The greatest hit in Russia is a prodigy in the West: what is the difference between our and the western gamer

An amazing thing: our gamers often love completely different games that have sunk into the souls of their overseas counterparts. In this article we will tell you why this happened and what to do. Make yourself comfortable – it will be at least interesting.

Battle Toads and the Dark Queen
Let’s start with the most recent example. A little over a week ago, Microsoft released an updated version for Xbox One and PCBattletoads . If you go to Metacritic, it turns out that in the West, the new incarnation of “Battle Toads” was warmly received ( see our review here ) – the critics’ assessment stopped at 73 points out of 100 possible, gamers rated the project a little lower – by 6.4 points out of 10 available. The audience liked humor and self-irony, a good combat system and, in general, a rather topical story, which abundantly pours out equivocations at the prepared and not very well-trained audience.

However, in Russia the situation is the opposite. New toads were rolled into concrete, it seems, long before the release. They say that the drawing technique is terrible, and the characters are some kind of parody of themselves from the nineties. The retro triumvirate is indignant, while for ordinary gamers both Battletoads itself is deeply purple, and the noise raised around it by the adherents of the principle “it used to be better, and the sun is still a lantern”.

The most interesting thing is that such a stratification of opinions between domestic and foreign gamers is quite understandable historically. The fact is that in the West, the Battletoads series was never considered a cult. The very first game for 8-bit Nintendo, for example, was remembered by gamers from the USA and Europe, first of all, for its hellish complexity and incomprehensible structure. Moreover, if you open the English-language reviews of the new toads, you can find passages something like the following: “Let’s face it – Battletoads has never been a good game.”

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Of course, Toads is not limited to just one game. There was also a crossover in their history withDouble Dragon , and even a Super Nintendo version. But that’s the trick: we know all these games “by the teeth” – for the rest of the world, this page of Rare’s creativity has gone tangentially. Donkey Kong and other projects of the company are more appreciated there. Surprisingly, this is not the only example where the tastes of Western audiences differ so much from ours.

Every Russian schoolchild, whose childhood was in the second half of the nineties – the beginning of the zero, knows perfectly well a series of wonderful Disney games for Nintendo’s 8-cue ball. We played avidly in two parts of Chip & Dale, tried to overcome all the levels of “Black Cloak” and flirted to holes in the Duck Tales dilogy. At the same time, in the United States, a good half of these games went unnoticed. For example, people in North America know almost nothing aboutDuck Tales 2, а Darkwing Duck is just a lazy reskin for themMega Man . The reasons, again, are historical: we played Dendy after the fact and did not distinguish between the classic releases for this console and those that came out at the end of the platform’s life cycle – in the years when the 16-bit Super Nintendo was already storming the US and Canada shelves.

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As a result, completely different games have shaped our gaming worldview. There was prizedMetroid, Castlevania, Mega Man и The Legend of Zelda . In our country, more and more people were stuck in Duck Tales, and of course they also played in Contra – this series was one of the few that managed to achieve popularity both “there” and “here”.

Princess in another castle
For similar reasons, most of our gamers do not appreciate Nintendo video games. If the rest of the world is crazy about the mere mention of Princess Zelda, then our gamers only wrinkle their nose contemptuously. Sometimes it gets ridiculous. In Russia and the CIS countries, many people still think that games about Mario are necessarily a story about how a princess finds herself in another castle.

Gentlemen, we have to disappoint you: the princess is not always in trouble. Sometimes, as in Super Princess Peach for Nintendo DS, she herself is able to weep out loud people to the offenders. As for the Italian plumber brothers, their adventures are often very different. There is the classic series of platformers New Super Mario Bros., modern three-dimensional platformers (see the Super Mario Odyssey review ), races (Mario Kart) and even a series of quite full-fledged RPGs represented by the Paper Mario cycle. In short, the image of a “typical haze” in Russia and 50% does not correspond to the harsh reality.

Roughly the same applies to the rest of the Nintendo franchises or released with the direct participation of “Big N”. Take Metroid, for example. In fact, the adventures of the galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran have spawned an entire genre that has long gone beyond the Metroid series itself. If you’ve ever played a trilogyArkham , then you should know: the mechanics of these games would not have been possible if Nintendo had not once invented its Metroid. So it goes.

Pripyat, sea, boarding
What are we all about western tastes? Let’s move on to something more familiar and familiar. You will probably be surprised, but almost all games developed in Russia and the CIS are popular in the West … rather moderately. Let’s take the Corsairs series as an example. At the beginning of the two thousandth, this Akella locomotive became a real cult in the Russian Federation. Discs with the first part were sold in some unrealistic editions, and the whole country was waiting for the continuation.

