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Mega Man Designer Explains Japan's Waning Video Game Influence

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the too-much-effort-spent-on-fembots dept.

Businesses 315

eldavojohn writes "As one of the creators of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune remembers the days when Japan redefined video games. He believes those days are long gone as he reveals much in his criticisms of Japan's ailing game economy. Inafune says Japan is five years behind — still making games for older consoles with 'no diversity, no originality.' When asked why, he responds, 'A lot of designers, if they find a genre that works for them, they stick with it. A lot of designers just stick to a set formula. That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that. The business side is not keeping up with investment. You need to be prepared to invest 4 billion yen or more on a game, and then spend 2 billion yen more to promote it. But Japanese companies can't do that. So we're losing out to the West in terms of investment in games. It's a vicious cycle, a deflationary spiral. Because you don't invest, you can't sell games, and because you don't sell games, you can't invest.' He compares making games for Japan and the US to Sushi and basketball — two popular things but each done in distinctly different ways by the two nations."

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not just japan (2, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644714)

no diversity, no originality

sounds like every other copypasta shooter, sports game, racing game we have from the mainstream devs/publishers here in the states. If you ask me, Japanese games have some of the most diversity and originality. America's latest Shoot 'em Up? They aren't that unique. Call of Duty maps being released as free downloads for PC, then being re-released as 'map packs' for money a couples years later. Mainstream here is mostly movie spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and rehashes. And Madden 19xx-20xx, but nothing new under the sun there either. Sims games? NCAA games? Comic-book games made after movies? Games made after movies made about games? Intellectual property my ass. More like unoriginal crap-ware extortion.

Re:not just japan (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644752)

In reality, I can really only think of a handful of "good" American studios, Bungie, Valve, Blizzard and BioWare. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of good Japanese studios which consistently make quality games, Namco, Square-Enix, Nintendo, Sony, etc.

Re:not just japan (1)

g_rampage (1117503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644824)

Off the top of my head I'd add Naughty Dog and Insomniac to that list.

Re:not just japan (1)

JtDL (762711) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644840)

What was the last really good new game made by Namco? How about Atari, Konami, Capcom, or Sony? By new I mean innovative and fresh, not a really great sequel, so that it will refute the article.

Re:not just japan (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645078)

As opposed to the fresh ideas by American studios? Lets face it, games have been making sequels from each other ever since the days of "Space Wars". When I think of the most popular games made by American studios I think of Halo: Reach (Halo Franchise), Fallout 3 (Fallout franchise), WoW (Warcraft franchise), Generic-Sports-Game 2010 (whatever their series is), Starcraft 2 (Starcraft series), Dragon Age Origins (Essentially Baulder's Gate 2.0), Team Fortress 2 (sequel to Team Fortress), etc.

Re:not just japan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645436)

Are you GAY?
Are you a NIGGER?
Are you a GAY NIGGER?

oh fuck it. i'm not with gnaa.
i just wanted to say 'nigger'.
that's all.

Re:not just japan (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645522)

Don't forget sandbox games like Sims and Little Big Planet.

Re:not just japan (1)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645318)

Atari is American. Or at least it was. What exactly it is now I don't know, but it isn't the company that made the stuff we loved in the 70s and 80s.

Re:not just japan (1)

sakura the mc (795726) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645474)

Just because The Idolm@ster didnt come here doesnt mean namco hasnt made any good games.

Bungie??? LOL! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644892)

The company that had so little faith in their mind numbingly mediocre Halo games to get decent reviews they sent out 900 dollar 'gift packages' to reviewers...

Microsoft: Bribing Halo 3 Reviewers []

Dean Takahashi: Halo 3 press kit "nothing less than a bribe" []

Way to go Bungie! No wonder their bunny hopping shiny green Power Ranger games are the laughingstock of the FPS world...

Why even try when you have Microsoft's billions to throw at the gaming press?

Re:Bungie??? LOL! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645210)

And it worked, since every console-kiddie out there thinks that Halo is the best thing since sliced bread. Though really, it's the same problem all of those Nintendo fanboys had when GoldenEye came out. They had no prior experience with the genre, because it didn't work well on their platform. Thus, even the most mediocre title garnered great success... never mind that everyone else was playing the far superior Quake 2 when GoldenEye came out.

Re:Bungie??? LOL! (2, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645482)

AS someone who played all of the Quake's when they came out, GoldenEye was fantastic because me and my friends could all play together at a moments notice at anyone house. Transporting a Console game (and possibly system) is a lot easier then setting up a LAN party. That's what made it soo much fun, the group experience.

Re:not just japan (4, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644936)

In reality, I can really only think of a handful of "good" American studios, Bungie, Valve, Blizzard and BioWare. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of good Japanese studios which consistently make quality games, Namco, Square-Enix, Nintendo, Sony, etc.

I'm not a huge gamer, but I can easily add a few to that list: Bethesda, Obsidian, Epic, id, Infinity Ward. Some of these developers have waned a little recently or been acquired by some parent company, but they still produce some good games. Even going by a list on Wikipedia [] , there are only a few other Japanese companies I recognize (such as Konami and Capcom).

These days, I don't see a reason that Japan would be greatly superior at game development than any other country. Originally they had something of a head start in the industry (many consoles have been developed there), but any more there are many talented and experienced people all over the world. Any country which comes up with something new will initially be on top, but things will inevitably level out sooner or later.

Re:not just japan (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645080)

"Bethesda, Obsidian, Epic, id, Infinity Ward."

Holy shit are you a fucking piece of garbage. What a fucking embarrassment to real gamers.

