Gaming’s Strangest Parody: Hyperdimension Neptunia

Self-awareness is a common staple in the video games of today. Whether manipulating the sprawling city of Chicago in Watch Dogs or stalking through desolate war zones in Battlefield, you’re always going to find one or two references tucked away somewhere.

Though often subtle, these gems are one of the medium’s most fulfilling rewards: a virtual nod of the head to legions of both curious and dedicated fans.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, we have rare video game series such as Hyperdimension Neptunia. Developed by Japanese studio Compile Heart (Mugen Souls Z) the franchise first emerged back in 2010 before spawning a chain of sequels and spin-offs.

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At it’s core Neptunia has always been a solid JRPG experience, coated in a cutesy shell indicative of anime/otaku culture. In truth, before playing Producing Perfection – the latest game in the series – my rapport with Hyperdimension Neptunia was limited to glancing over the occasional trailer or screenshot. Even then, however, I had failed to pick up on what is perhaps one of gaming’s most bizarre yet intriguing parodies.

Let me explain. The universe in which these games are set, Hyperdimension, is composed of a world split into four nations, each with their own CPU or Console Patron Unit. With placenames such Lastation, Leanbox, Lowee, and Planeptune, on a planet dubbed Gaminidustri, it soon becomes clear what developer Compile Heart is alluding to.

For those still in the dark, Neptunia is a parody. A comical reflection of the never-ending “Console Wars” and the petulant fanboy behaviour it secretes. Each of the series’ four nations represent one of the four big players in the gaming industry. Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee can easily be linked to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo respectively, with Planeptune posing as former platform holder, SEGA.

As mentioned before, these continents are represented by four CPUs, each with their own traits and personalities. There’s a great deal of subtext that can be drawn from the interactions and dialogue between the four main characters though this mostly boils down to the occasional poke.

It’s a solid albeit bizarre concept for a game world yet works well in Hyperdimension Neptunia, strangely enough. One thing I found particularly interesting was how Compile Heart devised its antagonist for Producing Perfection. Instead of giving players a single rival to conquer, the game presents an alliance of increasingly-powerful forces, collectively known as MOB48.

Obviously, this is a nod towards MOBAs and their increasing presence in the video game industry. Titles such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, and their myriad imitators attract millions of players today and are often seen as a threat to the console market.

In a nutshell, Producing Perfection explores what would happen if these MOBAs were to rally under a single banner. The answer is world domination and bad times for the likes of Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. Despite the sheer unpredictably of our industry, it’s a farfetched scenario made even more dubious by the nations’ response to MOB48’s emergence. Instead of going directly head-to-head, as platform holders have always done, they decide to band together.

Again, the thought of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and SEGA (yes, SEGA) forming an axis to combat the increasing deluge of MOBAs is absurd yet entertaining all the same.

Aside from the central plot, there are plenty of other references scattered throughout. For instance Lowee’s CPU, Blanc, is often flanked by her two companions, Rom & Ram. Again, some will see this as a coincidence although others may see it as a potential low blow regarding both Nintendo’s piracy problem and the specs of its latest console. There’s also one scene, a fighting montage, that directly lifts the words from everybody’s favourite Parappa the Rapper song.


If anything, Hyperdimension Neptunia deserves praise for its curveball approach to creating an interesting backdrop in Producing Perfection. As for the game itself, we’ll have an in-depth review coming later this week.

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4 Comments

  1. Too many colours! My eyes! ><!

  2. Ha! Love the picture of the three women; you can clearly see which console they each represent…

    …Plus, y’know… Boobs. ;)

  3. You seem to be the only person on the internet who has made this MOB48/MOBA connection. Is it based on anything other than the name? Could easily also have something to do with mobile gaming. It’s definitely an AKB48 reference though.

  4. The MOB48 is definitely a reference to AKB48 as this game is all about being an idol and there are no greater idols than those in AKB48. The MOB part I’m not so sure on though, could be either of the things mentioned above.

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