Because most authors write about what they know, creators of fictional works tend to set stories in their home city/province/country, making for well developed, colorful settings. Even when the actual place names are disguised, they can still be identified as the author's home territory.
However, sometimes this happens even in contexts where such settings seem unlikely. In this case, lack of imagination or assuming ones audience is unreceptive to anything remotely foreign may play a role. Of course, this is often a case of global realism being sacrificed for local realism. It might seem unlikely for one place to be the focus of so much activity, but setting it in a place the author is familiar with can help to make the setting appear more full-bodied and believable. It can mean the difference between a realistic environment and The Theme Park Version.
Sometimes, one country actually is more significant than most other countries in certain contexts, but highly provincial writers and viewers may simply assume their country has contributed more than any other in every way, for example, believing that the West-European Theatre was more important than The East-European Theatre in World War II despite only involving 10-25% of the latter's troops and 10% of its deaths, etc., etc. The Throw-Away Country trope is what happens when such writers absolutely have to mention another country.
Please note that Tropes Are Not Bad if the alternative is everything happening in New York City, Tokyo, or London. It can also bring wide attention to parts of a country or the the world that were previously little known by most people. See also Cultural Posturing, Eagleland Osmosis, We All Live in America, and Hemisphere Bias. Compare and contrast Aliens in Cardiff.
See also Eiffel Tower Effect, where every other country is symbolized by a single building.
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Anime and Manga
In sentai and Magical Girl anime, it is seldom explained why the heroes all live in such a small area that they will all encounter each other, and why supernatural villains that attack civilians only do so in areas where the heroes will learn about it. In the most extreme examples, people from the Tokyo area proper are not treated as having a Regional Accent unless the story intentionally takes place elsewhere in the country.
This is partly because the greater Tokyo metro area, encompassing much of the Kanto plains and containing all the bedroom communities from where people may commute to work in Tokyo proper, has over one quarter of Japan's total population. The New York Metropolitan Area has an estimated population of about 18-21 million persons, which only represents about 6-7% of the US' total population. And these stories do leave Tokyo - though they generally don't leave Japan.
Also, the Tokyo Dialect is used as a nation-wide standard for things like formal, "accentless" speaking and teaching. You could view it as the accents of people in other regions are being illustrated as diverging from the Tokyo Standard norm.
Sailor Moon is especially guilty of this with the only time it was justified was in the second half of season 2 as the villains were from the future and were trying to alter Tokyo. It gets pretty ridiculous in later seasons when the villains are looking for a particular object inside of humans and somehow never decide to target people outside of Tokyo.
Bleach: The afterlife is Edo Japan with ghosts. Although there are indications that the shinigami and quincies cover the whole world in their fight against hollows, everything centres around Japan. Even characters that seem to be from other countries all behave like Japanese characters and are based in either Japan or the Japanese afterlife. In fact, despite the hints that hollows affect the entire world, there are no hints at all that the afterlife is anything but Japanese.
That said, Quincies' equipment has a European style and the names of their powers are all German. Similarly Hollows are Spanish flavored.
Particularly ethnocentric publishers will publish foreign-made works for profit but attempt to erase most if not all of the obviously alien elements. This has happened quite a bit with Americanadaptations of anime.
Japanese manga or animated adaptations of many Western tales or novels normally avoids this for obvious reasons, but there's even some original Japanese stories when the whole plot take place in a foreign country, and sometimes, without Japanese characters that could help to empathize with the audience. This could be justified by the recent change in Japanese attitude towards foreign culture; rather than shunning it, many Japanese people openly embrace Western culture.
Candy Candy (takes place in the U.S. and England. No single Japanese character appears here)
Hellsing (takes place in England and some parts of Europe and the only named Japanese character that appears is a villain.)
Monster (takes place in Germany and the Czech Republic. The only Japanese character is the protagonist, and even then, he's a German citizen.)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (begins in Victorian England, only one part takes place wholly in Japan, and not a single protagonist is fully Japanese. The closest would be Jotaro Kujo and Josuke Higashikata, both being 1/2 Japanese.)
Gun Smith Cats (takes place in the U.S., althrough there's some Japanese characters out there, like Ken Takizawa)
Cyborg009 takes place at locations all over the world, and only one of the nine cyborgs is Japanese. The rest of the team is Russian, American (2), French, German, Chinese, British and African.
The anime of Haruhi Suzumiya is set in the author's hometown, Nishinomiya. Both the light novels and the anime describe the town in sufficient detail to make it obvious where it's set, but the animators turn this trope Up to Eleven by modeling every location in the anime after a real-life location in the town. Many fans have taken to trying to find the real-life counterparts to the anime locations, with a great deal of success.
Earth has, to date, had five well-known Green Lanterns - which is remarkable in itself, since Green Lanterns represent huge sectors of space, not individual planets - and all of them have been American males.
Although this is justified at least initially with Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner- Abin Sur had crashed in the US and told the ring to find the closest worthy person. He was in the US, so Hal and Guy were the two closest. Dennis O'Neil argued that the third Green Lantern, John Stewart, should be African-American on the grounds that it was extremely unlikely that out of the entire human race, the Green Lantern rings would choose two white American males in a row to represent Earth. Kilowog was an exception during his brief stay on Earth: he elected to move to the Soviet Union because his own civilization was closer to the communist way of thinking.