Re:not just japan (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645186)

"Bethesda, Obsidian, Epic, id, Infinity Ward."

Holy shit are you a fucking piece of garbage. What a fucking embarrassment to real gamers.

It's a school night - shouldn't you be in bed?

Re:not just japan (3, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645308)

What is this elitist crap you're peddling? Four out of five of those are fine studios. I understand that you clearly think it's uncool to like anything popular, being a young, elitist idiot. "Real gamers" were playing games before you were born. Your entire appreciation of gaming is based on what OTHER PEOPLE think of your choices. Way to go, independent thinker.

Re:not just japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645092)

add Bethesda to that list, they made Oblivion and the new fallout games
Rockstar too

Theres really a lot of great studios that fly under the radar simply by not making the huge big budget type of games. There's been some good developers that have been coming out of Eastern Europe recently too. Check out Metro 2033 if you haven't heard of it. Amazing games like that sometimes come and go without much notice simply by not having the huge advertising budget and name. The game itself is as amazing if not more so than the half-life series.

Re:not just japan (2, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645276)

Why is Bungie on that list? It's an awful studio which hasn't had an idea since the late 90s.

Halo isn't even a good game. Marketing made it popular, because there's a whole generation of console FPSers out there who don't even know what a real FPS plays like. If Halo had been released on PC, it would have bombed after the first game.

Re:not just japan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645274)

what about starcraft ;_;

Re:not just japan (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645368)

You obviously have a very short or very selective memory. You know there are a LOT of great, original games for the NES and Super NES, there are many, MANY times more crapware/cloneware etc. games for those systems too, many coming from Japan. This situation is not new. According to 'kipedia there were 798 licensed games for the NES in NA/Europe and 1,055 for the famicom(obviously with a lot of overlap). Can you off the top of your head even name 5% of all NES games? My guess is that you cannot because you can only remember the really good ones(mario, metroid, zelda, final fantasy dragon warrior etc).

Don't focus on exclusives... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644730)

I really hope this doesn't end up with a lot more Japan-exclusive games while the west gets crap games like what happened in the 16-bit era. I don't -want- more "westernized" games. I -like- games that are different such as Katamari. I can appreciate multiple cultures, I don't -want- games dealing with "western" themes as opposed to Japanese themes. I want good, solid games. I don't want localization, I want translation, yes, but subtitles are fine. I'd rather have the Japanese voice actors and subtitles than crappy US voice actors.

There have been some brilliant games either not brought to the west or brought to the west later that would have been excellent back "in the day". For example, a lot of the Final Fantasy games were not released for the NES/SNES in the US and the entire Fire Emblem series was neglected until fairly recently.

I don't want westernized games.

Re:Don't focus on exclusives... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644894)

You are in the minority then.

Re:Don't focus on exclusives... (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645528)

I've only played Katamari on the PS3 and I freakin' love it. If there was ever a game for which there should be a level editor or downloadable content, this is it.

Five years behind? (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644734)

Five years behind what? The US? What have we produced that has been original lately? Another Madden NFL game? What American game has been as original as something like Katamari Damacy lately? (Granted that is 5 years old or more now). Seriously though, I would like to know, because video games are a bit boring lately. (I suppose Portal might count).

Re:Five years behind? (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644768)

Agreed. []

Re:Five years behind? (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644790)

Might count? Why wouldn't it?

Re:Five years behind? (4, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644820)


If anything, the vast budgets of U.S. game makers are what's killing creativity and innovation in game design -- it's way too expensive for them to take much risk these days, and pretty much everything coming out of the U.S. these days is the same old tired formulas with better anti-aliasing and more accurate physics...

If Japan's economy is ailing, then that might kill off some developers (which is bad), but on the other hand, it might also mean that the focus shifts to lower-priced and lower-budget games. Even if such small-budget games tend to often be formulaic as well, the simple fact that they're much faster to develop and involve much less risk means there's actually a lot more room for experimentation. If you actually look at the selection of games available in Japan, I'd say this is true: despite a few "whales" like FFXIII, there's a vast range of quirky and interesting games for the DS, wii, etc. -- and these are what actually get the most shelf space, and seem to account for the majority of traffic in the store (well, judging by "where people are standing looking at games," anyway), even if the big monitor at the front of the store (paid for by Sony of course) is showing off the latest whale-of-the-month.

Re:Five years behind? (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644844)

If anything, the vast budgets of U.S. game makers are what's killing creativity and innovation in game design -- it's way too expensive for them to take much risk these days, and pretty much everything coming out of the U.S. these days is the same old tired formulas with better anti-aliasing and more accurate physics...

I've been a PC gamer since the early 80's, and people have been making that kind of claim for almost that long. I prefer the same kind of games now that I did back then; long, immersive (western) RPGs--and they have gotten better and better as the industry has matured and spent more developing them.

Re:Five years behind? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644876)

The problem with that is, having the general public differentiate between crap and a good game. For example, someone who wants to get the game "Cooking Mama" for the Wii has to wade through games like "Food Network, Cooked or be Cooked" and "Order Up!" which are essentially clones of the game lacking the appeal because all have similar themes and art.

Plus, budget games aren't necessarily cheaper. I'd shell out $50 for FF XIII that would keep me busy for 40 some hours but the newest "casual" game costs the same and might only keep me entertained for 15 hours and still might cost me $50-30.

If casual games cost $10-15, yeah, I'd buy them. But without any price motivation why would I settle for a less technically pleasing game that will be playable for fewer hours.

