The “Rising” of Technology (Part 2)

Metal Gear Rising Revengence is set in the year 2018 which isn’t that far from our current year. As mentioned previously, Rising is known for it’s ridiculous and almost campy style of action. However the Metal Gear series has been known to take already existing technology and apply it with some tweaks in the Metal Gear universe, Rising is no different.

In Metal Gear Solid 3, the Shagohod is a variant based on the real life Russian tank, Shnekohod. The Shnekohod is a screw-propelled tank that’s able to go on snow and swamp terrains. The whole concept of the Shagohod mimics that of the Shnekohod, a tank that will go anywhere.

The evolution of the Shagohod in Metal Gear Solid, is Metal Gear Rex. The main evolution was that it had legs as opposed to being a screw propelled tank. While there is currently no real life version of Metal Gear Rex, there has been some development regarding a tank with legs, the RHex robot. There is some interest in the whole concept of a tank with legs.

“The Army Rapid Equiping Force has already bought four to use in Afghanistan, particularly to climb in and out of ditches and culverts where insurgents love to hide roadside bombs but where the wheel-driven robots used by most bomb squads cannot go.” – Sydney J. Freedberg JR.

Another example of Metal Gear technology already existing in real life is the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system from Metal Gear Solid 5. The Fulton system is used by the CIA, United States Air Force and United States Navy to recover ground operatives through the use of an aircraft. According to the official CIA website:

“Fulton first used instrumented dummies as he prepared for a live pickup. He next used a pig, as pigs have nervous systems close to humans. Lifted off the ground, the pig began to spin as it flew through the air at 125 mph. It arrived on board undamaged but in a disoriented state. Once it recovered, it attacked the crew.” – CIA

A prominent example of futuristic technology present in Metal Gear Rising are prosthetic limbs, or rather bodies. Prosthetic limbs themselves aren’t exactly new in this day and age. The earliest form of a prosthetic limb is a false foot believed to be roughly 3000 years old. The whole concept of upgrading your body through prosthetic limbs isn’t that far off either. While the main protagonist of Metal Gear Rising, Raiden is able to fight giant machines and has crazy fast reflexes, real life prosthetic limbs such as the Bebonic hand comes with some enhancements that are useful for self defense. As stated in this article:

“The hand may be impressively lightweight and streamlined, but it can pack a punch. Wallace explained that they have to make the fingers stronger than human fingers owing to the lack of biofeedback. While you’d never lean your entire weight on your little finger—it’d hurt—you could put a lot more pressure on the prosthetic without realising it.” – Kevin Evison


The main piece of technology that’s responsible for all the crazy and insane stunts pulled off in Metal Gear Rising is nanomachines. Nanomachines in Metal Gear Rising is the source of all the powers the characters have. In real life however rather than having a combat-focused function, they’re used for medicinal purposes. While still very early in the development stage, the possibility of using nano-particles to feed medicine into a person’s brain is being explored. These nano-particles can also be remote controlled to guide the nano-particle to it’s destination. As stated in this Motherboard article the nano-particles can be used to fight brain tumors. “With magnetic heating of magnetic nanoparticles that are attached to the BBB, we can evaluate the efficacy of orally administered chemotherapeutic drugs such as temozolomide on this tumor.”

Despite how detached the Metal Gear series can be from reality, there is a surprising amount of technology that’s achievable in our current day and age. Although not to the insane level of taking down colossal war machines, not yet at least.


Flash Point Fire Rescue analysis

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a cooperative board game in which you and other fire fighters work together to save civilians and put out the fire before all civilians die or the building collapses. Before getting into the mechanics, a little background check for the game.

Flash Point started out as a Kickstarter project with a pledge goal of $5000. The final amount ended up being $51,398 from 891 backers. So it’s safe to say the Kickstarter was a huge success. The Kickstarter campaign boasted a few points on what made Flash Point worth pledging money for and they are:

Easy to learn: The creator of the game, Kevin Lanzing points out how the rules of the game are so simple that his five year old son can play the game just fine.

True to life: In this point Kevin mentions how limitless the possibilities are with the game as the “experienced” game mode is very realistic due to the amount of mechanics at play. The various mechanics within the game make it feel very realistic as if it feels like “fighting a real fire”

Fun to play: Kevin emphasizes that while the goal is to win and beat the game, difficulty had to be balanced correctly to make the victory feel worth it. In this point, the various difficulty modes are mentioned to emphasize that any one regardless of skill level can enjoy the game to it’s fullest

A great gift: Travis mentions that while he likes video games he also loves board games. In this point he mentions the appeal of sitting around a table with friends and playing the game.



