MONDAY JUNE 26, 2017
 
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JAPAN'S VIDEO GAMING RENAISSANCE
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Nintendo's hugely popular Switch console dropped last month, and many people have speculated this could pave the way for Japanese gaming trends to become a bigger part of the global gaming scene. 

In the early days of video gaming, Japan seemed to be just about the only nation that produced decent video games. Companies like Taito, Namco, Capcom, Konami and Square Enix dominated the gaming charts, whilst Sega and Nintendo set new standards for what we could expect from our home entertainment consoles.

But after the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese and North American gaming cultures seemed to diverge. A growing trend towards first-person shooters led to hugely popular franchises like Call of Duty being developed with North American audiences in mind, and Japanese games couldn’t compete with the rise of the so-called AAA games in the West. 

And whilst we were all playing the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Japanese gamers were being served by their own idiosyncratic titles. The rise of the JRPG phenomenon may initially look baffling to Western tastes, but with games like Baten Kaitos and The World Ends With You gaining near mythical status, it’s clear that Japanese gaming is a little different.

It’s not just the JRPG games that are different as Japanese titles that are based on the iconic Wizardry game continue to prove massively popular. And although Lucky Nugget Casino suggest how Japan might eventually develop a legal casino gaming culture that could see more than pachinko being allowed in the country, there is still a marked difference in our gaming worlds.

But with JPRG franchises like Dark Souls becoming international hits, and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain being one of the biggest console games of recent years, it seems as through the tide could be turning.

Interestingly, although Japanese games can often be successes in the West, the same is rarely true in Japan where differing tastes in escapism mean that ‘otaku’ culture is still a dominant theme in Japanese gaming. 

And whilst even Toronto has shown itself to be partial to a touch of otaku action, it’s clear that there are still a few divisions between the gaming worlds. So this is why Nintendo’s Switch console is particularly exciting, as it follows the brand’s successful entry into the mobile gaming realm with their Super Mario Run release.

And with Pokémon Go being one of the biggest mobile gaming phenomenons of last year, it looks like it could only be our nation’s access to online casinos that mark the differences in our gaming behaviour.

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