Housemate Plays Monster Hunter

Continuing on from last week’s post in which I played Monster Hunter by myself, I thought it would be now useful if I had my housemate play too. While he is not from Japan (damn it!), he does tend to associate more with the over-the-top and eccentric styles of Japanese culture more than I do. While I wouldn’t say his experience was totally positive, he definitely seemed to enjoy the game much more than I did.

As this was not his first ever time playing, he was much more aware of what was going on than I was. He began where he last left off months ago and was immediately able to fight a monster – luckily (for my sake) he also died straight away, so I didn’t feel too stupid.

Unfortunately the experience was entirely single player, as he has no friends who also play the game that he could link up with online and play with. This is a shame because that seems to many to be the strong selling factor of the game: the ability to lose days with people you knew from high school, exploring worlds, fighting dinosaurs, watching them die horrible deaths – it’s the thing of dreams. I guess this all comes down to the fact that the game is just not big over here, a kind of like Catch-22 situation in which the main selling point of the game relies on the popularity of it.

Regardless of this, my housemate still looked to be having a good time, he didn’t seem deterred by the more eccentric aspects of it like I was. What I found interesting however is that his main criticism of the game was its controls, “they’re just unintuitive and a bit repetitive, the fighting just isn’t as fun as it should be.” I find this an intriguing response because something so core to the gameplay such as the controls would surely be a universally noticed thing.

It would be ridiculous if I were to conclude “well, I guess over in Japan they like bad controls in their video games. That’s just their culture it seems.” No, that would be the stupidest thing I could ever say, but then why does this seem to never be a criticism? My only logical conclusion would be that I don’t know. Perhaps it comes down to the fact that it is such a cultural phenomenon filled with content and themes that strongly resonate with them – they become so swept up in the product that the controls are easily dismissed when critiquing it. I’m sure they notice them, but it doesn’t matter all that much.

One comment

  1. Hey Matt, great post!
    I’m also looking at Japanese video games, so I find the questions you ask yourself and your house mate quite interesting. I totally agree with the whole popularity thing too. I swear of the games I’ve played over the years where you can link up with other players I’ve only done it once and that was with my brother. It’s a bit disappointing, particularly when aspects like that are usually one of the game’s biggest selling points.
    Your conclusions in the last paragraph are also nicely thought out. Definitely don’t want to go around making huge assumptions. Have you thought of integrating any academic research? Even if it’s just about video game culture, rather than a specific game. I found this article pretty helpful, though it’s probably more relevant to your research than mine.”What is Video Game Culture?” by A Shaw (found here:
    Anyway, good luck with the rest of your research!
    – Gabi


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