Flash Point Fire Rescue cover

With all of that in mind, let’s go into the mechanics and see how they effect the game. As someone who rarely plays board games and has limited experience with them, Flash Point was definitely a unique experience. Despite the Kickstarter advertising how the game had easy to learn rules, I had some difficulty learning them. Of course, this is coming from someone essentially completely new to board games outside of Monopoly. Learning them took a while however once things got going, they went fast.


Unlike monopoly, going through your own turn is quick. This is due to the limited amount of action points a person has per turn which is 4. Most things take up 1 point but there are occasions where spending 2 is absolutely necessary. For example, putting out a fire isn’t as simple as using up 1 point to put it out. 1 point is required to turn the fire into smoke and then 1 more point to completely put out the fire. The limited action points help keeps turn quick.

Another factor that keep turns quick is how the game is cooperative and other player’s actions can affect yourself. This is a huge contrast to Seasons by Régis Bonnessée where the focus on building your own things and rarely will you interact with other players. Instead of finishing your turn and waiting for your next turn, in Flash Point one player’s actions could completely change your own situation.

As fast as the player turns go, the system itself moves just as fast if not faster. See, as mentioned earlier the goal is to save civilians and put out fires before the building collapses. Just like in real life, fires spread at an alarming speed. Aside from the fires placed before the game begins, smoke is placed on any of the grids at the end of a players turn along with a civilian (with the possibility of it not being a civilian). If two smoke coins are next to each other, one smoke coin is replaced with a fire coin while the smoke coin is taken out. On top of this, if a smoke coin is placed on top of a fire coin, it causes an explosion. This explosion places fire coins around the place of origin and damages walls if the wall is close enough.

Despite being a board game, with all of these mechanics in place it moves the game along very quickly. On top of this, the cooperative aspect keeps everyone engaged at all times so everyone is keeping an eye out for any major changes all the time. As someone who’s currently in the middle of designing their own board game these mechanics are ones that I would like to take and tweak for my own game.

Having “killer” looks isn’t going to get you out of this one

Humans truly are social creatures. It’s not just an idea either, research has been put into this idea that humans are social creatures. “The use of deliberate social signals can serve to increase reputation and trust and facilitates teaching. This is likely to be a critical factor in the steep cultural ascent of mankind.” – (Firth, 2009). Our social interactions aren’t limited to just other humans but other inhabitants of our planet, animals.

With humans co-existing with animals it’s no surprise that many people have made connections to animals through either work or just having them as pets. According to the Australian Veterinary Association “Dogs remain the most popular type of pet with almost two in five households (3.6 million) owning a dog”. On top of this “Cats were the next most common type of pet with nearly three in 10 households owning a cat (2.7 million).”. It’s no secret that people love animals, but what happens when an animal is pitted against a human?

A 2013 documentary called “Blackfish” was released and it focused on the consequences of keeping killer whales in captivity. This documentary highlights how killer whales have emotions such as happiness, sadness or even anger. The documentary examines the deaths of three individuals who worked closely with the killer whales. With the way the documentary was set up, it made the killer whales appear as the victim while corporate is the villain. This was done through the use of anthropomorphism, the act of giving human traits to an animal.

In the documentary killer whales were separated from families and put into captivity to entertain water park attendees. According to

“Orcas are highly social animals that travel in groups called pods. Pods usually consist of 5 – 30 whales, although some pods may combine to form a group of 100 or more. Orcas establish social hierarchies, and pods are led by females”

So, like humans they too are social animals. With this in mind, the act of taking them away from their families and capturing them for our own entertainment is an act of evil against the killer whales. This in turn gives us reason to dislike the people capturing them in the documentary. Despite this, when a killer whale killed one of the employees the line of morality becomes murky. Yes, the killer whale suffered but when an entertainer was killed as a result of interacting with the killer whale that’s inexcusable as it threatens the safety of the people there. It was not a one off case either as two more died soon after, all done by the same killer whale, Tilikum. People can claim it’s just Tilikum blowing some steam after what’s been done to him but there’s no doubt that he’s dangerous regardless of the circumstances.


