It’s interesting to see how people are trying to psychoanalyze me based on the “favorite games of 2007” I’ve been recapping. But while I have been trying to broaden my horizons and capture the best games on every system, from both America and Japan, the preponderance of American-made games on the list doesn’t indicate some major seismic shift in my tastes. Besides, what preponderance? So far it’s a 50-50 split, with mostly Japanese games on the “almost but not quite” list. Ah, the joy of overreaction.
No, it has more to do with the fact that Japan has pretty much given up. A few months ago I wrote a retro feature for EGM chronicling average scores for major console titles over the years, and it was interesting to see the way American titles slowly began to creep in and eventually dominate the lists. The big sea change happened around 2003 or so. Japan’s output last year was pretty frickin’ sad — aside from a small handful of genuinely notable games, most of the best eastern games were remakes and rereleases of classic titles — particularly Dracula X Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics — or were barely upgraded sequels — Pokémon comes to mind — or were designed for people who have never touched a video game before. And 2008 is looking even drearier.
In other words, I still love Japanese games. They just don’t love me anymore.