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The effects of the video game industry on Japan Essay Example for Free
The effects of the video game industry on Japan Essay Much in the world today is of Japanese origin. Indeed, Japanese influence can be seen all over the world? on television, in comic books, in video games, in electronics, in the film industry, and even in music. In fact, currently, 60% of all the cartoon shows being broadcast on television the world over are from Japan. (Croal) Indeed Japanese anime characters have established a substantial base of fans in Europe and North America (Shuhei). Similarly, the Japanese video game industry has been very successful in the world. It has proven to have many positive effects on the world, even though many people have repeatedly tried and failed to vilify it. Perhaps one of the most important industries in modern Japan, video games have both opened up great possibility for Japans economic future and caused the rapid spread of its culture in the world. The rise in the Japanese video game industry elevated the countrys standing in the world. The first video games ever were created in computer labs of prestigious and well-known colleges by studious types, whereas in modern times, video games, complete with complex storylines and characters and with sophisticated music and game play, are created by paid professionals. The very first video games were invented by students at colleges with big computer facilities, because they had nothing better to do. [Making games] soon became a competitive field of play for these students. (Kohler, 24) Soon after, video games became something to sell, and at first were available for Magnavox TVs, played on the Odyssey systems made especially for Magnavoxes. (These Odyssey systems were not as consoles are today? i. e. , they did not have multiple games, only one game installed in the system, with the first games not even closely depicting what they were supposed to show. One game, a tennis game, was simply two white dots that were actually squares representing the players or rackets, and one line down the center of the screen signifying the net.) Then, games moved over to computers for a while, after a string of very primitive gaming consoles (which, strangely enough, happened to have the controls for the games on them, with the players having to keep score with paper and pencil, for some of the first games). These computer games were mainly based on board games, Dungeons and Dragons, and other fantasy/fiction games with a small emphasis on the graphics of the games. (Fierman) Soon, industry-changing games were released by companies who, before this point, had games only in the arcades. Along with these games came Shigeru Miyamotos invention of the gaming console (these had been invented by now) with a very stylized and appealing design, and with removable controllers, connected to the system with cables. Innovations like the ones of Miyamoto kept making the industry grow, as it became bigger and more effective in the worlds markets. Now, video games have evolved into an effective means of entertainment (at least stereotypically for males of 15-25 years of age), even better and more money-making than the movie industry. Japanese video games originality was what gave them a good hold in the relatively new and rapidly rising industry. Japanese culture was the major factor making Japanese games different from any other games. The Japanese peoples will to easily accept technology, after having stayed away from it for years, epitomizes Japanese cultures amalgamating nature. Despite the technological advancements that Japan went through, there has always been a traditionally Japanese factor in all of Japans development. The Japanese brought anime-style characters into games because of their overwhelming popularity elsewhere. In fact, Japanese video games are very heavily influenced by Japanese culture? the styles of art and music, and the various aspects of modern Japanese theater. Another major aspect of Japanese culture? the importance of depictions over writing? is obviously relevant in video games. As writer Frederik L. Schodt, author of two books and many articles on Japanese comics, puts it: [The Japanese consider comic books to be] an effective? way of transmitting information, and they use them everywhere? [people now] live in an age that emphasizes the image? [and therefore] naturally have no bias against comics. They are?the shikaku sedai, the ? visual generation. (Kohler, 6) The video game industry as a whole has had a generally positive effect on the Japanese economy, and the lifestyles of its people. One of the biggest innovations in early video game technology was that of the so-called programmable home gaming console, which was one in which different game cartridges could be made to fit into specialized slots in the console, as long as these cartridges were specialized for the console. (Fierman) One of the main economic advantages that this innovation brought was the hiring of designers to work on video games?prior to this, the programmers of the hardware of the games had to design the characters, backgrounds, and storyboards as well as the game-playing systems. Not more that a decade after this innovation, games became what they are now. In fact, because video games have been a growing industry ever since they were introduced to the world, they have also become a replacement for or a cause of the falling industries like that of movies. (See chart, compiled by Dentsu) Soon, many aspiring young artists were given chances to make and oversee all the art in these programmable game cartridges. One such man, Shigeru Miyamoto, came to Nintendo (whose Japanese name, nin-ten-dou, translates into English as the place where luck is left in heavens hands) as a toy designer (Nintendo was a toy producer and entertainment company at the time). His talents were soon realized for what they were, and his rising positions within the company eventually led him to become a designer for games. His first game Donkey Kong was a smash hit. In modern video games there has been a rising emphasis on music, especially since there was none or very little in the video games of old, because it can alter the reviews of games, leading to success or failure. This weight put on music makes jobs for composers, synthesizers, and music directors, the soundtracks even selling as well as pop music. (Kohler) In fact, these musicians work is so profitable to the industry (and indeed commonplace) that programmer Fumito Ueda chuckled in response to a question regarding the idea of taking out even the music from his mainly dialogue-less game. He said, If I took out the music, it would be even harder to bond with Ico [the name of the main character and the game itself], even if the players had maximum sound effects. (Kohler, 253) Video game companies have also had to hire marketing experts and people to work in their sales departments, and they have had to also send their games to production houses where they are