Theatrical release poster for Blackfish documentary

Throughout the documentary it’s clear the trainers had a connection with the killer whales which is perfectly fine. However, the documentary presented the killer whales in a way where they were the victim while corporate was the villain. This is true to an extent, but people forget Tilikum took three lives of trainers. While we can make connections with animals, there’s always some form of barrier with communication. This barrier makes it difficult for humans to completely understand what goes in animals’ minds. This barrier was even the downfall of one of Tilikum’s trainers. Tilikum misunderstood the trainer and performed a trick longer than intended and missed the que from the trainer to stop. Tilikum then wasn’t rewarded due to lack of food in the bucket which most likely angered Tilikum


Tilikum at SeaWorld Orlando 2009

As social creatures ourselves, it makes sense to want to make connections with both other people and animals. But, with the barrier of communication between humanity and animals being so strong, people tend to forget that animals themselves aren’t always so eager to make friends.


  • Frith, C.F, 2005. The social brain: allowing humans to boldly go where no other species has been. 1st ed. London: The Royal Society.

The value of suffering

While it sounds off putting and odd, watching another person suffer can be engaging. That sentence alone is bound to get a few comments however if you think about it, we’ve been exposed to it throughout our lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean people like watching someone struggle on the street but struggle in television shows and books. Think of the Superhero movies that have become popular over the years. If the main protagonist went through the entire movie without a struggle there would be no tension therefore failure to keep the viewer interested.

The term “underdog” comes to mind, which is defined as the person who is expected to lose but still defies expectations and wins (Keinan, 2010). Without a doubt, watching someone blast through all obstacles without struggle would be boring. It’s the reason why films like Rocky was the highest grossing film of 1975.

So if the concept of struggle in fiction is entertaining is there any use or value of capturing real, unfiltered struggle and showing it to the public? Of course. The Independent released an article about dead children that drowned off the coastal town of Bodrum in Turkey. This article included disturbing photos of a dead child that washed up on a beach. While quite disturbing, capturing these moments can inform others about unknown situations and make people think.

Of course, taking pictures of people dying or horrific pictures how you like isn’t a good way about it. Like with anything, there is a negative effect. “The Vulture and the Little Girl” (Warning: Disturbing) is an example of a negative effect. The photo itself won a Pulitzer prize however there was a slight controversy regarding the safety of the child. So much so, The New York Times had to publish a statement regarding the health of said child:

“A picture last Friday with an article about the Sudan showed a little Sudanese girl who had collapsed from hunger on the trail to a feeding center in Ayod. A vulture lurked behind her.

Many readers have asked about the fate of the girl. The photographer reports that she recovered enough to resume her trek after the vulture was chased away. It is not known whether she reached the center.” – Editor’s Note, 1993

Going by that statement, the safety of the girl wasn’t guaranteed by the photographer which implies that they left after getting rid of the vulture. Spreading awareness of people struggling is good by itself but doing nothing about the situation in front of you is definitely not the way to go about it. The Vulture and The Little Girl is an example of how not go about capturing suffering.

With all of that in mind, there is value to capturing people’s struggles and suffering. However, that doesn’t give a reason to disrespect others while they’re down. This should be a given but if you’re the one taking a photo of someone in pain then do what you can to help them as well. Spreading awareness and informing the public means nothing if you do nothing with what’s already in front of you.


Selfies aren’t evil by default

Self portraits are nothing new as like a normal photo, they’re meant to capture a specific moment in time. The main difference being a person being the focus of the picture. The word self portrait has been shortened (like other words such as legitimate/legit, application/app, ammunition/ammo) into selfie. While self portraits have been around for hundreds of years, the term “selfie” has only come about recently. The first known use of the term was on Karl Kruszelnicki’s ‘Dr Karl Self-Serve Science Forum’ in 2002:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.” – Nathan Hope, 2002

The word itself is integrated deeply into youth culture since it blends in well with social media. Social media has a large focus on sharing experiences and thoughts with various people. Social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat use photos as the main method of interacting with others as well.

Like with the rise of any new trend, there are many who oppose it, the same goes for selfies. People have come to the conclusion that there can be negative side-effects to a selfie.


