Symposium: Western JRPGs, May 4, 2017

This month’s symposium is hosted by Pat Holleman.  Quoting Pat:

For a long time, the “J” in JRPG signified only the country of origin for games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire and Ys.  Over time, the Western audience came to understand JRPG as being a subgenre with its own set of story tropes and design techniques.  In recent times, Western developers who grew up playing JRPGs in the 1980s and 1990s have begun to try their hand at making games in this subgenre–but they come to it as outsiders who are appropriating tropes that materialized in another culture.  This is something which has happened in art for thousands of years, of course, but even respectful appropriations leave clear signs.  We’ll be looking at either Shadows of Adam or Cosmic Star Heroine (or both) as examples of Westerners making “neo” JRPGs, and how they commodify their source material for re-use in games which are often quite different in scope, goals and player experience.   Both games are on Steam and can be completed in less than 15 hours, although 3-5 hours in either game will give you a good idea of what I’m talking about.

We’ll meet this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

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