Every superpowered alien in the DC Universe- Superman, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, etc. - either chooses to live in the United States or ends up there by chance.
Superman: Red Son averts this: through a mere chance of fate, Kal-El lands not in rural Kansas but on a kolkhoz in Ukraine, and grows up to fight not for "truth, justice and the American Way", but "Stalin, socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact". While an interesting idea and attempt to explore and avert this trope, it also seems like it was simply an elaborate excuse to make a Stalin/"Man of Steel" pun.
The Martian Manhunter has lately been written as a world traveler with multiple superhero identities in several countries, probably in recognition of this very problem. Almost all of this, of course, takes place off-camera, but that's probably an artifact of Character Focus on the Justice League of America.
There's also the Justice League International, though it's still headquartered in New York City. The JLI explicitly invokes this trope. Doctor Light (a heroine from Japan) actually states at one point that it's a political necessity that the Justice League have a more diverse, multicultural membership, as the global community is more likely to be accommodating toward a team of superheroes that does not solely consist of white Americans.
There are also superhero teams outside the U.S., but they don't normally get their own series. For instance, there's the Great Ten in China. Or Japan's Super Young Team and Big Science Action.
The Silver Age had "Batmen of many nations", but all of them were inspired by the American Batman.
The 2007 Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! miniseries seems to assume that all of Earth-C's superheroes were in the United Species of America (Earth-C's United States of America), and thus subject to the American government's anti-superhero initiative (which included removing the non-Zoo Crew heroes' powers), with the President noting at one point that thanks to the law, there are "no other superheroes on Earth!" Apparently Cornada, Verminy, and Loondon (Earth-C's Canada, Germany, and London respectively, all places mentioned or shown in the original Zoo Crew series) were superhero-less... or that the other heroes simply moving to any of those places (and thus avoiding the law) wasn't an option...
Much worse in the Brightest Day event. Atrocitus uses his magic to divine the locations of the seven emotional entities. Two are captured by someone in Ysmault. The other five are in U.S. territory.
Marvel Comics is also guilty, as many of their heroes are based in New York. This has been Lampshaded. Even Wolverine, who is from Canada and will kill you if you insult it, spends most of his time in the US. When this character started to get popular, several attempts were made to retcon him into actually being American. Fortunately, none of these stuck.
One of their (once) most popular titles, Excalibur, followed the national super-team of the UK. The X-Men lived in Australia for several years, too, but Excalibur was created by writer Chris Claremont, who grew up in Britain, and British artist Alan Davis. And the team in its original form consisted of two Britons, two Americans and a German.
This was lampshaded during the Decimation event when Henry Peter Gyrich remarked how now that there're no mutants around any more the US wins the superpower race by default, since statistically, "happy accidents" (Like the Fantastic Four or The Incredible Hulk) and scientific progress (like Captain America) that leads to meta-humans being created happens more in the US than anywhere else in the world.
Another exception: Alpha Flight, but that was created by Canadian artist and writer John Byrne.
Yet another: The Runaways bases are in Southern California. In fact, besides Cloak & Dagger, none of the other heroes show up in the comic unless they're in New York themselves or they're being apprehended by The Avengers.
Both Marvel and DC actually do assume that there are superhumans living all over the globe - in fact, both have had crossovers or miniseries that existed simply to introduce a lot of global heroes who were treated as characters that had always been there, you just never saw them before - it's just brought up infrequently, so every now and then a completely unnecessary lampshade gets hung on it by a writer who doesn't realize that there are lots of characters they've never heard of and lots of writers before them who had the same idea.
Wolverine and the rest of the characters introduced in Giant Size X-Men #1 were intentionally designed to be a new group of mutants from around the world... they all just got recruited to go live in Westchester.
This was lampshaded another time during the Civil War arc: at the height of the conflict, the Canadian characters in Alpha Flight were basically making fun of all the angst going on amongst the American superheroes concerning the Registration Act by pointing out that other nations (including Canada) had something equivalent in place for years without having had either opponents or supporters go as insane over the issue as the Americans currently were.
Banshee is even a member of "Mutants Without Borders", a charity organization that helps mutants in the third world.
This whole situation was lampshaded in Mighty Avengers. The Blue Marvel is a black superhero from America who divides his time between the Avengers and helping out various other superheros across the globe, with the Running Gag being that whenever he mentions any of his non-American hero comrades, none of the Avengers have even the slightest idea of who the hell he is talking about.
The Squadron Supreme limited series takes place on an Earth suffering from near-total collapse, yet the entire story takes place in the United States. This is especially jarring given that much of the story focuses on how the Squadron's efforts are impacting the rights of individuals, yet the laws and traditions of different countries are never addressed.
Prominent * (it sticks out like a sore thumb) aversion in the case of Edward Gorey. Most of his illustrated novels were set in an ersatz Edwardian England or an ersatz Europe of that era. Gorey himself never visited England, and rarely traveled outside his home state of Massachusetts.
