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  • Getting cross over cross reviews

    Posted on April 26th, 2010 keving 2 comments

    I’ve been talking about Famitsu reviews a lot lately, and that habit’s going to continue for a while, because today they’ve triggered something of an international incident!

    The article on Kotaku gives the full story, but here is a summary:

    – Enterbrain president and ex-Famitsu EIC Hirokazu Hamamura appears in Japanese advertising for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in an endorsing fashion.
    Famitsu gives Peace Walker a perfect 40/40 review score.
    – Many overseas writers, including me over on 1UP, bring up concerns about the editorial independence of Famitsu’s review writers as a result of this. Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku writes a particularly long missive.
    – Ashcraft’s article gets reworked a bit for Kotaku Japan and translated in a more direct fashion by other Japanese blogs.
    – Kotaku Japan posts on its Twitter feed that Enterbrain has formally complained to them and that Konami has rescinded the site’s invitation to the Peace Walker release-day press event.

    This was all out lined on the Japanese blogs today, and Jin’s post on it is particularly prescient because in addition to running a personal game-news blog, he also contributes articles (mostly covering press events) to Kotaku Japan. “You idiots!” he jokingly writes in the article. “Now I lost work because of this! What’re you gonna do about it?!”

    The reader comments to the article are interesting — about half siding with Kotaku and half siding with Konami, as opposed to a much more unified anti-Japan-media response over on Kotaku itself — and so I thought I’d translate a few.

    In particular, it’s fascinating to note that many don’t see Hamamura’s advertising turn as that much of a problem. This is perhaps because it’s not the first time he’s shown up in games themselves, having made all-but-official cameos in both 428 and Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! in the past. Many see him over there as a sort of avuncular father-figure for the game industry, a personable middle-aged guy with a funny mustache who provides comments to nearly every article written by Japan’s mainstream media about games, and they don’t make a direct connection between that and his position as the “man upstairs” at Famitsu’s company. There’s nobody quite like that in the American media, not since Howard Phillips left Nintendo Power and Thor Aackerlund stopped flogging Camerica’s NES games.

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