For most people the closest thing to Japanese organised crime in the gaming world is while playing Yakuza. According to latest rumours though it looks like the real life Yakuza may have influence on which companies can work together.
If you’ve ever watched any Japanese gangster films you’ll have seen the influence they are said to have around arcades and gambling machines. NintendoLife have posted some stories though that feel like they’ve been taken from these movies. Though the influence the gangs have had were around an unnamed company working with Nintendo.
In an interview, a person using the pseudonym Hideo Nanashi talked to John Szczepaniak who is working on a book, the Untold History of Japanese Game Development Volume 2. In the interview they reveal a game they were working on with Nintendo had to be cancelled when their sister was kidnapped by gangsters at the behest of a leading Japanese game maker:
“My younger sister was kidnapped. [REDACTED] hired some gangsters to do it. They did it to make me stop cooperating with Nintendo.”
They went on to add some context into how the Yakuza were connected in the gaming world:
“In Japan, you have these evil companies that always crop up, and unlike the West, in Japan there’s a perception that “play” is bad, the opposite of hard work. So amusement-oriented industries inevitably become infested with evil companies and ties to the underworld. Take arcades, for example. In legal terms, they’re covered under laws regarding the entertainment and amusement trades. So they’re managed under the same laws that regulate the adult, or “pink”, industry. Because of that, the underworld gets involved. The only companies that have been able to do business while staying clean are probably Nintendo and Namco.”
While we don’t know just who the person being interviewed were, it shows a shady side of the gaming world that while unproven is still intriguing.
What are your views on the rumours of the Yakuza’s influence on gaming in Japan? Let us know your thoughts below.