Re:Five years behind? (2, Informative)

object404 (1883774) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644994)

If casual games cost $10-15, yeah, I'd buy them.

Uh. What are you talking about? Yes they do. May I redirect you to the $10 and below section [] of the games sold at Steam? There's a ton of gems in there.

May I also redirect you to the Mega-Love Indie Bundles [] : which pack in these excellent indie casual games: Aaaaa! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, Brainpipe, Captain Forever, Cogs, Saira, Space Giraffe or And Yet It Moves, Auditorium, Aztaka, Eufloria, Machinarium & Osmos for $19.99 or all 12 games for $29.99?

Finally, check Steam Game Sales [] which lists all the recent promos/sales/discounts on Steam, Direct2Drive, EA & Impulse, updated daily. Look! Stuff's up to 85% off right now!

Re:Five years behind? (3, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645546)

Apple's app store has changed what I consider budget games. I bought Angry Birds for a couple of dollars and I've spent an order of magnitude more time playing it than I have Modnation Racers that I bought on the PS3 for $60.

Other than Modnation Racers, I haven't bought a game that cost more than $10 in about a year (and I wish I hadn't bought MNR, it isn't very good).

Re:Five years behind? (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645334)

I am curious did you buy FFXIII? When I read that article FF13 was exactly what came to mind. I've "played" that game up to something like chapter 12 and quite honestly i've never seen a game before that all you literally have to do is move forward hit X a lot and sometimes hit some other keys (aka change paradigm). Even the characters don't seem to be engaging (unlike for instance 7). Further its got a weapon upgrade system that seems unmatched to its CP thing (and not even very sensible without an online guide). Its not even figuratively mindnumbingly linear, its literally linear... move forward hit X move forward hit X.. "chain events" hit X "heal" hit X "buff/debuff" hit X

  this is literally only play while "riding the elliptical" game.. (hence i've gotten up to 12)

  in contrast uncharted/2 or even GTAIV for instance I thought was fantastic in terms of story telling ..

Indie scene is pretty neat... (2, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644830)

I dunno, the indie game scene seems to have at least some interesting stuff floating around these past few years, like World of Goo [] , And Yet It Moves [] , and Fluidity [] . (The latter two are European, not USian, but hey.)


Re:Indie scene is pretty neat... (3, Insightful)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645384)

A few more for your list:

Minecraft [] isn't American, but is really good and so popular these days that the guy behind it has flown to talk to Valve and had to shut down his registration and payment system (which also means it's free to play right now!).

Dwarf Fortress, of course.

Lugaru HD [] is another classic indie title, and I think the non-HD version got open sourced as part of the Humble Indie Bundle deal. The game is a bit sparse at times, but for me the gameplay was top-notch.

Darwinia [] will make you more attached to little green pixel men than should be right.

These are some of the well-known ones. Really there are too many to list, but I HIGHLY recommend buying fresh, innovative indie games. They don't have the polish of AAA big-budget titles, but they make up for it in interesting gameplay mechanics and sometimes genuinely good storytelling that wipes the floor with the "everything you do must be epic to the extreme!" plots that the AAA titles have. I've gotten more hours of fun from VVVVV (look for it on steam for $5) than I got from playing Gears of War 2 which cost 10x that much.

Seriously, support your indie developers. The more people who buy their games, the more they get to make. Here [] is a good place to start looking.

Re:Five years behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644854)

Five years behind what? The US? What have we produced that has been original lately?

Here is a list of my favorite games, none of which came from Japan as far as I know. Don't know that they all came from the US, but I'll bet most of them did.

Mass Effect
Grand Theft Auto
Supreme Commander
Company of Heroes

Most of these games are on at least their third version. You may see that as a bad thing but Just like Windows 7 is better than Windows Vista, Starcraft 2 is better than Starcraft.

Re:Five years behind? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644924)

Dwarf Fortress?

Re:Five years behind? (1)

Mike D. Kristopeit (1900568) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645052)

you can climb on some walls using protruding bricks in the new prince of persia game.

Re:Five years behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645126)

People make these claims *EVERY* 'generation' of consoles/pc games. Every gen of games has its total bag of crap. 98% of the games are just that, crap. It is that 2% we remember from prev gens.

For example there are nearly 1200 games for the original NES. 4200+ games for the gameboy up thru the advance (havent looked at the current gen). Out of that astounding list there are maybe 150-200 games that are 'real good'. The rest ... wait for the bargain bin.

The 70s style consoles were the same way. The early 80s style were the same too. The 90s the early 2000s etc...

My point? Making games is risky. For every 'hit' there are 20 duds.

Also broaden your horizon beyond the console market and steam. In the past year I have bought nearly 50 *GOOD* PC games and probably another 25 or so 'duds'. These games do not even require a decent GPU. My total cost for this 'risky' move on my part? Maybe 1000 bucks as I can get the for 10-25 bucks a pop. BTW popcap games have no DRM, and the adventure game style of game is far from dead (it just doesnt gen tons of flash like a good FPS).

Most of what you see on a console is a 'safe bet'. As licensing costs are fairly high on a console (think 20-30% and price fixing at specific levels). So someone could make a game that would probably sell great at 15-20 (what katamari was back when it came out and everyone else was 40 a copy) a copy yet they have to start out at 60 a copy. Games have a shelf life of 2-4 months before they get tossed into the bargain bins as there are another 20 titles coming down the pike to replace it so they sell terrible and are considered a failure.

