Another September rolls by and it’s time for the ubiquitous Tokyo Game Show (TGS) round-ups. As always, just one month after another dull ECTS, everyone’s suddenly got exciting new title announcements that set the Internet all abuzz. News of DOA 4 as an Xbox exclusive was music to my ears and produced a flurry of excitement in my household. The release day cannot come a moment too soon. But the biggest news from TGS has to be NUDE – no not a bunch of ageing, saggy German naturists – a hot new title destined for Xbox.
NUDE stands for Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment and it promises to be the latest in simulation games. If rearing your own cute, robot girl appeals, then this is the game for you. Your task is to teach the girl android to speak and behave like a human using the Xbox Voice Communicator – a nifty device packed with the latest real-time voice synthesis technology developed by Toshiba. The point is this game looks awesome. Check out the gorgeous artwork at http://www.xbox.jp/software/nude/. It bears some similarity to the Dreamcast title Seaman, but rather than a bald, miserable fish guy you get an attractive, Japanese girl with a groovy robot outfit.
Japan is all set to get NUDE as soon as spring 2003, which means it will probably get an American release soon after – so far, so good. Then there’s the small matter of the PAL release. Let’s just say I won’t be holding my breath for a UK release of NUDE. The whole thing comes down to language and it sucks. Let me explain.
It’s like this. The UK is part of Europe and there are all these countries that insist on speaking different languages – fair enough, all power to them I say. I can be as liberal as the next person, until it infringes on my gaming rights. When it comes to text-heavy games, the UK always loses out, unless it’s a super popular title like Final Fantasy. But when it comes to the lesser know titles, it’s like forget it. The US gets these games because it’s just a matter of one simple translation from Japanese to English – easy, peasy. Hop across the pond to Europe and you’re faced with a gazillion languages and it’s all too much trouble and expense for the powers that be to translate their games.
My clever solution is why don’t they just release an English language PAL version. I mean the game’s already been translated for the States, so how hard can it be, right? And enough people in Europe, especially those who play games, speak English, right? Plus, these are really minority games, I mean it’s not like we’re asking for Metal Gear as English language only, right? Wrong! Even though my brilliant idea makes complete sense, there would be complete uproar when the French, Germans and other whining continental types started moaning.
"Ooh, our precious poxy language will die out if we let people sell foreign language games in our country," they’d all mew.
The upshot is, that because a whole host of European languages are apparently about to go to the big dictionary in the sky, none of us get to play the interesting Japanese stuff that gets released in the US. Now, you may be asking yourselves, what interesting stuff? what’s she on about? Is she delusional?
Haven’t you been listening to a word I’m saying? Well, there’s NUDE for starters.
Seaman is another entertaining and innovative title that never made it past the East Coast of America. Konami Boy’s current obsession is Animal Crossing – a game that apparently lets you talk to the animals (it’s okay, I hold his hand when he crosses the road). KB’s lucky this time, Animal Crossing is getting a UK release. Zettai Zetsumei Toshi, earthquake survival horror for PS2 is rumoured to be getting a "Western" release, but I have my suspicions that this won’t get the PAL treatment and I’ll have to get the US version. Then there are just too many Japanese RPGs to mention and we don’t even get a look in unless we invest in Japanese or US machines.
Let’s face it, the average gamer isn’t going to go to the trouble of getting a US machine and forking out for import games. No, there’s nothing for it, I think those bleating Europeans should just pipe down. I mean would they rather try to get along with an English version, or just spoil it for everyone and have none of these potentially awesome games available, huh!?
And another thing, what have the French done for us gamers lately? Before you answer, Alone in the Dark was a long time ago now. I think it’s time the English speaking gamers of Europe stand up and demand to have PAL releases and damn the consequences! So my American and Canadian cousins, count yourselves lucky that you don’t have to engage in gaming uprisings such as these. Meanwhile, I’ll be sourcing a US Xbox ready and waiting to get NUDE (double entendre intended).