This week’s Famitsu had detailed coverage of Rogue Galaxy (pictured) as
well as the excellent Ryu ga gotoku, Dead or Alive 4, Sony’s new Yaroze
mission, Ninety-Nine Nights and Mother 3. Plus; how to spend Christmas
in Japan. More inside
For daily game industry news, opinion and analysis read Next Generation every morning.
typical Japanese company employee gets six days off for New Year’s, and
since it’s too cold outside to play baseball with your kids, it’s high
time to participate in Japan’s real national pastime: videogames.
over the next three weeks, will tell Japanese people what they want to
buy, and why. Of course, though it’s always up to each individual
person to buy what they will at the end of the month, one can’t deny —
and even admire — Famitsu’s skills in manipulating the choice.
year, in fact, when Dragon Quest VIII was brand-new and guaranteed to
sell millions (it sold 3 million initially, though it could have sold
more if Square-Enix hadn’t insisted on a $100 price point) Dragon Quest
VIII scored a 10, 10, 10, 9. That’s one point short of Famitsu’s
perfect 40, which very few games have ever scored.
recent one was — well, it was Nintendogs, which no one believed
deserved it. Every time a perfect 40 is announced, the public screams
at Famitsu for overreacting. Every time there’s a 38 or a 39, no one
says "It should have been a 40." I think this speaks highly of the
Japanese people, they who favor a tie in baseball over a victory by
This week’s issue covers the games that will
release on December 8th, next Thursday, and three of them score tens,
though none of them gets the perfect 40. Even a single ten is rare, you
see, so it’s a fun week.
Thursdays? When Dragon Quest III initially launched, reportedly a
million schoolboys skipped classes to go to a game shop. This resulted
in the urban legend of a law being passed — Dragon Quest games must be
released on Saturday. Interestingly, Monday, November 29, 2004 saw many
grown men — who had been schoolboys back when Dragon Quest III was
released — calling in sick for work.
Even so, it’s one of the
quirky, interesting things about Japan. And it’s typical of a hardcore
gamer geek — I’m thinking of the Japanese kind, who collects Gundam
models — to cry foul whenever any game other than Dragon Quest
releases on a Saturday. I remember a guy on a Japanese messageboard
calling Final Fantasy X-2 "presumptuous" for releasing on a Saturday.
"It’s a Thursday game if I ever saw one," he claimed.
none of this week’s games are Saturday games, not even Slime Morimori
Dragon Quest, a delightful little Zelda-styled action-RPG for Nintendo
DS, debuting on December 1st. That game scored 8, 10, 8, 8. I haven’t
played it yet, though I have played the first one, and I would score it
a 9, definitely.
So now that I’ve established that Japanese
games release on Thursday and that a company releasing a game on
Saturday looks presumptuous if the game isn’t sumptuous, let’s
re-evaluate the Japanese Xbox 360 launch: it’s coming out on Saturday,
Of all the arrogant . . .
can’t imagine a million Japanese salarymen enjoying a bitching game of
Need for Speed….which scored a 9, 8, 8, 8. I don’t get that, myself.
Famitsu doesn’t say anything in particular about this one: "It’s got
speed, and that’s all it needs," I suppose.
Perfect Dark Zero
scores four 8s. In a move unexpected of a Japanese game critic, it’s
said that "It just doesn’t compare to Halo’s craftsmanship." Why! I
didn’t know you even knew what Halo was, Japan.
Now onto the more interesting games:
Toshihiro Nagoshi’s seminal yakuza action-adventure Ryu ga gotoku…