Feeding the Alien

The 'verse' that follows is something I wrote a few years ago. Please read it carefully.

I haven't fed the Alien yet,
It's mewling and dribbling and carrying on,
Like a goldfish in a basket.

I've only just got it, no manual of course,
And the damn thing won't let me touch it,
Let alone pet it, let alone feed it.

At least it's warm and has comfort,
I've swaddled it and coddled it, and treated it good,
But I still don't know what it calls food.

And it mewls and it whimpers, I'm driven insane,
I've been back to the pet shop again,
"It's a rash", they said, "It'll go away".

I cured the rash by removing the blanket,
The spikes were puncturing the shell,
It still mewls, but it's stopped whimpering.

I still haven't fed it, I can't find the glurt,
But we sewed up the holes in the brain,
It stopped mewling! Oh Bliss!

It doesn't move around as much any more,
So I took a good look and it's different!
Its Chumnay is so inefficient...

We opened the chumnay a bit and it leaked,
So we knew we were on the right track,
Now we could pick it up, and place it

In the Grod, for feeding; we waited,
And sure, the leaking continued, we almost celebrated,
But the Alien didn't toover.

I'm looking at it now, it's not happy,
Its leaking far more than it should,
And it's threshing. I don't think it's going to toover.

But what's this? The leaking has stopped and the alien's still,
So we put the gazbach in the chumnay, quickly!
The Alien's FED! We said, with glee!

It hasn't moved since, and it's starting to smell,
Maybe we made a mistake.
No Matter, we'll eat it.

(By and © Draggie. This work is reprinted here for your enjoyment under the strict condition it will not be copied)

It was written from the viewpoint of another race to whom we humans were novel pets, but you're in very good company if that angle didn't occur to you. Read it again with that in mind; I'll just sit here for a bit and wait until you're ready to go on...

It's not something I have to think about much, but then I'm your average English-Speaking Westerner - one of the blessed 'elite' around whom the world seems to revolve. I'd imagine the story would be somewhat different for our Eastern European and Asian friends who must constantly be translating not only words and phrases, but also possibly cultural differences.

Now to the point:

The Mass Market for Computer Games is undoubtedly predominantly what's known as the 'Western World', so it's not surprising that we end up with bastardised Cyrillic script in a game written about an Eastern European country by Westerners for Westerners; but there's the rub - is it for Westerners alone, or are there 'Aliens' out there living close to Novistrana who have computers and an interest in a game that simulates political upheaval - which may not be entirely unfamiliar territory to them?

To be truly 'global', there has to be a method found that gives more than a casual nod to the rest of the world, that goes beyond 'gibberish' (which cleverly sweeps linguistic differences under the carpet) and portrays Other Cultures more accurately and affords them the respect they deserve. Imagine 'Shogun' with English subtitles, maybe?

My verse above was deliberately 'Alienating', but computer games shouldn't require the player to assume a Western European view of the world to have fun...

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