Why I love Japan’s stupidest mobile games


It has been said many times that Japan’s mobile space is unique. And I’m repeatedly finding that this uniqueness extends to the kinds of mobile applications and content that the country produces. And while I don’t want to say that Japan has weird taste, some of the more exotic creations (we’ve highlighted many of them before) that have come from this country are mind boggling from my western point of view. But in a way, that also makes Japan’s app space sort of beautiful.

Earlier today I mentioned Alpaca Evolution, which is a ridiculous game where you have to bash all your alpaca brothers and absorb them into your own body as you evolve. It’s a crazy concept, but the artwork is great, the game play is simple – and surprisingly it’s a lot of fun.

Is it dumb? Definitely. Is it great? In its own way, it’s that too.


Another iPhone game I came across today might be even more simple, and maybe more ridiculous too. It’s called Pluck Hair, and it tasks players with (you guessed it!) plucking hairs as fast as you can with a gentle swipe of your finger, but if you do it incorrectly or in the wrong direction, you’re charged with a time penalty.

In a way, it disturbs me that I played this game for about a half an hour. And it disturbs me even more than I bothered to record a video to show it to you (see below).

But there’s a very simple element of joy that exists in this game. I think it’s the same flavor of joy that exists in the Nameco series of games, where it just feels good to harvest mushrooms.

To put it in simpler terms, I think it’s the same reason we all like bubble wrap.

Undoubtedly many readers will dismiss it as stupid. It’s easy to say that this is just Japan being Japan. And I’m not saying that games like Pluck Hair aren’t stupid.

But I really like that somewhere in Japan there’s a developer who pensively said to himself, “A hair plucking game? F**k yeah, I think that’s a good idea.”

That’s just awesome.