Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Clashes in Style: East vs. West in videogames

Video games as an industry have been evolving for decades now.  Once upon a time every new game came from a Japanese publisher and although localized for an American audience their aesthetic was by and large an eastern one.  

As time has progressed this has changed.  More and more games are created in the West and thus has begun a clash in stye between the East and the West.

Today many gamers despise the Eastern art style and feel that the Western art style is superior.

I disagree, but before you grab your gun let me explain why.

First: The difference

Western games typically have male protagonists with slab like muscles.  Usually they are older, scarred, tough, and frequently have a military background.

Common also is a protagonist who is ruggedly individualistic or who is part of a small band of likewise muscular, scarred, and toughened individuals.

Here are some popular examples:

From Gears of War

Sometimes the humanity is completely taken away as in Master Chief here
Don't worry if you like Fantasy games more.  We have beef cake there as well.

Apparently steroids are very popular amongst western game hero's.

Now the East:

Eastern art style game hero's are often younger, sometimes much younger, than their western counterparts.

Generally they are thinner and more effeminate.

They are also known for their very bizarre hair styles which frequently are very spiky.

Here are some examples.

Above is the main character from Square Soft's magnificent Secret of Mana

Even more reverent is Crono from Chrono Trigger
One of my favorite characters is Edgar Figaro from Final Fantasy VI.  He lacks the flamboyant hair but is still a young, slight built hero.

Now you have seen some of the differences between Eastern art style hero's versus their Western counterparts.

I personally prefer the Eastern art style.

I am not a football player.

I am not a marine.

I do not use steroids.

That said the East isn't perfect either

I don't get shirtless low rise jean style males.  I don't get drawing men so effeminate that I can't with a glance tell if he is supposed to be male.

The East style, in my opinion, however has much greater variety in character "types," for lack of a better word.

The West is a bit too obsessed with bald, steroid laced, he men for my liking.

But guess what!

There is an even better alternative!

Commander Shepard can look like anyone you the player wants.  My Shepard no doubt looks very different from yours.

I wish game companies would spend more time giving players tons of different options for creating characters instead of tacking on some lame muliplayer experience.


No comments:

Post a Comment