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Thread: Why did Japanese developers do an amazing job on American Licensed games?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) bigbadbear9885's Avatar
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    Default Why did Japanese developers do an amazing job on American Licensed games?

    Something I've noticed and have always been curious about.
    Back in the years, japanese companies (Especially Konami and Capcom) had licenses to make games of American cartoons and movies.
    Such as Capcom's Disney games and Marvel games, Konami's TMNT games, Batman Returns, The Goonies. Most American companies did a bad job with our licensed games as they just used them to cash in, some turned out to be the worst games of all time, but when Japanese companies (Again, the ones mentioned) turned our licenses in to some of the greatest games of all time, others they at least just made sure that they were playable and fun.

    You can tell they actually put effort into american licenses, because they make them as accurate as possible, and that the graphics look just like the license cartoon or movie and it shows that they're very knowledgeable of it.


    I'm not at all saying every licensed game from America is bad or every single licensed game from Japan is amazing.
    I just wonder why they are willing to put so much work into American Licenses, why they cared alot about something that (Some, or just limited) didn't come out in Japan.
    Do they just love the movies or cartoons that they make games of? Is it about making the most money they can? Or maybe it's just because they're that amazing of companies. Just in case anyone knows the answer. If theres anything I'm missing or if theres anything you feel I should know about or examples of anything or to correct me on something, that'd be nice to be said with being any harsh. Thanks.
    Also if you wish for more of an explanation, have any questions, see examples of what I'm specifically talking about, feel free to ask.

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    Strawberry (Level 2) ccovell's Avatar
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    Perhaps just simple pride in their work and dedication to the final product, no matter what the license?

    Dedication to whatever they do, no matter how menial, is a characteristic of many Japanese people in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadbear9885 View Post
    I'm not at all saying every licensed game from America is bad or every single licensed game from Japan is amazing.
    Especially when a lot of people consider the Genesis version of Aladdin(by western development at Virgin) better than the SNES version (Capcom). Not saying the Capcom game is bad, but how well the Virgin game came out.

    Quote Originally Posted by ccovell View Post
    Dedication to whatever they do, no matter how menial, is a characteristic of many Japanese people in general.
    Pretty much "/end topic" there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccovell View Post
    Perhaps just simple pride in their work and dedication to the final product, no matter what the license?
    I don't think so. When it comes to licenses originating from Japan, they're certainly no better than American developers are with American licenses, and possibly worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheShawn
    Please highlight what a douche I am.

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    I thought one of the reasons was that the "good" games had a lot of time to develop, often coming out years after the series was on TV. DuckTales for example was a 1987 cartoon. The game came out in 1989. Goonies 2 also had a two year time period, but the first one was pretty awful. Often the games came out after the show had peaked. But times where different back then where you didn't need a game out within 6 months of the show or the same month of the film. Then sometime in the early 90s this changed and a lot of junky franchise game came one after the other.

    I don't know about the others out there, but stuff like Atari 2600's ET was made in mere months and it's considered one of the worse games in history. I think a great number of franchise games are forced out in under a year, perhaps in under 6 months. So I like to believe it's development time mostly more so than Japan vs Western developers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadbear9885 View Post
    Most American companies did a bad job with our licensed games as they just used them to cash in, some turned out to be the worst games of all time, but when Japanese companies (Again, the ones mentioned) turned our licenses in to some of the greatest games of all time, others they at least just made sure that they were playable and fun.
    Well, LJN did alot of movie based games, and they all seem half-assed. So its hard to compare them to Capcom and Konami. It does seem like LJN just rushed out alot of their games to cash in on the popularity of the movies. When you mention American NES movie games most people will think of LJN. What other American companies developed or released movie based games?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fairyland View Post
    I don't know about the others out there, but stuff like Atari 2600's ET was made in mere months and it's considered one of the worse games in history.
    It was made in a few weeks, about 5 weeks from what I've read so just over one month to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    What other American companies developed or released movie based games?
    There's Interplay. They made Total Recall for the NES.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    Well, LJN did alot of movie based games, and they all seem half-assed. So its hard to compare them to Capcom and Konami. It does seem like LJN just rushed out alot of their games to cash in on the popularity of the movies. When you mention American NES movie games most people will think of LJN. What other American companies developed or released movie based games?
    Ocean, JVC, Hi-Tech Expressions, Activision, and Acclaim all published some serious licensed dogs. Taito's record is rather spotty as well, even being a Japanese based developer, but they certainly had a better track record then the North American bunch.

    I've been doing a lot of digging to figure out which NES games are worth owning, and those companies (along with JLN) hands down published the largest pile of unplayable video games I have ever seen.
    Last edited by The Adventurer; 10-06-2013 at 02:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Adventurer View Post
    Ocean, JVC, Hi-Tech Expressions, Activision, and Acclaim all published some serious licensed dogs.
    Can't forget THQ! They're the ones who figured out kiddie licenses are the most exploitable. :P

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    Maybe it just comes down to the highest bidder at the end of the day. Licensed games in Japan have often been made by reputable companies known for making great original games too. They don't want to tarnish their reputation by going half-assed on a licensed game. In the US (and Europe, with Titus and the like), it was often shit developers that created almost nothing but licensed garbage that landed these licenses. Even with their terrible reputations, the games still sold well thanks to clueless parents and little kids, so they had the funds to pick up more licenses and continue the cycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    I don't think so. When it comes to licenses originating from Japan, they're certainly no better than American developers are with American licenses, and possibly worse.
    Eh, it's true that there are plenty of bad anime-based games and such, but I still think Japanese games based on Japanese licenses are better on the whole than American games based on American cartoons, movies, and the like.

