Let’s (not) Play JRPGs

Field Report:
Accessing YouTube to watch let’s plays of JRPGs poses few problems in relation to gateways or hoops to jump through. The first notable experience was choosing what to watch, as searching broard terms like “JRPG” or “Let’s Play” will yeild very different results to what I needed, so while looking through YouTube I will need to know what I want to find already.
I decided on ‘Eternal Sonata’ as it is a game I have wanted to play myself for a long time, but it is impossible for me to find something new as it simply won’t come up in the search. I am reminded of the new Extra Credits video on how search engines relating to games are woefully outdated, and the fact that Asian style games generally flop in Western spheres makes this even more of a problem.
As I said before I did search specifically for ‘Eternal Sonata’ and was immediately presented with a new problem. There are no ‘good’ (readas: well known) Let’s Players that have done videos on ‘Eternal Sonata’ as a result of the low exposure of the game, the post popular video in the first page of results is a smidge more than 6500 views, which is minisqule for YouTube.
The problems with the quality are immediately apparent within the first 30 seconds with laughing and banter between the two players in the video with no discussion yet. The comments tell me that they talk through the cutscenes without needing too and I can quickly tell that this isn’t going to be a smooth process that is professionally or entertainingly done.
There is another big problem with Let’s Plays of JRPGs that I realised quickly, namely that there will take a long time for them to become interesting due to the slow nature of the JRPG genre and the focus on story over gameplay. They aren’t particularly accessable through Let’s Plays unlike other shorter or quicker games.
This on a whole, doesn’t shed any light on why JRPGs work as the experience is an overall negative one. It doesn’t help that one of the Let’s Players doesn’t like the game before he has even started, but as I said before I am woefully lacking in choice for consumption.

Reflecting:
– I made a comment about the fact that Asian games generally flop to the Western audience. That is not always going to be true. Thinking the success of many of the Final Fantasy games, while I was thinking about things like Eternal Sonata and Nino Kuni when I was writing the post.
– I also made an assumption that they will all not be enjoyable as a result of them taking a long time to ‘warm up’ however that doesn’t have to be true as there are variations in the JRPG genre that might be accessable, and if the games are enjoyable then someone playing probably would be if it was done with better quality.

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One comment

  1. Humble Weekly Bundle has just released a new Japan Edition collating 7 games from Japanese developers for you to pay what you want for. https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly
    You could try a few and reflect on your experience during the game: what themes or ideas you thought were stereotypical to the genre, what surprised you, what you enjoyed, and what was similar to regular RPGs and other ‘western’ games. Even broader: did you enjoy watching the Let’s Play videos more than experiencing the game first hand?
    You might also benefit searching for ‘Let’s Plays’ on different mediums as YouTube is not the only popular video distributor in Asia.
    Good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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