If you follow this blog, you may have seen that we are working at an awesome place: the Plaine Images. What makes this place so awesome? Mainly its video game atmosphere! We love being here because at Ninchanese, we’ll be using game mechanics to help you (and even us) learn Chinese. The Plaine Images is even currently hosting an extraordinary exhibit about video games, which covers the history of video gaming, from its beginning in the 70s to what video games are like today. It also has a big ass game boy (that’s me trying to play it)!
One day, I was playing tour guide of the exhibit for a few of my Chinese friends, and they told me that they didn’t know about Sonic the hedgehog! At the time, I was very surprised but, hey, everything is possible so I didn’t really give it a second thought. Besides, who was I to talk? Giving this tour to my friend made me realize I didn’t know much about video game in Chinese or China nor did I know any video game-related vocabulary in Chinese!
So all this got me wondering: what’s the state of video game in Chinese and China? What are all the consoles and games called over there? Follow me as I venture into the world of video game in Chinese…
Video game in Chinese: The Gaming Industry in China
One of the first things that struck me when I got to China is how popular online gaming is, as well as playing in arcades and internet cafés. World of Warcraft is particularly big over there. There’s even an (unofficial) World of Warcraft-themed amusement park in China!
Turns out, that’s all I knew about gaming in China. After researching a bit, I learned that the Chinese government hasn’t allowed foreign video game consoles to be sold in China since 2000 (but you can still buy them on the black market)! Maybe that’s one of the reasons why online gaming is so big in China. To give you an idea, this market was worth a record breaking $9.7 billion in 2012 ( a 35.1% increase from 2011!).
A historical tours of video game in Chinese
Let’s now learn together a little bit of video game vocabulary in Chinese. Follow me!
First things first, let’s start with some words about hardware.
游戏机 : Yóuxì jī = video game console
手柄 : Shǒubǐng = gamepad
卡匣 : kǎ xiá = cartridge
光碟 : guāng dié = optical disc
记忆卡 : jì yì kǎ = memory card
Pong was one of the first real games.
Atari Super Pong, 1975
雅達利 : Yǎ dálì = Atari
“双人网球” : Shuāngrén wǎngqiú = (litt.)Tennis for two = Pong
Of course, from the start, computers were part of the Video Game Race, and will always be 😉
Apple II, 1977
苹果电脑 : Píngguǒ diànnǎo = apple computer
Atari VCS 2600, the first real hit in the game industry_
Atari VCS 2600, 1977
The first name of the Atari VCS was 雅达利 计算机系统 : Yǎ dá lì jìsuànjī xìtǒng, which stood for Atari computer system. They quickly changed the name to Atari 2600.
Magnavox was also note-worthy but can we really say it was a video game console?
Magnavox odyssey, 1972
Magnavox 奥得赛 : Magnavox Ào de sài = Magnavox Odyssey
What about the Philips Console?
Philips N20, 1977
飞利浦 : Fēilìpǔ = Philips
I didn’t find any articles related to the Philips console in China. Did it come out in China?
This was my first console! Do you recognize it ?
Nintendo Family computer and Game & Watch, 1983
任天堂 : Rèntiāntáng = Nintendo
红白机 : Hóng bái jī = Famicon / NES
The Amstrad CPC 464! I coded my first game on it in Basic…
Amstrad CPC 464, 1984
Do you remember Alex Kidd? It was sold with the Sega Master System and was a great game!
Sega Master System, 1985
世嘉 : Shìjiā = Sega
Apparently, in China, the Sega Master system Game console was called Sega Mark III just like in Japan.
Around the same time, Atari and Amiga were in the place!
Atari 520 ST, 1986
Commodore Amiga 500, 1987
This NES Design was the first console I really played on. I will never forget Mario and Zelda…
Nintendo NES 1987
The mega drive with the Speed of Sound Guy (音速小子: yīnsù xiǎozi) Sonic!
Sega Mega Drive, 1988
This was my best friend as a child…
Nintendo Gameboy, 1989
Although, at the time, nothing could surpass the monstro power of the NEO-GEO!
SNK Neo-Geo, 1990
When Nintendo was great! (Troll 😉 )
Super Nintendo, 1990
超级任天堂 : chāojí rèntiāntáng = Super Nintendo/famicon or for short 超任 : Chāo rèn
What is this newcomer’s name in Chinese? 索尼 :Suǒní = Sony!
Sony Playstation, 1994
索尼 : Suǒní = Sony
索尼游戏机 = Suǒní yóuxì jī : Sony Playstation
Sega Saturn, 1994
世嘉土星 : Shìjiā tǔxīng = Sega Saturn
Did you know that Zelda Ocarina of Time on the N64 was the best game ever ?
Nintendo 64, 1996
任天堂64 : rèntiāntáng 64 = Nintendo 64
The Dreamcast was clearly a good game console!
Sega Dreamcast, 1998
With for example Tenchu, this game was great. Sega should never have stopped making game consoles…
But you know the Playstation 2 was there to knock down Sega!
Playstation 2, 2000
I liked to transport the Gamecube to play with Friends. 4 game controllers were supported natively!
Nintendo Gamecube, 2001
I’ll finish this tour with the Xbox by Microsoft.
Microsoft Xbox, 2001
微软 : Wēiruǎn = Microsoft
That way, we’ll have covered all the main video gaming manufacturers (PCs aside!) in this historical tour.
The video game console market today
Currently, competitive newcomers in the the Console Market are rare and the market remains dominated by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. However, with the rise of mobile gaming, Android and the iPhone, the market is moving. I hope this renewed competition will make even more good games for our pleasure!
Have fun playing video game in Chinese!
The Nincha Team