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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  • Cyberninja - March 17, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    great article and first,second,and thrid
  • RebornKusabi - March 17, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Fun fact- The China Town boss fight in Revenge of Shinobi WAS ABSOLUTELY a fight between you vs. Batman and Spider-Man. The game was re-released a year later after Sega obtained a licensing deal with Sega so they could legally have Spider-Man but the re-release took out Batman and made it to look like what is on that screen shot on this article. Aside from Wikipedia, I know about this because I got the original game through... certain means 4 years ago. I have already taken up too much time so I will just say that if that piques your interest, I would look into getting the original version of the game on Ebay or Amazon- aside from this cool fact, you also fight GODZILLA AS WELL! Good game :)
  • RebornKusabi - March 17, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    Oh hey! The Wilde-Thing wrote this article, sweet! You write the most interesting articles on this site in my opinion. I'm not saying this because you sent a friend request to me but I have been on this site for 2 years now and your articles are actually very interesting (In a good way) to me. Love it man! Keep up the good work.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - March 17, 2009 9:59 p.m.

    @babo_u_da: Features that are not about one specific game are generally tagged to all platforms. This feature, for example, references games on several platforms - Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Wii, etc. - not just GTA: Chinatown Wars. @RebornKusabi: I was going to include a screen of Spiderman, but realized I was beginning to make half of the article about Revenge of Shinobi... there's just so much to talk about with that game. Also, my captcha was "by Norris." Chuck Norris just prevented spam.
  • Unoriginal - March 17, 2009 10:46 p.m.

    I pressed play on the Dead to Rights video. "Something smelled fishy, and it wasn't the sushi bar" I got couldn't make it farther than that. Ive never been in a Chinatown outside of video gaming, there arent many around where Im from:(
  • NAVI310 - March 18, 2009 12:02 a.m.

    yea wat about like every GTA
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • the_real_fluke - March 18, 2009 8:32 a.m.

    I can't believe that GTA is unrepresented here
  • Monkey - March 18, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    WTF Batman?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • MoonPig - March 19, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    "OMG! Oxymoron!" LOL, ROFL and, oh the hell with it, LOL!!!!
  • Defguru7777 - March 21, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    I LOLed at the Madworld Asiantown. That's what they called it in Family Guy.
  • babo_u_da - March 17, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    i wonder why a ds game is a 360 feature?
  • 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?
  • xFnKxTaLeNtx - March 17, 2009 11:15 p.m.

    good article seems that game china towns are just as unsafe as the real ones
  • cracker33 - March 17, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    What about Grand Theft Auto San Andreas? It had a Chinatown area.
  • 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).

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