Japan Gamings Yakuza-Roots

The Edge hat ein Interview mit Jake Adelstein, amerikanischer Journalist und sowas wie ein Experte für organisiertes Verbrechen in Japan und die Yakuza. Es geht vor allem um den Einfluss der japanischen Mafia auf Hersteller von Social Games und um Nintendos Wurzeln als Kartenspielhersteller für Gangster. Spannend!

Is there any gang or yakuza influence in that sort of enterprise?
I’m not going to say the name of the companies but there are several gaming companies - social gaming companies - that were funded by organised crime because organised crime is Japan’s biggest private equity. One of the firms actually makes a yakuza role-playing game in which you can buy, like, a Mercedes Benz and weapons. You would think no-one would be that stupid but actually it’s like the Purloined Letter trick. The perfect front. Because you would think no gaming company funded by the yakuza would actually create a yakuza roleplaying game where you can have minor league enforcer avatars and host clubs. It actually works very well; I’ve played it a couple times and it’s kinda fun. But pretty soon I found myself craving that virtual Mercedes. [laughs]

What influence do you think the yakuza have on the game industry in Japan?
Some of it is historical; Nintendo actually started making playing cards for the yakuza. Any gaming that involves monetary purchases or gambling aspects is kind of yakuza territory. Nintendo is a very clean company, but there was a part of Nintendo’s past – funding love hotels in the '60s, and various things you don’t associate with the squeaky clean image they have now.

Jake Adelstein: My Favourite Game – The Japanophile writer gives us the skinny on the yakuza’s social gaming connections and the joys of Thief (via Killscreen)