Games and Culture: A Case Study

September 30th, 2008

video games and culture
About a month ago I wrote a piece entitled Culture Bred Through Game Design. I’d been thinking a lot about games and it’s relationship with culture leading up to that piece, with the hopes of writing a couple of follow on articles expanding on the issue.

My travel to Shanghai has done a lot to postpone and yet at the same time nurture my thoughts on culture. Now that I am over here and settled, I’ve finally gathered my ideas together and have a plan on how to address the complicated matter of culture and games. I also wish to stir in my commentaries of games in China as it’s most appropriate. Here is my plan of attack;

Rough Definition of Culture:

Culture can roughly be defined as a set of socially transmitted norms that characterize the behaviour of a community. Our culture affects our understanding of the world around us and hence dictates how we behave in this space.

For starters, culture is an unwieldy beast when it comes to definition and it would be stupid of me to try and explain it all, if that were even possible. As such, I’d like to cut a slice out of the definition and just look at that. This slice is what I’d refer to as ‘world culture’, that is the differences between countries, states, provinces and regions.

Secondly, to further adjust the lens, I think that we’d be best to analyze this issue on the rationale of “How culture affects games” and not the other way around. With games being industry, community and design.

I want to talk about this issue as there isn’t much coverage in general about games from a global perspective outside of Japan, American and Europe. Even out of the three, game coverage is still largely skewed towards America. Despite this games are a powerful medium in other countries too, which is what I wish to look at as well as the influence of culture since there isn’t much talk of that either.

Games and Culture

Perspectives from Different Cultures
-series of interviews
China, Games and Culture
-series of articles
Various Articles
-Implausibility of niche cultures, Markets and Cultures etc.
Culture Affecting Game Design
-case studies

Since I’ll be working on this topic for a few months, this isn’t intended to be a single stream of posts, put out in that order but instead this is just an outline of what I wish to look at and how it all relates to one another. If you have any ideas or think that you can contribute then please comment or send me an email (daniel [at] Will try and get the contact form fixed soon.