Sunday, July 20, 2008

PSP Equals Monster Hunter

When I ride the train and see someone playing a PSP or DS, I get very nosy. It's in my nature to crane my neck and try to see which game the person is playing, out of sheer curiosity. I guess part of me believes that there's insight about one's personality that can be gleaned from observing what portable games they play on their daily commute.

What I've observed, however, is confounding: Every single person I've observed playing PSP on the train in the past six months has been playing Monster Hunter. This is not just a blogger's exaggeration. Since January 2008, every time I peeked at another person's PSP on the train, that person was playing one of the three Monster Hunter games currently available for Sony's handheld game system. I guess whoever said Japan was homogeneous was onto something.

If you've been reading Chorus, Isolate, Confirm for long enough, you know that I went through a couple of Monster Hunter phases myself. First I got hooked on Monster Hunter Portable in the spring of 2006. Then I worked my PS2 to death playing Monster Hunter 2 a couple months later. After that I found myself hamatta on Monster Hunter Portable 2nd in the spring of 2007.

Currently the series's popularity is kept afloat by the release of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, which I'm sure is delightful. I can't say for certain, however, as I have purposely steered clear of the franchise for almost a year now. Why? Because it's a huge, dinosaur-shaped black hole from which nothing -- especially not time and money -- can escape.

Consider the wink-nudge moneymaking relationship between Capcom, who develops and publishes the series, and strategy guide publishers like Dengeki and Famitsuu, who capitalize bigtime on the complexity of games like Monster Hunter. If you're Famitsuu and you get the chance to publish a guide the size of a desktop atlas (and price it accordingly), you leap at that chance like a Velociprey with 'roid rage. Combine that with Capcom's repeated re-release of what is basically the same game with very few changes made each time, and you've got yourself a perfect storm of hand-over-fist profit.

That laughing sound you just heard was Capcom and Famitsuu, on their way to the bank together.

1 comment:

butt? said...

I`ve noticed the same thing recently. Doesn`t matter who the train rider is, they are all playing Monster Hunter