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 bynicolelee- Flickr)

True Lies

The current governor of California knows his way around an Uzi or two, as seen in the True Lies (OMGoxymoron!) 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 saywith an 'R'!


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

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Los Angeles' Chinatown is famous for itsrich historyand stunningneon entryway.It's plaza wasfeatured in the Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker film Rush Hour, which completely accurately portrayed its seedy, crime-ridden and not-at-allfriendlystreets. 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 bycgkinla- 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:Whylimit 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 byareta- 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 replicahas appeared in far more games thanjust these...have another great example? Post it in the comments, that's what they're there for.

Mar 17, 2009

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Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer