Chinatown: Videogames versus reality

Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster

I'll be honest - until recently, I didn't even know this game existed. It doesn't seem to have much to do with stunts - you beat up dudes, and at the end of each level, you beat up a really tough dude. Pretty standard stuff... except that you're Jackie Chan. Anyhow, on to the main attraction - Chinatown!

Let's see... really dark (Chinatowns naturally obscure the sun - that's why they say "It's always nighttime in Chinatown." Actually no one says that, but I just did), neon sign, crate, knocked-out dude. Looks like Chinatown to me!

Above: This supposed photo from San Francisco's Chinatown is highly suspicious. No crates in sight, daylight... 'SHOPPED! (suspect photo by nicolelee - Flickr)

True Lies

The current governor of California knows his way around an Uzi or two, as seen in the True Lies (OMG oxymoron!) game.

Above: Lots of tiles and some statues of Buddha. Yep, Chinese.

Scooby Doo! Unmasked

Oh Scooby, what trouble have you gotten into this time? What's that? You say there's an evil spirit in Chinatown named Zen Tuo? Better jump on some overhangs and replace the first letter of every word you say with an 'R'!


Above: "And I would have built EVEN MORE giant bowls and chopsticks if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Los Angeles' Chinatown is famous for its rich history and stunning neon  entryway. It's plaza was featured in the Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker film Rush Hour, which completely accurately portrayed its seedy, crime-ridden and not-at-all friendly streets. Here it appears in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines in all its glowy glory.

Above: Well, not all its glowy glory. When the trend is to emphasize the neon madness of Chinatown, Bloodlines somehow manages to downplay it. Huh. (Photo by cgkinla - Flickr)


Because it absolutely must subvert everything and be as snarky as possible, Madworld has no mention of this "Chinatown" thing - instead it features Asiantown. Oh golly, you guys.

Above: Why limit your district to just one nationality or race?

Above: Well, it's dark, neon signs are present, and there are some giant souvenir fans. Seems about right.

San Francisco Rush

San Francisco Rush features another suspicious Chinatown, a shortcut on the EXTREME course. Look how inviting it is! Cultural landmark, sure, but where's the seedy underbelly of society?

Above: Highly inaccurate, despite looking quite similar to the photo below...

(Photo by areta - Flickr)

Many of us in the US office live in San Francisco, and we can tell you from experience - this may look like an inviting, culturally-rich district, but beneath the inexpensive (and delicious) food, piles of Golden Gate Bridge snow globes, stacks of imported DVDs, and various churches, temples, and community outreach programs, this is a haven for organized crime, brothels, and obnoxious neon lights. Really! (Not really.)

A Chinatown replica has appeared in far more games than just these...  have another great example? Post it in the comments, that's what they're there for.

Mar 17, 2009

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  • Ravenbom - March 19, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    Real Life Side Note: Don't eat anywhere in the LA Chinatown. You're better off going to Panda Express. The San Francisco Chinatown has much better food. (Some of the best I've ever had, in fact) I've lived in LA 10 years and I've had better Chinese food in Alaska than I have here.
  • JoeMasturbaby - March 18, 2009 9:13 p.m.

    no tony hawk's proskater?? that was an awful chinatown, so bad it deserves a mention.
  • oryandymackie - March 18, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    "babo_u_da", I thought that at first when I saw the "latest article" box, but this isn't about the GTA game, it's just a stereotype in literally every game out there
  • babo_u_da - March 18, 2009 2:13 a.m.

    @TylerWilde: well that makes much more sense now, thx for explaining
  • MoChilla - March 18, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    yeah cracka, woozy and the casino
  • mastereper - March 18, 2009 1:11 a.m.

    I like Call of duty s Chinatown alot, I thinks its cool facing off against some friends in an urban envirorment, also I believe more urban maps should be created for the upcoming call of duty (if there is one).
  • cracker33 - March 17, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    What about Grand Theft Auto San Andreas? It had a Chinatown area.
  • xFnKxTaLeNtx - March 17, 2009 11:15 p.m.

    good article seems that game china towns are just as unsafe as the real ones
  • ToughGuy - March 17, 2009 11:12 p.m.

    Although completely irrelevant, I thought that Call of Duty, did a good job recreating Chinatown, but what do I know?
  • babo_u_da - March 17, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    i wonder why a ds game is a 360 feature?
  • Defguru7777 - March 21, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    I LOLed at the Madworld Asiantown. That's what they called it in Family Guy.
  • MoonPig - March 19, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    "OMG! Oxymoron!" LOL, ROFL and, oh the hell with it, LOL!!!!
  • WonsAuto - March 19, 2009 5:10 p.m.

    I actually used to have Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster. I enjoyed it back then, I loved using giant, stiff fish as weapons, lol.
  • noobeater - March 18, 2009 8:35 p.m.

    True Lies = Great film but never knew there was game based on it loled at the oxymoron thing good article tho i too am left wandering why GTA wasnt mentioned oh and lol at the chuck noris reference
  • Monkey - March 18, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    WTF Batman?
  • the_real_fluke - March 18, 2009 8:32 a.m.

    I can't believe that GTA is unrepresented here
  • FistfulofPelican - March 18, 2009 8:29 a.m.

    Wasn't there a Chinatown level in Gex? Surely that's less obscure than Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster. Still, I can't fault an article for not having enough Gex.
  • TrIp13G - March 18, 2009 3:46 a.m.

    No One Lives Forever 2 had a whole level in kind of a Japanese village, however it could've been mistaken for a Chinatown in certain aspects. Except for the dirt roads. And the abodes. And the Ninja-Ladies. Alright, maybe it's not the best example, but damn it, at least I tried.
  • understudybass - March 18, 2009 1:45 a.m.

    the CoD map is just a remake of Carentan from CoD 2 for anyone who's interested.
  • NAVI310 - March 18, 2009 12:02 a.m.

    yea wat about like every GTA

Showing 1-20 of 25 comments

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