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    I think it's mostly that Konami and Capcom in particular were superb developers, not that they were Japanese.

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    Ah, but Ocean Software was a British company. And if you guys think they released some real trash on the NES and SNES... you should take a look at their Amiga and C64 offerings...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    Well, LJN did alot of movie based games, and they all seem half-assed. So its hard to compare them to Capcom and Konami. It does seem like LJN just rushed out alot of their games to cash in on the popularity of the movies. When you mention American NES movie games most people will think of LJN. What other American companies developed or released movie based games?
    Well, isn't that the thing right there? LJN is a shitty developer. Capcom and Konami are not. So perhaps it's not really a case of Japanese versus American developers, but the caliber of developer that the license goes to.

    Also I didn't realize this was an NES topic. Re-reading the OP does seem NES focused but I didn't pick up on that at first. I think if you look beyond the NES, you see better Western-developed licensed games. Cool Spot was a much better game than Spot for NES.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Eh, it's true that there are plenty of bad anime-based games and such, but I still think Japanese games based on Japanese licenses are better on the whole than American games based on American cartoons, movies, and the like.
    Of course this is subjective and very hard to quantify. But I think it's easy to have a better impression at first, because the games we tend to hear about here are usually the good ones. If you start poking around random Japanese releases, you find a lot of shit. There's a Lupin III game for the Saturn that literally has no gameplay, just information about the show and a few video clips. It's hard to imagine that type of thing getting the green light for an American cartoon.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheShawn
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    Couple things....

    Firstly there was almost nothing but crap from Western developers on the NES/SMS era of systems. Some of that was because most of them were developing for PC, and those games often didn't translate well to console. Also, remember that a ton of US-based developers went out of business in the crash, leaving the industry in shambles. They recovered in the 16-bit era I feel.

    Secondly it was developers like Acclaim and LJN which traditionally bought the big licenses in the West, and they were terrible developers. They treated the properties badly time after time. In Japan, developers like KEMCO made good games, and they happened to get the licenses there. We got stuck with LJN. I also don't think the Japanese developers were really all that interested in the licenses for the West. Plus one would assume that Acclaim and LJN, being Americans, used contacts to get the licenses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    LJN is a shitty developer. Capcom and Konami are not. So perhaps it's not really a case of Japanese versus American developers, but the caliber of developer that the license goes to.

    Yeah thats kinda what I was getting at. It kinda depends on the developer. Look at Bandai, they are Japanese and they did Dick Tracy, Dr Jekyl Mr Hyde, Toxic Crusaders, Gilligans Island. Nothing special here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    Of course this is subjective and very hard to quantify. But I think it's easy to have a better impression at first, because the games we tend to hear about here are usually the good ones. If you start poking around random Japanese releases, you find a lot of shit. There's a Lupin III game for the Saturn that literally has no gameplay, just information about the show and a few video clips. It's hard to imagine that type of thing getting the green light for an American cartoon.
    Oh, I've definitely poked around into the obscure stuff. I've even looked into every anime-based game on Saturn: http://www.digitpress.com/forum/show...ames-on-Saturn

    Sometimes it's with the obscure stuff where I find the most pleasant surprises, actually. That could be because I set my expectations reasonably low, though, haha.

    I wouldn't automatically rule those media fan discs as shit. They're not intended to have gameplay or even be "games". They may seem silly and pointless now, given that anybody can get online to look up as much pictures, video clips, songs, etc. they want from their favorite shows, but there was obviously a market for them back then. As long as they served their intended purpose well (in that they offered a decent amount of content at decent audio/video quality, as far as the standards of the time went), I have no problem with them.

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    Default Just a tought about this

    In hindsight, most of those licensed games were not good. But back in the day if you grew up with Atari 2600 and were handed any of those licensed games with a NES you'd think it looked and sounded great.

    There's a ton of junk in Japan, it just didn't make it over to North America. But with that said, I'm sure a lot of the US game issues were due to rushed schedules and limited budgets.

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    A lot of LJN's early games were done in Japan (Gotcha!, T&C, Karate Kid, Friday the 13th, Jaws, NFL, Major League Baseball, X-Men).

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    Yes, so I heard Karate Kid was made by Atlus before they were actually known as Atlus (and started making good games :P ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRV View Post
    A lot of LJN's early games were done in Japan (Gotcha!, T&C, Karate Kid, Friday the 13th, Jaws, NFL, Major League Baseball, X-Men).
    No No No, First of all, LJN and Acclaim were quite the same thing, since LJN was just Acclaims brand that they used in order to bypass the limit Nintendo impose at the point, much like Konami did with the Ultra games subsidiary, and LJN was mostly a publisher, i heard that Karate Kid was developed by Atlus but i cant confirm that, but i know that most of the LJN published games were developed by Rare, yes, RARE.

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