Just to get you started
PC - plants vs zombies, or ghost pirates of vooju island
WII - super mario bros wii, or metroid the other M.
PS3 - uncharted 1 & 2, little big planet
360 - cant suggest as mine RROD'd

FPS is a tired and boring genre that is getting long in the tooth. Oh there will still be a few good games in there. But it needs a rest. Puzzle games are seeing a resurgence as 'casual games'. But they are just puzzle style games...

Re:Five years behind? (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645372)

Red Dead Redemption is pretty cool.

Ironic, no? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644770)

Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10... pretty fuckin' badass videogames. Implemented in 2009-10 using 1986-8 technology.

Re:Ironic, no? (1)

JtDL (762711) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644814)

As I recall, MM9 and 10 are impossible on 1980s technology. Instead, the design goal was to emulate the look and feel of the classic games.

Re:Ironic, no? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644934)

As I recall, MM9 and 10 are impossible on 1980s technology. Instead, the design goal was to emulate the look and feel of the classic games.

What's impossible about them? The gameplay is identical. The only thing they changed about it is eliminating flicker. And outputting a HDTV friendly video resolution.

Re:Ironic, no? (2, Informative)

JtDL (762711) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644946)

I'm actually looking for the article - it was in the XBox Magazine that dealt with the release. In one of the MM9 stages there are platforms that rotate and your character will rotate with them. The graphical rotation was impossible, if I recall the article correctly. The closest article I can find online is [] - it talks about the flicker and the limits on enemies on screen at once, but nothing about the elements that made it into the final release that would have been impossible 20 years ago.

Re:Ironic, no? (1)

JtDL (762711) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645150)

Sorry to reply twice to the same comment, but I found some interesting technical discussion at [] - note that these people are not affiliated with Capcom. Everything in this comment after this sentence is quoted from a post on page 5 of that thread:

Note that background colors on the NES must be in 16x16 pixel blocks - you get to use 3 colors for every 16x16 pixel section. You can put sprites on top to add more colors but this gets costly. From looking around on Megaman 9 this limitation would probably be an issue in many places.

The fade transitions between menus and such are too smooth. If you play a regular NES game with a fade you'll be able to see 3 or 4 "tics" of fade, sometimes using awkward coloring.

It looks like there's too much color cycling going on. You can have machinery flashing smoothly from black to green on the same screen as blinking red lights as well as two enemies and Megaman each with their own colors. There are different ways to do color cycling; maybe the green one is an actual palette changing, and the red one is being bankswitched or edited CHR-RAM. The point is that this is present in many places and it would take a lot of careful observation and playing around to determine if it's even possible.

The swinging platforms in Jewel Man's stage mentioned by dwedit are indeed a problem. Large movement like that is usually achieved on the NES by scrolling a part of the background, but if that was the technique then we should see all the platforms swinging at the same time. They are also at different heights, making the scroll method even more unlikely. The alternative is sprites, and the platforms are made up of too many of them. They would flicker and look awful, assuming they didn't use up all available sprites in the first place (the NES supports 64 8x8 sprites, and that includes Megaman and the enemies and anything else small that moves). The chains would add to this as well. Besides all that, the platforms/chains look like they move too smoothly for NES calculations...they might use a big look up table, but that contributes to a huge game size.

You know that boss that's two big blobs, fights like the Yellow Devil? That would be extremely difficult to replicate on the NES. When the blobs move up/down independently, and the floor also stays still, you're talking about a vertical split scrolling in different directions that is also timed such that the bottom of the screen does not scroll. Rest assured this is pretty tough, if not impossible (considering you're also keeping track of the rest of the game engine). Again, you could try it with sprites, but an 8x8 tile blob uses up all your total sprites (half in 8x16 mode). And there would be so much flickering you'd barely be able to see it.

The only reasonable way to do that is with sprites, and there are simply too many of them. 8x16 sprites could come close I suppose but that introduces difficulty of its own.

And when they explode?

"So what?" you can say. "We'll tone down the explosions." But that's one isolated example of this sort of problem, what about the whole rest of the game?

It's true that quite a bit is possible on the NES with enough effort. Most MM9 problems that look undoable might be able to be solved through tricky timed code. However when you get into that, there's usually not enough time to process the rest of the stuff going on onscreen (enemies and such).

Go USA (1)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644778)

We Americans really excel at engineering ways to screw off no matter the cost. See lawn darts [] for an example.

Re:Go USA (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645116)

No, we Americans excel at being fucking morons.

Take a look at lawn darts from your example - a perfectly feasible, fun game. Banned in most states because of a whopping three deaths that were the result of "the darts" being thrown around by a couple of drunken retards. More people are killed by drunken retards wielding cars. More people were killed by HORSESHOES that same year, but oh no, we has to ban the eeeevil lawn darts...

Or take the fear that people have towards Monosodium Glutamate - a completely safe substance, but one that every asian restaurant has to put a big "no msg added" sign up about, thanks to racist ass-hat who decided to spice up a slow news day by complaining about why he "always got a headache eating Asian food." The reality is that it occurs naturally in a ton of foods, including chicken and mushrooms, and that substitution of MSG for salt can reduce sodium intake by up to 60% in a given recipe.

Graphics over gameplay (5, Insightful)

object404 (1883774) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644780)

"You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality."

