Author Topic: Japanese Video Game Obscurities book  (Read 661 times)

Offline Alc

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Japanese Video Game Obscurities book
« on: May 11, 2020, 12:13:04 AM »
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/books/hg101-presents-japanese-video-game-obscurities/

Can't vouch for the quality of the book but couldn't help notice a certain character taking pride of place on the cover! There's a bunch of classics listed, and some much more obscure Japanese home computer (PC-98/FM Towns/etc) games that I recognise the names of too, so I might pick it up at some point.

Slightly surprised that they didn't go with a Japanese artist for the cover (or at least a more convincingly-Japanese style for the art). Not a deal-breaker for me, but I could imagine that some of the target audience might be a bit put off.

Offline CyanideBlizzard

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Re: Japanese Video Game Obscurities book
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 06:44:17 AM »
I'm thrilled that you announced this, because I was waiting for it to come out.  I've been wanting to read up more on Tengai Makyou The Apocalypse IV, and I knew that Umihara Kawase was suppose to be covered too.  If they're anything of the quality that The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, which does have a different author, was then it should be more than worth the purchase.  Those books are endlessly fascinating.

Offline Alc

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Re: Japanese Video Game Obscurities book
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 05:45:37 AM »
Based on a quick perusal of the "look inside" at Amazon it seems to be reasonably well-written, and I like that it's bite-size entries with pictures. I stumbled across it while poking around games on PC-98 and similar Japanese home systems recently, I never paid much attention to them before as the language barrier is so severe, but some of the pixel art the Japanese were producing in the early 90s is just absolutely fantastic and pushes me on. It's particularly striking by comparison to the Western gaming industry's obsession with ugly early 3D in the 90s. Really two different worlds.

As for the "Untold history of Japanese Game Developers", I've run into Szczepaniak in various places over the years (he used to post on Assemblergames way back in the day... RIP), he always seemed like a natural researcher/historian and has done some great work. I did catch part of the four-hour documentary to go with "The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers"; it was woefully unfocussed and rather desperately in need of an editor, which put me off a bit. I'll have to have a look if you say they're that good, though, I had been meaning to check them out anyway.

Offline CyanideBlizzard

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Re: Japanese Video Game Obscurities book
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 09:48:53 PM »
>I did catch part of the four-hour documentary to go with "The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers"; it was woefully unfocussed and rather desperately in need of an editor, which put me off a bit. I'll have to have a look if you say they're that good, though, I had been meaning to check them out anyway.

I'll have to check that out.  The books themselves read like it was a collection of interviews as oppose to an overall narrative, so you mind find some similarities.  I had picked up the Kindle version for 1 and 2, and noticed a few typos and some other mistakes.  but I found the meat and potatoes, the interviews, to be quite insightful.  I was more so looking at it as an informative piece, and in that aspect it was quite satisfying.  So your mileage might vary.

Offline Alc

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Re: Japanese Video Game Obscurities book
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2020, 03:27:46 AM »
Yeah, a lot of these really niche books on Amazon these days make you appreciate that editors are also necessary there too. Especially the digital only/print on demand ones.

There is interesting content in that documentary but you'll have to travel through breakfast and his bag breaking and then lunch being a bowl of Udon etc etc. It's his film and he can do what he wants, but it struck me as a bit self-indulgent to include that footage - more like a diary. I guess it's for the completionists out there since in some of those moments he's having dinner with the developers or whatever.

Whatever I may think of his editing decisions, I'll admit he must be remarkably tenacious to manage to get interviews out of all these senior figures in the Japanese development scene, especially as a foreigner. I know he speaks Japanese, but even so, it must have taken an incredible amount of time, research, and effort (and maybe money?) to open some of these doors. Good on him.