In Europe and the USA, they knew about the filibusters simulator, but it never became something significant for the English-speaking market. Moreover, on the eve of the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean” the second part of “Corsairs” was remade into a game based on the Disney blockbuster. And it is in this format that the Corsairs are best known outside the Russian Federation. The further fate of the series is unenviable. The third part was a failure on all fronts – the game was scolded even by the domestic “game magazine”, who at that time was very fond of singing praises to the Russian “killers” of Western hits. The sequels that followed did not win much love even among us – what can we say about Western countries.

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“Rage”, “Prince”, “Truckers”, “Space Rangers”, “Cossacks”, “Behind Enemy Lines”, Operation Silent Storm and other high-quality computer games have gone almost unnoticed in English-speaking countries. Many of these games were honestly localized for the foreign market, but they failed to arouse interest. Perhaps one of the few exceptions wasHeroes of Might & Magic 5 , which was created by the Russian Nival. But here the role was played by the franchise itself – “Heroes” are loved all over the world.

And today the situation has hardly changed. As an illustration, let’s take a relatively recentMetro Exodus (read more about the game in our review ). An excellent action movie, a real AAA hit, created by the Ukrainian studio 4A Games. The game garnered good press (82 on Metacritic), but even on PC – the project’s target market – barely sold. To date, the total circulation of the computer version in the digital segment has barely exceeded 700 thousand copies. And this, according to the developers themselves, is the “fattest” segment of sales – the situation on consoles is even worse. By the way,STALKER , despite an impressive 82 points from journalists, is known in the West no more than Metro. Niche hit. But in Russia, phrases from this game were scattered into quotes fourteen years ago.

The roads of Inos
However, not only domestic hits became popular with us and vegetated in obscurity in the West. Sometimes foreign projects also found themselves in the same situation. A great example is the Gothic series by the German studio Piranha Bytes. The ambitious open-world Action / RPG shot in its homeland and became insanely popular in Russian-speaking countries, but at the same time it managed to pass by the vast majority of Western European gamers.

Ask an Englishman, American or Frenchman what RPG from the early 2000s he can call a cult, and you will almost certainly hear a standard set of answers: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Deus Ex . Believe me, “Gothic” can be added to this list only if the author spent his two thousandths in the homeland of Goethe or Pushkin.

At the same time, it is important to understand that the “Gothic” itself was known – the game was translated into English, the press wrote about it. It’s just that no one seriously considered the work of Pyranha Bytes as competitors of the first line RPG. In the case of the Risen cycle, the situation is no better – we know, we know, but put on a par with hits? No, thank you. And it is all the more interesting that in Russia the work of the Germans has always been appreciated. As well as appreciated such series asSacred andDivinity , which in the USA are classified as “some kind of game, but interesting.”

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But what was definitely not appreciated was the mega-popular Halo series. In the west, the adventures of Mr. Chief are a superhit – in Russia, the Bungie pearl has always been treated with light irony. They say that the weapon is some kind of “plastic”, and the enemies are not enemies, but weirdos. However, this is a somewhat borderline example. After Microsoft finally began to port all parts of the series normally withinThe Master Chief Collection , (our review atRead Halo: Reach here ) the mood of the audience gradually began to change. Miracles in the sieve, don’t you think?

The main reason is you
Not really. Russian gamers have lived in isolation from world pop culture for too long. While foreign fans of electronic entertainment destroyed Dracula in his own castle, the Russians listened to glasnost on TV and caught eggs in “Just You Wait.” As a result, electronic entertainment penetrated into the countries of the former socialist bloc in uneven waves, which in fact led to such a large-scale difference in perception.

We didn’t grow up playing the games that the Americans and the British were brought up on. Moreover, some of them (thanks to the pirates) practically did not get into the newly created Russian Federation – for example, The Legend of Zelda or Metroid. The consequence of all this was what we have now. “Truckers” / Battletoads / Gothic (underline what you need) is a game for real men, a hit for all time, and “Mario” is for children.


Fortunately, the situation is gradually changing. In Russia, more and more gamers are interested in Nintendo products, and in the West, games about Sherlock Holmes from Ukrainians from Frogware are selling quite well. Of course, we will hardly ever achieve complete similarity, but the fact that the boundaries of perception are still blurring is a big plus for all fans of electronic entertainment. The teaser that made a splash in the WestSTALKER 2 won’t lie.

Especially for you Alihan Alihanrin!
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