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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Fistful of Yen

MTV visits the strange and foreign land of Japan for a little shopping:

Game Hollywood is on the fifth floor of an unassuming building in Akihabara. The sign that something was a bit different about it was a poster for Rockstar's "Warriors" game. The American flags hanging in the store and covering the windows, and the copies of "Halo" on the shelves, were also giveaways. This was material for the underground fans, Rogers explained. "I remember in America, maybe back in the 1990s, people were importing 'Final Fantasy,' " Rogers said. "Now in Japan, people are importing 'Halo' and 'The Warriors' and 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.' "

Rogers had the man at Game Hollywood's cash register, who identified himself as Mr. Takasaki, try to explain why American games didn't tend to matter too much. "Japanese people tend to like games that are character games, games about anime characters, role-playing games, that all have the same aesthetic," Rogers translated. "American games tend to be a little more risky. They try a little bit too many different things." Mr. Takasaki had some love for American gaming stuff, of course, but even he didn't own an Xbox 360.

So instead of the kinds of games one might expect to find at GameStop, a tour of Akihabara brought to the fore a phenomenon of a different sort: "Mother 3." America may have been all about Xbox 360 and next-gen hype, but the plain red boxes for "Mother 3" — an emotional role-playing game about a young boy and a cast of strange characters for the Game Boy Advance and a sequel to a title released in 1994 — was the big deal during Rogers' April tour. Commercials played for it on monitors in the major Akihabara game stores Rogers entered. The commercials featured a woman nearly in tears as she described playing the game. Rogers translated the game's slogan: "It was bizarre, it was interesting, and then it was devastating."
Where Does A Game Called 'Mother' Outsell 'Halo'? Check Out Tokyo's Coolest Street

And while you're on the side of the globe, browse through GregT's trip through the Tokyo Game Show:

Speaking of Squeenix fangirls, I don't think I'd quite relished the depths to which Kingdom Hearts pulls at the cosplay-oriented sensibilities of the Japanese female. Standing in line to play Re: Chain of Memories I felt like I'd accidentally stumbled into some secret club available only to those with surplus stocks of oestrogen. Much gushing was made over a huge tapestry canvas featuring the shojo-esque portraits of Kingdom Hearts' pretty, pretty male cast ensemble. There was also some kicking transgender costuming going on. I counted no less than three Soras (two depicted to the left), four Axels, and a Riku, all sporting an apocalyptic attention to detail, and all female.
-- Tokyo Game Show Aftermath

Be sure not to stop at that one post though, he's got a like a jillion.

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