Regardless of these negative effects of selfies, a selfie itself is not inherently bad in itself. No harm comes from wanting to capture a moment. On the flip side, there can be some good that come from selfies as well. On websites such as imgur and reddit selfies are used to keep track/show progress of weight loss:


A selfie showing someone’s weight loss progress

Another thing to keep note is that while selfies are linked to narcissism and people constantly want likes to increase their self worth, their perception of their self worth can be shattered if no likes are obtained. However, those photos and people generally post photos that are considered beautiful or pretty by the public. Posting selfies of someone’s overweight body would get negative reception one might think. However this isn’t the case as with many of progress selfies, they’re met with great reception and even words of encouragement.

progress fat

A progress selfie being rewarded with words of encouragement and positive comments (Source)

This contrasts greatly to popular belief that only beautiful women get positive comments while men get negative comments. While all of that can be true for some cases, it all comes down to intention. If a woman posts a picture of herself with make up and trying her hardest to be beautiful with the sole intention of getting likes, it can be received negatively. On the other hand, if an overweight man posts pictures of himself to keep track of his weight loss over a few months then they will most likely be praised for their efforts. Of course there’s no real way to know the intent of the poster but it’s safe to say people assume when looking at a selfie.




The “Rising” of Technology

It’s no myth that technology is deeply integrated into our way of living. As stated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in this report “The number of households with access to the internet at home increased, reaching 7.7 million in 2014–15, representing 86% of all households (up from 83% in 2012–13)” As for what devices were used to access the internet in these households the results are as follows:

  • Desktop/Laptop: 94%
  • Mobile/Smart phones: 86%
  • Tablets: 62%

This is only one aspect of technology that’s integrated into many people’s lives but what are the effects? Many movies, books and even games have questioned the future of technology but there is one that is unique; Metal Gear Rising. Despite being set in a video game world, it is an interesting look at (while extreme and almost unbelievable at times) what technology can offer.

The Metal Gear series is infamous for it’s themes of war being the main focus of the series. In Metal Gear Solid 4 the theme of modern war was tackled, Metal Gear Rising does the same albeit to the extreme. Metal Gear Solid 4 had players tackling soldiers enhanced with nanomachines and advanced war machines but despite this it was still grounded in (some) reality. This was due to the fact you as a player still had the limitations of human ability by playing as Solid Snake (Main character of Metal Gear Solid 1 and 4)

Metal Gear Rising turns it to 11 with the player taking control of a powerful ninja cyborg Raiden who has the ability to take on gigantic monster sized war machines with ease. To give you an idea of just how extreme Metal Gear Rising, here’s a quick look at some combat:

If people can make an analysis of the distant cyber-dystopian world of Matrix and Ghost in the Shell and apply those themes to reality then Metal Gear Rising is no different. While Metal Gear Rising does have a couple of themes that drive the story, one of the main themes is the blur between human and machine.

When you think about it what is the difference between human and machine? Simply put, one is made out of flesh and organs while the other is completely made out of metal or anything other than flesh and organs. But with recent advancements in technology, the reality of at least having cyborg prosthetics can be achieved. Prosthetic limbs is entirely possible and have been used on people without arms or legs.


Daniel Omar, a 14 year old with a prosthetic arm

With how rapidly this kind of technology is advancing, how long would it take for humans to reach the capability to even make bodies for a person to inhabit? And at that point the question arises whether or not they are human. Metal Gear Rising explores this theme thoroughly although not many people tend to look into it. The themes of cyber-dystopia are most certainly there but hidden behind humor, fast-paced action gameplay and high octane music.

As for how I’m going convey these themes, it’ll be done through a YouTube video series a la Let’s Play videos. The standard format of general Let’s Play videos include commentating live on what’s happening within the moment, not often are they scripted. However, due to the non-informal nature of Let’s Play videos I’ll be adding commentary post-recording. This commentary may include things such as;

  • Character motifs as they appear
  • Reasons for certain events happening
  • How said events and characters add to the overall story

This is done to avoid the non-informal nature of Let’s Play videos. Generally lots of Let’s Players tend to go on for 20 minutes talking about their own lives or just reading character dialogue. While others can find entertainment out of these kinds of Let’s Plays, I want to avoid falling into that category.

The current plan is to include only important segments within the game such as boss fights and cutscenes (though this is open to change as the project goes on).

