Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Monster Monpiece's Censorship Says About the Global Videogame Market

Recently it was announced that Compile Heart's Monster Monpiece (Monmon), a card-game for the Playstation Vita, is coming to both American and European shores. It was a shocking announcement because, as was recently the case with the localization of Senran Kagura for the 3DS, Monmon is a title drenched in suggestive and sexual imagery as each card is a mythological monster personified as a young and sexy girl with little to zero clothing (naughty bits are not shown though).
This is an announcement that would normally inspire calamitous cheers from the growing otaku and Japanese-game aficionado crowd, although the celebration quit as soon as it had begun. Following the localization announcement, Idea Factory, the western publisher for Monmon, stated that several of the game's cards, particularly those which reflect younger women, had to be removed for the localized edition, an announcement that immediately severed Monmon's already limited western audience.
There are those who are "just happy that the game is getting localized," and those who find the censorship "total bullsh*t, and I'm not buying this gimped product."  Each side has valid arguments, but what is most important here is what this censorship proves about the western videogame market, and how it exemplifies the secondary tier videogames still remain in as both an entertainment media, and artistic expression.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where Storytelling Damages Videogames

In regards to gaming, and its many inner arguments of "graphics significance" or "console domination," I've shifted position inside these debates countless times over the years, and usually in repeated contradictions. But the one view that I haven't changed from is when I migrated from "Story Over Gameplay," to "Gameplay Over Everything."
This change for me represents the hypocritical nature of myself as a gamer, because how this came about was from my searching for stories more relating to my own interests, which is to say (pop-culture) Japanese interests. Be it the hyper-infused kawaii of moe-blend titles like Monster Monpiece, or the awesome mech and alien sci-fi of E.X. Troopers, my original reasoning for delving into import gaming, and learning Japanese, was because I believed that the stories in games exclusive to eastern nations were the stories that I was looking for, and this was something that I was ready to put both the money and time down for to experience--- except this about-faced on me not too long after.
Eventually, by playing dozens of games in a language I don't understand, I came to the point where I don't care to judge a game on anything other than gameplay anymore, and in relation to stories I've not only nullified my attention towards them but also my consideration, having established for myself a belief that, when in search of a story, the novel is the best place (which I don't mean in a snooty way, but rather that I am an English major after all).
But what inspires this blog is a recent gaming experience which re-opened that doubt between gameplay and story-telling in regards to a maximum gaming experience. Ys: Celceta, for the PS Vita, is that game, and the experience has left me with as much doubt as it did satisfaction, which is to say a lot.