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What is it with the Japanese gaming culture? Why isn’t it compatible with the gaming culture that Europe got? And why is the Nintendo hate growing in Europe? Let’s reveal this to you. Because we have lots of knowledge about this topic.

Commodore 64 Mini
Commodore 64 was the world’s best-selling home computer. A computer that few in Japan understands

Commodore 64, Atari and Amiga made the Gaming Culture in Europe

Before the launch of the Nintendo NES console in Europe, Commodore was at its peak. Yes, Commodore 64 is even in Guinness Book of Records for being the most sold computer of all times. The machine was released by Commodore in 1981. Yes, The Guinness Book of World Records says the Commodore 64 is the best selling single computer model of all time with sales of about 30 million units between 1982 and 1993. Then Amiga 500 was launched in 1987 with over 7 million computers sold. AtariST machines also sold over 2 million in its lifetime.

Because of these remarkable sales. These computers were some of the bigger names that made a huge impact on the western part of Europe between 1982 and 1993. Then the world experienced that communism fell in Poland and the famous Berlin wall fell in 1989. All of the countries in the eastern part of Europe that didn’t experience the 1980’s in the same way as people in the western part of Europe now had access to the computers that were available. Amiga had its peak at the end of the 1980s and in 1992 because of the situation in Eastern Europe. The PC scene also grew from 1985 faster and faster in Europe. With both Commodore and Atari having financial issues. The custom PC companies managed to steal lots of x-Commodore 64 and x-Amiga users to use Windows but they brought the culture with them to the PC scene.

From 1990 to 1998 Commodore 64, Amiga 500, AtariST and Amiga 1200 had huge popularity in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia (until 1993) and even Russia. Especially the Amiga 1200 did huge sales from 1992 until 1998 and beyond. So much that gaming companies still managed to produce and sell Amiga games to customers after the demise of Commodore in 1994. Game titles such as Slamtilt, Xtreme Racing, Worms Directors Cut, Alien Breed 3D II The Killing Grounds and the Trapped RPG series were all released after 1994. Most of the sales came from the Eastern part of Europe and in many European countries.

atari
AtariST culture was big. The scene still loves it in 2020

A different gaming culture grew up in Europe than in Japan

Within the Commodore 64, Atari and Amiga periods in Europe. A much different culture grew here than in Japan. Because of the freedom that both Commodore and Atari gave. People that only played games started to learn to code. Commodore 64 Basic did something to people and so many teenagers learned to code games even in Assembler language. This resulted in the rise of teenagers that understood more about the hardware they use than the gaming companies even. So, the battle between commercial gaming companies and those loving cracking, hacking and doing demo productions that managed to bring out effects and music through digital art became more of a competition.

So, because of this competition between the commercial gaming developers and the scene. It was almost impossible for gaming companies to release a commercial game and don’t get it cracked. Because this scene culture of Europe stripped the game codes for copy protection code. Teenagers learned the tricks and they became better and better at it. Resulting in that games such as The Giana Sisters game survived even after Nintendo sued the company for copying their Super Mario game.


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Nintendo did fantastic sales figures when they launched their NES console in Europe. The Nintendo NES managed to become a huge threat to Amiga 500 and outsold it. The Commodore communities were strong at that time. But it did a different impact on people here when it launched than what the Japanese gaming industry understood it seems.

They never understood the European scene and that is still valid now with Nintendo fighting against all of the ROM sites that aimed at preserving all kinds of gaming consoles for people to have a fun experience with on their personal computer at home. Yes, Nintendo sales aren’t as high because of them but in Europe, it is seen as protecting and preserving. But Nintendo doesn’t understand it and now they out of sudden wants to earn the lost income on retro games by releasing them for purchase at their own console store.

Even with Nintendo putting Japan into shame by removing ROM sites with old Nintendo content. They still all have Atari, Commodore, Amstrad, and Amiga content. In Europe, the ROM sites are seen as preserving history. Look at archive.org even. There you can play thousands of Amiga and PC game titles directly into your browser even. Getting a ROM for using in an Emulator is still not the same as having purchased the original game. So then many people visit Retro Gathering events in Europe to buy and exchange original games for all kinds of platforms.


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amiga
Stunt Car Racer was one of the most cracked games. Here you see Atari ST and Amiga 500 linked

The gaming scene culture in Europe grew fast

All of the hacking, cracking and experimenting culture in Europe grew rapidly. So fast that Japan console makers didn’t understand and even now in 2020 they still don’t understand it. Especially Nintendo culture it seems. Japanese game developer seems to be too much attached to “too” high value to Nintendo’s success story it seems and doesn’t see the culture in Europe at all. Or the will to preserve what’s been made.

Nintendo tried to make a home computer of the Wii console, but they abandoned that project. This is a very deep problem. Amigas are just the computer exemplified “freedom” and Japanese socialism is afraid of freedom.

Japan has democracy, but not have privatism. This point is large division of Europe/US and Japan. If Amiga were just only game console, J-developper would make games for it. – Shinji Miyoshi

None of the commercial gaming companies likes the scene. Its always been a fight between the game protection developers and the scene trying to get riff off them. This goes all the way back as described above.


Rebootroids for Atari Jaguar
The gaming scene in Europe is still making games for the Atari Jaguar console

On the Commodore 64, Atari, Amiga, Nintendo, Playstation, Dreamcast and XBOX platforms to name a few. The awesome cracktros productions are still made.

This is a digital art form with scrolling text and art presenting the crack groups’ names in fancy ways. They all added new functionalities to the games such as unlimited life, all weapons activated or no time when driving. You could say that they were advanced action replays ways of changing the functionalities of the game.

The gaming scene in Europe is hated and Loved

With these cracktros, these groups released games for free which the gaming companies didn’t like and still until today hate because of lost sales. But it is important to understand where this culture comes from and what they did to the industry itself. Many of these coders have jobs as game developers today. The huge Commodore and Atari scene in the 1980s had a huge impact on this culture by giving teenagers machines with endless coding possibilities from the start.


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When anyone is coding for these old computers, you meet the hardware directly without any obstacles and the fact that millions of machines do have the very same hardware is the key to the success of these platforms and why they still are alive today.

Even today, demoscene, gaming, and app developers still support old Commodore 64, Amstrad, Amiga computers, Dreamcasts, and Ataris. Yes, Dreamcast is loved in Europe. It is one of the abandoned platforms where the game protection part was stripped very fast and this gave the console life.

Dreamcast Filler for Distrita
In Japan, Dreamcast is a console. In Europe, it is a resource for the scene

Dreamcast lives because of the European gaming culture

If only SEGA saw this scene and sold the console for a little more. They could earn on it. Dreamcast from SEGA is one of the most beloved consoles ever to be ever released in Japan. Because of the freedom it gives, you could say that Dreamcast takes the Commodore 64, Atari and Amiga legacy. Also, the Japanese X68000 home computer is loved by the scene. Yes, there are companies in Europe selling parts for Commodore 64, Atari, Amiga, and X68000. They sell anything from RAM expansions to remarkable accelerators that extend the lives of these old computers. Because of these computers, none restrict policies the user’s love for exploring when coding. The scene is even doing remarkable things for the Japanese X68000 too.

As long as Nintendo will try to fight against the gaming culture in Europe they will be even a bigger target. Every company that tries to compete with the scene will be affected. Just look at the game protections for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. They are broken because of the same people that lived during the ’80s. Also, there are teenagers of today that follow up the trend. Why is the Japanese scene so against freedom? Why is restriction so important?

Source: Guinness World of Records Book PCWorld, Japanese Amiga Community, Quipoquiz Distrita Own Knowledge through Michal Bergseth


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