In general, that is what has been plaguing the entire gaming industry since the late 90s: graphics over gameplay. That being said, the rise of casual games these past few years has been a welcome change over shiny 3D graphics with dull repetitive gameplay formulae.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644810)

"Casual" gaming has killed gaming. Just look at the Wii, yeah, there are some pretty good casual games out there, but the problem is, the clones simply just fail. At least a Pac-Man or Mario clones were entertaining but casual game clones just fail. I'd rather play the worst Mario clone than play the newest "Cooking Mama" or "Wii Sports" clone.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (2, Interesting)

g_rampage (1117503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644872)

How does Cooking Mama's existence mean hardcore (for lack of a better term for not casual) gaming doesn't exist? The gaming market isn't a fixed size. The increase in the casual market has not killed the existing market at all. In fact it's probably caused some crossover and improved gaming in general, but I have no stats to back that up.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644964)

When was the last title worth buying for the Wii? The last game I bought was Brawl and I haven't seen a need to buy a new Wii game since then because the "causal" market for it is so big it cannibalized all the decent games. I bought lots of games for the GameCube but hardly any for the Wii. Its gotten so bad I went out and bought an Xbox just so I could actually play some games. I don't consider myself a "hardcore" gamer, I just want games with substance and not silly control schemes like Super Mario Galaxy. I don't care if the game was decent, the fact I had to wiggle around a silly little pointer killed all the fun. Had it been playable with the Classic Controller, it would be a nice game, since it can't be, I'm not going to bother with the sequel.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

g_rampage (1117503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645076)

You didn't say Wii gaming was killed. You said gaming. For the most part I understand your complaint about Wii titles, but if they're not what you're looking for then look outside the Wii.

Also to answer your question, I don't keep up with the Wii at all, but didn't the new Metroid game just come out?

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645266)

You don't want casual games, and yet you bought a Wii...the entire point of the Wii is casual, family-friendly party games. I recommend you buy a PS3 or Xbox360 instead, where actual vidya games still roam free.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645508)

He specifically said he bought an Xbox (I do assume it was a 360). At least read the dude's post if you're going to comment.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

object404 (1883774) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644926)

Plants vs. Zombies? Machinarium? Canabalt? Bookworm? Desktop Tower Defense? Portal 2D? All these games kick ass. Don't knock the genre because of the wannabe-clone-"me too" knockoff garbage. There's been more innovation in the casual gaming scene than there's been in the big-budget 3D hardcore gamer scene this past decade.

Actually it's the big game development studios that have been destroying the game development industry. Because there's so much risk involved with their formulae which requires millions and millions of dollars to develop a title, they keep sticking to old formulae and pump out crap like Madden NFL games year after year to avert "risk".

The rise of casual games has brought about a new indie gamedev golden age. It's really nice knowing that 3-5 guys can pump out really fun games loved by many players just like back in the 80s on the PC.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645014)

More innovation yes, but at what cost? Yeah, I'll admit that Tower Defense is good for spending a few hours playing, but after a while it becomes boring. While I can spend hour after hour playing something like Tales of Symphonia, Canabalt is only good for killing a few minutes. The fact is, the only reason why "casual" games are really even worth playing is because they are free or close to free.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

g_rampage (1117503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645100)

At literally no cost, in the sense you are describing. They're still making Tales games among plenty of other RPGs you'd probably enjoy. Countless other hardcore and serious games are coming out weekly. Why are you so convinced that casual gaming getting larger must mean other gaming has gotten smaller?

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

object404 (1883774) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645178)

Why are you so convinced that casual gaming getting larger must mean other gaming has gotten smaller?

mod parent up.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645260)

Because they have. Rather than having three systems of games of all sorts it has decreased to essentially two (360 and PS3). Most other generations had multiple systems to choose from, not just two. For example, both the Gamecube, Xbox and PS2 offered a wide variety of games. The GameCube in particular had some nice RPGs, shooters, adventure and platforming games that are notably absent on the Wii. Add into the fact that the PS3's game library seems to be a carbon copy of the 360's with only a handful of notable exclusives, and you have a very worrisome situation.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

g_rampage (1117503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645462)

You're narrowing your view again. This is completely discounting handhelds and PC gaming. The game industry has shifted, yes (for example handhelds are now arguably the best for RPGs). However, it hasn't gotten smaller. If you really think so, please provide some kind of evidence beyond "because they have."

Why is it when the GameCube had nice RPGs, shoters, adventure, and platforming games it's a good thing but when the PS3 has the same thing you brush it off as a "handful of notable exclusives." The games are still there, you're just looking in the wrong places.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645244)

I'd blame the original Playstation for the rise of mainstream gaming more than anything. Casual games haven't destroyed the industry, popularity of the hobby has. I'd rather play a game like Order Up than something like Madden. Once the jocks become the target audience, you can pretty much count intelligence and creativity out. :P

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

Mike D. Kristopeit (1900568) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644998)

unless you want to play driving games or flight simulators which require accurately shiny 3D graphics before they can even be correctly repetitive.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (2, Insightful)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645016)

that is what has been plaguing the entire gaming industry since the late 90s: graphics over gameplay.

People have been saying that since the beginning of time.* And yet, there is still a gaming industry; people who were raised on the "old classics" (whether "classic" is defined as pacman, tetris, mario, wolfenstein 3d, warcraft, quake, fallout, halflife, counterstrike, god of war, etc.) still play games (if they have time) and still love gaming. I play a ton of TF2 now, and, yes, there has been constant innovation in terms of gameplay over the past 20 years of FPS multiplayer. Name the genre,** and there are examples of modern games in that genre that are both graphically superior and have at least some innovative gameplay features that make them at least arguably "better" games than the classics.

And that's only looking at mainstream games. As you've pointed out, there are plenty of casual games - and more importantly, indie games - that focus on gameplay over graphics. And it's always been that way. Casual and indie gaming is not a new phenomenon, except on consoles. There have always been casual and indie games on the PC.

