. It’s high res 2D, and looks fantastic, from what you can see of that grainy video. The anticipation is…quite high. Well done, SNK! In case you can’t tell, they’re contrasting the old graphics to the new graphics, which is why you see KOF 11 in the beginning. It’s coming in 2008!