Though Gorey's books (which are books, not comics) do sometimes play this straight, as stories like "The Willowdale Handcar" and "The Iron Tonic" are in an ersatz Edwardian version of the US (the former featuring town names that are amusing parodies to New Englanders like those from Gorey's home state) and he devoted an entire book, "The Lavender Leotard", to very obscure in-jokes about his obsession, the New York City Ballet and George Ballanchine. (Gorey saw literally every performance for several seasons, and the book is basically observations that would only make sense to another NYCB balletomane.)
Averted in the Argentinian comic strip (and animated movie) Boogie El Aceitoso: Despise the author being Argentinian, the titular character, Boogie, is a racist, white American hitman who hate (and kills) black people and Hispanics for fun, and most of his stories take place in the United States, or in few cases, in Central America during the many wars that happened there in the 80s, but never in Argentina. Even the author himself lampshaded the fact many times in many interviews about the topic.
Played straight and averted by Mortadelo y Filemón: There are plenty of stories set in other countries or as world trips (Not that they're accurate or anything), but quite a few have evil criminals, aliens or whatever that just happen to hide/go to Spain for no real reason. Best example? Expediente J. The evil aliens send a few havoc-causing phlebotinum rocks to Spain (And accurately, around the area the main characters live at that) and when their leader appears at the end, he assumes that has caused ALL of humanity to be a mess. What?
Although Italian Disney artists occasionally point out that Duckburg is supposed to in North America, they tend to make the Disney characters take a particular interest in Italian history, Italian culture and Italian geography. Sometimes it's justified - You don't have to know much about tourism to realize that a restaurant with a view to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a good investment (although you have to wonder how a busy financial tycoon like Scrooge McDuck can find the time to run the place himself). But it seems weird that Scrooge and Rockerduck would drop everything to see who can be the first to build a bridge over the strait of Messina, Sicily. Or that Mickey Mouse's nephews argues obsessibly over who was Italy's best player in the soccer world championship 18 years ago.
Of course one of the major antagonists, Magica De Spell is an Italian. (though her creator is American)
The Beano is created by DC Thomson who are based in Dundee, Scotland, and their Scottish origins are often clear most notably in strips based around Scotland such as the Mc Tickles, Wee Ben Nevis and Red Rory of the Eagles.
Mexican comics tends to playing up with this tropea lot of times, since we can see some stories who take place in Mexico and others titles in other countries or outside Earth. Some notable examples:
Most of the stories in Fantômas (the Mexican version, not the French one) take place overseas and a few times in Mexico too. The fact the title character's nationality is unknown does help.
Kalimán, another Mexican comic, also take place worldwide along with Mexico sometimes. And the title character, Kalimán, hails from India and his young sidekick, Solin, is from Egypt.
The black-and-white comic, Samurai: John Barry averts this trope, since the whole series takes place in the Sengoku-era Japan (and sometimes in Europe) and all the characters are Japanese and Europeans, but we don't see a single Mexican character here.note Justified, due of the time period, since Mexico didn't exist as a country, but as an Spaniard colony in that era.
The highly-controversial comic, (in the U.S., at least) Memin Pinguin take place most of the time in Mexico, but some of the latter story arcs took place abroad, like in the United States and Africa.
Soul Keepers, another Mexican comic, also avoids this trope: While some stories of the comic take place in Mexico, the titular characters, the Soul Keepers, are not Mexicans.
7 Prisoners is a French comic that takes place in a prison on the moon, housing hundreds of thousands of prisoners from all over the world. Naturally, three of the eponymous prisoners are French (four if you count the artificial lifeform created by two of the Frenchmen). And of the three Frenchmen, two committed crimes so they could go to the prison and find something, meaning they're just about the only inmates who aren't career criminals. Just saying.
Gen 13 was Wildstorm's flagship title for pretty much all of its 18 years, so it should come as no surprise that the team was primarily based in La Jolla, California, where Wildstorm's offices were located. This changed a handful of times as the book went on (for instance, one arc had the group living in Tokyo, and on various occasions they've gone on the run with no set base of operations), but everything goes back to La Jolla sooner or later.
Belgian Comics: Many Belgian comics seem to take place in Brussels or a typical Flemish village.
A lot of fanfic writers will forget where book/movie/show/etc. is canonically set, placing it instead in their home country. See the 'Fanfiction' folder in we all live in the US for more.
Among its other alterations to canon, Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami immediately establishes the story as being in the US rather than in Japan when Light notices that a car cannot be American because it does not have the wheel on the same side.
This fic looks at the reasons for this trope's use in the the Michael Bay Transformers films, by asking why there are differences at all. "White American male" is seen as the dominant subculture, but in this case it's still a conscious choice—and, sadly, probably the right one, because it's the one that most people are subconsciously more likely to accept.
Most Neighbours fanfics are set in the fictional suburb of Melbourne that the show itself is set in. Jack Rudd's fic When Winter Shows Her Hand is set in the mostly obscure English town of Yeovil. Guess which town Jack Rudd grew up in.
