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SPECIAL #4

24 September 2005

This one should speak for itself.

School has started again, and this is good because we have a library there carrying Edge. And I had a backstash to read, so I happily borrowed a couple and began reading that delicious, authentic magazine. In the june issue was a column which wallowed in the decay of British culture inside videogames. And indeed, even the titles produced in the UK these days have their contemporary settings mostly based on American culture.

Not intending to diminish the genuine cry of that column, this sparked me to think about how my culture was represented in games. This, in turn, inspired me to a self-deprecating laugh. Dutch culture, in a game? A ridiculous notion.

First of all, there are only a handful of studios here. There has been some more initiative in the last years, with many companies being formed by alumni of our sparse gamedesigning schools, but it's still a small harvest. This of course says that there is little chance of games representing Dutch culture getting made. There have been a few attempts to call on the patriotic side of our country (historically a ridiculous notion as well) with such pathetic titles as 'A2 Racer' and 'AmsterDoom'. Which was a first person shooter that saw aliens taking over Amsterdam and Kofi Annan recruiting YOU to deal with it. There was also a game called Hooligan, about that dismal soccer violence, but once again, I look upon these titles with my share of shame. What a sad bunch.

Of course, would we want to have Dutch life represented in a game? At the moment, our culture is invaded by all sides. I don't mean this in a malign way, but it's simply an observation.The heavy immigration has brought dozens of new cultures into the mix, and as always, American brands and foodchains keep finding their way to our Delta-protected shores. Now, since we were one of those European foes that once tried to conquer the world in our hunger for expansion (bear in mind that the whole of America could have been speaking Dutch right now, had it not been for our stupidity in selling New York to the Brits), we've always been heavily influenced by foreign cultures. But surely, there is still some true Dutch culture around? Our history is a proud one, a shameful one, but an interesting one. But the most shameful event is that it is so overlooked.

But I shan't speak more. Maybe I should take up this cup. I may not be nationalistic, but I still love our history.

Roderick.