produced and made ready to sell. Stats of video game jobs Perhaps because popular video games, ever since the rise of the industry, have been heavily Japanese-influenced, many people the world over have tried to vilify this very profitable industry, and have repeatedly failed. In the years when video games were pioneers in the world market, there was much opposition and skepticism regarding them. Many renowned authors of economics, and even some who became known for their pieces regarding video games, reasoned that the budding new industry would quickly fade away. One author went as far as saying, the invasion of our world [United States video gaming industry] by these aliens [the producers] of Space Invaders will quickly find their business being driven back to their own planets. (Duus, 135) Another writer, University of Miami professor Eugene F. Provenzo, wrote in his book Video Kids: Making Sense of Nintendo, about how children were not being taught some of video games intentional lessons. In Japanese video games, manga-style characters (i. e. , characters from animated anime shows) are usually used because these characters have no distinctive race, and thereby no affiliations with any nationalities; this was to teach the players of these games something about different races? that they dont necessarily have to interact negatively. (Another use of the characters of ambiguous race was that anyone could play these games, and consumers would not think these games to be for a certain type of people.) He brought up an example of a single fourth grade boy who he talked to, who did not know much about ninja or their weaponry (these specific ninja refer to the bad-guy foot soldiers of the Shredder, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) except for the fact that the Chinese and Japanese (he was not sure which the ninja were) were enemies. The boy said, just because they are from Japan they might want to do something different from you. And they are dangerous because they might want to fight with you. (Kohler, 9) This argument is not very solid, as it is repeated several times in his book and in some conferences Provenzo attended, and yet it relies on a single source? a fourth grade boy who happened not to know about ninja. The Japanese video game, although it has been in a constant state of rising ever since it was started up in the early 70s, has had to face problems with Japans dangerously fluctuating economy. Japan had been in a bubble and bust economic cycle, for about a year before the first video games were made. This bubbling and busting kept most of Japans economy stagnant, even though the gaming industry was slowly ascending the economic ladder of relevance and importance. (Duus, 143) There were also technical difficulties, which made the rise of the gaming industry even slower? at first, there was a lack of technology like that of today, making the economic climb very difficult, coupled with the opposition of the people in many countries like the United States, of video games in general (but more specifically foreign games). (Throsby) But more recently, things have gotten a lot better for the world-wide gaming industry, an $18-billion-a-year business (Dvorak), and Japans economy has actually gotten a small boost from this great surge of successful video game companies, which created healthy competition for larger companies like Nintendo and Sony, against each other and smaller companies like Sega, Namco, and Atari. With entertainment [all forms excluding adult entertainment, and anything to be read? basically movies and TV shows and video games] being almost one fifth (about 18%, to be closer to the precise percentage, according to Throsby) of the Japanese Economy, and with video games claiming a bigger and bigger piece of both entertainment and the market in general, it can be easily drawn that this industry is on the rise. (See chart, compiled by Dentsu) Japanese culture has been spread in the world by the widespread appearance of video games in the economies and lifestyles of the people of the world. The highest form of the art of video games is only seen in Japan, and they influence all other games heavily. (Throsby, p. 5) ? The newer generation is accustomed to having everything visual (Japanese) as opposed to having everything good be verbal (American) ? The highest form of the art of video games is only seen in Japan, and they influence all other games heavily The video game industry has had a profound influence on the modern world. Even though this industry has provided lots of jobs to the Japanese and offered a growing export market to their country, it has been repeatedly yet unsuccessfully attacked by opponents. The industry has brought its country farther in the world than the preceding flow of anime into the rest of the world. Now, the young generation of today is more thoroughly a visual generation, as opposed to the verbal generations before them? this Japanese style of thought allows for the new generation to easily accept and become attached to Japanese video games, and the Japanese cultural ideas of amalgamation, without leaving tradition behind. III. Conclusion ?The video game industry has had a profound influence on the modern world.? Even though this industry has provided lots of jobs to the Japanese and offered a growing export market to their country, it has been repeatedly yet unsuccessfully attacked ? The Japanese video game industry has brought its country farther in the world than the preceding flow of anime into the rest of the world. oThe young generation of today is a very visual generation, as opposed to the verbal generations before them? this is a Japanese style of thought, and allows for the new generation to easily accept and become attached to Japanese video games?leading the future world to become one dominated by Japanese (and other) video games ? The rise of Japanese video games is inevitable. Bibliography Croal, NGai. Fall of the Video King. Newsweek online 18 Oct. 2004. 11 Jan. 2005 . Dentsu Communication Institute Inc.. Japans Video Game Industry. 2004. 2 Apr. 2005 . Duus, Peter. Modern Japan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Dvorak, Phred. Nintendo Girds for New Hand-Held Game Player From Sony. Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition). New York, NY: Nov 8, 2004; p. B1. 11 Jan. 2005 .. Fierman, Joseph. electronic game. Encyclop?dia Britannica. 2005. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online 7 Jan. 2005 . Kawakami, Sumie. Video Game Industry Statistics. Mar. 2002. 3 Apr. 2005 . Kohler, Chris. Power-Up. Indianapolis: Brady Games Publishing, 2004. Shuhei, Kishimoto. Shoring Up Japans Content Industry. Japan Echo. Tokyo: Jun 2004, Vol. 31, Issue 3; p. 19-24. 11 Jan. 2005. . Throsby, David. The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics. Journal of Economic Literature. Mar. 1994; p. 1-29. 15 Jan. 2005. http://links. jstor. org/sici? sici=0022-515%28199403%2932%3A1%3C1%3ATP ACOT%3E2. 0. CO%3B2-9.
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