Alright! Let's go on a journey — through time and space! There are 95 Pokemon stamps! Let's get all of them!
August 7, 2009 10:08 AM   Subscribe

"And much like Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about buying things for people and hoping that they buy more things for you, much how Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about receiving rabbit- or egg-shaped chocolates, now and forever Obon is about collecting all of the Pokemon." Japan, trains, marketing, pachinko, hordes of stamp-seeking children.
posted by silby (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favorite Japanese "everything disease" is Katamari, though stories of american adults infected by Pokemania amuse and interest me.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2009


Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus the triumph of life over death as the days grow longer

Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus the frisky fertility of springtime
posted by idiopath at 10:25 AM on August 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


That article needs an editor.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:36 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone managed to mix a marketing promotion for a children's game and a day-pass-selling bonanza for a transit system with a plate of beans.
posted by hippybear at 10:45 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are 95 editors! They are all at different points through the Web! Let's find them all!
posted by Jilder at 10:56 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I kinda always thought the gift-giving part of Christmas is from pagan Yule, not from any of the Christian aspects.

Definitely could have been a much better post... how about just one or two links on Obon, for example, if that was your theme?
posted by XMLicious at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2009


I actually quite enjoy the writing style and will be intrigued to read the entire thing, next time I get a paid week off work.
posted by gurple at 11:05 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I ran out of steam halfway through. In the end, does anything happen, or does the narrator simply make more money than me and hate children?

Because if that's all he has to say, he didn't really need to say it.
posted by orville sash at 11:20 AM on August 7, 2009


There was a minor argument yesterday regarding this piece among some videogame writers I follow on Twitter. I couldn't help but notice that the guys defending the author were the ones who prefaced their comments with "I haven't read this particular article yet, but..."

To me, it comes off as a low-rent David Foster Wallace attempt, except with no footnotes, and not interesting. At the least, it needs editing quite badly.
posted by infidelpants at 11:25 AM on August 7, 2009


that entire article was like reading the following sentence over and over again:

american people are like this :) japanese people are like this >__<
posted by shmegegge at 11:29 AM on August 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


@schegegge I don't know if that was a "Master" joke, but that's what I read
posted by NiteMayr at 12:15 PM on August 7, 2009


On the one hand, we have a show teaching kids to respect their elders; on the other hand, the so-called "critical thinking" skills it improves are rooted firmly in the logic of the game world.

I don't think "tim rogers" understands video games very well.

Pokemon is a great game! Fact. Even today it is better than before. When I was a kid, the games marketed to me mostly included the word "barbie" or "horses" in the title, and usually both. Now girls can actually play as a girl pokemon trainer, who can fight with girl monsters if she wants to. That's pretty cool right there.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:30 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back when I was a fledgling videogame nerd, i used to follow Tim Rogers' wild writings with eagerness. He wrote regularly for insertcredit.com, had a livejournal and apparently still has his band's website together. He seems like a punk-tinged version of those tremendously prolific stuff-spewing mad geniuses, and there's something slightly romantic and enviable about that.

Also, bear in mind that he makes up between some percentage and some other percentage of everything that he writes.
posted by Magnakai at 12:36 PM on August 7, 2009


I don't think "tim rogers" understands video games very well.

This I disagree with. Humility, maybe. Brevity, probably.
posted by Magnakai at 12:37 PM on August 7, 2009


We may have already passed Peak Pokemon, though. These days in promotional materials Pikachu is invariably accompanied by a cuter, "street"-er Pikachu-a-like named Pichu played by Shokotan. The Scrappy-Doo element is undeniable.
posted by No-sword at 1:59 PM on August 7, 2009


"...Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus..."

Good Friday is about the death (crucifixion) of Jesus. Easter is about the Resurrection of Jesus.
posted by longsleeves at 2:23 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This I disagree with. Humility, maybe. Brevity, probably.

It's just so bizarre that he's criticizing a specific franchise for improving skills that are "rooted firmly in the logic of the game world." One could characterize the majority of the video games that way, as well as the majority of board games. Even some sports fall under this.

Rock paper scissors improves skills that are rooted firmly in the logic of the game world. Okay, so? As long as we're not using a rock paper scissors curriculum in our schools, we're cool.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:53 PM on August 7, 2009


Back when I was a fledgling videogame nerd, i used to follow Tim Rogers' wild writings with eagerness. He wrote regularly for insertcredit.com, had a livejournal and apparently still has his band's website together. He seems like a punk-tinged version of those tremendously prolific stuff-spewing mad geniuses, and there's something slightly romantic and enviable about that.

Also, bear in mind that he makes up between some percentage and some other percentage of everything that he writes.


Oh lord, not this joker again. Those percentages you are looking for are roughly 80% and 100% for the record. By curious coincidence, by cutting 80–100% of any given one of his articles, you can improve it immeasurably. Particularly by cutting 100%.