My Immortal does this constantly. For starters, Hot Topic doesn't even have a branch in the UK, or at the very least never calls that branch "Hot Topic". Every band mentioned is very American, and it is considered notable that Harry/Vampire has an English accent (not even bothering to tell us what kind of English accent). The entire "prep" subculture is American, the closest UK equivalent to "preps" being "sloanes", more or less. Of course, there's also the fact that the timescale is messed up too.
In Independence Day, it's the Americans who first detect the aliens, figure out how to beat them and organize a counteroffensive. Other countries got a little rankled from a scene in which a British military officer receives a message from the US and says, "It's about bloody time," which many viewers took to meaning that other countries were just sitting around waiting for the US to take the lead. The infamous presidential speech where the American president says that the Fourth of July will be become a universal day of independence, rather than solely the American one, also irks many people outside the USA. Film director Roland Emmerich intended the speech as a call to universal brotherhood, but to many non-Americans it sounds more like a call for Americanization.
90% of all Godzilla (and Godzilla-related) movies takes place in Japan, (sole exceptions being Godzilla Final Wars and Destroy All Monsters, and of course the American remakes of 1998 and 2014) making giant monsters look less like a "World Problem" and more of a "Japanese Problem". We never have any idea if giant monsters are a problem elsewhere in the world, nor do we EVER get an "in-universe" reason why Japan is so plagued by Giant Monsters.
This is Lampshaded in the TV show Kanpai! Senshi After V. The Yellow Warrior angrily points out that Kaiju monsters are supposedly a massive threat to the entire world, and yet they only ever seem to attack Japan. The Pink Warrior then asks why monsters never seem to attack America, which is much larger than Japan and is also a global superpower.
Played straight and lampshaded in District 9. One of the talking-heads in the Mockumentary section specifically says when aliens landed on Earth, they 'did not land in New York' as they do in most Hollywood blockbusters. Instead they land in South Africa, the country of origin for most of the cast and crew.
In Hustle And Flow, the phrase "Fuck with me" is used not to mean "Mess around" or "be a jerk to", but a colloquial "hear out my business proposition", which is only interpreted as such in Memphis, according to director Craig Brewer.
Almost all of Woody Allen's films take place in New York or feature New Yorkers.
Writer/director Shane Meadows sets almost all of his films in The Midlands of England, where he is from.
The Farrelly brothers frequently set their films in Rhode Island (where they grew up) or elsewhere in New England.
Practically all of John Hughes's movies are set in Illinois, typically either in Chicago, or in a fictional city or suburb damn close to Chicago.
Saving Private Ryan: All action and suffering is seen and experienced through the eyes of American soldiers. Other Allied troops are hardly mentioned at all, left alone the local Europeans, who suffered equally much and a lot longer throughout the Nazi occupation.
In K.A. Applegate's Animorphs, it's not really made clear what's going on outside the States during the entirety of the war. We know that at least one major head of state outside the U.S. is a Controller (the President of the U.S. isn't though), but except for, like, four missions outside the country, the kids mostly ignore everything beyond U.S. borders. Or more than a day's journey from their home town, for that matter.
One of the oldest ones in the book - H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. With a whole planet to invade, the Martians pick north London. Mostly justified, as it was the capital of the world's biggest superpower of the time. Wells, however, freely enjoys letting the Martians destroy specific places where he spent an unhappy childhood.
Stephen King sets the majority of his stories in his native Maine (see Lovecraft Country). And when he started spending part of the year in Florida, he started setting some of his stories there. Several books were set in or around Boulder, Colorado, when he lived in Colorado for a while. And all of them are set in the U.S. (except the ones set in fantasy worlds) and his entire body of work has only three notable non-American characters, the British-born Richard Straker in 'Salem's Lot, the English Nick Hopewell in The Langoliers and the German Kurt Dussander in Apt Pupil (the latter is because a Nazi concentration camp commander can't be American).
Bag of Bones seems almost Genre Savvy - it starts out by pretending it's going to be set in New York, but then the main character moves to Maine.
Even the books set in fantasy worlds are strongly implied if not outright stated to actually be set in the parallel world versions of the United States.
A memorable quote from The Butcher Boy: "It'd be a sad day for this town if the world ended."
Narnia proper has a lot of English culture (possibly due to the first King and Queen of Narnia being a London cabbie and his wife), even among the Talking Animals, and English food - even animals that should be vegetarian will cook and eat fish or bacon. C. S. Lewis also depicts Middle Eastern food in Calormen. He makes it clear that the homesick Narnians think it's distasteful foreign muck - or at least gives the impression of being nothing but dessert courses - but points out that "You might not have liked it, but Shasta did." Shasta grew up in Calormen. The books were written before Middle Eastern food became popular in the UK.
The Dragaera books, the Eastern Kingdoms are heavily based on Hungary. Author Steven Brust has Hungarian ancestry.
In Deathly Hallows, Voldemort conquers all of wizarding Britain, which is essentially treated as though it were the same thing as conquering the whole world. Not to mention the fact that throughout the series Voldemort fights a war to Take Over the World in which practically everyone on both sides is British (a few foreign wizards on Voldemort's side notwithstanding). Australia is assumed to be safe, since Hermione sent her parents there. We can only guess whether Britain is the wizarding world's superpower and/or still rules over the Wizarding British Empire, or Voldemort taking over Britain is a prelude to a bid for World Domination, or that the only reason it's bad is because the heroes live in Britain.
