Yakiniku Bugyou: An import game that’s unabashedly Japanese.

Since I started this blog, I’ve been covering mostly stuff made in the US or Europe. I didn’t realize this until a few months in that there hadn’t covered Japanese games on this site. For the most part, it’s because I don’t really play a lot of games from Japan these days. They’ve made a fair share of good stuff over the years, and stuff like Nintendo is untouchable.

So let’s change that by playing a game that I had recently gotten from a promotion. Bonus: It’s a PlayStation game so it’ll be nice and nostalgic, compared to the last time I got a game from a promotion: The eurojanky StoneLoops! of Jurassica.

For context: There was this website called Raptr, a social networking site for gamers where you can track achievements and keep up with friends and stuff. I kept forgetting I was on the service until I had gotten an email from them, saying I have fulfilled a requirement for Raptr Rewards, which was their obligatory “gain points by playing games and redeem them for things” service.

They were doing one in collaboration with publisher MonkeyPaw Games, who released a bunch of import PlayStation games on digital storefronts, most notably the Tomba! series of games. I was hoping for something cool like Tomba!, or Arc the Lad, or even Alundra. Sadly, I got the short end of the stick and got something else entirely.

Oh, this looks *very* Japanese…

Yakiniku Bugyou is an import game for the PS1. Published and developed by Media Entertainment, this game is one of the selections Monkey Paw offered on selection, and while it wasn’t what I wanted, I was hoping I’d be able to make something interesting out of this.

There’s one big problem: It’s entirely in Japanese. This has very little English in it. I know a total of about three words in Japanese, so I knew I was in for a rough time.

Admittedly I have only a vague idea of what I’m doing here.

From what I gathered, the Yakiniku in the title refers to a certain grilling method, from what I glanced on Wikipedia. You place meat, fruit and tofu on the plate and try to cook them without burning them, and serve them to the respective customer for points. If you don’t fulfill their requirements enough or run out of time, it’s game over.

You also have to flip the items for even grilling and chip them off the grill if they get too burnt. That’s the gist of the game, with later levels introducing different characters and new items to work with. Since the language barrier coupled with the frantic gameplay hindered me, I couldn’t get past stage one, so I may never get to experience this game properly.

The concept of “making dishes for people at a frantic pace” is not a particularly new concept, but this game is unabashedly Japanese, even down to the specific style of cooking this game is based on. I can’t say this game is good or bad, but it’s an interesting game that clearly is out of my depth.

While developer Media Entertainment were mostly a support developer for companies like Capcom, this seems to be one of their few self-published games. What surprised me more is that a fair share of the people who worked on this went on to much bigger things. Such as one of the people credited under Planning, Shigeru Ohmori, would later go on to work on Pokemon games. A fair share of notable Japanese voice actors are also featured for some of the characters here.

Oh well, I can’t complain too much. I got it for free, and it’s probably an enjoyable little game for the price if you’re really into Japanese culture. From what I did play, it’s a fun arcade game, but me not knowing a lick of Japanese makes it really hard to play for more than five minutes.

Still wish I got something else from Monkey Paw Games instead, like Cho Aniki. Now that would’ve been a hoot to cover.

(Some screenshots taken from Mobygames.)

Updated 4/1/2020: Updated for grammar and clarity, as well as adding more information about this game. Admittedly this is not one of my favorite posts, but I think this post is a bit more acceptable to my current standards.

I’d actually love to read an article (or even watch a video) of this game by someone who understands what to do in this game, because I bet this is actually more interesting than what I had briefly played.

B.J. Brown

B.J. Brown is the creator and sole writer on You Found a Secret Area. Casually writing since 2010, Fascinated by dumb things like game shows, music, and of course, video games. Also on Twitter. You can support their work on Ko-Fi or Patreon.

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