* beginning of time = when I was born, in the 80's.
** exception: space flight sims. I really miss Tie Fighter...

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645128)

I feel your pain, buddy! I still haven't quite given up hope for Freespace 3.

Re:Graphics over gameplay (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645286)


Oh please (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645344)

I get tired of the "Get off my lawn, the past was so much better." No, not the case actually. Games are great these days. You can have graphics AND gameplay and indeed there are games that do. Name the kind of game you like, I can give you a few examples of ones that do it really well. There's more crap out there too, of course, as you get a bigger market you get more of everything. However if you don't think there are any good new games it is only because you are walking around with your hands over your eyes.

In reality, there are a few things at play:

1) We remember the past through rose coloured glasses. This is just a human condition. You remember the good and forget the bad. Psychologists think it is part of our coping mechanism. So you remember some of those games as being a hell of a lot better than they were. Go back and play them some time. Whip out an emulator and try them out. You'll discover many were not nearly as good as you think. Like Final Fantasy 2 (in the US, FF4 in reality). Loved that game as a kid, and it was hard. My friends and I would sit around and play it together to figure things out. Story was really good too... Well, not so much. I've played it now as an adult. The story is pretty cheesy when you get down to it and difficult? Shit I can knock it out no problem. The enemies are so simplistic, easy for me to figure out. I can practically play it with the turbo speed button in the emulator held down all the time. It can't hold a candle story or gameplay wise to the new RPGs.

2) You remember the good games better because you spent more time on them. You probably bought mostly games you liked, and if you got one you didn't, you didn't play it much. As such you don't remember all the pure shit out there. Consider that there were almost 900 NES games released in the US. You really think they were all good? Did you ever play the Barbie Sports game? How about Bible Games (a religious 3-pack game)? There are bunches of crap games out there, you just didn't play them much if at all so they didn't leave an impression. The good ones you played a lot.

3) General curmudgeon/hardass syndrome. For some reason, people get all tough guy about the past. "Oh games back then had shit graphics but they were REAL GAMES. We didn't NEED graphics, they were so good!" It is silly, so don't do it.

4) When videogames were brand new, it was easier to be "innovative" because nothing had been done. In reality most weren't, they were just doing things in games that had been done in other mediums, but it was still a "game first." Well when something matures, it is harder to do something truly unique that has never been done at all before.

So seriously, don't be a stick in the mud, open your eyes, and discover that there are many, many good games being made these days.

Now if you'll excuse me, I want to go play Dragon Age, which is a really good game.

Re:Oh please (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645514)

While much of what you say is true, you're dead wrong about old games not being hard. Load up Mega Man 1 or Contra if you don't believe me.

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645638)

Uh, bad examples buddy.

What about minecraft? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644798)

It's made by one person, but it's the most commonly owned new game in my circle of friends.

Granted it only rakes in 10 bucks per person, but I imagine he has no shortness of cash.

Re:What about minecraft? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644908)

He has a shortness of cash unless he gets his Paypal thing sorted out.

I don't blame them (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644822)

I don't blame them for not branching out into other as it seems as though [] the audience doesn't care too much about anything new and wants more of the same. That might not be healthy for the industry, but why should a company invest massive amounts in flashy graphics, new tech, and marketing for something that's probably going to flop when they can just push out something using the same engine as their last game, reuse some of the art assets, and have an install base that will probably pick it up without a huge marketing push? If there's money to be made in something new, someone will make it, even if it's not the established players.

If you only read one sentence of the article, (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644836)

read this one:

"I want to find ideas that are global."

I've been saying this for a while now. Videogame culture is not defined by national boundaries. I have more in common with a Japanese gamer than I do with the sport-freak American down the street. Videogame culture is about 40% American/Other Western Countries, 40% Japanese/Other Asian Countries, and about 20% original.

Yes, Japanese developers are very behind in game design. You look at, say FFXIII. Big-name game, big-name people. They're about par with America in terms of art, music, maybe a bit behind in programming because they don't pay as well. But their game designers are probably ten years behind. Go to an American game-design site like Gamasutra. They'll talk about interaction looks, gameplay design AS the story. Then go to Japan, where most of their game design is "like this game, but with different numbers and colors." They just do not get game design as a science.

In interests of fairness, however, there is a lot American developers could learn from Japan. First, story. Japanese writers are good at making unique characters. Compare (to use well-known examples) Cloud Strife to Master Chief. Both have unique art designs, but look at the characters. One is an ex-elite soldier recovering from torture/experiment-induced amnesia and a feeling of duty to a dead comrade. The other is a supersoldier who is REALLY good at killing things, and is the last survivor of a battle that, until last week, was never really shown. Now, which sounds like a more interesting story?

Inafune-san, on the extremely slim chance that you read this, I understand what you're saying, and I'm glad that you're coming to us to learn. However, don't give up entirely on Japanese developers. They have much to teach us as well.

Re:If you only read one sentence of the article, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645026)

"I have more in common with a Japanese gamer than I do with the sport-freak American down the street."

I have more in common with a Japanese film-maker who is a father of two young children than I do with an American down the street who doesn't share any of my interests.


Re:If you only read one sentence of the article, (2, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645204)

What interests? Filmmaking and... young children?

Re:If you only read one sentence of the article, (3, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645246)

What interests? Filmmaking and... young children?

I didn't know Roman Polanski read Slashdot.

Re:If you only read one sentence of the article, (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645232)

The best truths are the ones that are obvious in hindsight.

