Game Impressions: Tokyo Jungle

A few years ago, I realized games had left me behind.  The achievements, the head shots, the vacuous stares of legions of bald headed space marines and thousands of faux-anime styled super deformed social game avatars had catalyzed my decision to just freaking move on.

I preferred to stick with my memories of games, and forge ahead and live life itself as a game. As a grindfest of an RPG. I threw myself into the language learning. I remember buying a convenience store novel and reading it, just understanding around 10 % of it.  Just part of grinding, I would say.

And then one day, suddenly, I went to peek at what games had been up to for those years of gameless living.  And I thought that iOS devices where The Future of All That Was Good And Original about Games.

This very idealist notion eventually gave way to a more realistic view of What is Good in Games and What is The Ideal Platform (an answer to the latter: they are all good for their own reasons, though for most of my life I have been into ‘twitch’ gameplay).  My actual pause in mobile gaming will be brought up in another post.

3 years pass and I just buy a PS3.  Less than 3 months before the PS4 comes out.  I wasn’t sure what to expect  from a 6 year old machine.  I knew I craved to Hold That Controller; wrestle with Those Buttons, so infinitely responsive after trying to play Street Fighter with virtual ones.

I was afraid, sure. Afraid that this impulse buy would provide me with nothing but tired franchises in tired genres.  But intrigued I was: for years I had read and listened to (thank you podcasts) tales of rare gems , retro or otherwise, that could be downloaded and experienced through the joy of PSN or Xbox Live.  I knew there were alternatives.  And if all else failed, I had that discount copy of Virtua Fighter 5 to play with for a bit.

And it was while surfing through anonymous game recommendations that I heard of Tokyo Jungle.  Why not, I thought.  I like Asia.  I like Tokyo.  And that game concept sounds just zany.

Tokyo Jungle was to me, in 2013, the face of PS3 gaming.  It is the best calling card that a game console could have.  Addictive , endlessly replayable and paradigm-shifting.  It is the most played game in my console.  It is deep, like a lake, dark and funny.

I praise it for letting me experience the life of a wild animal.  Yes, it does romanticize it.  But I would have never thought that romping through the same environments would have been fun.

Endless narratives can be spun from the many events that unfold in this game.  It has given me new found respect for the cat; so much so, in fact, that I have passed the 100-year survival mark with the animal.

The nobility, savagery, harshness and immediacy of an animal’s life is captured perfectly here. Never mind that the quests are repetitive, that toxicity and acid rain are waaay too frequent.  I love this game.  This game is an example of gameplay research at its finest.  Download this game, and play it.  Unlock a few animals past the Pomeranian, you will enjoy it.