Rule Britannia, Britannia Rules The World
Every gamer has their own gaming DNA, but a person’s general tastes often depend on where they’ve grown up. For example, if I was raised in Japan would my preferences be different? Instead of Gears of War and Borderlands, would I be singing the praises of Japanese role-playing games (Final Fantasy) or weird and wonderful titles like Beautiful Katamari? Ironically, it’s something I already do, but that’s beside the point. Obviously everybody’s different and there are exceptions to the rule, but generally a country itself will have a unique gaming identity. This fact got me thinking – what games do well in Great Britain and do they reflect its national character?
To begin, the obvious choice is sport and in particular, football. While the USA is intent on being different by calling football soccer, the rest of the globe is celebrating the world’s most beautiful game. The only question is FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer? It’s a tough one and as each series has evolved, it’s become harder to pick a winner. Regardless of what side you choose, football games definitely capture our national sporting love. Another football game worth mentioning is Sports Interactive’s Football Manager; a plucky English underdog that’s taken over the world with its spreadsheets. We’re known for fighting against the odds and it’s great to see such a niche title grow year after year.
Another example of a series which dreams big is Rockstar North’s Grand Theft Auto – a game that arguably single handily created the sandbox crime genre. Over the years it’s become a massive success across the planet; something that reminds me of the British Empire. It demonstrates that we Brits can still think beyond our barriers to export our creativity. OK, it might be a violent game, but it’s what the series represents that’s important; hard work, technological creativity, amazing storytelling and tongue-in-cheek wit.
Another game which wasn’t developed here, but still captures what it means to be British is Borderlands 2. Us English are known for our sense of humour and with its talkative robot Claptrap, Borderlands 2 taps into our Monty Python shared consciousness to make us laugh in a similar way. Aside from being extremely fun, Borderlands 2 is also a social game. We’ve always stuck together when our backs are against the wall, even digitally when it comes to gaming. So, what better way to fight the evils of Pandora than as a band of brothers in Borderlands 2?
It used to be the case that complicated strategy games and intricate RPGs didn’t sell too well in the UK, but as digital distribution has increased in importance, these genres have found an audience. While there will always be games that do better in different territories, services such as Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network has made gaming a globalised entity. You can now find what you want to play regardless of taste or location. There are no boundaries any more. So what about you? Do you think your country is different? Are there games that sell better compared to others? Maybe your national gaming identity is puzzle games or hardcore shooters. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.