Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do you want Boku no Natsuyasumi 3 diary entries?

Having recently received several packages all at once, I now stand on an even bigger pile of games/films/books which I will at some point be experiencing. The question is, do you want me to write about Boku no Natsuyasumi 3 on PS3?

When the second in the trilogy went platinum on PS2 I bought it online for less than £20, but only managed a few hours before deciding to sell it. My Japanese ability has faded over time and while I liked the premise of a lazy summer-time game, it seemed like too much effort to enjoy. I ended up getting £2.50 for it on eBay.

Months later I read Nick des Barres review in PLAY magazine – please have a peruse of the scan above. Nick normally writes pieces which I would describe as very important, since he tends to document things which would otherwise go unreported, or even if they are covered elsewhere, are covered by people without the Japanese language ability or insight to do so properly. His Folklore review in PLAY, for example, expertly described the international situation that videogames are now in, with Japan being ignored in favour of western games despite still being able to produce such high-quality titles. Nick correctly predicted that few would appreciate it. Three years after release I am still in awe of Folklore, both for its majestic beauty and its substantial combat mechanics with plethora of attack options. In terms of visuals, story and gameplay, I took as much satisfaction from Folklore, if not more, than I did from Uncharted 2.
Which reinforces my belief that contrary to what the world is saying, Japan is in fact doing just fine in terms of creativity. She’s still making great stuff, but we in the west are defiantly stamping on her still-breathing face declaring, not so much with mourning but rather a demented schadenfreude, that she is at last dead and irrelevant. The Eastern serpent is slain, long live the devout Western followers of his Holy Roman Emperor, David Jaffe. And the more I hear it, the more confused I feel, because I have more cool Japanese games to play than I have time for – and I don’t even own a 360, which has several exclusives. It’s sad, when you read about Japanese companies like Marvellous Entertainment on the brink of bankruptcy, despite having been involved with numerous excellent titles, such as Muramasa, No More Heroes, Little King’s Story and Red Seeds Profile (yes, Deadly Premonition is excellent). Long-time localiser Jeremy Blaustein summarised western attitudes quite aptly in an interview I did with him.
But back to Boku no Natsuyasumi 3. Nick’s exquisite write up encouraged me to keep an eye out for it, so when a forumite I knew was selling it, along with the Japanese guide book and bonus diary booklet, at a very low price, I had to have it. This is probably not the game to prove my statement about Japan’s continuing ability, and based on my impressions of the second this is very much an acquired taste (you need to be into playing foreign RPGs), but as the review states: games don’t always have to be about guns and tits. And while I won’t be able to appreciate the implied nostalgia factor it’s aiming for (I wasn’t a child in Japan circa 1975), I’m very curious to imbibe the historical and cultural snapshot which it provides. Hey, maybe it should be recommended playing for Western University students studying Japanese anthropology?
I won’t be starting BnN3 for a number of months still, but I wanted to gauge interest to see if people would like daily diary entries, in much the same way your character in the game writes them. I once wrote a Seaman Diary (for the Dreamcast title), and while I won’t replicate the Mr Biffo/Digitiser style of that, my hope is that regular entries should motivate me to play the game more than I did the second title on PS2. There’s every likelihood I’ll get distracted after 3 entries, but hey, maybe it encourages me to go the distance for the game?


  1. Yes, please.

    Having been intrigued by this series for some time and having the theme/gameplay speak to the escapist and nostalgist within, I would absolutely love a through review and/or diary entries.

  2. Go for it, I say. I first read about the series when the second game was released for the PS2, but I never came across it during my time in Japan.

    I'd be interested to read about it, and, maybe, buy it sometime down the road.

  3. Please do.

    And I have to admit, I'm guilty of the "Japanese design is dead" mentality, but it really comes from an honest place. I have been burned by Japanese developers a lot this generation.

    This however looks great (and I loved Folklore) so the question I have for you is: What games would you suggest us PS3 owners import?

  4. I remember seeing screenshots of this game and hoping desperately that it would somehow make it to America, for a long long time it was the only PS3 game I was interested in! The only other person I've ever heard even mention the game is Ray Barnholt.

    This is my longwinded way of saying, yes, please write more about the game.

  5. Japanese design is doing bad because a lot of developers are afraid to try something new and different during the console generation. Does this make it fundamentally worse than Western design? NO. I'm just saying that as a whole, Japan is faltering in terms of amount of next gen titles they are making. They're still flourishing on the PSP and the DS.

    BTW, I'd be interested in seeing you write more about this game. I might want to import it if it's interesting enough. Although I still have to import Aquanaut's Holiday. Sorry about that. :)

  6. Some diary entries would be cool. I only know about Boku no Natsumiyasumi from a review Tim Rogers did on some other games that was much, much worse...something by Bandai-Namco, I think, for the PSP.

  7. I would love to hear more about this game. It looks really cool (even if I have NO IDEA what is going on in it), and I absolutely love Japanese game. Maybe a "japanphile" or whatever the hell they are called is a little strong, but I definitely love the japanese estetic and think there will be a large market for their games with the rise of digital games on services such as Xbox Live or PSN or WiiWare. Companies who are savvy enough with their resources and the resolve to survive will survive and continue to publish awesome, awesome games. Though admittingly, I am an optimist (somewhere the writers of HG101 and I differ) and always try to see the bright side of things. So, yes, keep writing about this game, keep writing about obscure series I've never heard about before (such as Boku no Natsuyasumi), and keep doing a fantastic (if pessimistic) job in these articles.

  8. Definitely, since the series is not that obscure.

  9. Well, I've got several titles to play through still, but I hope to sit down with BnN3 before the end of August (high summer time) and give it some serious attention.

    As for PS3 importing, for a system which is region free there aren't many import exclusives. Most good games get a US release.

    Here's a few:

    Aquanauts Holiday - covered previously, very good.

    Taiwan Railfan - covered, not so great. Densha de Go on PS2 is better.

    Siren Blood Curse - get the European Blueray release in English.

    Ryu ga gotoku KENZAN! - incredible samurai game in the style of Yakuza. You won't understand a damn thing, since it's very kanji heavy, but it's fairly easy to complete, with only a couple of sti8cking points.

    Hokuto no Ken - fist of the north star, apparently coming to the west.

    Red Seeds Profile - available as deadly premonition on the 360. I'm playing through this right now. You lose a lot of flavour unless you have at least basic Katakana reading ability, but otherwise it's extremely easy to play through. I'm really enjoying this, and might make an entry on it - I think Kurt has the English version on 360...

    There's a very small handful of other titles, which I've not played. Spelunker, on PSN. A few RPGs and strategy titles which are never going to be localised. 428, which is FMV and Japanese heavy. And another digital novel, Imbikisou, or something. I always get the name wrong.