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Japan is Cooler Than Me
By Julie
2009-03-21

Do you live in Japan?  I don’t.  Do you speak Japanese?  Me neither.  Have you ever heard that a game you really, really wanted to play was only being released in Japan?  Me too!  We are like twins.

Japan is the center of the gaming universe (unless you’re Microsoft), and for decades now they’ve been getting cool gadgets, and crazy titles that we can only dream/read about.  Thanks to legal jerks the world over closing down great sites like Lik-Sang, importing those games has become much more difficult, not to mention expensive, and we the gamers are left wanting.  It hurts to know that something you want is out there, but unattainable.  Like how I feel about Blueberry Morning cereal, or Jose Cuervo Black, and those things are in a country that actually touches mine.

So for everyone who has ever cried “What!? Japan Only!?”, I feel your pain.  I have many times felt the sting of knowing some Japanese kid isn’t appreciating something I’ll never have the chance to experience.  Here’s my top five:

5)Kingdom Hearts.  When the first KH game came out, everyone crapped all over it because they were so insecure in their maturity that they feared playing a game (even a Square game) that contained Mickey Mouse would somehow turn them into stupid babies.  Perhaps North America’s insecurities lead to the bizarre back and forth releases this franchise experienced, with the North American version getting content not available in the original Japanese version, and then Japan getting an even newer version with even more additional content than the North American version.  Whatever the case, there are keyblades out there that I’ve never seen, and I don’t like it.

4)Final Fantasy.  Okay, all the games are available here now, but it took almost 15 years for some of them.  C’mon now.  Unacceptable.

3) Professor Layton.  The Mysterious Village is in my top 3 DS titles to date, but I guess I’m alone on that one (on this continent anyways), because they’ve released 2 more titles in Japan already, with another 3 announced, and they’re getting a frigging MOVIE next year.  A professor Layton movie.  No joke.

2)More colour choices.  The day that the Gamecube launched, I was so broke that all I could afford to buy was the controller.  My colour choice?  Spice.  In Japan, you could actually get a spice coloured Gamecube, while North America was left with a bizarre choice between purple and black.  Later these colours were joined by the Platinum edition, but spice never found its way across the world and into my basement.  Once I graduated to wavebirds, things were better, but before that I would die a little inside everytime I had to plug my spice controller into the purple Gamecube that I eventually found the money for.  Gamecube is only the beginning, though, don’t even get me started on ice blue DS Lites, and special edition consoles.

1) SuperGrafx.  It is a long lamented tragedy that the TurboGrafx failed as miserably as it did. It’s my favourite system of all time, and knowing that its follow-up the SuperGrafx only came out in Japan makes me unspeakably sad.  The saddest part is that Japan didn’t really get to enjoy it either.  Only five games were ever released, and the failure of the SuperGrafx made the TurboGrafx look relatively successful.  One day I will buy one on Ebay.  For $300.  Don’t tell Chris.

While we’ll never be as cool as Japan, I am still eternally thankful that I don’t live in Australia.

It’s true that we don’t get a lot of the cool things that come out in Japan but we also manage to avoid a large amount of crap that we westerners can’t even begin to understand.  The biggest growing genre of video game over there right now?  Non-games.  That’s why we love the Japanese…always so kookie.  When it all comes down to it, though, we owe the whole fact that there are still video games to be played to the Japanese.  So consider this my less than formal thank you.

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Comments
3 Comments • Comments RSSTrackBack URI
  1. 2009-03-21 19:37

    […] The Completionist added an interesting post today on Japan is Cooler Than MeHere’s a small readingDo you live in Japan?  I don’t.  Do you speak Japanese?  Me neither.  Have you ever heard that a game you really, really wanted to play was only being released in Japan?  Me too!  We are like twins. Japan is the center of the gaming universe (unless you’re Microsoft), and for decades now they’ve been getting […] […]

  2. kdogoblingbling
    2009-03-24 11:58

    Although Japan does have TV shows where they convince kids that Zombies are coming to get them.

    http://insendai.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/zombie-vs-kids/

  3. Prince of Space
    2009-03-25 11:19

    Japan also has vending machines where you can get used panties at your leisure, so maybe we don’t want everything they get?

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