Germans Love David Hasselhoff/Video Games

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Real Life Examples[edit | hide | hide all]

Action Adventure[edit | hide]

  • The Metroidvania genre is hugely popular in the West, but only a niche genre in Japan. In addition to Metroid and Castlevania themselves, games like Blaster Master and Cave Story have also been subject to this trend.
  • The Metroid series is somewhat popular in Japan, but so much more in the U.S. that for Metroid Prime, Nintendo hired an American developer. This led to a humorous meme that Samus, being blonde and blue-eyed, was 'obviously' an American character. Several of the titles have released in the U.S. before Japan to cater to this fanbase.
    • Metroid Prime was heaped with critical accolades upon its release in the West, earning several Game Of The Year awards, and is to this day considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever made. Not merely its sales, but in critical reception was, at best, lukewarm in Japan.
    • The creators have always described the series' art direction as "American comic book style." They definitely know what they're doing.
    • As a testament to this trope, America and Europe are getting Metroid Prime Trilogy, a Compilation Rerelease of the eponymous trilogy with the first two games reworked with Wii Remote controls and the credit system from the third game, while Japan has to settle for the remade first two Prime games as standalone titles as part of their Play it on Wii product line (New Play Control in America).
    • Samus herself fits this trope. In the U.S. she's considered one of Nintendo's "Big four" characters, trailing only Mario, Link and Pikachu in popularity . In Japan she is probably behind Marth, which would humor or confuse those not in Japan.
    • Interestingly, the latest game in the franchise, Metroid: Other M, made a strong effort to appeal to Japanese players, with anime-influenced FMV cutscenes, greater emphasis on story, emotional character development for Samus, and more linear gameplay in the style of Metroid Fusion. The fandom is thoroughly split over Other M, with many fans complaining about Samus's characterization and the emphasis on FMV cinematics, as well as complaints of the game being too linear and lacking in exploration. The game sold about as well as any other Metroid game in Japan, and its US sales were the lowest of any console-based Metroid game.
    • The Legend of Zelda is on the list of "Japanese games better known outside of Japan", as of the 2000s. While Ocarina of Time was as much of a best-seller as anywhere else, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess in particular had disappointing sales in their homeland, despite Famitsu giving Wind Waker a perfect 40. Shigeru Miyamoto even commented on it once, saying the West apparently has a bigger preference for these types of games than Japan does.
      • Conversely, Phantom Hourglass was very successful there, but not so much could be said for Spirit Tracks, which was loaded with Anime Tropes to cater to the established Japanese fan-base. This may be the reason behind Nintendo not planning further Toon Link games.
  • Castlevania is more popular in the US than in Japan, according to current producer Koji Igarashi, which explains his decision to release Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles and Order of Ecclesia in the US first. Konami actually tried using the name "Castlevania" in Japan because it was more popular under that name (except it didn't take).

Action[edit | hide]

Adventure[edit | hide]

  • The adventure game The Neverhood was a bit of a low-key cult hit in the West. The PC version got a Japanese PS 1 port called Klaymen Klaymen... and Japanese gamers absolutely adored it. In addition to getting some cool pieces of promotional merchandise, the Japanese company that localized it (and its sequel, Skullmonkeys) made a Gaiden Game called Klaymen Gun-Hockey. It's about as weird as it sounds.
    • The game is also very popular in Russia, Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors sold far better in the US than it did in Japan. This actually caused a supply problem (Aksys had only manufactured a small number of games, anticipating sales similar to Japan) and until the second release the game often sold for upwards of $80 on Ebay/Amazon.

Beat 'em Ups[edit | hide]

Fighting[edit | hide]

First-Person Shooters[edit | hide]

Hack and Slash[edit | hide]

MMORPG[edit | hide]

Party[edit | hide]

Platformers[edit | hide]

