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Online console gaming has been thriving for over a decade now, and ostensibly it should have brought gamers from all over the world into contact with one another as competitors and co-op teammates. In practice, though, regional differences in preferred genres, aesthetics, and overall play styles have meant that Japanese and Western gamers haven’t crossed paths all that terribly often.

At least until Nintendo released Splatoon this year for the Wii U, that is. Combining the team-based shooter Western gamers have so embraced with the colorful quirkiness that their Japanese counterparts have always been fond of, Splatoon’s popularity is bridging the oceans. This is giving overseas Inklings a chance to play with gamers in Japan…or to complain about them online and devise strategies to avoid them.

Comb through tweets with the hashtags “Splatoon” and “Japanese,” and you’ll quickly spot a common sentiment.

Splatoon is far too family-friendly a game to show exploding heads, but the Fist of the North Star quote still applies.

It seems Japanese players have been steam-rolling the competition in the Nintendo hit. Of course, since Splatoon is a team-based contest, there’s a potential upside for players who find themselves surrounded by Japanese allies, but then some feel a sense of guilt for not pulling their weight.

So why are Japanese Splatoon players so tough to beat? Some think it might be because of a ridiculously high level of dedication to their craft and amount of time poured into honing it, sort of like a video game version of the rise of Japanese automakers during the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.


Others, though, have cited lag issues that work out in the favor of Japanese players.

▼ Sort of like a video game version of the rise of Matrix-style “bullet time” special effects during the 1990s.

Thanks to a recent Japan-exclusive Splatoon tournament, gamers in the rest of the world got a reprieve from sharing online matches with the feared and/or reviled Japanese players. Still, that’s only a temporary solution, and some disgruntled gamers are craving a more permanent one.


It’s unlikely that Nintendo will heed the above call to ban Japanese gamers, given that such a move would entail giving the cold shoulder to the company’s home market and also put the brakes on what’s been a breakout hit with the potential to open the Japanese video game community to team-based shooters. That’s not to say there’s nothing overseas Splatoon fans can do to limit their online contact with Japanese gamers, though. Some, for example, have been taking advantage of the time difference between their countries and Japan.

But even this can backfire, depending on your personal sleep/wake/game cycle.

But really, online games are all about tossing everyone onto the same playground. As such, some Western gamers are reminding their brethren about the need for civility and not being a sore loser.


And hey, even if you’re losing games, you might be gaining the opportunity to make new friends or language skills.

Just be aware that communicating with people in Japan, just like defeating them in Splatoon, requires no small amount of effort.

▼ But trust us, Aaron, take Japanese 2. It’s totally worth it.

Source: Jin
Top image: Nintendo