Re:If you only read one sentence of the article, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645378)

If both you and the Japanese gamer feel that "gamer" is sufficient to describe you, then I reckon you might right. But if not, and I don't think most of us are limited to one interest, I wouldn't be surprised if you actually discovered, over time and to your greater horror, that you have more in common with the sport-freak down the street than you do with the Japanese gamer.

Hmmm (1)

kiwizoid (1531455) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644888)

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I don't mind unoriginality. I'm very excited for Pokemon Black & White even though the formula hasn't changed at all because all of the details I'm reading about it make it sound like a very good step forward without changing the core. I bought Monster Hunter Tri the first day it came out because I loved MHFU on the PSP and knew it'd be more of the same. I bought Mega Mans 9 and 10 on the Wii Store because I knew what they'd be and I knew I'd like it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with producing more of the same if your formula works and you tweak it with each installment to bring something new while keeping it familiar.

On the other, I think there's a trend toward pushing out more of the same to consumers and tacking on $40 in DLC because they know people will buy it (looking at you, Kotick). I would like to see more originality out there, but I don't think it's going to happen in the current climate. On top of that, this isn't a Japan-exclusive issue (my eyes are still on you, Kotick) -- I suspect the only difference is that the American companies have beaten Capcom & Co. to the punch on exploiting the everliving daylights out of the consumer. MM9 and 10 had DLC, but it wasn't that big of a deal compared to mappacks for MW2 or full-unlock things for Battlefield or Xunlai Panes for Guild Wars. SSF4 is (last I heard) going to have a couple of characters available for DLC soon... maybe that'll get them back in the black.

In any case, I think it's unfair of Inafune to target Japanese developers as being the only unoriginal ones, AND to say that unoriginality is a bad thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

It isn't the superficial stuff (1)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33644910)

It isn't about getting ready of the whacky.. It's about getting rid of the stale. Japanese themes don't worry us at all. That's all superficial and as he said the superficial changes (blue eyed, blonde haired characters, Western themes) did bugger all. When it comes to RPGs (as an example genre), Western gamers lap up the open world games such as Morrowind and Oblivion. The Japanese probably love these games as well, but the developers are stuck in the rut of crafting Street Fighter, Tekken and DOA games with the same formula over and over again. Final Fantasy is still basically the same formula as well, with a bit of experimentation to do with class changing now and then. I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of Western developers aren't stuck in the same rut and there are certainly fun, novel games that come out of Japan (like Katamari). Just my $0.05

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644952)

Good, I hate having my country known for something as trivial as video games.

Re:Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645234)

Good, I hate having my country known for something as trivial as video games.

That's okay, you're also known as the most dishonorable, deceitful terrorists the US had known prior to 9/11. Only problem is that we didn't have a few more bombs to lob your way.

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645544)

You forgot child pornography. "Wait, is that a picture of a school girl being raped by a monster made of tentacles?" "Yeah, it's a new Japanese game [] ." "Oh, that explains it."

Not to mention having panty-shots of just about anything that's conceptually female. Is there a way to exclude Japan from Google image searches? It'd be useful.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33644982)

Now that their video game production is going down the shitter, perhaps the Japanese will find more useful things with their time.

Never forget: playing Nintendo is for losers, programming Nintendo is for faggots.

4 billion yen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645046)

I am very much opposed to the idea that development needs to cost that much. Did games cost that much to make in the 80s and 90s (when Japan's gaming industry was particularly successful BTW) ? No, but there were still good games.

I'm guessing that most of that additional cost is going toward graphics and complicated physics and IMO it just isn't worth it. I'm not saying that nobody should make games aiming for realism*, obviously there must be a market for yet another FPS with even fancier visuals, otherwise the industry would not be able to afford this kind of investment. But is it not possible to make money by creating a larger quantity (and variety!) of games with a smaller investment and lower price, even if each one on its own doesn't appeal to as wide a market as a new Halo title?

* when I was a kid I thought that photo-realistic games were going to be great. Now that I have played them, I really miss 2D low-resolution pixel art.

"Westernizing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645074)

I don't know, but for example, when he talks about the Sushi restaurants: I'm all for innovation, but let's face it, the Sushi in the SanFran restaurants is essentially *fake* sushi. Rather than tailoring it for what *Sells well*, they should make it authentic, and people who want authentic sushi will seek it out.

With movies, games, etc., the companies always have these byzantine marketing agreements to divide up the markets by region, and there are huge delays. Partly due to translation, mainly due to BS - what's more, many things aren't even released at all. There is so much BS involved in international releases that it costs a lot of money, and if people don't think they can sell enough to justify the cost, they won't do it. A lot of Fan Subs come out much sooner that official translations (and are of similar quality).

Here's a new idea: Cut the BS. When you release a game in Japan, get a simple translation of it and release it overseas soon and at a low cost (and make sure the Japanese text/voice is still accessible for people who want that).. Don't try to "westernize" it, that makes it takes time, costs money, and most importantly, makes it Fake. The cultural differences make things interesting. Rather than trying to Sell games like Patapon to the crowd who likes Madden '08, sell them to the crowd who likes those kind of games.

Also, 4 billion yen to develop a game? Again, there's too much BS involved then. Think about it, right now, there are a lot of iPhone developers and others sitting at home thinking up games and coding them FOR FREE. They might not be quite as fancy as games from a big studio, but what matters is only that they are fun.

They could make games smaller in scope that would cost less to produce, and sell them for less.

Tired of anime style RPG games... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645170)

How many PS3 Anime style RPG/action games does japan crank out a year? The gameplay is exactly the same in every one. You have a party of 3 characters (most are of the 'cutesy' type) run around a map, collect roots/sticks/bugs/trinkets randomly encounter some cuddly monster, have a live action battle with it and the 3 characters in your party. Then resume running around.