  • A very similar example comes in the form of Blaster Master; its Japanese incarnation, Metafight, is all but forgotten. Blaster Master, however, remains a beloved Cult Classic among Western gamers who cut their teeth in the NES era, due to its Metroidvania-style gameplay and amazing soundtrack. So much so, that the direct sequel was produced in the UK (never sold in Japan), and by the time a PlayStation revival was attempted, even Japan got the American version of the story as opposed to the original Metafight one.
  • While Mario is the poster boy for video games everywhere, his Video Game 3D Leap wasn't as popular in Japan. For one the Sega Saturn kept outselling the Nintendo 64 for a long time there and more recently, New Super Mario Bros. Wii outsold Super Mario Galaxy within just 3 days of its Japan release.
  • Americans regarded Spelunker as decent in its arcade and Commodore 64 forms but overlooked its Nintendo Entertainment System port. When said port made its way to Japan, it inexplicably sold extremely well, and now the game is looked back on fondly due to its charming badness and, most of all, the endearing weakness of the main character. In fact, the Spelunker might very well beat out Master Chief, Gordon Freeman, and the like as the best-known American videogame character in Japan simply by virtue of being "the weakest videogame character" - he's a cultural icon, to the extent that supe taishitsu, "having the constitution of a spelunker," is a common idiom in Japan (meaning, of course, being easily injured) used in professional sports commentary.

Puzzle[edit | hide]

Racing[edit | hide]

  • Top Gear (not the TV show) is very popular among Brazilians.

RPGS[edit | hide]

  • While the Final Fantasy elements of Kingdom Hearts were played up to sell it overseas to traditional RPG fans, the project sprang up as a game starring Mickey Mouse and was always intended to use the Disney elements to appeal to the massive Japanese fanbase that includes adults.
    • The character Xigbar is more popular in the west than in the East. His appearance in Birth By Sleep as his other, Braig helped.
  • The early Western RPG series Phantasie caught on in Japan, to the point where Phantasie IV was a Japan-exclusive release.
  • English speakers can't get enough of Kefka from Final Fantasy VI because he's pretty much the poster boy for Woolseyism, being turned into an Expy of The Joker, if The Joker had god-like magical powers and was secretly a Nietzsche Wannabe. It's not so much that he isn't pretty, but that his original lines were obnoxious and moronic that he gets little love in Japan (though he has gotten a little more popularity thanks to Dissidia.)
  • Jecht's appearance in Dissidia Final Fantasy propelled him to the status of a Rated "M" for Manly Memetic Badass Sex God...In America. In Japan, while he's not unpopular by any means, he's...just another character.
  • The same could be said of Sazh in Final Fantasy XIII. Case in point: in the sequel, while the rest of the original main cast either make physical appearences or are very significant to the game's backstory, Sazh only appears for a Big Damn Heroes moment during the final battle. (He did end up getting his own DLC episode.)
  • If the huge number of translated Game Mods is any indication, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a sizable Czech fanbase.
  • Sweet Home is an obscure Japanese RPG based of the movie of the same name and was almost forgotten. In the US, a high amount of interest surged after it was discovered to be a huge inspiration for Resident Evil.
    • Although well received at home in America, the dungeon-crawler RPG series Wizardry was HUGE in Japan, with over 20 Japanese-made ports with dramatically enhanced graphics and original games made, as well as an anime series.
      • This has gotten the point that although the Western branch of the series has died off after the poor performance of Wizardry 8 in 2001, the Japanese branch is still going strong, with releases in both the series proper and the de-facto Spin-Off Class of Heroes coming out as recently as 2011.
  • Of the Fire Emblem series, in the western fanbase, Genealogy of the Holy War and/or Thracia 776 are regularly cited as the best and most beloved of the series, despite the fact that neither of them were ever officially released outside Japan. Compare to Japan, where not only do they cite Marth's games as the best (which just confuses western players), but Genealogy even got the lowest Famitsu review score of the entire series (though it still sold well).
  • So far as video game characters are concerned, in Pokémon, Charizard is perhaps the most well-loved Mon in the US. This even extended to the Card Game, where everyone wanted his card, despite being fairly useless.
    • And in Pokémon Black and White we have Zekrom. He's quite popular in Japan (not as popular as his counterpart Reshiram though), but insanely popular in America, overshadowing Reshiram and countless others (and selling more copies of White in North America than Black).
    • This phenomenon even extends to the competitive metagame. Cresselia is a notable example, in Japan, she made the list of banned Pokemon. In the Smogon (American-based) metagame, she's not even OU!
    • For the characters themselves, Anime Misty still has a massive popularity on the West for someone who left the main cast in 2003. Japan, well, was able to move on and likes May, Dawn and Iris just as much if not more.
    • A similar divide exists for "tough, Badass Pokémon" (America) vs. "cute, beautiful and whimsical Pokémon" (Japan), hence the difference of opinion between fans on Reshiram and Zekrom (above). Another demonstrative example: while ghostly chandelier Chandelure is the most popular Pokémon in Japan from Pokémon Black and White, in the US you'd be more likely to find fans of Haxorus, Hydreigon and Golurk.
    • It should be noted that among fan artists, western artists tend to enjoy drawing the Pokémon themselves more than the human characters. The reverse is true of Japanese fan artists.

