lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Why gaming in Europe sucks

Shadow of the Colossus is the sequel to Ico, one of the most incredible games I’ve ever played. Ever. I can’t call Ico underrated, because everyone who played it agrees that it was, indeed, one of the best games they’d ever played. Ever. Instead, it suffered from woeful under-exposure and an apathetic market. Incredible word of mouth and a dedicated fanbase mean that pre-owned copies of Ico swap hands for approximately EUR50 on eBay. It still ranks as the only game I’ve ever played through more than three times.

And to say that I’ve been looking forward to its sequel would be an understatement. I’ve been poring over every video, awe-struck by the scale and enormity of the promise. [ has only made matters worse. From the review:

In short, Shadow of the Colossus breaks storytelling barriers none of us knew existed. It’s the rare game for which the often overused words “ground-breaking” were truly reserved for, and it’s enough to make you regret every stupid coin you ever collected. There’s more to gaming than rote clichés and borrowed ideas, and Shadow of the Colossus is kind enough to remind us of what could be. You really couldn’t ask for better than that. Besides merely being one of gaming’s great moments, this is the experience of the year.

The game is being released today (October 18th 2005) in the US. Checking out when I can expect to get my grubby little paws on my own, European copy…

(Author’s own emphasis)

That’s two thousand and six. Might as well be two thousand and fifty. And this is why gaming in Europe sucks: all the localisation that needs to be done - manuals, box art, voices, interface - multiplied the 6 or so languages that Europe requires, means that we don’t usually get our games until much, much later than our American cousins. In some cases, like Animal Crossing, this can mean that we don’t to play the game for over a year and a half after its original release (even though there are typically perfectly good PAL releases in English for the Australian market).

This bites.