When I play a game set in the USA (it’s just an example) I play it in its original form because if I don’t play it in its original version, there is a risk that the translator localized the game, meaning that he/she changed the topic of dialogues and texts to fit them better with non-US cultures.
Now, one of the reasons I play games strongly based on narrative is to extend my knowledge and to discover new things about different cultures. In Thimbleweed Park, for example, I didn’t get the joke of the “O-Ring” and I had to search for what this reference was about. When I discovered that this object was an implicit reference to the Challenger disaster, I understood the joke but I also learned something new about the US culture (the strong connection between that object and that event).
If you take a game set in the USA, containing references of US events and change them with references of events more popular in other cultures, it doesn’t make much sense to me. Sure, the new reference will be more understandable to people of a different country but it will make the game less coherent, because there is no reason for US characters to suddenly mention things about other countries, unless the story justifies it in some way.
What’s you opinion on localization? Does it feel it right to you to discard an original element that made sense in that specific setting only to make the game more suitable for people of different cultures?