Also, the vast majority of creatures in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are native to the British Isles, and some are specifically described as unique to a particular county, isle, or forest. Meanwhile, beasts native to other continents are seldom given a more specific home range than "China", "Peru", or even "Africa". Possibly an in-character example, if Rowling deliberately imposed this trope on Newt Scamander. The foreword explains that the list in the book is not comprehensive, and Scamander is writing for British wizards, so it's reasonable for him to show provincialism in this case.
Quidditch Through the Ages notes that there are dozens of teams from other places such as the US and South America and these wizards are never referenced in the books ever. Apparently during the whole series they decided it wasn't really that important to butt in. And not to mention Goblet of Fire introduces two other wizarding schools in France and Bulgaria with equal prestige to Hogwarts and they only receive minor references in the rest of the series.
Also somewhat Lampshaded in Goblet, when Harry realizes how stupid he was for not realizing there must be wizards in other countries too.
Before Voldemort, the dark wizard Grindlewald was incredibly feared. His influence didn't seem to have reached England though, and the most impact his reign seemed to have was his defeat being a bit of trivia on the back of Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card. It's inverted in the seventh book, where Krum's reaction to Grindlewald's sign (actually the symbol of the Deathly Hallows) indicate that wizards in his home country still remember all too well the damage done by Grindlewald, to the point where students who draw the symbol on walls as a joke tend to get beat up by the descendents of Grindlewald's victims.
The Discworld is vast and large, but Terry Pratchett's British outlook is comes through very clearly. Fantasy Counterpart Cultures are depicted based on British attitudes to their real-world inspirations.
Used in-universe in the Ciaphas Cain novels. The editor of Cain's memoirs has to insert text from other works to give the readers the big picture, often lamenting on how Cain always focuses only on events affecting himself.
Robert A. Heinlein was so terrified of doing this that he only set his novels in places that he had personally visited, or were completely made up. He did write a bit about Mars, but his depictions thereof probably fall into the last category.
In the illustrated children's books Barbapapa, when the titular character returns from a space travel looking for a partner, we are shown Europe with only one point of reference: the Eiffel Tower. Three guesses where the author lived...
Harry: All my stuff is there.
In The Dark Is Rising everything important in the grand struggle for world dominion between good and evil apparently occurs in Great Britain (Ireland doesn't even come into it), specifically in three tiny villages in Cornwall, Buckinghamshire and Wales; even Scotland is only mentioned in two sentences over a five book series. The U.S. is totally irrelevant except that (1) one of the main characters has an uncle who emigrated there and (2) the U.S. sends backs its share of magically clueless tourists to the U.K. (represented by the aforementioned uncle's American wife). Lastly, while there are Old Ones (the race of magical servants of the Light/good wizards) all over the world, the ones in countries other than the U.K. don't do anything except show up as part of a crowd in visions that our British Old One hero occasionally has, and one Jamaican Old One posts a magical MacGuffin back to our hero in England. Rome is mentioned, but only in relation to the Roman invasion of Britain, and India is only relevant because there's one scene in the last novel where one of the heroes defends a British Indian child (the son of immigrant parents) from some bullies.
The most commonly used flume on the Earth territories in The Pendragon Adventure is in The Bronx, a quick drive away from the main character's hometown of Stony Brook, New York. The other was created during the series, and it is in Stony Brook, itself. The author, D.J. MacHale, was born there. This is later justified in the tenth book. Saint Dane created the flumes, and the Travelers were created in order to combat him. It made sense to put them in places were they had easy access to a flume.
The works of Robert Rankin see myriad supernatural disasters threaten the world, most of which are centred on the London borough of Brentford, also notable as the area in which one Robert Rankin spent his childhood.
Night Watch is a lot like the Harry Potter series. While magical persons are not restricted to the author's homeland (in this case Russia), everything important happens there, and while Geser and Zabulon are literally only the heads of the Light and Dark Others of Moscow, in practice, they function as the leaders of Light and Darkness in general. Finally, there is a certain amount of focus on Central Asia, which is the author's birthplace.
...in a completely different part of Central Asia. As in, in another country (Central Asia being a rather big place). While first book might be reasonably accused of this trope, sequels are much more cosmopolitan, happening all over the place and even outside the Earth at one time.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, despite revolving around Greek gods, is set in the modern US. Justified in the first book, where Percy is told that the Greek gods relocate to whoever happens to be the current Western powerhouse at the moment. And the new series, The Heroes of Olympus, will take the characters back to Greece and Rome. Furthermore, in the new series, there is a Chinese Canadian main character (complete with an exceedingly rare tip of the hat to Canada's military) a book cover set against the Quebec City skyline and a climactic moment in British Columbia.