Tim Rogers is in love, primarily, with himself, and you can practically hear the wet slap of his hand on his erect penis as he name-drops whatever and whoever he can, just to show you how superior he is to you by mere virtue of living in Japan, regardless of the fact that he is demonstrably full of shit. His writing style may be some sort of storytelling therapy, though what he may need therapy for (outside of, clearly, lack of realistic self-image and ability to ever stop rambling) is obviously not being helped over these past few years.

He basically invents with the freest of abandon, convinced that he is some sort of analytical genius. He may well be the source of the myth quoted at length a week or two ago about Takeshi no Chosenjo, that it starts with the disclaimer "This game was designed by a man who hates video games." Sounds quite exactly like the sort of thing he'd toss in to spice things up, really. He did lots of that sort of thing in the article about EarthBound (and honestly, the most acceptable part of the article was that he insisted on calling it MOTHER 2, admittedly because he was talking about, at least in his own mind, the Japanese version, which bore precious little resemblance to the actual game I've played).

I can assure you without even reading the article that it was written starting with the conclusion (Japanese o-Bon has become commercialized!!1!1!) without bothering to actually restrain himself to facts (Japanese o-Bon coincides pretty directly with the summer vacation, when nobody under the age of eighteen or so has anything on their plate other than a bit of homework, and Pokemon is hugely popular among that demographic!!!11!). Of course, I don't plan on actually reading the thing, as I've done so once or twice in the past with his articles, and I'd like those three weeks back. Seriously, somebody needs a copy editor, or, perhaps, the humility to realize that the editor is there to help him.

Tim Rogers is the reason that "video game journalism" does not get, nor yet deserve, any respect. When the example that everyone points to is someone who would have been fired from any writing job that didn't involve being a right-wing partisan hack within days for lack of bothering to restrain himself to what is actually true, then why should anybody regard the field seriously? The guy is like an English Literature graduate student who writes a thesis about the relevance of the play-within-a-play, ear poison, French politics, and dueling electric guitar solos in Romeo & Juliet. The only reason he's even tolerated is presumably because nobody's actually reading all the way through these articles, and there's no real concern about fact-checking when it comes to the video game market.

As someone who's a big fan of video games and a bigger fan of good writing, you may be able to understand why I'm so enraged by the idea of his having polluted MetaFilter's front page. The only other people capable of producing such a reaction in me are Dane Cook, Carlos Mencia, and occasionally Sarah Palin. That's not good company.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:42 PM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Tim Rogers is the reason that "video game journalism" does not get, nor yet deserve, any respect.

Oh, bullshit.
posted by empath at 3:49 PM on August 7, 2009


Oh, cmon cmon cmon... I think there's a place for such gonzo journalism within each sub-genre. Besides, his imagined lifestyle ties neatly into the whisky sort of fantasies. Also, maybe there's a bit of urgency that someone, somewhere is going to eclipse video games journalism, and he clearly thinks it's him. I'm not into the scene like I was back in 2000-2002, but I haven't seen his name crop up for years.
posted by Magnakai at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2009


The amount of respect that videogames journalism does or doesn't get directly correlates to the amount of respect that videogames get.
posted by empath at 4:03 PM on August 7, 2009


I can assure you without even reading the article that it was written starting with the conclusion (Japanese o-Bon has become commercialized!!1!1!) without bothering to actually restrain himself to facts (Japanese o-Bon coincides pretty directly with the summer vacation, when nobody under the age of eighteen or so has anything on their plate other than a bit of homework, and Pokemon is hugely popular among that demographic!!!11!). Of course, I don't plan on actually reading the thing, as I've done so once or twice in the past with his articles, and I'd like those three weeks back.

It's obvious that you didn't read the thing because it's pretty obvious that he doesn't very much care whether o-Bon is or isn't commercialized. He spends about 2 paragraphs on it, if that. It's mostly just a meandering, personal piece about pokemon and japanese marketing in general and how it impacts kids.

I rather enjoyed it. And I enjoy his reviews. He's pretentious, and he rambles, but I just skim past the parts that don't particularly interest me and focus on the parts that do.
posted by empath at 4:07 PM on August 7, 2009


Tim Rogers is the reason that "video game journalism" does not get, nor yet deserve, any respect.

Oh, bullshit.


Like I said, it's because he's the poster child. Sort of like how "Christian Rock" neither gets nor deserves respect when Creed is chosen to represent the genre in the public eye. Presumably there is at least one good band, much like how there is presumably at least one good critical writer on the topic of video games. It's just that until they're discovered and get their exposure, people are rightly going to disregard the genres as worthy of respect.

