Why are so many Japanese games score based?

I’m plaything through Ace Combat 7 now (very enjoyable game, highly recommend it) and it’s yet another title in a long list of Japanese made games that grade you on score or rank. Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear, DMC, Resident Evil, etc. Huge variety genre wise.

Why is this? Is it a cultural thing? I’ve really gotten used to the whole no timer thing in western games, but games from JP developers are littered with them. It feels like the time rolled back and I’m in some dodgy arcade in the mid 90s, spending my coins.

I give this post an “A”. Sorry no “S” rank for you.

Japan still has actual arcades, and yes it seems to be a big cultural thing there.

I’ve been hooked on Crimzon Clover all year, so I have to appreciate that, even if only indirectly.

Hahaha, legit laughed at this, thanks :)

Because Japanese developers often treat video games like actual games instead of interactive fiction novels where you push buttons to see the next talky scene. They design the game around learning and executing skills that you will improve with time, and on later playthroughs you can attempt to score better.

Back in the 90s, starting with Fallout, but then other games as well, I really started to appreciate Western games so much more than Japanese games, especially RPGs. But even in other genres, Western developers usually offered so many more ways to customize controls and other accessibility features that made games more enjoyable for me. But over time I’m really happy to see Japanese developers kind of keep their quirkiness and different sensibilities while at the same time they’ve come around on the issues of allowing more customization and inversion of Y-axis, and things like that. It’s so nice. I hope going forward, we continue to have these two (or more) flavor of sensibilities and games that are so different from one another.

Like even during the phase where Japanese developers were trying to copy Western games, and kind of give the Western audience what they wanted, their games were so adorably different. I’m thinking for example, of the Lost Planet games by Capcom, or the first person shooters they made during the 360 era. They still maintained that quirky flavor and different nature. It’s pretty cool.

Lost Planet is a very good score based shooter.

And a story so incomprehensible that it’s the first game I ever remember playing where I completely gave up trying to understand what was being conveyed in the story.

(I did finish it though. I agree, it’s a great shooter, even from the perspective of not caring about the score).

Score Based is what video games were exclusively, back in the day.

It’s ironic that Phoenix Wright perfected the interactive graphic novel.

It’s always such a satisfying relief when your opinion aligns with the crazy opinionated person on an Internet forum. Yeah, let’s get 'em!

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I get it in theory, but some of them are so brutal in their grading I end up feeling like it’s more about the developer telling me how much they think I suck.

There’s often an initial learning curve that’s pretty steep, just to survive and complete the game a first time. Then there’s an even steeper curve to mastery. That middle part is great fun for dabblers like myself.

It’s really not though with most Eastern games. Now, if you grew up playing C64 Euro games? Yeah, they were fucking with you. ALL. THE. TIME.

To expand though, @TimJames has the right of it. Usually (and sure, there are bad games) a game developed in Japan does a really good job of teaching you via actually playing how to be good at the game. You may not get all the timing right, or see all the ways you can link things to be awesome, but it’s there, just not shoved in your face the way western devs tend to do. They give you the tools and some difficulty so you realize to score well that you need to find the meaty bits that make you a master.

I read a LOT of developer stuff and have for years and they talk about this all the time in Japanese dev interviews. It’s a big thing in their way of looking at game design. Do arcades and their impact on their culture have something to do with that? Probably.

Also, some devs in the arcade era were subversive with this, like Irem, who would often have a hidden rank behind the scenes making their arcade games harder the better you did, almost to the point of impossibility. The only way to reset that is to die, so a lot of 1CC runs through an Irem game actually require a death at a certain time to make the game easier to complete.

To this day Vanquish remains the most hilarious (and really good) “Western targeted” Japanese game.

They saw Gears of War, so they put in cover shooting and bulky guys. But the story is soooooo Japanese crazy plot and the gameplay is exhilarating but basically everything but a cover shooter. And yes, you play for score.

It was like watching Western games through a bizarre distortion lens that made everything more awesome (and make less sense, if at all).

They tried to make a game that could sell like mainstream titles in the West and ended up with the nichest of niches. And I’m grateful for that.

Except for, y’know, the whole Visual Novel genre.

The vast majority of visual novels sell fewer than 10,000 units in Japan in their lifetime, and most of the ones with meaningful lifetime sales only achieve those after several rereleases and mainstream anime adaptations. The genre is significantly less popular over there than people on the Internet would have you believe.

And the important part might be that they are novels. With visuals (which has always been something in Japanese and Chinese literature, properly because of the wonderful ambiguity of the written language), and more importantly probably, a soundscape.

Although the nonsensical aspect of storylines, evoked in other genres in this thread, might be mostly due to a widely different approach to narrative logics than those admitted in Western fiction, and to the concept of logic in general, more than an inate quirkiness of the local minds.

Also visual novels genre not to be confounded with Chun Soft’s Sound Novels, which were proper text adventure games (with sounds). Nothing is ever simple in Japan.

This thread is definitely giving me emotional damage