Why Japanese Mobile Games Are So Addictive

Why Japanese Mobile Games Are So Addictive

A look at the most popular mobile gaming market in the world.

If you've ever played a Japanese mobile server-based game like "Puzzle & Dragon," "Brave Frontier" or "Love Live! School Idol Festival," you'll know that the Japanese versions of the games are a lot more generous than the English or global versions. They're always the first to get updates, hold limited time game events and gift player rewards while the English-speaking world gets the short end of the promotional stick. The reason for this is rooted in Japan's massive market for mobile games.

Japan's mobile game market is teeming with new RPGs, rhythm games, puzzles, action shooters, even dating simulations – you name it. In fact, mobile game spending is higher in Japan than in any other market. With such a solid market and player base, Japanese game companies go to great lengths to ensure the best player experience possible for every single potential source of revenue. This is why you'll see frequent events giving away rare in-game currency or merchandise or holding promotions that drastically reduce the cost of in-app purchases for periods of time. Apps that don't hold these frequent "sales" will soon see shrinking playerbases and frustrated fans.

However, the rest of the world is not as lucky. With a significantly less competitive mobile game market, many game developers don't see the need to give away a large chunk of their revenue to global or North American players.

Despite Japan's seemingly limitless potential for game development, foreign games have never made it big in Japan. From 2001 to 2013, all of the titles on Japan's Top 100 games list were local games. Only in recent years, after enormous marketing efforts, have games like "Clash of Clans" and "Candy Crush" successfully broken into the Japanese market, staying within the Top 30 mobile games in Japan. Because the Japanese game market is already so saturated with apps that are developed locally and know how to appeal to their respective demographics, Japanese gaming appears impenetrable from the outside. For example, "Little Noah," pictured below, is a popular Japanese game very similar in graphics and mechanics to "Clash of Clans" but with stories and designs characteristic of modern Japanese culture. Thus, "Clash of Clans" offers nothing better to draw Japanese players in.

Now, if you're curious about trying out some Japanese apps, I have some of my recommendations for their English versions below, and if you already play on the EN server of these guys, I urge you to give the JP server a try, too. I guarantee, you'll love the loads of free stuff they gift you with.

Town/Army Building Games

Ritoru Noah (Little Noah) a.k.a. Battle Champs

Android | iOS

A game similar to with similar mechanics to "Clash of Clans."

Fighting RPG Games

Puzzle & Dragon

Android | iOS

The most popular and highest grossing mobile game in the Japanese market. Features a unique battle system incorporating match-3 gameplay.

Fate/Grand Order

Android | iOS

A classic RPG on mobile with good character design and developed plot.

Rhythm Games

Love Live! School Idol Festival

Android | iOS

The game that accompanies the famous "Love Live!" franchise, complete with the anime, music and movies.


Android | iOS

Deemo is actually developed in Taiwan, but it's beautiful music and charming storyline make it a popular rhythm game in Japan, too.

Cover Image Credit: Serkantoto

Popular Right Now

I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Stop Shaming Teens For Always Being On Their Phones, They're Doing More Good Than You Think

People used to spend hours listening to the radio. Now we spend hours listening to podcasts. The only difference is the size of the box.


It feels like I am inundated with articles about how today's teens aren't social or mature enough or some other patronizing nonsense. Amongst the most common gripes is the complaint that kids these days spend so much time on their smartphones that they are becoming dumber.

This is simplified, reactionary nonsense. While I agree that staring at a screen at 4 a.m. is not the healthiest thing, pigeonholing an entire generation into that one stereotype neglects to consider a whole bunch of other reasons why people might choose to have their phones in hand.

For one thing, phones are simply a means of communication. I, for one, think it is lovely that I can call my friend halfway across the world to chat about the newest Bollywood movie, coordinate a budget meeting, and spam my siblings with stupid superhero memes at the same time. We are busier nowadays, but some of us thrive in the constant state of organized chaos.

Smartphones, with their myriad scheduling and communication applications, are absolutely indispensable for us.

Some of us also use our phones as a lightweight, omnipresent journal. It's a perfect place to jot down poems, story ideas, and funny observations for later perusal. Thanks to cloud connectivity, we don't have to worry about our writing becoming lost or damaged by the elements. It's also much, much less cumbersome than having boxes full of papers and notebooks. In fact, I wrote this entire article on my phone.

Smartphones are also instruments of information dissemination with activists and reporters using them to document world events in real time. Videos can be streamed across the word in a matter of seconds, making first-hand eyewitness accounts much more accessible. For every terrible Microsoft Paint attempt at a meme, we have footage of people making a difference in the world.

One a more serious note, there is also a pretty big gendered component. For many girls and women, it Is a defense mechanism. By putting headphones in our ears and a screen in front of our face, we send a silent message of unavailability. Guys who may otherwise try and accost us unwantedly see us disengaged and are less likely to bother us.

And if they do try to catcall us, we usually can't hear them.

On a more lighthearted note, is it really so wrong to want to do a BuzzFeed quiz or use a dating app? Even if we are not using our phones to save the world, we shouldn't be shamed for enjoying technology. We use them for art, entertainment, communication, science, information, the list goes on. It is human nature to be fascinated by the novel and that is exactly what smartphones are.

Besides, people used to spend hours listening to the radio. Now we spend hours listening to podcasts. The only difference is the size of the box.

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