Oh, man… Japan. Yes, Japan remains a source of bewildered amusement for peering western eyes. Sure, a lot of what we think about Japan probably consists of mostly hyperbole, but it’s not just the neon lights, dinner-serving robots, and school girls that throw about the peace sign like it’s the actual law that makes Japan seem so at odds with western civilisation… it’s the really strange practices that the country seems to embrace as if they’re, like, normal.
Things like maid cafes in which middle-aged men go to play board games with girls dressed like Alice in Wonderland, or those wacky game-shows in which people seem to actually enjoy the possibilities of mild injury. And how about those used panty vending machines, hm? Not intended for a woman in need of a change – noooo, that would be weird. Instead, they exist as a means of pleasure for your average guy craving an old pair of undergarments.
Then there’s Japanese video games, which seem to operate on a completely different level from those across seas. There’s the normal stuff, of course: Japan are renowned for their labyrinth-like arcades, which look like a lot of fun (in films and stuff, anyway). Japan, too, gave us Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, which (though entirely insane when you think about it) are recognised as some of the most accessible video game characters of all-time. And yes, Japan have innovated video games in places the western world might never have imagined.
But Japanese game developers have also gone batshit crazy on a good number of occasions – take a look at the video games we’ve assembled here, each one begging the question: “What has happened for these things to exist in the real world?”