I was listening to some podcasts recently and it was mentioned just how culturally wide Video Games are compared to any other medium. After thinking more about it, it’s really quite amazing. We have games coming from literally ALL over the world and we don’t even have to separate them into a different category, like “Foreign Movies”
Mario(Japan) sits there right next to Medal of Honor: Heroes 2(Canada), Assassin’s Creed(Canada owned by the French) sits right next to Alan Wake(Finland), and Heavy Rain (Paris, France) sits right next to Heavenly Sword (Cambridge, England). Let’s not forget Call of Duty created by a California team, the most recent release (BlackOps) had portions of the game developed by teams from all over the world.
My point is we have games developed by different people not just from all parts of the world, but actually still IN all parts of the world. All those different cultures and experiences defining and shaping the gaming experiences they share with the rest of the world and BEST of all, we don’t segregate it. Everything is listed in Alphabetical order, be it the turn based japanese RPG or an american rack up points for shooting someone in the face.
Another fascinating aspect of video games, I visited Washington DC in November of last year, and I was constantly seeing things that reminded me of my trips through Fallout3, I could pull up a map of Arlington and see where the landmarks lined up. I’ve heard stories of people who have said the same after visiting New York, Paris and Tokyo. That through games like Grand Theft Auto, The Saboteur and The World Ends With You, they then recognize land marks and know what directions they would go to find others. Video Games have an amazing ability to teach, history, skills, culture, and so much more, and do it in a way that you may not even realize you are learning anything at all. All you know is that you are having fun playing a game.
Gaming isn’t the same the world over, I know what does well in Japan doesn’t always do well here and vice versa(especially when Microsoft is involved). The PS3 and PSP have a much stronger following in the UK than in the US, but they sometimes end up waiting an extra year for games from Nintendo. And really, that’s the only thing that I think we still need to improve, we need more localization teams to help spread gaming to every corner of the Earth. I can’t think of any other entertainment that is so widely distributed the world over and I love it.