Japanese Role-Playing Games? Why?

Japanese role-playing games have fascinated me since I started playing video games. Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Trails in the Sky – you name it, I play it. In stark contrast to western role-playing games: a Baldur’s Gate or Skyrim are much less appealing to me. But why? In what aspects do these two approaches to games differ? And are they even different?

I am trying to get closer to an answer here. On this blog, I will conduct interviews with developers who are close to “Japanese roleplaying games” in a broad sense, provide analyses on games or specific aspects of some games, and provide reviews on relevant media. Game reviews in the conventional sense will not appear here, however.

On a higher level, this blog is also intended to serve as a central contact point for a project, namely a book on Japanese role-playing games. So far there is no real summarizing overview of Japanese roleplaying games that tries to sketch a development of a “genre” and many summaries remain anecdotical. Whether the book will ever really come together, who knows, but my approach is similar to the one I took with Final Fantasy VII: I’ve certainly started the game 20 times in my life, but only once really played it through completely. And that’s enough.