Talk Amongst Yourselves

Illustration for article titled Talk Amongst Yourselves

It is now officially April, the month that starts with fooling and ends with frolic! Welcome, wanderers, to Kotaku's official forum, known affectionately as Talk Amongst Yourselves. This is the place where we gather on a daily basis to discuss all things video game and existential. Want to talk about new games, old games, games that aren't even out? Knock yourselves out!

A new month means a new image for the TAYpic hivemind to have their way with. This month's painting is John Everett Millais' Isabella. Created in 1849, it's a beautifully rendered work that features great facial expressions, wine consumption and affectionate dogs. Y'all should have fun with this one.

You can do funny things with pictures, right? Want everyone on this fine web forum to see? Here's what you do. Post your masterpieces in the #TAYpics thread. Don't forget to keep your image in a 16x9 ratio if you want a slice of Talk Amongst Yourselves glory. Grab the base image here. The best ones will be featured in future installments of Talk Amongst Yourselves. Get cracking!

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My fellow Kotakuans! Today is a good day! As your presidente, I have worked hard, struggling day and night, and have done quite a job to keep you safe! But the so called rebels on the island? They are nothing less than anarchists who could not care less for this island but present themselves as its liberators! The road is long, our hearts our hot! Victory is almost upon us!

A warm embrace to all, especially the ladies!

Tropico speech mode terminated

So! I've figured out why I dislike most Japanese games I play. It's not because they suck—because many don't.

There are actually several factors:

Firstly, how many of them control. As opposed to a Western game, where control is generally direct and tends to rely more on an approximation of 1:1 movement, Japanese games tend to toss in a lot of weird things like lock-on.

On top of that, you've got terrible, terrible user interfaces. I don't think I've ever seen a single Japanese game with a good interface, much less a great one, beyond a handful of Nintendo games, like Metroid Prime (wait, that's a Western game) and Mario Sunshine. Even worse are a lot of JRPGs, with a bunch of random numbers and messy menus everywhere. The recent Final Fantasy XIII-2 UI was an abomination.

There are other things, but I'm trying to sell a friend on The First Law and work on a game proposal, so I'll leave it at that.

Basically, these are all related, though:

Japanese games are ultimately more abstract than Western games. Where Western games place an emphasis on immersion and simulation, Japanese games are much more interested in being rules-based, abstracted games. They put more distance between the player and the player's actions. As someone who plays games primarily to get lost in the game world/experience, having that level of abstraction between me and the game often pulls me out of the zone. I don't like to be reminded that I'm playing a game—in fact, like many people, I actually consider this a bad thing.

Anyways, yeah, abstractions. They make it hard to enjoy Japanese games.

Oddly, I can totally ignore them when it comes to strategy games, like the aforementioned Tropico.

Oh, bonus: You've also got story, which seems to suck kind of universally, but that's more of a "every game ever has this problem" thing than Japanese games. I guess you could say that many of them are a special kind of bad, though, as experiencing the story of most Japanese games seems to be like watching a very bad anime. Where it'd be nice to have a Japanese game with god-tier Cowboy Bebop or Blame! levels of storytelling, all we've got seems to be Zaion: I Wish You Were Here level bullshit. I hope, as I begin my Skies of Arcadia Legends playthrough in the coming weeks, that I've finally found something with a non-shit story.