Translation please – Can foreign games be fun again?

Domo-Gameo-Roboto

I’m glad to say I’ve been playing games for about 20+ years. I remember my past fondly and without a shadow of a doubt I’ve been blessed. Well among other reasons, I believe this is so because I’ve lived during the golden age of gaming (the 90’s if you don’t know) and played great games that more than a few came from the land of the rising sun; Japan. Konami, Capcom and (at the time) Squaresoft were a few of my favorite developers. However being that this is 2008 things (and games) are not as they once were, in fact the games I’ve been playing from them and many others have been less than memorable – worst than that, they been down right boring. See my gripe stems from their games; how they once were and how they are now. Their combined games such as, but not limited to: Ganbare Goemon a.k.a. Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Street Fighter (the game that put fighting games on the map), Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Saga Frontier, Strider and Chrono Trigger (a personal favorite) were a unique series of games that were entertaining, fun, brilliant precursors to the games we now enjoy. Now in 2008 most of these over the sea favorites don’t even exist anymore. What’s more, newer entries such as “Lost Odyssey” follow a set a pattern of play that been around since the 90’s (hero is small in a small village, fights a big, bad evil and wins with the power of love/friendship/ancient relic/etc.) which seems is dated in our time. Think about all the great games that are made by state side developers; Ratchet & Clank, Burnout, and the Orange Box. All good, well-thought games that don’t ride the achievements of their past, they keep improving their series making them even better (GTA anyone). The foreign games seem to keep using the same character archetypes, same story board progressions, same types of quests, same everything just in different titles (What the difference between Resident Evil and Dead Rising or Final Fantasy 7 , 8, 9, 10 and 12 at its core? Nothing, but a few details …).

Ok so I’ll admit foreign developers do try, Okami and Viewtiful Joe are par excellent. Mario has been around longer than most and still remains the figure head king of games in the eyes of many. The red, white and blue one may had few failures but always bounced back because Shigeru Miyamoto and crew learned from all aspect of the past to create something truly ‘Mario’. It’s this lesion that I want more foreign developers to learn; not create the same old thing in the same old formula but to try something new a unexpected, even if it’s not well received. The thing is, if they keep doing what their doing; what they’ll get is Mega Man. A cash cow that has crapped out…

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