Yakuza Review Yakuza 3

There's a terrific feature over at BoingBoing in which writer Jake Adelstein plays Sega game Yakuza 3 with three real-life members of the Yakuza. I have selected two wonderful excerpts.

The set-up of the article is that Adelstein lets three guys from the real-life Yakuza in Japan try the game. They certainly don't play through it. But they sample it, talk about it and judge it.

In the first excerpt, the three Yakuza, none using their real names in the piece, discuss the authenticity of the depiction of Yakuza. For context, know that the protagonist is Kazuma Kiryu, who spends much of the games in this series interacting with other members of the Yakuza and beating a lot of guys up on the streets of Tokyo. In Yakuza 3, he also spends some time distancing himself from his Yakuza past by running an orphanage in Okinawa:

M: The corporate yakuza guys get a thumbs up for realism. Nice suit. Smart. Financially savvy. Obsessed with money. Sneaky and conniving. Ruthless.
S: There are a lot of guys whom I feel like I know. The dialogue is right too. They sound like yakuza.
K: Braggarts, bullies, and sweet-talkers. I agree - it feels like I know the guys on the screen.
M: Kiryu is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn't bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games.
S: I don't know any ex-yakuza running orphanages.
K: There was one a few years ago. A good guy.
M: You sure it wasn't just a tax shelter?
K: Sure it was a tax shelter but he ran it like a legitimate thing. You know.

The other excerpt is from Adelstein's conclusion, which refers to cuts made by the game for its U.S. release, cuts we covered here extensively:

Ironically, the sections that Shirokawa seemed to enjoy the most were cut out of the US version: mahjong, the sexual massage parlor, and the hostess clubs. After I explain to him what Sega cut from the US version, he said: アメリカ版を買った奴がかわいそうだ。セガUSAが最低だね.(Translation: I feel sorry for the people who bought the American version. SEGA USA sucks.)

That's a taste of the article. Read the whole thing.

Yakuza 3 Played, reviewed and fact-checked. With the Yakuza. [BoingBoing]