The Cry of the Soul is a collection of essays from book writer and columnist Yasuhiro Nagata, a man who did a column for Famitsu. Each weekly column is a paragraph that contains an anecdote about people enjoying games together. It was written right in the period of time before the DS blew up and Nintendo expanded the market during the mid-2000s.
The style of the column makes everyone anonymous and in Japanese, pronouns and subjects aren’t needed, so it’s often impossible to tell the gender of the participants. Every now and then though, he’ll label that week’s characters as women or men. (The author sometimes posts his own experiences and sometimes those of his acquaintances and sometimes those of people who contact him to share their own stories.)
What makes the columns interesting is they revolve around a moment where somebody says something notable and Nagata interprets this moment as “the cry of the soul.” This is when somebody suddenly says something that truly shows the nature of their soul from the bottom of their heart. Something that’s not linguistically correct or even logical, but just kind of pops out of one’s mouth organically while playing a game.
The book contains hundreds of columns and within those, today I thought I’d highlight a few of the more notable ones where he specifically notes the participant was female. I thought you might get a kick out of them:
Stated by K’s sister. Original text taken from a reader submission. K and her sister were both game fans. They enjoyed their friendly game life by taking turns playing games together, telling each other about their strategies and so on. The two sisters especially loved RPGs and they each held the dream that one day they’d be able to maybe create their own. One day, the elder sister bought a game she’d been eying that might help bring them a little closer to their dream. It was RPG Maker Advance. Now that our older sister had this game that lets you use pre-made parts to create an original RPG, there were an endless amount of possibilities before her. What type of game should it be? What would the theme be? How about the setting? The story and its lore? The personality of the main character? How would they meet the heroine of the story and how would that scene be drawn? While she was thinking of this, the younger sister came, and noticing that the older sister had just brought home the game, with all the passion she could muster, implored her sister strongly. In particular, what did she shout to her sister? “Make a Homo RPG! With every single character as a man!” The older sister’s grand vision was blown into smithereens. A heart that bluntly states the things it likes is a wonderful thing. However, I wonder if she couldn’t be a little more mild in the way she expressed herself, wondered the sister? Rock ‘n roll.
By the way, since then quite a few “Homo RPGs” have been created in RPG Maker, both by men and women. On to our next soul crier, a possible fright masochist:
Stated by a female customer. I had visited a small game shop located on the corner of a street mall. Looking through the games, I saw that contrary to the big chain stores, there was a lineup of old and new games mixed together. As I stood on the corner, I saw a pair of girls enter the shop together. The two were dressed like most of today’s young girls and were screaming at each other delightedly in high pitched tones, so it wasn’t hard to hear their conversation. “This looks scary, really scary.” “It doesn’t look that scary to me.” “How about this?” “Eh, looks meh.” “Look, maybe this is scary?” “This one here’s more fun tho.” It would appear that one was more informed about games. Whenever she took interest in a game, the other one shot it down without remorse. “This one’s the sequel to that one.” “Oh really.” “This one’s more silly than it is scary.” “Look, look, look, look at this. Doesn’t this one seem amazing?” “Oh that one? Bought it, hardly even played it.” “Oh, okay …” One of them wanted to buy some sort of game, but the other one just seemingly wouldn’t allow the purchase. If I’m allowed to be blunt, she was quite critical and cutting. The well-tanned pair’s conversation straggled off and died. After some moments of silence, the female customer who had every one of her suggestions negated and undoubtedly felt pressed to say something, shouted in a strong tone. “I want to be scared out of my fucking miiiinnnd!” Stop hemming and hawing, if it’s scary, whatever, we’ll have fun, the girl argued. Rock ‘n roll.
This next one’s my favorite:
Stated by the wife of a friend. One day, our writer had visited a friend’s house. For a very long time, our writer and his friend love of games was something they shared in common and even after his friend got married, they would sometimes play games together. His friend’s wife, who had little interest in games would often look on from afar. However, that day was different. Our writer and his friend were deep into playing Samurai Warriors when, who knows why, his wife suddenly said, “I want to play.” I think any male game fan who’s been playing games for a long time will appreciate how precious an opportunity this is. I believe those men who have long been playing games will also appreciate how extremely carefully and delicately they wanted to convey the greatness of the game to her without any chance of misunderstanding. She gripped controller in her hands and began trying to choose a character. The two began explaining the intricacies like a wine connoisseur at a three-star restaurant. This character is hard to control, but strong; this one’s got the speed; this one’s got a really useful move; my recommendation is this one; well I think this one’s the best personally … And at last, all of this information had been deposited into her brain. Against the backdrop of all that detailed and personalized advice, she made her decision and screamed. “I … am going to be a hot guy!” With that, she quickly picked Saneda Yukimura. Oh, well, yes, that’s one option, sure, silently thought the two men. Rock ‘n roll.
In any event, I think Nagata does a great job of depicting the lives and personalities of people who enjoy gaming. I might translate a few more at a later date. Let me know in the comments below if you want more. If you’d like to check out the book and you can read Japanese, you can get it on Amazon here.
Rock ‘n roll, ravens!