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Default Opinion - Are Western and Japanese RPGs so Different?

July 13th, 2020, 23:42
Game Maker's Toolkit ask whether Western and Japanese RPGs are so different.

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There's only one genre that we divide down strict geographical lines: the RPG. But western RPGs and Japanese RPGs have way more in common than you might first realise.
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July 14th, 2020, 01:31
After thirty years of playing both I say yes.

I wont elaborate why as I hate writing paragraph replies.
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July 14th, 2020, 01:51
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
After thirty years of playing both I say yes.

I wont elaborate why as I hate writing paragraph replies.
I concur. Very different.
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July 14th, 2020, 01:54
Yes. Yes they're very different and they have similarities. Cultures are widely different, but we all have some things in common - most taboos (cannibalism, incest etc) - marriage ceremonies in every single culture under the Sun, usually some kind of death ritual or burial symbolizing that human life is important to us, usually some kind of justice system and system of laws, and usually a culture evolved to hopefully raise successful children and contribute meaningfully to the world.

Regardless of if you're Eastern, Western, African, Scandinavian or whatever, we usually share a *lot* more of the same behavior than we eschew. We amplify the differences because we're tribal as a species and we tend to do that at this stage of development.

That having been said, yeah, western and eastern RPGs are usually quite different and explore different themes. Compare something like Persona 4 to… like, Baldur's Gate. Are you celebrated for finding your "individuality" and "freedom" and celebrating that or are you celebrated for finding your "place" in "society" and "confirming" to eventually be a part of a larger commune; that's the main difference in philosophy between "Eastern" and "Western" RPGs is the focus on individual success and growth as opposed to collective success, harmony, and growth.
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July 14th, 2020, 04:19
I really like the video, thanks for sharing this!
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July 14th, 2020, 05:12
Good find in this video as it has a very interesting take on RPG evolution in 2 very different cultures.

Thanks for sharing it.
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July 14th, 2020, 07:47
For me the difference between JRPGs end western RPGs are the aesthetics and that in JRPGs a lot of things just seem to be "over the top".
While I like the latter in some asian music and movies, I can't stand it in games. I tried to watch a FF7 Remake Let's Play - unbearable.

What I observed especially in music is, that asian musicians (I like) often seem to fight to contain their emotions, while western musicians often fight to produce them.
That somewhat relates to asian games. They just seems to be very binary in transmitting emotions. There often is just this big mace that hits you in the face again and again and again…no subtility, no shades of grey.
I think that's the main thing I don't like about JRPGs.
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July 14th, 2020, 11:47
The genre is WAY to broad these days for these kind of distinctions to make any sense. There's no such thing as a "Western RPG" anymore. Mass Effect, PoE and MM are all western RPG's. But they have a lot less in common with each other than with plenty of RPG's from Asia. Perhaps JRPG as a genre definition is slightly more narrow and usable. But is Disgaia and Final Fantasy actually the same genre? What about Dark Souls then?

It would make more sense to only talk about art style and then we can probably find a somewhat consistent difference, but it's not like that doesn't also differ hugely between titles, no matter where they were made.
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July 14th, 2020, 12:09
Covid and the lack of proper releases is really driving the gaming press to unprecedented heights. I wonder what will be the next pointless and inconsequential clickbait video about.
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July 14th, 2020, 15:00
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
After thirty years of playing both I say yes.

I wont elaborate why as I hate writing paragraph replies.
Very simple: JRPGs have more BOOBs!!
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July 14th, 2020, 16:52
If I knew that I'd have bought myself all Nintendo Gameboy crapware socalled games.
Damn.
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July 14th, 2020, 18:31
So, the funny thing here is JRPG's have their ties to the ultima series as that was the driving factor for early ff and dragon warrior games. They definately have their cultural differences as seen in a lot of the imagery and storylines. I find that JRPG's are intent on telling a story instead of giving you free rain for the most part. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and I find enjoyment in both.
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July 14th, 2020, 18:36
Originally Posted by ElderGnome View Post
that's the main difference in philosophy between "Eastern" and "Western" RPGs is the focus on individual success and growth as opposed to collective success, harmony, and growth.
Or, to put it with a marketing slogan of Bioware about DA2 : "Rise to Power !"

Western RPGs are rather god-slaying RPGs (as the ultimate power goal - who or what can be more powerful than someone who is able to slay gods ?) -
- whereas Eastern RPGs would be rather about resurrecting gods, I guess.
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July 14th, 2020, 19:26
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Western RPGs are rather god-slaying RPGs (as the ultimate power goal - who or what can be more powerful than someone who is able to slay gods ?) -
- whereas Eastern RPGs would be rather about resurrecting gods, I guess.
I have played probably 100 JRPGs, and I can't think of a single one that was about resurrecting gods.

Usually they're about preventing the destruction of the world by a God or God-like being.
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July 14th, 2020, 20:49
Originally Posted by Kylex View Post
For me the difference between JRPGs end western RPGs are the aesthetics and that in JRPGs a lot of things just seem to be "over the top".
While I like the latter in some asian music and movies, I can't stand it in games. I tried to watch a FF7 Remake Let's Play - unbearable.

What I observed especially in music is, that asian musicians (I like) often seem to fight to contain their emotions, while western musicians often fight to produce them.
That somewhat relates to asian games. They just seems to be very binary in transmitting emotions. There often is just this big mace that hits you in the face again and again and again…no subtility, no shades of grey.
I think that's the main thing I don't like about JRPGs.
Asian cultures aren't so interested in reality, at least in their media, as we are in the West. Fantasy and mythology infuse everything.

On a more tangible basis, I would point to the dominance of consoles in Asian cultures from the very beginning as a reason for the way games are developed, such as JRPG combat often being static, rather than moving characters around a map. Surprise, rudimentary controls often lead to simplified systems.
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July 14th, 2020, 21:47
So because both japanese rpgs and western rpgs both were inspired by and copied elements of D&D, that makes them mostly the same…righhhhhhtttt. It makes no sense.

"Oh, we really are all the same!" So, everything is rainbows, and we should all join hands and sing in harmony! Awwwwww.

No, we are quite different, very different. Different cultures, different values, different philosophies.

Anyway, japanese rpgs don't appeal to me in the least. Just various things about them are off-putting to me. I'm definitely a huge fan of western rpgs style, and not the japanese rpgs.
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Last edited by Arkadia7; July 14th, 2020 at 21:58.
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July 15th, 2020, 00:06
The main difference between western CRPGs and JRPGs is that JRPGs sometimes make me throw up in my mouth.
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July 15th, 2020, 00:16
One of the fundamental differences is the ages of their respective target audiences, which is reflected in the types of stories, characters and writing one tends to find in the games. JPRGs are, in general, made for a younger audience. Doesn't mean they suck or even that they're unsophisticated (though many of them are), but it's true. There are exceptions (Nier, Fromsoft games), but they're few and far between.
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July 15th, 2020, 00:18
Originally Posted by Shagnak View Post
The main difference between western CRPGs and JRPGs is that JRPGs sometimes make me throw up in my mouth.
Odd… I remember throwing up in my mouth during a game…
Man, you sure Skyrim's bugs are japanese?

In fact… How buggy jrpgs are? Compared to non. Speaking of main.
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July 15th, 2020, 00:30
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Odd… I remember throwing up in my mouth during a game…
Man, you sure Skyrim's bugs are japanese?
Bugs don't make me feel sick, they make me feel angry
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