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Venting Is Fun: Why it sucks to be a gamer in Europe

I've realised that I'm always bringing this up in every comment I have ever posted in the Destructoid articles, so I figured I might as well write up a big blog about it. Originally I was thinking about trying to get in on the Monthly Muses thing, but by this point it's likely that every conceivable thing for the "Nothing Is Sacred" subject has been covered at least three times by now (also I'm not very good at wording stuff, so it'd look a shameful when compared to the more awesome ones that have been featured already, like that awesomely done Tower of God one). So, what else can I whinge about other than what I've already whinged about: How much it sucks to be a gamer in Europe.

When's that coming out over here?

The major thing that sucks about living in Europe is the fact that we will almost always get games well after everywhere else, sometimes never (I'll get to that in a bit). It's really quite aggravating to know that while all my internet buddies (most of whom are American) are playing really awesome games that won't be arriving in Europe for months, even a year away. Case in point: Kirby fucking Super Star Ultra. It was released in the United States on the 22nd of September, 2008. It arrived in Europe on the 18th of September, 2009. Pretty much an entire year later! And the most aggravating thing is that they had no excuse; they had provided review code in December 2008! They didn't explain away the delay, they just delayed for no real reason. It was reviewed, the box art was all ready, the game was finished (it's a Kirby platformer, you don't need an entire year to translate it) didn't come. I was actually looking forward to it, too. Then Nintendo didn't release it. Now, I have utterly no interest in the game because all the cool little secrets and shit have been spoiled completely for me (thanks, you American pricks. You know who you are. Not referring to anyone on Destructoid, mind). If Nintendo delayed it because they thought it wouldn't sell, then they're frigging stupid; I know a few people IRL who wanted the game, and they lost interest months ago when it never came out.

And that's just one of the thousands of examples of Europe getting games ages after Americans do; don't even get me started on Tales Of Symphonia 2 or indeed most roleplaying games, especially anything about Atlus (which, again, I'll get to later). Simply put; if you live in the US and are feeling pissed that you aren't going to be getting a certain game for another few months, spare a thought for us poor Europeans. We won't be seeing it until the next year, if we're lucky.

...Why isn't that coming out over here?

And then we come to the games that just don't, for whatever reason, come out in Europe. As you may have guessed, Tales Of The Abyss is one of those games. Hell, the entire Tales series is like that. We only just got the original 360 version of Tales Of Vesperia this year. The US got it in the same month as Japan, August 2008. And I don't mind mentioning that we didn't get that special Premium Edition, either. Europe gets shafted a hell of a lot on games, and usually the ones we get aren't that good (if you're sore about missing out on the PSP version of Tales Of Eternia, don't be. Trust me, it's not at all good!). Yes, the only examples I've actually brought up so far are Tales games, games that rarely get released out Japan as it is. But there's a hell of a lot more examples out there, most of them being RPGs.

Now, I know what most of you are thinking. "Just import you silly twat", right? Let me grind that to dust right now: I am 15. I don't have a debit card or a credit card or any other means of importing games. My parents are paranoid about using the Internet for anything, even though it'd save my mum a lot of time and effort to just order the groceries online through Iceland or Tesco or whatever. I have no means of importing, and even when I get a debit card next year when I turn 16, my mum's still going to be overly paranoid and restrict my use of it. So no, I cannot import and most likely will be unable to even when I have the means to. It's a bloody shame, I know.

And there's more to this, too. I now turn to Atlus for several examples of games that will likely never come to Europe.


Oh Atlus, why do you hate Europe?

I'm pretty sure all of you are familiar with Atlus. Pretty much everyone on this site seems to love them, and I am, to be honest, no exception. For the most part, anyway. Atlus are loved for their really impressive games (the Shin Megami Tensei series is pretty much my favourite series, the games are consistently hard and awesome) and for the fact that they will bring relatively obscure games over to the United States. They're well-loved by pretty much everyone, and a lot of people pray they will bring certain games from Japan to the US, and there's quite a few instances where they do. This is all fine and dandy if you live in the US. But I don't. So, I can't exactly love Atlus as much as everyone else.

Atlus does not have a European branch. Their PS2 Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games were brought to Europe by either Ghostlight (a relatively unknown publisher that handled the PS2 Digital Devil Saga games as well as SMT: Lucifer's Call, known to you Americans as SMT: Nocturne), Koei (of Dynasty Warriors fame, yes. They handled the first PS2 Devil Summoner game as well as Persona 3 (both the regular 3 and FES)), with only Persona 4 slipping past them (big ups to Square Enix for bringing that over!). Over the summer, SMT: Devil Survivor was released in the US. Still no word as to whether or not it's getting a European release. And then we come to the mountains of relatively obscure RPGs that Atlus brings to the US, along with some other games. This is what particularly aggravates me: Atlus isn't a particularly small company. They make a good killing with their games as far as I know, so setting up a foreign branch is not an impossibile tasks. They could make a European branch and bring these games to Europe, but they haven't.