Although, to be fair, I have my doubts on the Christian Rock front. There's only so much you can do with an inherently contradictory genre.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:10 PM on August 7, 2009


Sort of like how "Christian Rock" neither gets nor deserves respect when Creed is chosen to represent the genre in the public eye.

whatever drugs you are on, i would like some.
posted by empath at 4:13 PM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, another of those interesting posts where it's blatantly obvious who read the article and who didn't, based on whether the comments are about the holiday or about the kids chasing around on public transit collecting Pokemon stamps.

I should cross-reference this thread with the one I (accidentally) created where I couldn't find a good pull quote and ended up with a FPP which seemed incendiary until one RTFA. It could reveal interesting data points about who reads and who doesn't and posts anyway.
posted by hippybear at 4:14 PM on August 7, 2009


I know I'll post anyway. It's basically all I bring to the table.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:07 PM on August 7, 2009


I don't know anything about this Tim Rogers guy or "video game journalism". I just wanted to say that I actually read the article and was entertained by it. It really isn't about commercialization of holidays at all, it's a likable article about the way the Japanese market to children. I always find the ways in which advertisers market to children really interesting. Also, hey, Pokemon!

I am young enough to have been a kid during Pokemania in the US of A. My younger brother and I did horribly stupid things in pursuit of "Catching Them All". In fact, I remember my entire family ate at Burger King weekly for several months because they were doing some kind of weird Pokemon promotion. And we HATED Burger King. Oh, the memories...
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:13 PM on August 7, 2009


I am young enough to have been a kid during Pokemania in the US of A.

Highfive, fellow 90s kid. I actually read the article and, okay, I just want an excuse for some pokemon discussions on metafilter. Oh, shared manufactured nostalgia.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:02 PM on August 7, 2009


I dislike Tim Roger's writing, but I think that this is one of his better works. His digressions work better when he is trying to discuss culture, not reviewing a game. Kotaku paying him x dollars to do a monthly long piece is good use of him.

Still, he needs an editor. He has needed an editor since the turn of the century. He also is in love with himself. And his labors to tie all of the disparate threads he creates usually fail, as they did here. I give it a B, maybe C+.

And Tim Rogers isn't the cause of much at all, except for a goodly amount of nerdrage on internet forums.
posted by zabuni at 8:20 PM on August 7, 2009


I could only read a couple of screenfuls because I don't play videogames, but I have a tale of woe to tell: I spent yesterday, my 10th wedding anniversary, on the damn Pokemon Stamp Rally with my 5-year-old.

I had planned to go with my lady love and our darling son to a mountain village named Kibune in northern Kyoto to eat an expensive lunch on a tatami platform stretched across a small river. It is an exquisite Kyoto experience, and it is the very restaurant where we ate lunch in 1997 a couple hours before our first kiss.

Kyoto is also the home of Nintendo Corporation, which I pass by frequently, very close to my wife's K-12 school. She says she used to see the "NINTENDO" sign on the building (look out the right window on the Keihan train as you come out of the tunnel after Shichijo Station and pass Tobakaido Station) and think, "They'll never make it internationally with that Japanese name."

I guess they did all right, because while they have billions of dollars, I spent Monday on the Thomas the Tank Engine Keihan Railway Stamp Rally riding all over Kansai to places I didn't need to go, and Friday (our 10th anniversary) on the JR West (East is for pussies) Pokemon Stamp Rally riding all over Kansai to places I didn't need to go.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:05 AM on August 8, 2009


I just don't get why he keeps calling it kleptomania when collecting (even obsessive collecting) isn't really related to kleptomania at all.
posted by clerestory at 8:33 AM on August 8, 2009


My guess he is working from the Wikipedia-offered definition of the word, which in its first sentence states that kleptomania is "the condition of not being able to resist the urge to collect or hoard things." This is a very poorly-stated 'Pedia entry. The WHO manual has the definition we typically associate with the word, that of stealing. (As do most of the online dictionaries I looked at.)

Given that its Greek root means "thief", I think that both Wikipedia and Tim Rogers are probably incorrect in their usage. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by hippybear at 2:05 PM on August 8, 2009


"And much like Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about buying things for people and hoping that they buy more things for you,"

Yeah, they got it exactly wrong. The Romans first invented the giving of gifts and the wearing of pointy red hats and the general making of merry and the feastin. The Jesus thing came after that.

As far as the article goes, I've never trusted collectors anyways. They can't be collecting all that stuff just because it can be collected, so what are they really going to do with all those porcelain cats or pokemon related things or the Hanseatic coins?
posted by Authorized User at 8:17 PM on August 8, 2009


That article needs an editor.

First it needed a fact checker. At least the festival-in-December referenced in the piece is named after the current religion squatting on it. Easter? IT'S IN THE SAME YOU FUCKING MORON! EASTER! IT'S "ORIGINALLY" GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH JESUS!

Attempts at erudition look a lot better when they actually are.
posted by rodgerd at 3:31 AM on August 9, 2009


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