Hello everyone and welcome to day 5 of my 31/31! The focus of today’s blog is about gaming internationally, and my memories of doing so. With today’s world become more and more globalized each year, it’s only natural that gaming evolves and expands in the same way. However, unlike in the States, gaming internationally is quite an ordeal to have happen sometimes. I’ve been blessed enough in my life to travel to different countries around the world. I’ve been to four continents, and a few different countries ranging from Japan to Morocco. Gaming in each one is interesting and unique. Here’s some stories about my experiences gaming in other countries:
        -Japan: The most recent gaming internationally memory that I have was this past summer when I was in Japan. I was able to visit the country via a youth leadership program, and I was spending 4 days with a host family. The host family had two sons, both in their 20’s, and they were big gamers. We sat down on the couch that first day, and played games like FIFA and Final Fantasy. I had played Japanese games before, and I had played games in other languages, but it was awesome to see my friend get really excited and responsive to the story. It was as if you were at a rally for something, and your friend was cheering, but you did not understand the language the speaker was using. My host brother was giddy with excitement while playing the story mode of a game he hadn’t played yet, but I had no idea what was going on. I’m decent at speaking Japanese, but the fluency level of the game was way over my head. The whole experience was great though, because it was like looking at a mirror, in that it was a reminder of why I love gaming myself.  
        -Mexico:  Mexico is one of my favorite countries, and is always a favorite of mine to visit. One of my favorite gaming memories in Mexico was when I was 8, and I was playing Mario Kart: Super Circuit. I used the language function on the game menu screen to change the language to Spanish, because I thought that I would learn the language that way. However, I did not know Spanish at that time, so I was left fumbling around the navigation screen, trying to change it back. Luckily a neighborhood kid that was my age came up and switched it back after he taught me a few key words in Spanish to help me navigate the menu. We took turns playing the game, and I had made a new friend that day, which was something that was really awesome.
        -Morocco: I’ve been to Morocco a few times now, and I’ve had a few different unique gaming experiences. The first one that comes to mind was when I was 10 years old. At this point, Morocco had begun to experience a technology boom, and the first few gaming consoles were making their way into households. I was at my uncle’s house, and was playing games with my cousin. He was older than me, and had a PS2. I sat down on the couch, and we put the PS2 into the socket. Of course, the electrical socket decided to be really finicky, and we had to get an adapter. You know you are not in the Midwest anymore when you don’t even know if your gaming console will even co-operate in plugging in. After we got the game plugged in and set up, we started playing the game. It was really fun to play with my cousin, especially since he had some fun games like Naruto, Dragonball Z, and FIFA. However, it was a bit difficult to navigate the menu, especially since one game would be in French, and the other in Spanish. The reason for this has to do with the colonization of Morocco. Both the French and the Spanish had control of the country, and so both countries have their respective languages spoken widely in the country. In addition to this, there are very few localizations for Arabic, so the gamers there are often limited to French or Spanish.  This is especially tricky, since many gamers there get the games from the local city market. There wasn’t a Best Buy in the country at the time, so if people found a game they liked, they would have to play it in the language that was assigned to it. While some games had language options, many other games did not have that at the time. The second occurred when I was really little. I only had my Gameboy Color, and was playing outside my grandma’s house in Casablanca. The rest of the little kids were on the street playing soccer, and I was sitting on the curb, taking a break to play some Super Mario Bros. Deluxe on my Gameboy. Naturally, the kids all came over one by one to take a look to see what kind of game I was playing. Using the little Arabic I knew at the time, I managed to explain to them what kind of game it was, and what to do in order to play. So we spent the next few hours, taking turns, and laughing at how bizarre the game concept was. While Mario might not seem weird to us here in America since we grew up with the series, in Morocco it is a bit fascinating to see a little guy jump around on the screen. This is especially so, since this happened before the tech boom of the 2000’s, and many of those kids said that they had never played a video game before. One of my favorite parts of this story comes from a few weeks later in the trip though, when I returned to my grandma’s house one last time. I went back outside to go play with my friends, and they all yelled, “Amrika, Amrika!” Which is just slang for, “the American, the American!” All of my friends wanted to play the Gameboy, and I was more than happy to share with them. It was really a great moment, because it taught me a valuable lesson in that although we often complain about the newest DLC, or the ending to Mass Effect, we should take a moment and just count our blessings, especially since many other countries do not have the same abilities to game that we have. Thank you all for reading, and have a safe 4th of July Weekend.
        Do you have any memories of gaming internationally? What do you think of this blog? Feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to respond as soon as possible. Thanks!