Shoot 'em Ups[edit | hide]

  • Battle City became extremely popular in the ex-USSR and Asian countries where it never was officially released... Basically due to the fact that every second famiclone got this game on a bundle multicart. The vast majority of hacks of this game come straight from there.

Stealth Based[edit | hide]

Survival Horror[edit | hide]

  • The Silent Hill series is more successful overseas than in Japan, so much so that the last three titles have been developed by Western studios and had belated releases in Japan. Understandable, in that the series specifically targeted a Western audience to begin with.

Third-Person Shooters[edit | hide]

Other[edit | hide]

  • While the Nintendo 64 and Game Cube were beat by their PlayStation rivals worldwide, they were both even less popular in Japan than they were in North America and Europe. It was very often when the Playstation 1 and/or 2 version of a game got a Japanese release while the N64/Gamecube version stayed in North America and Europe (sometimes, even North America only).
  • In most major gaming regions, the Nintendo DS outsells the PSP. In the Philippines, it's the other way around, due to Sony already having a much bigger fanbase there than Nintendo due to PS1 and PS2 games, which use CDs and DVDs, respectively, being far easier to pirate than N64 cartridges or GameCube mini-discs (Never mind that Wii modding changed all that for GameCube games with its backwards compatibility), resulting in more affordable (yet pirated) copies which can easily be found and bought. The PSP is in a similar situation, except you pay real money for downloads.
    • Same in Poland. No one there owns a DS, you see kids with PSPs everywhere. Same in case of the Play Station 3: More people own them than Xbox 360s. Ironically, it is easier to pirate for the 360 than the PS3. So why is the PS3 popular? A. Its games are region-free to begin with and B. Microsoft will unleash the banhammer on your 360 for piracy. And you gotta have good luck to find a Wii owner, despite it being by far the easiest (and safest) 7th-gen console to pirate for.
      • Also, there is virtually no support for Xbox Live in Poland - Microsoft promotes (hell, the menus are in Polish!) something that can't be legally used in the country, since you need a foreign e-mail account to do anything.
  • In Israel, the word "PlayStation" is almost synonymous with "console", and is still selling better than its competitors despite it being ranked distant third behind the Wii and Xbox 360 in most other world markets for the past few years.
  • SNK games were (and probably still are) huge in large portions of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, mostly because the Neo Geo MVS cabinets could hold multiple games at a time, and the games could be replaced by simply buying a new game and inserting it, rather than buying a whole new cabinet, making them more economically feasible for arcades. In these areas, it's not uncommon for characters like Terry Bogard to be more recognizable than the likes of Mario. SNK has not failed to notice this, and has added more Mexican (Angel, Ramon, Tizoc) and Chinese (Lin, Duo Lon) characters to its roster.
    • The Neo Geo fighting game version of Double Dragon was a cult success in the Latin American market, especially in Mexico, which is why Evoga produced Rage of the Dragons as a Spiritual Licensee of the series.
  • This extends to platforms as well: In the US, Japan and most of Europe most consoles routinely outsell PC-games, while in Sweden PC gaming remains the largest platform.
    • PCs were tax deductible in Sweden from the late 1990s to 2007, Filesharing is also big in Sweden. This makes PC gaming attractive.
    • Likewise, PC games are also more popular than console games in Russia.
      • More than that: while in whole world PC is considered platform for rich snobs and consoles are for more everyman-gamers, in Russia it's completely reversed.
      • On what we can call a textbook case of Russian Reversal.
  • The arcade game scene started in the US with games like Pong, but in Japan arcade games grew to be much more popular. Today, while arcades in Western territories are a dying breed, viewed as little more than overpriced novelties (with the exception of rhythm games), Japanese arcades are still going strong. It certainly helps that Japanese-developed arcade games are very creative.
    • For a more specific example, there's crane games (or UFO catcher, where you use crane to catch dolls or prices), which are huge at Japanese game centers; they're big enough that their appearances in some anime are not ignorant of modern Japanese arcades. They're often placed at the entrances to game centers to attract passersby, and some game centers are dedicated entirely to hosting crane games. There is even a national crane game competition.
  • The Sega Master System wasn't really much of a success in its homeland of Japan or the United States due to Nintendo's dominance in those two countries. It was highly successful in Europe and even more so in Brazil, where it's still supported today.
    • The popularity of the Master System was so much in these areas that Sega ported several games from the technically identical Game Gear to the system long after it had been discontinued in the US and Japan.
    • The Mega Drive (known in North America as the Genesis) also had great success in these areas, and like the Master System, it was manufactured in these areas long after it was discontinued in the US and Japan in favour of the Saturn. Licensed variations on the hardware are still sold in games stores to this day.

UNSORTED[edit | hide]

  • The Advance Wars series also has a considerably larger fanbase in North America and Europe than in its native Japan. This is partly due to the fact that the Japanese version of the original game, Game Boy Wars Advance, wasn't released until three years after its American release along with its sequel due to the unfortunate timing of the 9/11 attacks, allowing the series to develop a larger fanbase overseas during the gap, but even then, the second DS game in the series (Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict) was canceled in Japan after several delays. This is ironic, considering how long it took Nintendo to release the Wars series outside Japan.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan alledgedly sees more sales in US imports than it did domestically in Japan.
    • Inversely, Elite Beat Agents did crazy well in Japan, to the point where it was sold in normal stores rather than as an import.
  • Cheetahmen II, a crappy American game, has one stage song, and it's surprisingly awesome. So awesome, that there are many remixes of it on the video site Nico Nico Douga. Which is a Japanese video site.
  • No More Heroes was initially considered a flop because there was almost zero interest for the game in its home territory of Japan, but did so well in the US and Europe that a sequel was made entirely because of the strong overseas sales.
  • Despite the heavy editing it goes through in order to be legal for sale there, the Command & Conquer series enjoys extreme popularity in Germany, so much so that EA's official webcast is given air on cable television. Coincidentally, guess which actor has a cameo in Red Alert 3. C'mon, guess. It's Hasselhoff.
  • A similar case could be made for the Golden Sun series, although that's more because of a dedicated Fanbase.
    • Case in point: The news for the upcoming Golden Sun DS first released in Nintendo's E3 2009 Conference. And as told by the E3 Report in Camelot Software Planning's Website, CEO Hiroyuki Takahashi commented a bit on how well the previous games did overseas and his wish for the game to be as successful with the Japanese before his surprise with the in-conference and web-coverage reactions.
  • In Disgaea, Pleinair, Asagi, and female archers have a huge fandom in Japan. Raspberyl is the most popular main character of the third game in Japan. Champloo is also more popular in Japan than in America. Sapphire seems to be one the most popular main characters in America. Also since the Affectionate Parody is more spot on in America, Captain Gordon, DEFENDER OF EARTH!! sees more fanbase in America than Japan (he considerably has less fanarts than Laharl, Etna, Flonne, Mid Boss...)
  • Dungeon Master, first released in 1987, was very successful and enjoyed several ports and translations. Japan, however, seems to have adopted the series while the West gradually forgot it. A remixed, lighter version called Theron's Quest was released for the TurboGrafx-16; the official sequel was released in Japan first, and only much later in the West; and the last official episode of the series, Dungeon Master Nexus, is a Sega Saturn game that never left Japan.
  • Kinzo Ushiromiya of Umineko no Naku Koro ni isn't all that popular in Japan (according to the character polls), but, thanks to massive Memetic Mutation (helped along by "OH DESIRE") In America, he's become pretty popular in the states.
  • Skullgirls has a loyal following in the West, but has such a large fan following in Japan that Reverge Labs is working on both a retail disc version of the game for Japan (since Japanese gamers don't care for DLC) and an arcade version.
  • Capcom is convinced that Americans Love Frank West of Dead Rising. So convinced, in fact, that they plan to turn him into their own version of Wolverine Publicity. Uh oh...
  • I Wanna Be the Guy is much more popular in Japan than its home country of the US. On YouTube, the most viewed video of that game has less than a million views, and the second most viewed has less than 500,000. On the Japanese site Nico Video, however, there's tons of videos of it with 100,000s of views, including several that have over a million. What's more, multiple Japanese-developed fangames exist.
    • The fact that it was inspired by a Japanese web game ("The Big Adventure of Owata's Life", aka "The Life-Ending Adventure") might have something to do with this... in fact, the final version of Owata included the first few screens of IWBTG as its final level in an extended Shout-Out!
    • It's possible that Japanese gamers, who have a higher tolerance for Nintendo Hard games that require lots of trial and error, don't quite get that I Wanna Be The Guy is a parody.
  • Roguelikes are a niche genre in their home in America, and receive reviews ranging from "poor" to "scathing" when sites or magazines deign to review them. They're pretty big in Japan, with multiple long-running commercial series such as Torneko No Daibouken, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Chocobo's Dungeon and Shiren the Wanderer. Elona -- one of the most expansive, elaborate, and ambitious roguelikes ever created -- also originates from Japan.
  • Setsuna from Last Blade 2 is pretty much an overlooked character in his home country, but overwhelmingly popular all around America. Up to the extent gamers have claimed to buy this game Just to play with, or against him.
  • Lumines is much more popular in North America (it sold 300,000 units there) than in Japan (70,000 units), so much so that the sequel featured mainstream American music.
  • Katamari Damacy was a sleeper hit in the United States, but did very badly in its native Japan.
  • The Real Time Strategy game Battle Realms was outcompeted into obscurity by Warcraft III, yet it enjoys enough popularity in the Philippines that it is still played in computer rental shops to this day.
  • In the same vein, Defense of the Ancients, while fairly popular in the United States, is played by nearly everyone in Sweden and the Philippines.
    • Exemplified by the song written about it from Swedish producer Basshunter.
  • Despite going almost completely unnoticed outside of Japan, Tamagotchi seems to have a sizable fanbase in Poland.
  • StarCraft unexpectedly became intensely popular in South Korea, to the point of being played in national competitions with team sponsorships with major companies.
  • Russia seems to be very fond of classic turn-based strategies, further reinforcing the stereotype of Russians being good at chess. Among the favorites are Civilization, X-COM, Jagged Alliance, but most importantly, Heroes of Might and Magic, specifically the third part (Widely believed to be the best in the series by many, Russian or not). Wanna find a gamer that won't play a multiplayer match or two with you? Try.
    • Also, that's a reason Nival Interactive's been trusted with making HoMM V. Russian fans wouldn't have forgiven them for doing badly.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is only fairly popular in Japan but has never stopped being a cultural icon in America (both of them) and is especially loved to pieces in Europe (Alton Towers even has a Sonic themed roller coaster and a Sonic themed hotel). Over the years, SEGA's marketing became increasingly western-oriented, and major releases, Sonic Generations notwithstanding, came out in America and Europe before Japan by about a month.

In-Universe Examples[edit | hide]

  • Usually, Luigi of the Super Mario Brothers is living in the shadow of his extremely famous brother Mario in the Mushroom Kingdom, but in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it is shown that in Rogueport it seems to be the other way around. Due to a very high-selling book about Luigi, he is far more well-known than his brother.
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story suggests that French Block People Love Bowser. Broque Monsieur dislikes the Mario Bros. for their block-smashing ways, but accepts help from, aids and routinely deals with Bowser at his shop. Madame is friendly with but dismissive of the brothers, but her vivid description of the perfect romantic interest describes some of Bowser's earlier actions, and he winds up giving her many massages. With help.
  • In one episode of Telltale's Sam and Max series of episodic games our heroes are cast as the stars of a TV show called Midtown Cowboys, which in a later episode proves to be insanely popular in Germany despite being cancelled right after the first episode in the U.S.
  • In Investigations, it turns out that the Steel Samurai is incredibly popular in Allebahst while the Jammin' Ninja is very popular in Babahl.
  • Any downloadable content in Rock Band becomes this in Solo Career mode, due to all the DLC being played in the Japanese venue. Humorous when you download a lot of songs by a particular band.
  • In Mortal Kombat, one of Johnny Cage's earlier movies flopped in America. However, that same movie was very popular in France....because it was mostly about mimes.
  1. For reference, the three Darkstalkers characters in MvC3 are fan-faves Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko.