Are Japanese players really that skilled at hard games?:

Total posts: [33]
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1 GAP7th Mar 2012 10:25:04 PM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Formerly G.G.
With the prevalance of exceptionally hard games such as Donpachi and the like, it kind of amkes me wonder if most Japanese players enjoy really difficult games? It may be just a stereotype but still is really true that their hard modes are their easy modes?

edited 7th Mar '12 10:25:23 PM by GAP

"I am Hapu."

2 Vorpy8th Mar 2012 02:30:57 AM from from from from from from from from from , Relationship Status: Two-timing
Unstoppable Sex Goddess
It's mostly the Touhou phenomenon.
3 onyhow8th Mar 2012 02:51:52 AM , Relationship Status: Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Too much adorableness
More like Bullet Hell shooter phenomenon, consider that most of that major games from Japan got upped in difficulty level when heading to States, say, DMC 3...

Plus, those are niche games...

edited 8th Mar '12 3:14:53 AM by onyhow

Give me cute or give me...something?
well JP like to have more challenge
The problem with questions like these is that the only way to answer them accurately is to use averages.

And averages are destroyed by personal differences.
6 SgtRicko8th Mar 2012 05:35:34 AM from Guam, USA , Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
According to this very wiki, it's the other way around. American games are usually harder (or their own games are made to be harder, particularly if they're planning to ship it to the US), and Japanese games tend to be easier in general. The exceptions are just like you pointed out, along with arcade games and a few RP Gs.

As for the games made during the 80's to mid 90's, that's more or less due to poor design quality or deliberately designing their games to be token-eaters.
Would you believe I never fully watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy? I gotta correct that someday.
7 MoeDantes8th Mar 2012 06:29:16 AM from the Land of Classics
cuter, cuddlier Edmond
All evidence suggests that Japanese players are just like American players—most of them prefer games to only have enough challenge to keep it interesting, but still beatable by the average person. It's only the hardcore who like things hard, on either side of the pond.

I'm honestly kind of tired of all these "Western Gamers" and "Eastern Gamers" topics that make blanket assumptions about entire groups of people. I mean, do we really have to put labels on the entire human race, categorize everyone into neat little pigeonholes? Does playing Doom (and liking it) make me a stereotypical western gamer? Just something I wanted to get off my chest.
8 TamH708th Mar 2012 06:39:40 AM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
[up]Nah, it just makes you a gamer as far as I am concerned. Same as me. I liked Doom when I played it. And I am known for hating genre labels of all sorts. A game is a game. I am not decrying anyone for playing games I don't like.
9 ThatOneGuyNamedX8th Mar 2012 07:31:37 AM from This Monkey Is A Fucking Disgrace , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Shitposter Extraordinaire
After the end of World War II, the Japanese goverment started a secret program to make their future generations win at any competition ever, be it videgoames, stress or etc. We're only seeing the beginning of it. Just you wait. Heck, you know why Asians have their eyes smaller and longer? To win at staring competitions.

That was slightly racist. I apologize.

In truth, Japanese gamers are just equally as skilled as Americans, only that the ones who are really, really good upload their stuff to the internet. You know, like everyone else who's really good at something. Now you know it, And Knowing Is Half the Battle.
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10 hnd038th Mar 2012 07:35:08 AM from [REDACTED]
Parasol Star Memories
It's just like all South Koreans are gods at Starcraft. It's a lie.

It's only most of them. /sweeping generalizations

edited 8th Mar '12 7:35:30 AM by hnd03

So. Let's all pause for a moment to smell what the Rock was, is, and forever will be... cooking.—Cave Johnson
Yeah I kind of hate sweeping generalization as well. I mean there's preferences and taste differences between the two, especially due to different markets/environments, but it seems like too much people forget we're all gamers and love videogames.
Having seen gamers in Japan, Taiwan, and the US, I find that the average gamer skill is about the same regardless of country. Japanese players in general are not any more skilled than any other country.

However, there is one phenomenon I've noticed which is more prevalent in East Asian countries: the best of the best continually bounce off each other to reach new heights. They share their tips, tricks, techniques, and in-depth analyses with each other. They work together to pick apart every detail of a game.

Now, some of these "hardcore" communities end up starting arguments over things like Character Tiers and what strategy is "best". Too many people just each individually want to be the alpha dog of the community. And that causes the signal-to-noise ratio to drop sharply.

The only real difference by locale I've noticed is that these communities of the top players have better signal-to-noise ratios in some languages. Whenever I browse Japanese game communities, for example, I seldom if ever see anyone proclaiming one strategy or character to be the best. Virtually everyone has an attitude of "Here's what I/we recommend. Take it or leave it, you're free to think whatever you want of this advice." I've never even seen a Japanese flame war over what should or should not be allowed in tournaments; they usually just have a "soft ban" where they unofficially agree not to use anything that makes the game no fun. (Sirlin has a much better description of the "soft ban" phenomenon, by the way. See the section titled "The Two Excellent Examples of 'Super Turbo'".) In short: I have never seen a Japanese game fandom where the top players take any "Stop Having Fun" Guys or Scrubs seriously. (I have, however, seen them ruthlessly mock those types. So don't get the wrong impression; they're not some kind of utopian community full of politeness and modesty.)

Now, I've also seen English-language fandoms which manage to do the same thing with a great signal-to-noise ratio. For example, back when Super Monkey Ball first came out a decade ago, it had a fantastic English-language competitive community. They weren't focused on being better than the next guy, they were focused on trying to optimize their own scores. And many of the best SMB players in the world were Westerners. Or there's the Touhou fandom, where both the Japanese and English communities are good at this sort of thing. The world record holders are all still Japanese, but if you look at the leaderboards, many of them have a Westerner not too far from the top.

But for some reason, this sort of attitude just doesn't seem to crop up quite as frequently on English-language sites. I suspect it may have something to do with the whole individualism vs. collectivism societies, since the whole alpha-dog attitude is closely associated with individualism, though that's a whole separate discussion on human psychology. But it would certainly explain the correlation - Japan is one of the most collectivist societies in the world, while the US is one of the most individualist (and Australia too). It does not, however, explain why mainland China doesn't have a reputation for skilled gamers, as they're pretty collectivist too.

Or it could just be the sizes of these communities. There exist tons more people who speak English than people who speak Japanese or Korean, and larger communities are harder to manage and keep up with, plus they're more likely to have a single rotten apple sneak in and spoil the whole proverbial barrel. (This would also explain why mainland China doesn't have a reputation for skilled gamers, even through they're also part of East Asia.)

In summary, I would say there is no significant difference in the average gamer in each country. However, the best of the best in certain communities are more likely to just eke out that last bit of skill that makes their gameplay videos go viral, which then gives the impression that whatever country they come from is skilled at video games. And for whatever reason, such communities seem to be more likely to speak Japanese than English.

edited 11th Mar '12 4:57:05 AM by PoochyEXE

13 fillerdude11th Mar 2012 05:21:06 AM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] That's... informative. Great stuff.
14 Cider11th Mar 2012 07:49:19 AM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
I'm told there are a lot of European players that like super fast racing games, but stuff like F Zero is Nintendo Hard to the rest of us(especially GX). "Bullet hell" and "Shoot Em Ups" tends to be hard to make out with all the bright colors and distractions flying around but guys like Treasure can do really good in Japan making nothing but them. Valve can do well doing only First Person Shooters, but dual stick aiming is a pain for a lot of people and some find first person to be dizzying, even when its on rails. I really think it is just preference, and for whatever reason, some preferences become wider spread in some areas.
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
15 SgtRicko11th Mar 2012 01:08:00 PM from Guam, USA , Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
[up]And to drive the point home even further, many people consider the Half-Life games to be easier than most, in comparison to stuff like Unreal Tournament or Halo...
Would you believe I never fully watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy? I gotta correct that someday.
Bullet hell games really just boil down to muscle memory and pattern recognition. I sometimes joke around with my friends that games like Mega Man and Dark Souls are just prettied-up puzzle games, but if you really think about it that's not too far from the truth.
I think you can blame the original Zelda for the Japanese ramping up difficulty when they export games. That series is more popular in the Western world than in Japan, and the original probably defined Nintendo Hard.

edited 11th Mar '12 6:13:52 PM by Journeyman

Parasol Star Memories
[up] Really? I knew Metroid had the Germans Love David Hasselhoff thing going, but not Zelda.

However, that doesn't explain why Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn's (Path of Radiance?) Normal difficulty is the equivalent of Japan's hard. While the series is pretty popular in the West, I think it's still kind of niche.

And don't get me started on Devil May Cry 3.

edited 11th Mar '12 6:33:17 PM by hnd03

So. Let's all pause for a moment to smell what the Rock was, is, and forever will be... cooking.—Cave Johnson
The extra popularity of Zelda out here defined a "trend" of Westerners-Americans in particular-liking Nintendo Hard games. It doesn't matter the franchise or popularity, the Japanese have the reverse of the notion that created this thread: American Gamers are Good! At least, if I'm right. Don't quote me on it or anything, I don't have proof. I just know we like Zelda more than they do, and the original two were brutal.
Parasol Star Memories
They really overestimate some of our abilities sometimes.
So. Let's all pause for a moment to smell what the Rock was, is, and forever will be... cooking.—Cave Johnson
Indeed. A lot of cultures get into the "Stereotypes are true!" mentality, don't let anyone convince you Americans are the worst. Then again, I don't think we want them pandering to the average skill. Just keep churning out guides so the weaker of us can keep up and still beat the game. evil grin
22 Swampertrox11th Mar 2012 06:53:06 PM from Sea Mauville , Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
Mage of Life
The original Zeldas were partially bad due to bad translations wrecking any in-game hints.
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Dodongo Dislikes Smoke.
24 Cider11th Mar 2012 06:57:33 PM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
Not as severe to Zelda as say, Metroid, Ocarina of Time was a hit pretty much everywhere but while everything between Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword got a lukewarm response in the US the franchise nearly went to sleep in Japan until their buyers took an unexpected interest in Phantom Hourglass.

edit:and yes, the original Zelda's difficulty came largely from poor translations and an item that didn't work on Pol's Voices in the NES version. Contra, Kid Icarus and (surprise surprise) Metroid were the games that started the harder in the US trend. More recently, Fire Emblem was made easier on international release(until 2007)

edited 11th Mar '12 7:04:19 PM by Cider

Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
Well, at least I got the right company! tongue Not that that was hard, Nintendo was the first company there to do Vid games and sell them across the ocean.

Total posts: 33
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