[Click here for Part 2.]
Gaming is all around us. In our televisions, in our phones, in our movies, in our computers. But nothing makes you more aware of the gaming right in front of you than examining the state of gaming is around the world. During my trip to Taipei, I wanted to get a sense for the local flavor of gaming and gaming culture. I am currently in Beijing, but wanted to reflect on my past explorations and adventures and wanted to bring you up to date with my current findings before moving forward, and here we are.
As I said before, Taipei is a mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Western gaming culture, so it created an overall similar yet different impression of gaming atmosphere. There would be game advertisements, there would be arcades, there would be game stores, but they would have a little twist to them that made for a refreshing and enlightening look at gaming overseas. I am coming from this trip having enjoyed myself and much more learned about gaming culture. I’d just like to start with the first thing that stood out to me: the ubiquity of advertisements for online games.
One of the most common forms of television advertisement was for Taiwanese MMORPGs. Sometimes they would be for Maple Story, but most often they would be for something in a Chinese name followed by the English word “Online” (often said in an enthusiastic announcer voice with a Chinese accent). The commercials were sometimes a depiction of some of the graphics of the game with a brief look at the gameplay, but more often than not, they would often show nothing from the game itself.
One showed a female model dressed as a Princess-Warrior against a moonlit background, holding a sword. Only at the end when the title of the game showed up was I able to distinguish that the commercial was for a game.
Another more extreme example depicted three young women dressed in leather outfits, which I can only describe vaguely as a mix between ninjas and Tifa Lockheart’s Advent Children outfit. They came upon an ancient treasure in a temple when a Chinese style ghost spooks them and chases them around inside the temple Benny Hill-style. Then they turn around and each do a punch at the camera and the ghost is defeated and the title is shown. This was a very common commercial that I saw many times during the week and a half of my stay in Taipei.
Also, you could see the ads on the street. There would occasionally be an entire bus enveloped in an advertisement for an MMORPG or when I was walking around Ximen (West Gate) there would be banners for an MMORPG.
There are also a multitude of chain convenience store chains (7-Eleven being the most popular (I have a video of a 7-Eleven across the street from another 7-Eleven), with Hi-Life and Family Mart vying for second) which feature gaming merchandise. In every store, there would be an entire section for DVDs of movies, but mostly MMORPGs, as well as the occasional set of copies of Starcraft II, collectible Angry Birds pens, and chips that come with Facebook credits for social games fans.
Put simply, gaming is all around us here, just in a different way than that of New York.
[Click here for Part 2.]