Japandemonium Q&A - First Day Jitters

Hokkaido, the island nobody loved. ;_;


I've missed your Q & A column. I always found it very entertaining! I have a friend who lives in Hokkaido and she told me the Japanese are pretty anti-American. I was wondering if you dealt with that at all and how true that is. It may be a regional thing since that's in Northern Japan and I thought you were in southern Japan. I don't remember... That's all!


Geez, this probably isnít the best place for a history lesson, but the island of Hokkaido isnít exactly the best place to enjoy yourself in Japan. I mean, besides the annual snow sculpting festival, Iíve been given to understand that much of the island is nothing but farms and wilderness. If you have time, I strongly suggest you look up how Hokkaido ended up as part of Japan, itís very depressing. I wouldnít say the majority of Japanese are anti-American. In fact, Iíd say that 99% of the people Iíve met in Japan have been painfully polite and helpful. It really does depend on how much effort you put into the experience, since many times the Japanese way of basically ignoring everything until you actually talk to them is seen by some as rudeness. My fondest memory of Japan was spring break in Tokyo, but at the same time, Iíve got friends who claim they had the rottenest time there because the people were so ďcoldĒ.
Everyone loves sidescrollers, except for puppy kickers.


WHOA! I very nearly didn't read this installment, but seeing your name attached to it, I'm very glad I did. A lot has happened since you left, as I'm sure you know, but it's good to have you back.

Who should I e-mail (obviously not from this, my work address) concerning getting a translation of Maple Story? Maybe I'm the only one, but I personally think that game kicks all sorts of ass. I'd love to give it a shot, of course, but I can imagine that currently it's open only to those on the left side of the Pacific. Please, keep us informed! The concept looks really cool, and I welcome a return to 2D sidescrolling just because it's something that's not done in games these days. What would probably be even cooler would be if Konami decided to remake The Goonies II as a side-scrolling RPG (a la Castlevania)... yay for old licenses.

Anyway, I'd love to participate in the contest, but seeing how as I'm now an employee of RPGamer and all, I don't want to muck up the process. So just ponder this, what could have been: Tecmo Super Catgirl Beach Volleyball. Ponder, and ponder well.

Claire's comic is also a welcome sight.

Once again, welcome back.

John Z.
fanfic dept, motto: "We need more fics and less spam!"

Itís good to be back, John. And itís a sure bet Iíll be keeping a close eye on Maple Story, but as you can see in this update, Fly for Fun is another great looking MMORPG I can only wish someone would bring over. Iím willing to bet theyíll probably be yet another awesome looking game from Japan that I can only sigh wistfully at and dream of in the next update. As for who you can email, why not send a letter to your favorite publisher and urge them to pick up Maple Story? And a Goonies 2 sidescrolling RPG? Sounds like a good idea for a fan fic, John!

Tecmo Super Catgirl Beach Volleyball? Wel...well, just because your staff doesnít mean you canít submit an entry, John! Yeah, Iím sure thatís not against any staff policies! Wait, it is? Youíre sure? Oh well, uh...maybe your good friend John X, could submit one then, eh? *nudge* *nudge*
Advice to adventurers everywhere.


I think I actually sent this question in before, when you were just getting ready to head off to Japan, but figure that you'd be able to give an even more informed answer this time around. What tips can you give a student who plans on going to Japan as part of a study-abroad program? I leave next Spring and will be studying in the Osaka region. What should I bring with me? What should I leave in the States? Did you stay in the dorms or with a homestay family? If it was the latter, what would be a good present to give them when you first arrive?

Glad to see you back.

-Red Raven

General advice for anyone studying aboard is to spend as must time as you can exploring your new surroundings. If you find yourself staying indoors after classes are over, youíre wasting your valuable time. Worse is revisiting the same places over and over again. I had a group of friends that insisted on eating on campus all of my first semester, and then I found an awesome ramen place across the street my next semester. Go out of your way to explore, as a gaijin, you have a get out of trouble free card you need to abuse. Take ten damn minutes to study how the trains run. Itís honestly not as difficult as it first appears. And as for your specific questions...

Bring lots of thick books youíve been meaning to read. Donít bring anything you donít absolutely need to use, youíll feel bad about it when you canít fit it in your suitcases on the way home. Pillows/more then one towel/blankets are a complete waste of your packing time. I stayed with a homestay family, and a good present would be an assortment of American candy and a photo album to show them the area where you came from.
Completely off topic, but...

Andrew, You may remember me from previous letters and a terrible try at a webcomic. Then again, you probably don't.

Right now, I'm trying to get experience designing games, so I've been using O.H..R.RPG.C.E. However, I want to move on to other projects and ideas. I've found several engines and compilers and necessary things of that sort, but my family's one computer isn't going to handle the files and I can't currently afford computers. My plan is to get several used computers, or even just one used computer, but I can't really afford that either. Basically, I need the money to buy the hardware.

I thought of several ways to earn money, but at this point I can't drive and thus can't get a job, and I don't think a bake sale would be all too plausible. So I thought I might try and sell an OHR game.

The game's premise is you're one man who goes into a tavern and the rest of what happens that night is based off of who you talk to, what you do, etc. It also has a NewGame+ of sorts, which allows things you couldn't do before to be done. I'm well into the programming already, and I like the way it is turning out.

However, there are so many great free games already, and while I'm not going to be selling them for any big price, I don't know if it would be fair to sell mine. Also, the large possibility is that my game won't sell more than a few copies. If that happens, putting the entire game available on Castle Paradox would be completely unfair to anybody who bought my game already.

By this point, you're probably wondering why I'm asking you this at all. First, I know you've done things with OHR and that you've played available games. Second, after reading your Q&A column I came to really respect your views on games and things of that sort.

So should I sell the game or put it up for free? Or is there someplace I can get the necessary hardware without having to worry about any of this?

--Faunis, A.K.A. Ewcoolio

Ewcoolio, seeing as how you respect my views and all, this might be a little hard for you to hear, but...

Youíre an idiot.

Even assuming your game is so awesome is brings about the 2nd coming of Christ, the OHR Community boasts only around 150 or so truly active members. If you had done any research at all on selling products online you would know that youíd be lucky to sell one copy per 100 people, and thatís only if the price is low enough. Even assuming you expand who you sell the game to, your advertising for your game is going to cost you time and probably money, and that is again assuming thereís a big market for amateur-made 16-bit games.

Oh, and hereís a newsflash buddy, do you think the original Zelda and Mario were done the way Miyamoto really wanted? Needing to add a mustache to Mario because there werenít enough pixels for a mouth ring a bell? Your desire to move onto better engines, with better computers, being able to have your 3D graphics and awesome AI all amount to absolutely jack right now. Youíre an amateur game designer who canít even drive yet, and your belief that youíre going to be earning money anytime soon for your games is pretty sad when all you have to show our some shaky ideas about a ďguy in a tavernĒ.

You need to take the time you have now on OHR and use it to expand your game design skills. From your quick summary of your new game, I can already tell youíre no where near ready to attempt to sell a game. And seriously, do you really think anyone is willing to buy a game thatís best summoned up as ďcontrol some guyís night at a barĒ? Thereís no reason to rush to new engines or a more powerful computer, Ewcoolio, when you still need to seriously polish your basic skills as a game designer.

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