The Dresden Files may seem to suffer from this; for the first six books of the series or so, it seems like Chicago is the site of all the supernatural threats and disasters in the country, and every major supernatural power in the world has a vacation home or bunker there. Then the seventh book reveals that Harry and the reader was almost completely oblivious to a major Secret War (that started in Chicago, but anyways...) and some very important action has been happening on other continents. Additionally, the strongest of factions are noted for having a presence everywhere, Chicago simply being the place that Harry Dresden has "jurisdiction" over, and Harry ends up leaving the area for important, climactic battles at least a couple times in later books. Also, it's explicitly noted in the books that Chicago (and the Lake Michigan area generally) are supernaturally unusual, the area is thick with ley-lines and strange things that were present from time immemorial, and furthermore, the role of Chicago as a global 'cross-roads' as amplified the effect.
Ironically, series creator Jim Butcher never visited Chicago until he finished the first book. He lives in a suburb of Kansas City.
A subtle example: The Marid Audran novels by George Alec Effinger are cyberpunk books with an unusual Arabic setting; most of the action takes place in the Levant. However, the books' main metropolis, the Budayeen, and its inhabitants, are patterned after the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Effinger lived. It's particularly clear in the characters' dialect, which will be familiar to New Orleanians or fans of A Confederacy of Dunces.
Skulduggery Pleasant takes place in Ireland. Mostly around Dublin. It is apparently the "birthplace" of magic, and impliedly has more magical artifacts, happenings, and general weird stuff happening than any place else on Earth. Many nations would like to gain control of it, with the US usually mentioned.
The Nuala Anne Mc Grail novels start in Ireland (Nuala is a somewhat psychic woman from there, by ancestry) and move to Chicago. They were written by an Irish-American priest who lives in Chicago.
Began to be averted later in the series when the connection to "Mundania" has shifted variously to Korea and Italy (notably during the Punic Wars). It's still usually Florida, though.
All of the central characters of the Mediochre Q Seth Series live in Edinburgh, Scotland (although, interestingly, none of them have lived there all their life). The author is Scottish and grew up in Edinburgh. Lampshaded in the About the Author section of the first book.
1066 and All That is a history of England, of course, but it goes so far as to say that Indian History began in the 18th century, and that the American Revolution (led by Dick Whittington) "prevented America from having any more History."
Most of Meg Cabot's books either take place in New York, where she lives, or Indiana, where she grew up.
Most of the House of Night series takes place in Tulsa, which is where the authors live. This becomes a bit silly when it's implied in one book that of all the House of Nights all around the world, including various famous historic sites in Europe, Aphrodite's socially-conscious ladder-climbing parents consider it far more prestigious for her to attend the House of Night in Tulsa.
In a broader sense, probably at least half of the American TV shows set in identifiable locations are either set in New York (generally New York City) or California (usually LA). Granted that these are major cities, but they contain less than 10% of the US population.
In Doctor Who, Britain and parts thereof are generally the centre of the universe—particularly London and The Midlands. In the classic series, there were just six stories set in North America or Asia. An Egyptian themed 4th Doctor story still took place in the UK.
Even the Doctor's noticing it. "Voyage of the Damned" features him wincing when he discovers where the ship may end up crashing: Buckingham Palace. And as the climax of "Journey's End" has, his reaction to Earth being the last planet sent—and the one that didn't get sent back with the other easier alien planet-theft device—was 'Guess which one it is?'.
Space travel is overwhelmingly British in Doctor Who. One of the few exceptions is "The Waters of Mars": the base is a realistic mix of nationalities, with the majority being American, but also including a Pakistani, a German, and a Australian...and, naturally, one of the few British residents is the commander.
The resident Badass Crew UNIT is, despite supposedly being an international coalition, seemingly 95% British. Might this be a case of episodes being set in Britain, in the US 95% of UNIT might be American.
Since the growth of the show's popularity in America, more episodes have been set there to pander to that base. However, almost all of the cast has still been British.
Out of the shows set in the U.S., most of them are in the sort of places you would expect from Small Reference Pools: New York City, Washington, and The Wild West. And then there was an episode as well as an entire season revolving around events that happened in Utah (a place rarely mentioned on American TV shows).
Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown, companion to the Fifth and Sixth Doctors, was an eighteen year-old American botany student holidaying (vacationing) in Lanzarote with her step-father. She was played by British actress Nicola Bryant, and her lack of American experience would have her use words such as "lift" instead of "elevator". A clear case of Fake Nationality.
Lampshaded and justified in the Doctor Who Magazine short story "Useless Things", which explains that standard operating procedure for alien invasions is to start out in a rural area on a small island, move to the capital once you've established a beachhead, and then move on to countries that take up a sizable proportion of the globe from there.
Lampshaded in Stargate SG-1. When the US finally decides to let the wider world in on what's been going on, many of the other world leaders are incredulous at America's arrogance in taking unilateral action that affects the entire world. And when the Air Force suggests that a multi-national Stargate effort should be headed by America, most of them balk outright.
The US isn't the only country mentioned, international cooperation is a concern and characters object to Stargate Command's America Saves the Day mentality... but on the show, the US is still in charge. Canada is a nearly silent partner just because they're in NORAD and the SGC shares its base with NORAD, but they're never shown in any leadership role. Russia involved itself in interstellar travel and usually is as effective as a Red Shirt Army. Both the civilian and military leaders of the international expedition to Atlantis are Americans.