Yes, I'm putting the blame squarely at Atlus' feet here. They're seeking to expand into development for the 360 and PS3, so they can't be extremely small. They've thrown out a ton of PS2 games, they know they have an audience. They brought Demon's Souls to the United States and even made luxurious special editions, which they will do for several other games (hello, Persona Portable. Oh yeah, that hasn't got a European release date either!). There's no excuse for that! There's a market over here for RPGs, and I know quite a few people (FIFA nuts, the lot of them) that are genuinely interested in Demon's Souls (which I described at length in an attempt to heal the pain of knowing it likely will not see the light of day over here). And hell, even if they didn't want to form a European branch, they could do what Nippon Ichi Software does and form a partnership with another, bigger company (NIS having formed something of a partnership with Tecmo-Koei. They also had Square Enix bring Disgaea DS and Disgaea 3 over here, too). It can't be too hard, can it? I'm sure if you approached them, Square Enix would gladly work their new European division's arse off to get your shit over here, Atlus.

Okay okay, maybe I'm raging at Atlus too much here. But I get a bit aggravated every time I see an obscure Japanese RPG get brought to America with the Atlus logo somewhere on the box, because it's sort of like a symbol guaranteeing that there will be no European release for that game.

Online stuff. No, I have nothing particularly witty/special to use as a title here.

So, recently America got a revamped Club Nintendo. It got a new point system (Coins) and apparently Nintendo distributes enough point cards with their games to get people to Gold and Silver status. Amongst other things, they have awesome stuff like Mario hats and Club Nintendo-exclusive games (it's a Game & Watch collection, but still) and game add-ons (like that Doc Louis Punch-Out!! thing). Basically, by supporting Nintendo you get a cool variety of shit. All good for you Americans, then. Let's not get started on the Japanese as the stuff they get will make everyone here nerdrage a bit.

Now, what's it like for us Europeans? Well, very few games actually have these Club Nintendo points (they're Stars over here). All the games I have for my Gamecube, Wii, DS and GBA combined equals...8750 Stars. Sounds cool, right? Well, it isn't really. The really cool stuff is priced around 5000-30,000 Stars. And the really cool stuff is only a few items (the only things I've considered getting are that golden Twilight Princess Link statue, the Mario Galaxy soundtrack and one thing I've daydreamed about is that Giratina Special Edition DS Lite). As most of this didn't get added for a while, half my Stars went to Wii Points, which are exchanged at a rate of 4 Stars to 1 Wii Point. So now I have even less Stars, and because Nintendo are really, really, really stingy about handing out Star Point cards with games I've been stuck on the 3900 Stars mark for two years now. You get about 100-200 Stars per game, 500 per DS and 750 per Wii, mind. Basically, it's been incredibly hard trying to get one of the cool things off the store because Nintendo isn't giving out the Points enough.

Yes, Europe is getting shafted in this regard, too. Club Nintendo sucks hard over here, as half the stuff is ringtones and wallpapers, the other half being Wii Sports/Fit/Music merchandise with three cool items and Pikmin plushies (no Purples, sadly).

The European PSN isn't at all bad; it has a considerable amount of good dames available on it, and the prices are all fair enough, I find. The only real problem I have with it is...well, remember when Sony promised mountains of DLC for the PSP Go, that would be on the PSN Store for all PSP users? Well, it seems most of that shit is for America only, as Europe hasn't gotten any of the TV shows or anything, and all those games just don't seem to have arrived yet. It's even more aggravating when I see Atlus and several companies I adore (like NIS) throwing their games onto the US PSN but not the one over here, and I just feel shafted again.

And I think I've went on long enough. I dunno, I just felt like venting, even if no-one cares enough to read it. Tl;dr if you're a gamer and you live in Europe, things are going to suck for you.
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About SirRichardone of us since 2:59 PM on 10.09.2009

Hailing from the north of Ireland, I'm a dude that really loves RPGs. My first game was Super Mario World at the age of 4 (in 1998, lawl), and since then I've been playing games. Everything I could play, I would, even if it meant I wouldn't be sleeping for weeks (damn you Resident Evil). It wasn't until a few years ago that I properly started keeping up with the industry and that my tastes developed (insert your dirty joke here. I know you all imagined one, I can't be along in thinking one up upon reading that).

Mostly I lament the fact that Europe will get shafted on games somehow, be it waiting for ages for games to arrive, to not getting the goodies that other places get, to just flat-out not getting games at all. My favourite genre being the RPG, this means that I find this sort of thing a lot, particularly if the game is involved in some way with Atlus, who I'd worship as much as anyone else if they just arsed themselves enough to create a Europrean branch to let me and many others in on the obscure game love and Atlus love.

My blog posts will be about whatever I feel like, probably Monthly Musings most of the time.

Now playing: Nothing, actually. Haven't had a new game in a while...