I swear in one of these games, you were attacking these... these CHICKENS. Sure they were bigger than you, but to me this type of game summarizes the classic Japanese adventure game. My friend has probably played about 20 of these and every one looks exactly the same except the monsters are slightly different, the currency has a different name and your main character is a blonde haired dude instead of a blue haired dude.

In one of the games it simulated a MMORPG as you had to check an ingame email account and an in game message board to get tips and new adventures. But other than that, back to the grind, running around getting beetle wings and bat toes....

Re:Tired of anime style RPG games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645460)

JRPGs are totally stuck. They've been stuck for at around 20 years now.

Outside of JRPGs and J-3rd-person-action games, there are examples of spiffy, shiny Japanese games. Mario Galaxy 1/2? Metroid Other M? Bayonetta? None of these feel stale at all. Unfortunately, a lot of the big budget games are of the stale sort.

Pokemon (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645200)

Red silver blue etc etc.

My boy cant get enough of these things and was watching the news as the latest release was let out in Japan last week. He can not wait for the English version to appear.

Pokemon to me is exactly what is being spoken about here. Nothing much new, same game for years, but so far as my one is concerned, that does not matter.

(probably because he is young and impressionable and still lured by brands rather than product, features and quality. One day he will be an old cynic like his dad)

Ironic (1)

Zizagoo (1848812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645208)

Designer of the Megaman series complaining about games sticking to formula.

Re:Ironic (1)

fabs8611 (1487177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645532)

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

situation is hopeless (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645296)

he wants to make games less japanese, but his declared strategy is

My strategy was to bring robots into the game

Maybe he doesn't realize that the rest of the wold perceives that as the most japanese of strategies?

Might as well be about FFXIV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645380)

This interview might as well have been about Final Fantasy XIV instead of Capcom. It describes a lot of the problems with that game to a T. It's an MMO that lives about 6 years in the past, at best. And on top of that, a lot of its design elements, such as the XP fatigue system, seem to be catering to the requirements of the Chinese market, rather than the Western or even Japanese market.

Indie games is where alot of the focus is going to (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645382)

I think I've seen a lot more interesting games from the indie scene these days compared to some of the crap being released from large companies like EA. Some games from large companies are still good like Starcraft II for instance but, these days release cycles like that are long and few. Also, a great deal of the good old franchises have been either killed or like Capcom does with this franchises milk it to death and then milk it some more.

Probably one of the best things that has been done for the gaming community was when Microsoft released XNA allowing any john or jane doe to release their own game with a unique game lay experience for both PC and the XBox 360. If anything Sony and Nintendo should be following suit maybe then I'll consider buying a PS3 and hooking up my Wii again.

With the US and Japanese Gaming Powers combined! (3, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645464)

A dating sim set during the landing at Omaha?

Call of Super Awkward Duty Fight 3: Gun Date

That doesn't work any more. (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645486)


That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that

How come that's what 90% of the market is? Tweaked graphics on the same games from 1997

Re:That doesn't work any more. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645672)

Because it's still profitable.

The reason why games are stale... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645562)

... is because the amount of work and talent to create a modern game is huge, much more then it was in the 80's and early 90's, to build a game you need a LOT of talented people the problem is that it's extremely hard to get consistency and cohesion of art assets and gameplay vision because of team sizes.

Few games get it right, but games like God of war for example or soul calibur 2 are excellent examples of when a project comes together well.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645570)

Japan has basketball?

Innovation in money extraction (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645576)

The big innovation in gaming is figuring out new ways to extract money from players. The concept that you can buy your way up in a game has become mainstream. Too mainstream; YoVille brownies in 7-11. []

This idea originated in Japan, where you've been able to buy stuff for your virtual girlfriend [] with your mobile phone for years. But that was a niche product. Farmville peaked at 82 million users.

Saddest thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33645610)

there are so many unique cultures not making videogames. Brings tears to my eyes thinking I'll be dead by the time a blockbuster videogame from any country in South America hits, any country in Africa hits, Inuit, Native American, Vietnamese, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia. Pretty much we have Europe, North America and Japan... slim pickings with so much potential greatness out there. Japanese animation just blew me away when I was a teen, so great and different and while other cultures have impressed me with their creativity, France comes to mind, nothing has captured me like what Japan creates. Bollywood comes to mine too, damn that hand clapping just makes you feel good... Chaiya Chaiya. Tip of the iceberg. Hopefully our species isn't dead before these vast untapped wells of imagination are laid on the world.

Stop your bitching. Think a kid in Uganda who plays his first video game, FIFA Futbol 33, isn't gonna think it's the greatest goddamn thing ever?

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down (5, Interesting)

fabs8611 (1487177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33645670)

I've been living in Japan for almost five years now and I can say that this same situation applies to a great number of companies and organizations here. Here city office are still almost completely paper based, employees are expected to work longer hours instead of working more productively, there are only a handful of computer in the teaching lounges of high schools, organizations will hire half a dozen people for what can be done with a single computer and some custom build software, workers are frowned upon if they try to innovate or rock the boat in any way, and stubbornness and diligence are two of the most important traits workers can have. Japan is one of the most xenophobic countries in the world ( [] ), and this doesn't just apply to their attitudes towards foreign people, it applies to business practices too. Japan isn't going to fall behind the rest of the world in technology, they already have. [] There is a famous ancient proverb here that couldn't be more true in Japanese society today: "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down" And get hammered down it does.
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