Canada's representative in NORAD was a minor character (he was present for a few pages) in the SG-1 novel First Amendment. The few things he says about Canada are completely wrong, reflecting the author's lack of knowledge.
For added fun, note that the show is filmed in Vancouver.
In Star Trek, the warp drive, the semi-sentient computer, and the transporter were all invented by Americans. This is rarely mentioned directly in the series; racist and nationalist attitudes are artifacts of the past—and often ridiculed—by the time of the original series, let alone The Next Generation and beyond. But in Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place a good hundred years before the original series (and was made more recently, in a less idealistic time), Reed, who is British, laments that if some of those discoveries had been made by Brits, Earth probably wouldn't be held in check by the Vulcans as much as they are. Trip, the nice Southern engineer, claims that Americans have done most of the heavy lifting regarding technology, a common, if inaccurate, American conceit.
Which is ironic, as the character of Scotty was made...Scottish....precisely because of the reputation Scots had at the time as inventors and engineers.
It should be noted that at least one Enterprise executive was influenced by a series of essays by Sal Lagonia that suggested the Federation was likely formed from the victorious powers from WW 3 - I.E. The Americans and English, and therefore the Anglo-Amercancentrism may have been intentional.
Star Trek: Enterprise's title sequence is biased towards American space and aviation achievements. The Russians (or even the German V2 rocket and the British jet engine for that matter) seem to have been ignored. One interviewer took the question to the show's story editor, which explains everything about why this happened:
Trek Brasilis: Talking about NASA, don't you think some scenes like Yuri Gagarin, Mir Space Station or Sputnik are missing from the opening sequence?
In the Enterprise episode "Zero Hour", the villains (a group of alien Nazis) are revealed to have invaded the majority of America, and are currently making a final push across the country. A map in their headquarters shows that their "invasion" inexplicably stops at the borders of both Canada and Mexico, and that the invasion is solely focused on conquering America.
Also consider the fact that in five series, an overwhelming number of the characters, particularly if they are in command, are American. Minus Picard, all the captains are American. We rarely hear of captains with Asian names, Indian names, African names, or even European names. It also applies to the ships too; here's a comprehensive list of all Star Trek starships. Though there are several non-Anglo names, they make up a rather small percentage...
And only twelve out of several hundred are immediately recognisable as names carried by Royal Navy ships - the rest are mainly American... (Isn't that subjective? If you know RN history you can recognise far more, even if USN ships have carried the same name)
On a larger scale, consider that the Federation is supposed to be an equal partnership of dozens of alien races, each with their own unique history and culture... yet the vast majority of Federation starships are named after someone or something on Earth.
Taking it further, every time the plot requires the characters to go beach to Earth, they wind up in San Francisco, usually near-present-day SF with a few historical pieces for variety. It could be handwaved as Star Fleet Academy and Star Fleet HQ are all set in San Francisco. If the writers want to get really exotic, Paris seems to be a popular choice.
Paris is where the civilian government of the Federation is supposed to be located...the part of The Federation that hardly ever gets shown on the show...
Quantum Leap made a rod for its own back by establishing that Sam Beckett could speak several foreign languages. He should have been fine with leaping outside the US, but he hardly ever did—not even to Canada. The last season did have some episodes set in more exotic locales, but there was usually an American connection. (In one show, Sam is adrift in the Aegean Sea—with Brooke Shields. Lucky man.)
The provincialism in Quantum Leap is not purely geographical, either: In the episode “Disco Inferno” (set in 1976), 80's Country Music, of all things, gets the credit for ending disco’s domination of the music scene. No mention of Punk Rock or New Wave.
In every season of Power Rangers, all alien attacks take place in one town. In the firstfiveseasons, it was the same town every year—Angel Grove. Since season seven, Lost Galaxy, it has at least been a new town each year. Most of these cities (including Angel Grove) are located in California - as near as we can tell, anyway. Fanon and/or Word of God does place some of them outside of CA, but still in the Western US (in states such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon). Power Rangers RPM's city of Corinth has some Easter Eggs pointing to Boston, the hometown of that season's first Executive Producer. Only Lost Galaxy's city of Terra Venture definitively escapes this, being a space colony.
Meanwhile, the Super Sentai source material places every alien/monster/etc attack in Japan without fail, naturally.
The opening of Rhoda (the The Mary Tyler Moore ShowSpin-Off) has Rhoda tells us "I was born in the Bronx, New York in December, 1941. I've always felt responsible for World War II." It was meant as a joke about how Rhoda wasn't that smart.
The documentary series America: The Story of Us, is devoted not simply to the European presence in what is now the United States, but specifically to the presence of English-speaking Europeans. It begins with the 1607 landing at Jamestown, as if Cortés or Ponce de Leon or the city of St. Augustine, Florida (founded 1565) had simply never happened. Justified as it's specifically a documentary about how the United States arose and developed, not a documentary European colonization of the Americas altogether. Florida didn't become U.S. territory until 1819, so Florida's history under Spanish rule doesn't become relevant for the program's purpose until the First Seminole War. It'd be like starting off a history of the Roman Empire with the construction of the pyramids in Egypt.
