Language, race and verbal communication.
Games speaking in their Native Tongues
We can handle foreign films in their original spoken forms, so why is it that we have an inability to immerse ourselves in the multiple languages that could appear in our games? Even Avatar, with its make-believe lexicon, had large chunks of its spoken audio translated into text (albeit, via an incredibly horrible font). Thankfully games like Metro 2033 are proud enough of their origins and feel strongly enough about their settings to offer up the ability to play in their original language, in this case Russian. I may be the only one, but I long for a day where localisation returns to its written roots – except this time sticking within the bounds of English grammar.
Growing up in an pre-Geek-chic age
Lou Reed’s desire to be black paled (if you’ll excuse the pun) in comparison to mine mid-way through my school years. And while his lust for more melanin was based on the 1970’s version of who he wasn’t, I was lapping up the machismo filled mess that was late ’80s hip hop culture. School projects on the Black Panthers, bootlegged NWA cassettes, an LA Raiders cap; I was as street as a Frankenstein-esque creature composed solely of bits of Bloods and the Crips, brought to life by some Onyx turned up to 11. Unfortunately for me, I grew up in a time before rappers wore t-shirts with geek culture related prints. A time in which being a nerd and rhyming over breakbeats were mutually exclusive, no matter how you drew your Venn diagram.
Nowadays things are different: I never dreamed of a day when someone would mix rhymes and game soundtracks together, but I recently discovered Vinyl Fantasy and Ocarina of Rhyme. Listening to some of these tracks I’m glad I grew up in the hip hop era I did. It’s not that they’re bad, in fact there’s some great mixes in there. It’s just, listening to hip hop during that time period, I was forced into the harsh realization that I was a pale, geeky, half-Greek/half New-Zealander Australian. Actually, looking at that written down, there’s no wonder I was confused about who I was supposed to be.
Wii Speak comes up for air again
Just the other day I picked up Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii. Sitting flush with the game case in the oversized cardboard packaging was a piece of hardware I figured I would add to the box filled with tangled wires that I rather romantically term “gaming ephemera”. It may not be a completely useless addition to my roster of peripherals though, what with a new game announcing support for the mic - Monster Hunter Tri’s European incarnation promises to use Wii Speak to allow chatter between players. Unfortunately, I haven’t been feeding my Japanese gland enough Pocky lately, so I can’t muster up enough energy to care too much about the actual game. But, it’s great news to see that I haven’t completely wasted my money on the device. Maybe I’ll sit the tiny grey gadget on the top of the pile and hope for a compatible game that I actually want to play.
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