Jul 21, 2018

The Smallest Problem for Foreign Gamers in Japan

As one of the many addicted people who can't live a day without playing a game or at the very least watch something on YouTube about one, there are issues we deal with as a foreigner playing and buying games in Japan. Language is of course a big one, and region exclusive games is another. Region lock used to be a big issue too that is now more of a historical limitation. However, there is one more "problem" that I deal with on a daily basis that to those who don't know is hardly an issue when I try to explain it to them. It is, of course, the problem I face with the PlayStation controller's buttons. Particularly, the O and X buttons.

The Smallest Problem for Foreign Gamers in Japan photo

In Japan, O is a symbol for correct, affirmative, or yes, while X carries the meaning of wrong, rejection, or no. So when playing with the PlayStation controller that has the circle, cross, square and triangle, the former two of course mean Affirmative and Negative relatively, especially since PlayStation is made by Sony, which is a Japanese company.

However, the O symbol does not mean Yes internationally, and often it does not have any meaning. So when the PlayStation was introduced globally, many of the western game developers did not assign the confirmation button to O, but to the button most naturally closest to a relaxed position, the X. Games released in Japan would have you pressing a different button from a game that was released internationally, even if you change your language settings of the game or even the system. This, of course, confuses the heck out of me when I am in the heat of playing and forget whether I bought the international release of the game, the digital version (off the North American PlayStation network store), or a physical Japanese copy that I changed to English. I keep cancelling when I mean to say Yes, and I keep speaking to the character because of the wrong button. Most people wouldn't consider this an issue at all, and for me, it is the smallest problem that I deal with every single day.


Games, manga, and ramen. Those three things make up my Tri-force lol.