Posts from the ‘Games’ Category

Sony Tower

Today was our first day outside the regular study abroad schedule.  Most of the other students are on their way back to Detroit as I am typing this.  Nick, Radin and I made our way to Sony Tower in Ginza.  This building is packed with the latest and greatest products Sony has to offer.  I am surprised that it was not on our study abroad itinerary.  Upon reaching the building, I knew it would be a truly Japanese experience.  The technology showed off is years ahead of what the United States has to offer.  The raw technology behind everything was astonishing.  Cameras, cellphones and televisions surrounded us.  The best part about this was the fact that it is all hands on.  Most everything there could be handled and tested.  Radin had a blast testing out the best Sony cameras and lenses.  It was bizarre being allowed to handle cameras and camcorders that cost more than our entire trip to Japan.  The Japanese are extremely trusting of the customer and tourists just visiting.  Sadly, like few other attractions in Japan, no photos were allowed inside.

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DenDen Town (the Akihabara of Osaka… kinda)

Every store looks the same.  I’m here in the electronic district of Osaka and have a constant felling of deja vu.  As we walk store to store I see more of the same thing.  There are overpriced video games, some crazy electronics and anime.  Sure there is the occasional porn store, but that doesn’t really apply to my interest in Japan.  I am not saying that I don’t enjoy Den Den, as I do very much so.  It is just that I thought that there would be a little more variety in separate street corner electronic shops.  The most enjoyable place we went to was the PlayStation store.  I had no idea that Osaka had one, we just happened upon it during our little excursion.  There may not have been much in the store, but it was the idea that counts.  I can now say that I have been to an Official PlayStation  Store.

Company Visit: Q? Entertainment

This was my favorite company visit.  I have played Q? Entertainment games in the past, like Lumines, but could not believe I was actually going to meet the developers.  The first thing I remember about this visit was running to be on time.  We had taken a wrong turn to get to the building and what was supposed to be a 5 minute walk turned into 10 minute all out run.  Once we made it to Q? Entertainment we navigated up the smallest staircase i have ever been in.  I still feel claustrophobic thinking about it.  The presenters were very personable and I could not have been happier at where I was, especially with the comfortable chairs and complimentary waters.  Sadly, I cannot talk about much of what they showed us at it was pre-E3 footage.  Unbelievable!  The last thing I remember was getting cold looks from Dr. C. during the presentation.  I thought I had done something wrong.  It turns out that Kiya fell asleep next to me and he was signaling for me to wake her up.  All in all a great company visit!

Company Visit: D3 Publisher Inc.

Our first company visit was D3 Publisher.  This video game publisher was our first look at a Japanese business while here.  What I noticed first walking into their lobby were the awards and all their past games mounted on the walls.  Majority of the games I have never heard of, and the few I have were smaller titles back in the United States.  During their presentation I was surprised with the partnership with Microsoft.  In Japan the Microsoft Xbox 360 is not the first console of choice.  Most Japanese households prefer to own Japanese branded consoles.  It was interesting to see this company’s take on an unpopular device.  The risks that this company seems extreme.  Majority of the games that they publish will never see the light of day in the United States.  Their geek genre of games is made for the Xbox 360, but the Xbox 360 is not surviving in Japan.  The locations where it is thriving, like the US, serve no market to the geek games.

The Definition of “Geek”

One thing that I have discovered in Japan is the varying definitions across cultures.  Back in the states I am proud to consider myself a geek.  Being tech savvy and computer literate is a label I accept with great pride.  Here in Japan, the definition of geek is quite different.  A geek in Japan is actually quite perverse.  Geeks, in Japan, are closely related with otaku.  Otaku is the culture that surrounds itself in anime and manga.  Geek takes this obsession one step further to include hentai.  While at D3 Publisher I learned that dating games for men and women are called “Geek Games”.    In these games, lonely Japanese men try to lure and seduce anime characters into something of an intimate relationship.  One thing is for sure, I do not want to be called a geek ever again, because as soon as I hear that word I immediately think of the perverseness of that underground Japanese culture.