Controlling perspective through language (BCM240 Digital Story Assignment)

Regardless of how much information we see, hear and consume, there will always be one barrier that prevents us from consuming information, Language. Language is how we understand information and if we don’t understand the language, we can’t consume it. Even if we have the technology to read what’s happening halfway across the world, if it’s not in a language we understand then we cannot consume it. Media itself is always translated and localized for it’s intended audience. Books, movies and games, are all localized/translated so the target audience can consume it. Generally speaking, books and movies generally have a direct translation. For example, not much if anything is lost when translating Harry Potter into French or Spanish. Games however, are quite different.


Left: Soul Blazer (English) VS Right: SoulBlader (Japanese)

Like any global business trying to gain worldwide appeal, game developers have localization teams. They’re job is to translate and edit the game to appeal to a specific market. Like Mcdonalds, they adapt their product to suit the country the product is in. As seen in the above picture, the two versions of Soul Blazer not only have different names but the woman has a different appearance. On the left, she has more of a European appearance while on the right, her facial structure is more similar to that of Japanese animation. Games can have either major or minor differences across versions. This can lead to having completely different experiences when playing either one.


The protagonist of the game Nier differs depending on which version you play.

In terms of major differences, a wonderful example is the game Nier. The game was developed in Japan by Cavia games and published by Square Enix for both PS3 and Xbox 360. In Japan, the game received two different versions. One being called Nier Replicant and the other Nier Gestalt. Replicant had the player play as Yonah’s older brother, a young and slim teenager. Gestalt had the player play as Yonah’s father who looks to be quite old and muscular. When question about this change, developers Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito commented: Full interview transcript here (Japanese)

Taro: 「最初は青年のバージョン(後にレプリカントになるもの)だけを作っていたのですが、途中から齊藤さんから海外市場も考えたいという話がありました。そこで、スクウェア・エニックスさんのロサンゼルススタジオで議論をしたところ、線の細い青年キャラは有り得ないという話になりました。そこで北米向けにマッチョな主人公を用意することにしたんです。」

Taro: “Lately the teenage version (The one that later became Replicant) was the only one that was being made but, there was a story from Saito that made me think about the overseas market. From there, there was a debate in the Square Enix localization studio, saying that there was no way we could have a slim young man. Therefore we made a decision to make a macho-like protagonist for the international version.”


Saito: “With a new IP we had strong feelings that it had no choice but to sell, Yoko settled with a young teenage protagonist which he wanted to do, with this in mind we kept the teenage protagonist in the Japanese version while developing the two versions. Of course, not everyone shares the same tastes, for example in France, they understand multiple layers of Japanese culture and we’ve heard lots of people requesting for the Replicant version. Anyway, during development there was a bit of talk regarding the global release.”

As Saito mentions, Yoko Taro really wanted to do the teenage protagonist. However due to the different tastes of foreign audiences, an entirely new protagonist was made for the international version of the game, Gestalt. This brings the question, is the game still the same in terms of gameplay and story? Gameplay-wise, it’s still the exact same game and the end result of quests within the game play out the same way. However, chemistry and interaction between characters has been altered. Since Nier is an action RPG with a huge focus on story and it’s characters, this changes the game quite a bit.

The story was made with teenage Nier in mind. While there is no official statement to prove this, as Yoko Taro said, it was the one he wanted most to be in the game. On top of this, the game has been discussed to be a deconstruction of the RPG genre of games, which young Nier is a spitting image of your typical RPG pretty boy protagonist.

So not only does Japan receive two versions of Nier but the only one to make it out of Japan was the Gestalt version. Because of this, you’re given a slightly different experience and possibly even different perspective of the story depending on which version you play. Sadly there is no official release of Nier Replicant outside of Japan, so this prevents anyone who doesn’t know Japanese to experience it for themselves. Which again brings back the point of controlling how someone experiences a product through language. While it is not crucial to play both versions, it does add an extra layer of interest to the Nier games. This isn’t the same as censorship however. The Drakengard series (Which Nier is a part of) has multiple timelines. While Yoko Taro did say he wanted to use the young Nier, Gestalt is considered canon and takes place in an alternate timeline. As said earlier, this adds to the experience if you know about both versions

With that said, what other examples are there? One popular title is Fire Emblem Fates (Also known as Fire Emblem if in Japan).


Japanese box art of Fire Emblem if (English version shares the same box art)

There are times where localization only edits some content to make it more suitable for a suitable for a foreign audience. There are also times where a localization team decides to take away features and change a lot more than just character names. Fire Emblem Fates is the latter. Safe to say, the reception of the localization changes received quite the backlash.

