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Gamasutra Comments Of The Week(s): From Japan's Failures To Music Comparisons

This week's selection of some of the best comments on Gamasutra includes a look at Japan's failure to emulate the style of Western game development and a thoughtful comparison between the artistry of games and music.
[Every Friday, Gamasutra community manager Kyle Orland shares some of the most interesting and thought-provoking comments running on Gamasutra's news, features and blog posts, granting the winning commenter a prize from his box o' gaming swag.] After a three-week hiatus brought on by post-GDC amnesia, Gamaustra's comments of the week returns with a look at the best user-submitted thoughts from the last three weeks. How about that! Our winning comment this week comes from Kamruz Mos, who points out how Japanese developers have tried and largely failed to copy the style and sales success they saw in Western games. A portion from his winning comment: The Japanese famously enjoyed great success for decades by making games free of creative restraint according to their own sentiments and the games from the best of creators always ended up having universal appeal among core gamers domestic or overseas and would find success world wide. Come this generation Japanese executives noticed that development costs could not be made back by domestic sales alone and when they then took a gander at the overseas market they noticed that there had come to be many multi million selling franchises developed over there. This made them reach the conclusion that in order to be profitable they needed to change their development philosophy to specifically aim for the same crowd driving those sales. This they did with a typical magical misunderstanding that you describe, they simply did not understand where most of the sales for the multi-million selling shooter franchises in the west were coming, and how the buying habits of that crowd operates. They simply took a glance at the market and started to undermine their own tested development methods by trying to make clumsy and shallow interpretations of the popular overseas conventions they concluded were driving those sales. For his comment, Mos wins a Plants vs. Zombies zombie-shaped mousepad (pictured). Honorable Mentions: Also in the past three weeks, Ubisoft Associate Producer Yannick Boucher gave us a bit of an insider look into the company's decision not to release We Dare in the UK: I can't talk too much (although I am strictly speaking for myself here) but I have to say that unfortunately this is not surprising. There was a lot of internal debate even during development. I didn't expect the US market to be able to take it, but I would have thought at least the UK could be slightly above that. A bit disappointing. It seems some things really don't change indeed. Working off a story on the web browser as the "platform of the future," commenter Andrew Wojtkowski notes a few big structural problems that may keep the browser from achieving its rightful place. I was playing Super Hero Squad Online the other night (Don't Judge! It's Good!) and I accidentally hit the back button on my browser. Kicking me out of my mission that I was just about to finish, and requiring the unnecessarily long login process again. This in an age where people complain that they need to hit "redial" when their phone drops a call. Or better yet- losing a half hour of progress every time firefox or internet exploder crashes. Until we get better browsers, they will never be the platform of the future. In a massive comment thread on Brian Moriarty's GDC talk about games, art and Roger Ebert, new commenter Mark Kreitler asks why music can be art if games can not. Ebert has acknowledged that music can be Art, yet humans "play" music in much the same way they "play" games -- following a set of rules that guide their experience. Musicians know that performing Art can be as transcendental as listening to it, yet musical performance is anything but "still." And, if you argue that music is strictly guided, while games are not, then you're discounting improvisation as an art form. That may be fair, but you'll need to convince me that Coltrane and Parker were purveyors of kitsch instead of Art. Finally, Meghan Fox gives us her own personal list of things that have happened in her life since development began on the recently re-delayed Duke Nukem Forever: "Learned to code, graduated high school, gone to college, dropped out of college for dot com job, flattened by dot com bust, went BACK to college, worked on portfolio, graduated, got job with startup, built prototype, pitched prototype, got prototype flattened in market crunch, got job in AAA game dev, built entire MMO, released MMO, built expansion pack for MMO. ... and since it's June now, in theory, I could even found a dev studio of my own before then."

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