According to Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, designer of the decidedly awesome Binary Domain, Japanese developers too often kowtow to Western norms when they’re making games for Western markets. Playing copycat isn’t how you win over a foreign audience, argued Nagoshi; “I think Japanese games should wear that ‘Made in Japan’ badge with pride and march boldly into the Western market. When Japanese actors find success overseas, it’s not because they speak perfect English; it’s because they project an image of themselves as a Japanese individual.”
We heartily agree – the Japanese games we adore are generally those that embrace their origins, rather than cosying up to ours. But what does ‘made in Japan’ stand for, exactly? What sets a Japanese game apart from a North American or European effort? Where and how do they shine brightest? We can think of at least six ways in which the nation’s creatives pull ahead.