For a long time in gaming, there has been a divide between the games of Japan and the games from the West. Despite reaching for the same end goal of entertainment, the design philosophies and focus behind the two sides of the development coin were so different in their implementation that a definite schism took form.
Over time, cultural and technological sharing has bridged much of this gap to create a more unified gaming world, to develop what would become a two-way street. In this article, we want to take a look at the most standout examples of the forms this collaborative development took, as the West and Japan borrowed from each other and unfolded into how they exist today.
From the West – RPGs
RPG differences are such a standout in this divide that they are often labeled WRPG or JRPG, as in western or Japanese role-playing games. Despite this, it’s quite well known in the industry that much of the original inspiration for early JRPGs came from Richard Garriot’s Ultima series, which first launched in 1981.
View this post on Instagram
Later, this influence would extend to other series, such as what occurred with the Elder Scrolls game Skyrim. An international hit, long-time Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma would state this game as one of his influences in the creation of Breath of the Wild, one of the best-received games of all time.
From the East – The Rise of the Platformer
In the world of platform gaming, the genre can be separated into two main categories, those of 2D and 3D games. When it comes to the most important and influential series on this genre, however, there is only one possible answer: Super Mario.
Setting off the 2D platformer craze with Super Mario Bros in 1985, and being the first to fully realize 3D platform potential with Super Mario 64 in 1996, the little Italian from Japan has always been the name to beat. Over the decades, many would try to claim Mario’s crown, but consistent growth combined with Nintendo’s trademark dedication to quality has meant the king has never been usurped.
Modern Casino Gaming – A Combination of Both
Not just the case for traditional video games, casino games have also seen significant shifts based on the relationships between western and Japanese tastes. Most notable among these examples are the online casinos like LeoVegas which, while popularized in the West, are making a significant mark on Japanese gambling culture. Interestingly, while the websites themselves tend to make the switch in this one West-East direction, it’s extremely common for the included slot games like Moon Princess and Sakura Fortune to turn to Japan for inspiration in their themes.
View this post on Instagram
Looking at the greater context of gaming, there is only really one solid pattern that begins to emerge over the entire gaming environment. This is that fun is fun, no matter where it came from, and no matter what language barriers were in place. It’s because of this that, despite being both direct and indirect competitors, the gap between East and West has never been an insurmountable one. Gaming is evolutionary, it is collaborative, and, ultimately, this means it will always be a medium with room enough for people of all cultures, ages, and denominations.