Over an hour of japanese indie trailers
I often see articles about the blossoming indie game scene in Japan, presented as an exciting hub of creative energy fuelled by international publishers doujinshi games English speaking fans. Welcome to the independently-developed, sometimes-translated world of doujin games. Despite often breaching copyright, these products are sold by the creators at specialised stores, events or, in these modern times, online. Although there are certainly cases of doujin publishers coming up against more litigious companies hey there, Nintendomost turn a blind eye or even encourage fans to create derivative works like doujinshi.
Knock yourself out! Over time, the popularity of doujin creations has grown, as evidenced by the size of events. The largest of these gatherings, Comic Market, has been running for almost 50 years well, except for this year.
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At Comiket, creators pack a colossal convention center to sell their goods to overpeople. These doujin works could be a passion project made by a single person. Given that the less-savoury works could be, uh, appreciated without needing to be translated, it makes sense that fans outside Japan would go for the pervy stuff first. In actuality, the majority of works created by circles are hardly that salacious, especially not when it comes to video games.
Which brings us to doujin soft. Doujin soft is a broad term that covers self-produced computer programs, although these days it largely refers to games. Doujin developers have existed since the early days of personal computers, with enthusiasts making their own software that was sold at events or through magazines, similar to the demoscene or shareware in other countries. The scene grew over time as the technology to produce, distribute and play games developed.
The solution: the humble laptop, which made it possible to provide playable demos for shoppers to play at events. The growing doujinshi games of PCs in the 90s led to rapid growth in the doujin scene and it became even easier to distribute games after websites like Soft Island now known as DLSite went online in This was certainly the case for some of the most famous works.
After the first few experimental and now incredibly valuable titles, the series really hit it big with the release of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. This sixth game found a huge fan base thanks to its cute characters, iconic music and brilliantly evil bullet patterns. Another huge doujin hit was Tsukihime, a visual novel by a circle called Type-Moon that was released in and proved popular enough to doujinshi games a manga and anime adaptation.
After making a name for themselves, Type-Moon also worked with a doujin circle called French Bread to develop a Tsukihime fighting game called Melty Blood, the most anime of anime fighters which still sees play at tournaments and hotel bathrooms alike. French Bread continued to grow from there, recently developing the bizarrely-titled but apparently-awesome fighter Under Night In-Birth. And what about Type-Moon? These particular high-profile titles got attention from gamers outside of Japan, too, creating many international fans who would share and translate these doujin games, often using less than legitimate means.
Because most doujin games are just burned to CDs or distributed online, they lack copy protection. Widespread piracy is undoubtedly destructive, but given how difficult it is to legally acquire copies of many doujin games, the distribution of pirated software did at least lead to an increased awareness of these niche self-published titles doujinshi games Japan.
But their gamble paid off, with Recettear selling several hundred thousand copies.
As the first independent Japanese game released on Steam, Recettear greatly expanded the audience for doujin games and opened the floodgates for other publishers to start translating these Japanese titles. Bringing over these smaller Japanese titles was often an uphill battle, with resistance from storefronts like Steam, a market steadily being overwhelmed by other indie games, and the sometimes uneasy relationship between the original Japanese circles and publishers. Nevertheless, a of publishers that specialise in localising independent Japanese games have sprung up in recent years, including Playism and Fruitbat Factory.
Notable doujin soft titles include:
Given how crowded the marketplace is these days, the increase in publicity for these niche games has helped them to stand out and find a devoted audience. Most doujin games are still far from massive sales successes, but there are a plethora of independent Japanese titles that received critical acclaim, such as Hatoful Boyfriend, The House in Fata Morgana and Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight.
Before I wrap up this article, I want to quickly introduce a couple of other doujin developers whose work is easily available in English. These are some of the more well-known circles who have their own trademark style, so I recommend checking out their games if something takes your fancy. Edelweiss — While many doujin developers stick to simple 2D titles, Edelweiss have taken on several ambitious 3D shooters and action RPGs.
Their eye-catching sprite work recently got the studio working on official d titles based on Record of Lodoss War, Konosuba and even Shin Megami Tensei. Calappa Games — This small circle makes games about epic three-dimensional battles as rival species fight for survival. They also all involve marine life. The likes of Neo AquariumAce of Seafood and Fight Crab allow players to control cumbersome crustaceans in truly unique fighting games.
Step 2: figuring out how you’re going to make this happen
The spirit of Dicing Knight lives on in games like the Fallendom series, but PlatineDispositif has also developed a of fast-paced shooters like Gundemonium and Hitogata Happa. This is really just scratching the surface of what the doujin development scene has to offer. The indie moniker itself is a foreign loanword in Japan, so it comes off as something new and sexy. While the indie industry is booming and companies are investing heavily in up and coming studios, doujin titles are portrayed as unprofitable products from reclusive creators.
Of course, for these hobbyists keeping a low profile is often intentional as doujin titles include fangames in a legal grey area. Digital distribution is far easier than printing discs and events like Comiket are no longer necessary for aspiring developers to sell games and network.
So as the indie landscape evolves, I hope it even tiny doujin doujinshi games can find a way to thrive there.
Step 1: deciding what the hell you want to do
Even as the scene grows beyond the doujin days, the early efforts of Japanese circles are still something to be celebrated, so I hope that people continue to explore the past and fans uncover niche titles for new audiences to discover. Definitely one of the biggest doujin hits ever, that spawned countless anime adaptations, sequels, spinoff games, etc. Haha, I was wondering if someone would call me out on that! Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Where to start with the Tales series? Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is a big, beautiful letdown so far.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception Review. Some properties like Madoka Magica have received a huge of fanworks. You can find doujinshi about just about any topic. Naturally this includes JRPGs.
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