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In Battle For King of the Bugs: Saw Beetle Kicks Miyama Beetle Butt New Research Reveals; SEGA Silent on Video Game Repercussions

Byjakeadelstein

Jan 23, 2011

Nobody expects realism in video games but someday they might. The popular King of Bugs (ムシキング) video games series is one in which players select their bug and fight off arthropod opponents to see who can knock the other out of the ring first. You can play against the computer or you can play against a friend. Real life bug matches between stag beetles (鍬形虫/kuwagatamushi) were a popular games for children in the day before video games and when Japan still hadn’t managed to decimate it’s natural environment.  Generally speaking, when it came to stag beetles, it was thought that all beetles had pretty much the same chance. Well, apparently that’s not the case. And that could have serious repercussions on the pereived accuracy of this gaming classic. (No plans have been announced to revise the board game version or issue a recall.)

Questions have been raised as the accuracy of the Japanese Saw Stag Beetle depiction in the popular King of Bugs (ムシキング)series. Will future editions reflect recent scientific findings?

According the January 18th, 2011 edition of the Asahi Elementary School Newspaper (朝日小学生新聞), Yoshihito Hongo (本郷儀人研究員)a researcher at Kyoto University Graduate School– the Japanese Saw Stag Beetle (ノコギリクワガタ/nokogirikuwagata)is much more likely to win over the Miyama Japanese Stag Beetle in an even fight. This is surprising when you consider that the average Saw Beetle (3.8 centimenter) is smaller than the Miyama Beetle (4.1 centimeters). The secret: the Saw Beetle’s devestating underhand throw (下手投げ/shitatenage).  The two male beetles often fight over women and food.

Hongo-san who was an old school stag beetle fan noticed that in the Kyoto area that the number of Saw Beetles seemed to be growing in recent years. In 2008, he began to study why. After extensive experimentation and fairly staged fights, he was able to determine that out of 224 battles the Saw Beetle won 145 fights and the Miyama Beetle only 99 fights. In most cases, the deciding factor was the underhand throw. The Saw Beetle would crawl under the Miyama Beetle, sandwiching it between its huge jaws and then and toss it into the air, off the playing grid. The Saw Beetle was also able to perform an effective overhand throw as well.

Researcher Hongo’s conclusion: “The Miyama Beetle may be bigger and better looking but it’s all show. When it comes down to it, the underdog wins in this case.” At the time of publication of this article, Sega was unavailable for comment on to whether future editions of the Mushi King series would reflect the latest scientific data which should techinically give players who chose the Saw Beetle an advantage in fights with Miyama Beetles, especially if they utilize the underhand throwing sequence. Memo: I seriously doubt SEGA will even answer my inquiry on this one but can’t hurt to ask. 😀

Bet on the Japanese Saw Stag Beetle!
6 thoughts on “In Battle For King of the Bugs: Saw Beetle Kicks Miyama Beetle Butt New Research Reveals; SEGA Silent on Video Game Repercussions”
  1. You have a great sense of humor, Jake. Maybe that’s what living in Japan all these years will do to ya.

    Anyway . . . it’s great having you post on a (semi) regular basis. Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future, and I cannot wait to read your future projects.

    PS–

    Do you have any plans to do signings in NYC? If not, please think about it!!!!!!!!!

    JL

    1. John,
      Thanks for writing in. Well, sometimes it’s nice to get a little off topic. 😀
      I’ll be speaking in New York in March. I’ll post the dates and would be happy to sign your book although I think my signature reduces the resale value by 25%.
      –jake

  2. Jake-san, If you can’t get Sega interested, try Nintendo – they’re in Fushimi, pretty convenient for working with Hongo sensei. It would also make a great iPhone/Android app .

    If your travels bring you to Chicago, I’d like to attend your talk/event. Looking forward to reading your next projects!

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