Saturday, September 19, 2009

Phantom of Akihabara Chapter 7

I’m sorry to tell you, but the days when you were just a bunch of nerds screwing around with each other are over.

The latest instalment of Kevin Gifford's translation of The Phantom of Akihabara is with us! I covered his ongoing translation effort, and the previous six instalments, HERE. The series is kind of an Orwellian dystopian tale of the potential future videogames have, but all based on current trends. If you've not read previous installments, I recommend you do so now, then come to part 7 - it is seriously worth your time.

Part 7 is a little dry compared to previous parts, mostly dialogue, but it's interesting. It tackles the shrinkage of the Japanese games market, further burdened by increasing production costs. It also deals with corruption in the games press and strategy guide makers, plus other worrying trends which we're currently seeing.

But it's more exciting than it sounds, honest. Our protagonist and game-hunter Ryohei Takamizawa meets with a woman from the ministry who explains that regulations are going to get stricter, and that the glory days of the past are really long gone.

On a side and barely-related note, I stumbled across the Colony Drop blog, and this particular post. Which covers a rather interesting conspiracy theory regarding Japan's declining population and the seeming obsession increasing men have with moe girls found in games. Of course it's related to the above Akihabara story, since both deal with obsession in videogames and otaku culture in general, and both add an interesting level of extra scope to the fantastic Welcome to the NHK novella and slightly inferior manga (one day, one day I swear I will cover it - it should be mandatory reading for anyone even vaguely interested in Japanese youth culture).

Where is the world heading? Where is our hobby - and for some an obsession - heading?

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