Japanese Anime Games in The West

Feb 28, 2017 | 1 Votes by shilpa 9 rate Your vote
Japanese anime games have been around for quite some time, but with the exception of a few rare cases, such as Pokemon, they have hardly been able to truly enter gaming market in the West. In this article, we take a look into these anime games and its struggles to gain a foothold in the West. WWGDB - Japanese Anime Games in The West

The world of gaming is diverse and endless. If one tries to probe into the realm of gaming, one would be lost in the wilderness. There are like a million games out there befitting almost every individual on this planet. There are thousands of genres like first person shooter, Role playing, arcade, social world, sports, war, strategy, simulation and many more. Every person has his or her own choice when it comes to choosing a game from the cesspool. The thing is, there is a game for everybody out there, pertaining the person’s desire, nature and idiosyncrasy.

There are two main game producers in the world today- The East and The West. The East is composed mainly of Japan and you all know what the West looks like in an atlas. When you move to the East, the majority of the games you find are anime and manga games that mostly relate to the exclusive Japanese Culture. The Western games on the other hand are varied and imbibe various cultures into it. So what is the difference? How would you decide on which game you should play? Where do the differences lie? These are some of the pertinent questions one must ask when trying to develop a comparative study between Anime games and western games.

Japanese Anime


The oldest and first generation of anime came around in the 1910s developed by Ōten Shimokawa, Jun'ichi Kōuchi and Seitaro Kitayama, who were commonly referred to as the "fathers" of anime. The first ever anime movies and TV shows came into existence through the hands of these brilliant men. Games hadn’t dawned into the anime culture just then. With time, the developers started realizing the needs of the Japanese people and the people around the world who were exceptionally fond of the Japanese Culture.

If you look back into your childhood days, you would realize that the first ever games you played were probably Mario, Pacman and Pokémon. You would spend countless hours in front of the TV set or the PC or the Gameboy playing these games. As time passed by, Japanese developers started producing games that were a lot more diverse and complicated. A typical anime game would portray a kid with awkward and colorful hair having super powers. He would develop his powers, make friends and undertake various conquests until the very end where he or she has to defeat a cosmic deity or an all-powerful super villain. Some common games are Final Fantasy, Pokémon, Dragon Quest, Yokai Watch and The Legend of Zelda.

Village of Ghosts in Pokemon: Advanced Adventure


These games bend towards the abstract and are pretty colorful and attractive. On being asked the reason, most game developers would say that Japanese children grow up in contact with anime and manga books and movies and TV shows that portray very similar features. To keep the flow, the developers had to produce games pertaining to these factors.

Travelling to the West


Anime and manga games are not just enjoyed in Japan itself. More and more people are getting interested in this particular genre because of its abstraction and plots. As the scenario shows itself, one can see that there are over millions of gamers today who drown themselves in Japanese anime games. There are pro-gaming sessions of games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. How did the globalization happen?

The Japanese gaming population is said to be shrinking. If the Japanese game developers continue to produce games just for their country, business would run out. As a solution to this predicament, game developers started working with the West to expand the market and keep the business going. For this to happen, developers had to vastly modify their games keeping in mind the Western culture and lifestyle. The language had to be changed, locations had to be changed, and certain cultural changes that could be offensive for certain sections of the society had to be changed.

This was difficult for certain traditional Japanese developers because sometimes they had to change their creation and often step out of their niche to satisfy the West. So the question is, did anime games actually have an effect in spite of the changes and adaptations?

Gaming Perspective


When you play a Western game like The Witcher 3, Call of Duty or Far Cry 4, you would have to play with a middle aged rough character that is ruthless and could do anything for love or revenge. In case of anime games, the scenario involves saving the world rather than undertaking personal vendetta. The western game scenarios and characters are a lot more realistic and practical in comparison to anime. The Japanese developers would say why not add some color and imagination into a game. Japanese games are linear when being compared to western games.

These arguments and differences prove that despite the adaptations and changes in anime games, they are not being able to replace a gamer’s choice of playing Assassin’s Creed instead of Final Fantasy. With these aspects in the limelight, one can conclude that even though anime games have influenced a major mass of the Western populace, it is yet to reach its prime there. Perhaps with time and proper localization, anime games will gain more ground in the West.

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