Taking a look at the games from both the east and the west, there’s no denying both have their own charm in wooing their respective crowds. However, some gamers enjoy crossing the lines and end up playing games, despite the fact they don’t understand a word of what the characters say.
Read more about import gamers in the full article!
Taking a look at the games from both the east and the west, there’s no denying both have their own charm in wooing their respective crowds. However, some gamers enjoy crossing the lines and end up playing imported games, despite the fact they don’t understand a word of what the characters say.
Import gamers constitute a small community in the video gaming industry now. However, what makes them tick? What exactly is the charm in playing a game you couldn’t normally make heads or tails out of?
There are actually a lot of advantages in importing games outside your local region. Depending on the game, some titles are released weeks or even months ahead of its regional counterpart. This gives import gamers the chance to play the game ahead of everyone else and get the twisted satisfaction of spoiling the plot out of everyone else. This is asides from the fact that importing games is usually cheaper than waiting for the local version to come out at the nearest Wal-Mart.
And there will always be die-hard collectors who prefer their games in their “natural state”. These include unchanged dialogue to even some uncensored scenes that are sometimes lost in between translations.
Breaking the language (and the system) barrier
Importing games don’t come without their own set of difficulties, however. During the early years of console gaming, a lot of the older consoles featured varying degrees of regional lockouts to discourage the practice.
Still, a lot of gamers tried to find a way to surpass these difficulties just so that they can get their hands on a game they probably couldn’t even understand (at least interface-wise). Technical issues were really a big thing then, with hurdles such as region-locked consoles, as well as the classic NTSC/PAL compatibility problem.
This gave rise to players acquiring modchips or whatever hacks they could use to overcome these compatibility issues. Because of this, piracy became a real threat to game publishers and the practice was greatly frowned upon.
However, a lot of the consoles nowadays are pretty much region free – much to the relief of many import gaming fans. Even the console manufacturers, such as Sony and Nintendo, seem to have recognized this fact by making a lot of their games region-free.
Today, this makes the biggest difficulty in becoming an import gamer would probably be your game getting misplaced during the shipping process due to the FedEx guy getting lost along the way.
The “Star Trek Syndrome”
This is the phrase I came up with when trying to explain just why import games are still quite the commodity for some gamers. Simply put, the “Star Trek Syndrome” refers to the long standing popularity of any series, enough for people to play it despite the interface and the in-game text being in another language.
A classic example of this would have to be the Final Fantasy series in Japan. While it wasn’t that big a hit when it first came to the States, it’s popularity has snowballed over the years so much that gamers are quick to grab any copies of a game with the words “Final Fantasy” in its title.
On the flip side, some Japanese gamers have also acquired the taste for FPS games over the years, with games like the Halo series and Counterstrike taking the forefront of their interests.
Apparently, name branding works just as well in video games regardless of which side of the globe you live in. This is actually a beneficial thing if you want to share popular cultural cliques between inter-racial gamers; to say the least about the number of Trekkies in Japan, as well as the Gundam maniacs in the U.S.
The universal language of fun
Every import gamers’ wish, this blogger included, is to have their favorite import games ported to their local language. More often than not, game publishers realize the potential some games have in drawing a huge market and end up making a local port of it.
Popular series such as Final Fantasy and Super Mario have all undergone local translations usually several weeks after its original release in Japan. However, this doesn’t stop hardcore import gamers from getting their hands on it and feeling their way through the game before local players even know what the game’s about.
Whatever way you want to look at it, import gaming is a great alternative to any players’ lifestyle. While dialogue and script both play an essential part in any game, what really breaks the language barrier is just how much fun they get out of a game despite not understanding a word of what the characters say.
With that said, I hope everyone forgives me while I fanboy about my own import gaming tendencies as I’m off to play another round of Super Robot Taisen W on my DS.