Language Selection in Video Games

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I like supporting multiple languages in my video game projects. Usually, I’m focused on English and Esperanto, since that’s what I speak, but there’s no reason other languages can’t be supported.

Usually on websites, I see flags used to represent language options – as an English speaker, the flag is usually either the U.S. flag or the Union Jack. Seeing either doesn’t really bug me; extra “u”s and “s”es where us Americans have “z”s. But, I can only speak for how I feel about this individually, for myself.

For other languages and countries, I have no idea how representing a language with a specific flag might come across. To support Portuguese, if I’m hiring someone from Brazil, do we use their flag? What country for Spanish? Or Arabic? Or Mandarin?

With a website, who cares if you have a list of text to select from, with the language’s name being written in the target language. With a game, how do we make a language select screen beautiful without cute flag icons? I do see flags used quite often in video games, like if you pick up a game from Europe, but honestly it might not be appropriate.

There is a good article on Flags are not Languages with ideas for how to present language options.The best option at the moment seems to just be to list out the languages with text.languageselect

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