What is the peripheral of JRPGs? Why it’s me, it’s you, it’s the player. We are the responses and the medium is our own brains.
Seriously think about it, everything we are doing here is about looking at our own experiences with Asian media. We have processors in our heads and they are sorting through it all for us. That is what tells us the art style is ‘Japanese’ and that the intro song of Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk 2 is J-pop. Why, because my brain tells me it is.
Ignore what might be wrong about my thinking, the fact remains that this is all happening in my head. I might be aware that I have the stereotypes and preconceptions, however that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. I am self-aware and that is the core of what I’m studying. I’ll be starting my interviewing for my digital artifact next week. It’s this process that I want to draw out. What is Japanese about a JRPG. Is it the art style? I can show you Western games with the same style. Is it the music? J-pop is sampled elsewhere as well. Is it the themes? I don’t know, maybe.
Generally people are streaming their thoughts on forums, but I prefer the grapevine as a starting spot. Many of my friends have played JRPGs and the common opinion is that all of the above are valid assumptions about the JRPG subgenre.
Are we all correct though? Any blog post on here will say yes and no simultaneously. The facts however are a good place to start. Firstly, most JRPGs, (whatever your definition) sell much worse in the USA and Australia than in Japan. So there must be something more appealing for them, right? Well I can’t tell you accurately, but I will try over the future weeks. The bottom line is that I feel that I am aware that the J in JRPG is less about Japan and more about our perception of Japanese media. Can you tell the difference between the Japanese and Korean medias perfectly. What is something is a Korean RPG, it may be distinct to the trained eye, but would it in Australia? Have you ever heard of a KRPG, because I haven’t, however a quick google search found that there are RPGs made in Korea that would be labeled JRPGs.
The weird thing is, I don’t think it’s wrong to call it a JRPG anyway.