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?