Get Out of Your Damn House: Les Jeux Vidéos of France

If you play too many videogames, it's good to get out of your house sometimes. Why not go to France?

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France 048

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting the place where romantic dreams come true: The London Heathrow Airport. After that, I went to France. I stayed with a family that had been sending children back and forth with us for 3 generations, and it was my turn to face the music. It wasn’t a particularly videogame-centric experience, but I did manage to glean a few interesting bits of information.

(Note: Dates and times subject to wild fictionalization)

Day 1: Upon arriving, I took a quick inventory of anything Videogame I could spot. A quick glance around told me that the family (consisting of two young adult girls and two young teenage boys and probably parents) owned a PS2, a Wii, and a PS3. I recall from another visit that the family also owned a GameCube once, but it was most likely sold in the three years between the two trips. The games they owned for these systems were also surprisingly unsurprising—a few I can rattle off are Saint’s Row 2 & 3, Mario Kart Wii, Shadow of the Colossus, Ratchet and Clank,  Just Cause 2, some form of Call of Duty, and Super Mario Galaxy. I didn’t find anything that seemed particularly French, PAL-ish, or, now that I think about it, that I didn’t recognize. Some game names were slightly translated, while others were left completely untouched in their English-ness.

Day 2: While going on what I like to call the “Skater Gang Mural Adventure” (which sadly has little to do with videogames and will therefore not be told at this time), we passed by a store that was holding a Mario Kart 64 tournament. The prize was a Nintendo 64. When asked if I wanted to participate, I declined as I wasn’t sure if a PAL 64 would suffer from region locks (like many home consoles do), and also I am not very good at Mario Kart, despite having grown up with the dang games. I  guess the thing to learn here is that video game tournaments also exist in France. In fact it would be interesting to look into competitive scenes in greater Europe and see if they have any differences with the banned characters/understood guidelines of the US.

Day Q: I noticed that the Wii Sensor Bar was different on the Wii of the French family I was staying with. It had slants down on the edges where the bar was, which made it look more like a trapezoid than the rectangle I’m accustomed too. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a photo or even mention of this design online, which leads me to believe that it is most likely a 3rd party replacement and not something unique to France or Europe.

Day The Rest of ‘Em: At this point, I picked up Super Mario Galaxy and decided to run though it in French to see what, if anything, was different. After beating the main story of the game and reaching about 70-80 stars, here are some interesting things I found:

  • Rosalina’s name is changed to Harmonie (Harmony) in the French version of the game. I couldn’t find any major characters with different names aside from this one. Or at least, not as drastic. I did, however, learn that although Princess Peach’s name is still spelled the same, in France they still pronounce it as if her last name were translated: Princess Pêche (Pesh)
  • The voice acting is all untouched (again, as far as I found). Everything from “Dear Mario” to “Thank you so much, for a-playing my game!” Then again, Mario isn’t exactly known for its plot-heavy dialogue, so the localization team probably figured it wasn’t worth the money to hire new voice actors for so few lines, though this is just speculation on my part.
  • While all of the text, from the level names to the character dialogue to the save screen, was all translated, interestingly the credits text remained in English. I found this to be true for quite a few things in France and from other countries. Again, it’s probably just a case of it not being important enough to spend time translating. I mean c’mon, who reads credits?

 And there you have it: My fantastical journey to the land of the French. I guess, if nothing else, it was a good excuse to play Super Mario Galaxy again.

If you have any questions about France and video games, sound off in the comments!


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About the Contributor

Since 2013

Joseph Martin is the Podcast Commander of the monthly GameCola Podcast, and appears in many of the other podcasts of the site. He's also known to write a review or two, or news pieces about the latest Mega Man knock-off.

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