by David Schaak – Jan, 12, 2017 - Editorial
Sometimes being a fighting game fan can be a difficult thing. It’s not the chasm between casual and pro skill level, the expensive controllers and not the reputation of the community; it’s not even the horrendous releases of a game you just shouldn’t be able to fuck up yes I’m looking at you Capcom.
No. Often the biggest barrier to entry can be the subject matter.
Take, for example, Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel. It’s a really fun game to play, it’s easy to pick up but also has a depth to it I cannot hope to reach. The graphics are smooth and the action fast paced, but I still can’t help but feel a bit uncomfortable playing an all-girl fighting game where you can choose underwear as a costume option.
In the past, I’ve described the game as ‘very Japanese’ in an effort to convey the good and bad aspects of the game to casual bystanders. Now, while I’m sure it’s unfair to tar the entirety of a country with the same brush, the term has been quite effective at getting my intended point across.
Why is this so? And why is it not enough of a deal-breaker for me that I stop playing?
It seems I’m not the only one traversing this line of thought. Today EXAMU’s Koji Takaya, director of the Arcana Heart series, has taken to Twitter seeking advice from non-Japanese players on this very topic.
If a prominent Japanese developer takes to a public forum asking if his game is off-putting to Western audiences, perhaps there’s something amiss. Maybe, finally, our friends in the East are beginning to tone it down a notch. Starting to create the kinds of games that won’t be relegated to the niche corner of our collections.
But is this really what we want?
Do we really want to play a tamed down version of a creator’s vision? One that’s easier to control and has a bit of the oddity stripped away from its bones? Or do we want to jack directly into the mind of a creator and battle with characters and concepts unfamiliar and a little uncomfortable for our Western minds? Do we want our games to be safe, controlled experiences we consume and then throw away, or do we want the oddity? The batshit craziness? The ‘have you seen this shit?’!
To be honest, I’d take the second option every time.