The Japanese RPG, for a mature audience.

I grew up playing Japanese RPGs, fun turn based games where the title that drew me into videos. Growing to love the happy-go-lucky stories of a teenage hero (such as myself at that time) working to save the world from an over the top evil. The young hero in most cases was someone my age easy to identify with. Someone, I could relate to by generally having no experience in life and given so much responsibly. This showed the hero accepted as an adult and growing stronger with this newfound power. Most, if not all, Japanese RPGs used this plot, slapping new faces and update graphics with each passing year.  As I grew older the common plots and youthful character stayed the same.

Japanese RPGs were amazing games dedicated to brilliant storytelling and silly situations a teenager (at the time) like me would understand. They wove brilliant and colorful worlds waiting for exploration. Joyful and positive stories of growing up were always wistfully written and full of fun and adventure. I was swept away by games such as Suikoden II and Breath of Fire. These games were a bit dark and to add Japanese storytelling elements and fun characters solidified the joy of playing.

Spending all those year growing to love Japanese RPGs, I expected the games to grow with me. As an adult I assumed there would be games targeted at adults. That is not to say that I expected those games to go away, I looked for a darker mature Suikoden type game. This was at the lull in the western RPG market, before the big hitters such as BioWare and Bethesda entered the market.   Due to these sugary sweet stories and lack of anything new, I put gaming on the back burner. None of the RPGs on the market captured the fun I enjoyed as a teen. The Japanese RPG hasn’t grown up with us. Japanese developers don’t appear to analyze why their formula is no longer working in the West. They continue to spur games with beautiful graphics and dynamic and complicated combat systems. However, they continue to use character tiles for story telling and inserting an hour of uninvolved cut scenes. It can be argued that the plot is what holds a Japanese RPG together, but I don’t think it is the plot as so much as the character development. The stories are the same stories from last generation consoles. In the Japanese market this works, because the handheld console is a huge seller. Which would make perfect sense to choose to continue to make games that work on consoles like the PS Vita.   However, the Western market shows they enjoy home consoles.

I could be wrong with assessment and maybe there isn’t anything wrong with the formula. I know these games are doing just fine in Japan, and in certain circles. It maybe the games are no longer targeted at me.   While, I understand that the demographic for Japanese RPGs is younger, I still would enjoy playing an adult version of a Japanese RPG.   I would love to embrace those games again but I won’t be able to actually enjoy them until they begin to make Japanese RPGs targeted at a mature audience.

What do you think? Do you agree with my thoughts about Japanese RPGs?   Do you have any suggestions on Japanese RPGs targeted at a mature audience?








  1. Hatm0nster says:

    I agree that the larger franchises like Final Fantasy have stagnated a bit, but I’m wondering what you mean when you say you’d like them to target a more mature audience. Is it in terms of the actual characters’ ages or is it more to do with theme and tone?

    I too would like some more JRPGs that are darker in tone, but we have actually had some of those in the past. Some that come to mind are Final Fantasy VI and Earthbound. In particular, If you haven’t played Earthbound, then it might be worth a try since it’s on the Wii U virtual console. The characters are children, but the game carries a darker subtext that kinda gives everything going on kind of a surreal feeling. Very different from most anything else.


    1. Dina Farmer says:

      I would say a little of both. I feel that in general most JRPGs involve a young protagonist that is often times growing into their own. But in general most JRPGs aren’t as dark as games such as Skyrium or Dragon Age. Although, there have been a handful of games in the past form JRPG that are very mature. There hasn’t been much recently, that I would call a mature game out of the ones that have made it to to the west.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. gamerwife says:

    Have you played any of the Persona games? From what I understand they are more mature in their storytelling. At least by Japanese standards.


    1. Dina Farmer says:

      I tried one back on PS2 but I couldn’t really get into it.


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