Video games are a form of media that combines art, story-telling, skill, and so much more to provide an enjoyable experience for the player, often allowing players to immerse themselves in another world and character. It is thus no surprise that language and culture, two facets that are integral to the human experience, are heavily interweaved into video games. Video games are unique in that they have created their own culture surrounding the media, yet manage to appeal to vast audiences across all cultures, ages, genders, and languages.

Localization is the process of adapting a video game to a specific locale or market. It involves much more than just translation, including but not limited to adapting graphics, design, and layout, to the new market and language, converting to local units and formats, adapting to different dialects and slang, and modifying content to be aware of cultural sensitivities. Many cultures and countries have strict policies on what can and can't be shown in games, such as blood, gore, profanity, etc., and others have censorship rules that must be taken into account. Localizers stress that the most important part is doing justice to the original work, so that everyone, regardless of language and region, can experience the game in the same way.

How a game is localized, what the game industry is like, and characteristics of games from each country can often be very reflective of the culture there.

On the map, click on each dark-colored country to see an analysis on video games in that region.

by Angela Qiu

Works Cited

Iwatani, Toru. Video Games Around the World. Ed. Mark J. P. Wolf. MIT Press, 2015. Web.

Shaw, Adrienne. "What Is Video Game Culture? Cultural Studies and Game Studies." SAGE Journals. Games and Culture, 2010. Web.

Skoog, Karin E. "The Regional Differences of Languages and Their Impact on Game Localization: Exploring Spanish Localization across the Americas." 9 Nov. 2013. Web.

Zhang, Xiaochun. "Censorship and Digital Games Localisation in China." Meta: Translators' Journal 57.2 (2012). Web.