So what changed with Fire Emblem Fates? The most significant change was the removal of the Skinship feature. Think Pokemon Amie but with people’s faces instead. Here’s a quick clip to show you what Skinship looks like:

Regardless of how people feel about the removal, localization team, Treehouse felt the need to remove the feature. Sadly the only remnants of this feature that are left are when you marry a character. Once the player character’s avatar and another character reach an S rank relationship in the English version, the player is able to wake up their significant other by tapping their face via the touch screen or blowing into the 3DS mic. This is the most significant feature that was removed.

To give a little context, Fire Emblem is a series that puts a huge focus on it’s characters. Fire Emblem always has a large roster of characters to play as and with Fire Emblem Fates there are over 70 characters. Each with their own backstory and interactions with most characters. With such a large cast of characters, majority of the characterization is done through conversations that the characters have with each other. It’s through these conversations that they’ll show their personality and quirks. This places huge importance over translating these conversations properly, so that the character’s personalities aren’t lost in translation. Sad to say but, Treehouse did a number on that part too. Take a look:

Thankfully not all conversations between characters have been altered to this extent. However there have been enough changes made to majority of the conversations for someone to have played both Japanese and English versions for them to notice a huge difference. Here’s another example:

As you can see, the English version and Japanese version give different experiences. Unlike Nier however, playing both the English and Japanese version doesn’t enhance the experience. In fact, if you understand Japanese then it’s clear the Japanese version is superior because it contains the creator’s original message and characters. When playing through the English version, it feels like something is missing. This is essentially censorship. Regardless of what the original creator intended, the localization team behind it changed characters and took away a key feature in the game. The game was changed to how Treehouse wanted you to experience it.

So, what’s a good example of a great localization? Square Enix had developer Cavia games change it’s protagonist for the international version, Fire Emblem Fates took a feature away and altered character interactions, how does one do a good localization? Dragon Quest VIII (Also known as Dragon Quest VIII: The Sky, the Ocean, the Earth, and the Cursed Princess in Japan) is one.

To give a bit of context the Dragon Quest series is often referred to as the godfather of the Japanese RPG genre. It was the first one of it’s kind in Japan. It released in 1986 for Nintendo’s Famicom. The games were released only in Japan and North America for a short while, until Dragon Quest VIII. Dragon Quest VIII is the first completely 3D title in the series and first one to have a complete worldwide release. So, if it’s such a good localization, that must mean there’s no difference between the Japanese and English versions, right? Wrong.

A good localization is able to translate a game and let a foreign audience have the same experience as the original audience that was intended.  No effort was made to censor the game in any way like previous games. However, keep in mind, the game released while the PS2 was fairly new. The Dragon Quest series was never in 3D before and it was the first time a Dragon Quest game was being released in Europe. Obtaining a large following with Dragon Quest VIII was essential for the series success outside of Japan.

A few changes were made to the international version of the game. The most significant changes would be the design of the menu. Here’s a comparison between the Japanese and English version:

As you can see the overall menu has been overhauled for the English versions of the game. The Japanese version’s aesthetic is consistent with the previous games in the series while the English version has more details and color.

Not only the menu was changed but the entire soundtrack as well. Instead of using the same in-studio recordings as the Japanese version did, the international versions of the game received orchestrated versions of the entire soundtrack. Take a listen of the battle theme present in the Japanese version:

And here’s the English version:

As you can hear, the English soundtrack is entirely orchestrated. The entire game is high quality both in English and in Japanese. So what makes this localization special from the rest? Dragon Quest in itself, is a very Japanese game. Despite having roots in western RPGs such as Ultima Online and Wizardry, it has a very Japanese feel to it. The manga-esque aesthetic drawn by Akira Toriyama, the exaggerated and cheesy dialogue, it all adds to a unique experience made in Japan. The localization team behind Dragon Quest VIII was able to retain that feeling AND have it appeal to a foreign audience, without anything lost.

In summary, when it comes to video games, what you received out of the box may not always be the same thing someone else across the ocean got. Games are a unique medium that allows the player to interact with a world, they have an effect within it. Tampering with a few characters here and there while mostly minor changes, can lead to a completely different experience. Which in turn changes your perspective on the game.