The Death Of Multicultural Gaming
Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a man crush on Brian “Psychochild” Green and with just cause. He’s got a fantastic blog, writes excellent articles and his little finger knows more about the MMORPG industry than my entire brain does (and I have a big brain). Yesterday he wrote an interesting article about the cultural differences in gaming and invited all our responses. Being a topic close to my heart not only did I leave a hefty comment but decided to expand upon it in a blog post of my own.
Being a Brit, I’ve been playing on foreign servers ever since I started with Everquest back in ‘99. I’ve played on US servers with Americans, US servers with Koreans, US servers with Europeans, European servers with Americans and UK servers with about a whole five other people. All of that has certainly given me plenty of fascinating insights and experiences into all of the different gaming cultures from the Western (and occasionally Eastern) world.
However, whilst mulling over and responding to Brian’s article, I started to realise something. 8 or 10 years ago it seemed incredibly easy for me to identify different nationalities of players and spot the cultural differences between us all but now it’s a lot harder, if not completely impossible. Every player I meet, regardless of where they’re from, seems to talk the same, type the same and act the same.
Gone are the days when I could spot a Frenchman a mile off in Everquest or had to witness British players vomit Cockney on their keyboards in Dark Age of Camelot. If it wasn’t for accents over voice chat, I would probably have no idea where most of my US and European brethren hailed from now. My Austrian and Italian friends type with perfect Internet-English (Intglish) and everyone I know throws around American vernacular and phrases like they were born speaking it. It seems to be that our cultural individuality is slowly melting away and being replaced by a singular language, primarily driven by Americano, influenced by Europa (let’s not forget who gave us the term uber), and spread via the Internet.
Obviously it’s not just MMOs that are causing this and it’s probably a normal evolution from the fact that the current entire 20 and 30 year old generation has grown up watching US TV shows and films and playing American computer games. I don’t fret it nor try to stop it, it’s just part of the natural cycle of language. English is, after all, a mongrel language that has cannibalized dozens of others and that’s part of it’s charm.
It does make a little sad though that we’re losing some of the uniqueness that being foreign brought to Internet gaming. As much as I’m against enforced localisation and a stern advocate for allowing everyone to play their games anywhere with everyone, it’s undoubtedly contributing to the decline of our cultural originalities.
It may uber suck but that’s just my two cents. C’est la vie, m8s.