It’s pretty self explanatory, but over the weekend The Electric Playground broadcast a 1-hour YouTube broadcast entitled Gamers Heart Japan. The program was created to bring awareness and to help raise donations towards the American Red Cross for relief efforts following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan last month, demolishing the Tohoku region and killing thousands of people.
The program includes testimonies of inspiration from many of gaming’s biggest names from designers to journalists, all speaking of the tremendous impact and importance Japan has meant to the gaming industry. It’s a well made production, and running at an hour long, give yourself a nice break to take in a really think about what gaming has become, thanks to Japanese influence.
When I think about what Japan has meant to me and my lifetime of gaming, I think back to the 8-bit days of the NES, hours lost to Final Fantasies and the revolution of the fighting game genre. Without Japan, there would be no Link exploring Hyrule, no upcoming crossover between Street Fighter and Tekken, no 1000 car collection in Gran Turismo, no Pokemon to catch, no Sonic induced motion sickness, no shock caused by Aerith’s death and no Mario to be sent to another castle. Gaming and Japan, to me, are infinitely intertwined.