In an interconnected world, there is no doubt that many games are enjoyed throughout the world. That said, there are some games that have fascinating variations depending on which country you play them in, be it by choice or by chance. So, let’s take a look at some of these international game variations, and why this happens.
Although many games have the same name, this does not always mean they are played the same way in every country. Let’s take a look at roulette, for example. Roulette is played using a wheel with numbered pockets, which is spun by the croupier, and a ball lands on one of the numbers to reveal the winner. That said, the numbers on those pockets on the wheel depend on which type of roulette is being played.
Put simply, there are three traditional types of roulette – European, French, and American. Both European and French roulette are played using the same wheel. On this wheel, the numbers one to 36 are featured on a red or black pocket, and the singular zero on a green pocket. However, in American roulette, you’ll find an additional zero – or, in some cases, even two zeroes – on the wheel, stylised as ’00’.
Similarly, the numbers across the pond differ in another classic game – bingo. Both British and American bingo follow the same general rules, except British players have 90 balls and a nine-by-three bingo card, whereas American players will encounter 75 balls and a five-by-five card that accords with the letters B-I-N-G-O.
Over 25 years ago, a Japanese horror game was released, known as Bio Hazard, and then condensed to Biohazard. However, when the developer Capcom started to move into the US gaming market, they hit a snag – they couldn’t trademark it. As such, Capcom pivoted its branding and came up with the name Resident Evil.
Since then, the franchise has kept its original name in Japan but is better known as Resident Evil throughout the rest of the world. In fact, in the seventh instalment, Capcom themselves referenced this naming discrepancy by calling it Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan.)
Another similar instance is seen in the Mortal Kombat franchise. This time, the name change was to avoid issues with translation. Throughout the world, the sixth instalment is known as Mortal Kombat: Deception. In France, however, it was renamed.
This is because ‘deception’ in English is spelt the same as ‘disappointment’ in French – not the best name for a new game release! To avoid the negative connotations, the marketers took the sensible decision to rename the game, but only in France.
As you can see, there are numerous ways and reasons why games can differ from country to country and this isn’t nearly an exhaustive list – from rules to mechanics, gameplay and features, there are innumerable ways that games take on unique characteristics depending on their origin, development, and adaptation. With this in mind, when gaming around the world, look out for those quirks and features that make those games unique where you are – and don’t let them trip you up!