I think it’s safe to say that video games are an international industry – Nintendo is based in Japan, Microsoft in the USA, Ubisoft is French and Rare is a U.K. based studio.

Despite this one thing was always generally national based – the available games. You went to Game to buy a brand new release and it would be the U.K. version. Want a second hand game? Visit CeX and you would find plenty of U.K. games.

I believe though that there is a change in progress. I am personally finding more and more international versions of games in second hand stores – both charity shops and even CeX.

For example, I have found in the last 6 months (all from charity shops minus Wing Island from CeX):

  • An Italian Wing Island for the Wii
  • A French World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions 2007
  • An Australian AFL 2005 (with bonus 100 years of Australian football DVD!) for PlayStation 2
  • An American Club Penguin for Nintendo DS
  • This is just some I have acquired (note: I have not included foreign games I bought at specialised gaming events or intentionally online e.g. off eBay)
An Australian AFL game I recently picked up from a charity shop for £1.50

These are just some foreign games I’ve ever found. Others I’ve found previously include 2 copies of High School Musical Making the Cut for the Nintendo DS from America, a German NHL for the PS2 and a French GameCube version of FIFA 06 (a sweet addition to my FIFA collection!)

I also know that I’m not the only one finding them in charity shops and CeX. I believe a fellow YouTuber, The Retro Bear (check my Recommended YouTuber page) as an example found a Dutch Alien game in CeX.

2 copies of High School Musical for the Nintendo DS. Both found in different charity shops within a couple of miles of each other around the same time

The question is why are they here in the U.K.?

Is it a result of a diminishing demand for imported games? Did people import them due to being foreign themselves? As a souvenir? As a quirky addition for a game collection? (Those last 2 would apply to me)

Some games I can fully understand, especially from far flung areas such as Japan and the US which never saw a European release, heck, I own a few Japanese exclusive games for that reason myself.

The ones I am confused about include my French FIFA given how common FIFA games are… All I can think of the reasons listed above.

Personally, I’m leaning towards people buying games from their home country and bringing them with them. Yes people may trade them in after buying them from CeX etc and realising they’re not English but that still doesn’t explain how they got here in the first place.

A French version of GoldenEye Rogue Agent again found image charity shop

This also raises another question: do these shops not pay attention when taking these games in? I can understand not realising that Australian and American games are as such as they’re in English but some such as the Goldeneye above clearly are not. Oh well, more for us collectors 😁

I can say though that as a fan of foreign and quirky collection items I am glad that they are over here and seemingly easy to find (I sincerely hope not too easy though otherwise they won’t be as quirky!). They create a nice diversification in my collection and have helped to improve my skills in French and German (Italian not so much…)

What are your thoughts? Have you noticed more foreign games in the U.K.? Or maybe even elsewhere in the world? Is it a global trend? Please let me know in the comments or my social media

Thank you for reading 😁