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Game’s Cultural Influence

Posted by AndyLee Wednesday January 21 2009 at 9:33PM
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Nowadays video games have become a dominating entertainment medium in movies and music. The industry alone creates tens of billions dollars for other industries every year. Like other pop cultures, people have noticed the influence of games on these movies and music genres. Let's take a deeper look at the cultural influence of video games.

Early cultural influence is usually referred to as cultural imperialism. The best example is that how European nations have been spreading their cultures in the last 300 years. Relying on their superior technology and military power, European nations conquered enormous colonies during the Age of Discovery. The conquerors imposed their language and culture in the new colonies, which made elements of western culture have a very influential role on other cultures worldwide.

Recently "soft power" has become more important than the historically predominant hard power for a nation to spread its culture. Through Hollywood movies, America exports its culture and ideology to every corner of our planet, making the western culture continue to be the mainstream culture of the world. In the 1980s, Japan started to challenge the leadership of the America, both economically and culturally. Animation and video gaming not only brought Japan enormous financial benefit but also introduced Japan's exotic culture to the audiences from other cultures. With the turn of the 21st century, an insurgence of youth Japanophiles in youth across the globe has occurred. From Nintendo's Pokemon to Square's fantastic Final Fantasy series, Japan's video games have made a significant impact upon the world's pop culture. Samurai, Ninja, and Sushi - those once alien words have become familiar to the western population. It is the first time that a non-western culture has generated such a widely cultural influence in the modern time.


After Japan, the Chinese game industry started to emerge. China, one of the oldest cultures in the world, however, lacked cultural export to the world in the modern time due to backwardness and isolation. After having her doors closed to the outside world for so long, the country has begun changing dramatically and is expected to become the next super power. With the growth of economy and technology, China has already started to influence the world with her "soft power". Following Japan's model, China's game companies began to make their debut in the international market. Although the Chinese game developers are the small new comers of the industry, they have grabbed their chance to make online games. TQ Digital Entertainment won its reputation with its MMORPG Conquer Online. Everyday hundreds of thousands players around the world are exploring the mythological ancient China, experiencing the vivid Chinese culture in the game. In the world of CO, players can customize their characters with traditional Chinese costumes, practice various Chinese ancient weapons, battle with demons in Chinese myth and even perform traditional Chinese dancing.

TQ Digital also hosts a string of special events, all in the theme of Chinese traditional festivals, from Chinese Valentine’s Day to the Spring Festival. These special quests and elaborate background introductions provide the education of Chinese culture and traditions to non-Chinese players. Western festivals, such as Christmas, Valentine's Day and Halloween are widely known by Chinese people for a long time. Now in return, western players can celebrate the exotic Chinese festivals in the virtual world. We can expect there will be more and more Chinese games entering the global market. Will there also be a rise in the number of Chinese culture groupies?


In conclusion, game has become an influential medium for cultural exchange by now. As more and more game developers from different parts of the world entering the blooming industry, players can have opportunity to experience different cultures, meanwhile enjoying more terrific game.