"The planetary federation turned to the first world power... Canada. It's Canadian know-how that allows the launch, on October 28th 2034, of the spaceship Romano-Fafard which left Earth towards the confines of the universe."
Many of Russian TV shows are set in one of the following settings: a) Moscow, St. Petersburg, suburbs thereof, b) an unnamed and imaginary rural community utterly lacking geographical coordinates of any sort, c) Abroad, with a capital A, characterized by either rampant espionage, crime, international terrorism, and other miscellaneous Wackiness Ensues, and/or exaggerated national stereotypes (hijabs and/or pickups&shotguns for everyone, no exceptions whatsoever).
Highlander: The Series is a joint French and American production. The series constantly switches between two main settings: an unnamed North American city and Paris. (The former is actually based on two cities, Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. Thus the nickname "Seacouver".) While Immortals and their Watchers are supposedly active around the world, there is little mention of any events outside these two locations. A handful of episodes take place in Scotland or feature brief scenes in the Ukraine, Iraq, etc., but that is it for present day content. Flashbacks were better at having characters and events placed around the world. Even if the main character can just wait around for other Immortals to come to him as There Can Be Only One, the lack of movement still qualifies as playing this trope straight.
The Earth Alliance from Babylon 5, The Twelve Colonies from Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), the Federation from Star Trek, the future Earth of Futurama (and probably many other examples) all have the same political system that the US has. A presidential regime with a president and a vice-president elected for 4 years, a line of succession in case of death of the president and members of government called "secretaries". While this kind of system is not the most common among democracies. Futurama's Earth has even the same flag! This led to the sub-trope: United Space of America.
Supernatural is made of this trope, especially seasons 4 and 5. While the other seasons can kind of be excused as none of the events that are happening are particularly notable in-universe and could be happening elsewhere as well. ALL of the events related to the Apocalypse and the final battle between good and evil take place in the US. Even with a limited TV budget, you'd think they could've at least spent a day in Canada or something. Considering Supernatural is mainly filmed in Canada...
Actually, kind of averted: we hear about seals being broken all over the world, and as for the rest, well, Apocalypse is kind of centered around Winchesters, with Dean and Sam being Lucifer's and Michael's true vessels and all.
Season 6 onwards still sets most of the action in America, even though the Winchesters are nothing but hateful annoyances to most factions at this point. Despite both Heaven and Hell going through civil wars and various apocalyptic monsters breaking into the world to cause havoc, all of the villains still feel the need to set off their Evil Plan in the American Mid-West. Crowley, notably, isn't even American- he is Scottish, and his "meat-suit" (ie. his actor) is British. He's the exception, though- if you see an angel, monster or demon, expect them to be or be possessing an American.
Justified with the Leviathans: their plans to turn humanity into a food supply are focused on the United States, because that country has the fattest population on Earth.
The Mexican soap opera El Pecado de Oyuki (Oyuki's Sin) was one of the first Mexican TV series that doesn't take place in Mexico, since almost all the characters are Japanese. There's a few foreigners, but all of them are Europeans (mostly British) but we don't see any single Mexican character in the TV series (Besides the fact that the forests of Cuernavaca were used to simulate the Edo-era Japan.)
Also regarding telenovelas, most Brazilian soap operas take place in Rio de Janeiro (HQ of the biggest TV station, Globo) or São Paulo (where the other major stations are located).
Kamen Rider, like its sister franchise Super Sentai, has everything important happen in Japan. Some series have excuses: Hibiki focuses on Oni and various Japanese spirits, Kabuto's monsters are aliens who came to Earth on a meteor that landed in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, and Fourze focuses on a single school because the Big Bad is its owner, the teahers are his minions, and they hand out Monster of the Week trinkets to students. Some series aren't quite so justified, though; mostly the Showa series, where the supposedly international terrorist organizations would only attack Japan instead of going after a country that didn't have a costumed superhero protecting it.
In the manga Kamen Rider Spirits, the evil space empire Badan attacks the whole world, with the Kamen Riders and their allies splitting up to take them on wherever they appear. The attack is still mostly concentrated on Tokyo, though this is because it was the seat of Badan's power in the past and they see it as "reclaiming what's ours". Even earlier, the first chapter is set in New York City, where Rider ally Kazuya Taki has been telling local kids about the Kamen Riders, causing at least one to muse about how much it sucks that the US doesn't have one.
In Denmark, between 1/5 and 2/5 of the population lives in the capital Copenhagen with suburbs. If you only know Denmark from television, however, you would think the number was much higher. Almost all Danish TV series take place primarily in Greater Copenhagen. Copenhagen is located on the island of Zealand, and it's noteworthy how many Copenhageners (especially in fiction, but also quite a few in Real Life) think that everything important happens only in Copenhagen, and that the geographically largest region of Denmark, Jutland (with a population number that is actually the same as Zealand), is just a big peninsula filled with nothing but fields, farms, cow, pigs and mentally backwards country bumpkins with weird dialects. Essentially the Danish equivalent of Deep South. While some of the most rural areas of Jutland may have shades of this, the inhabitants of Aarhus (Denmark's second-largest city) have a city lifestyle more similar to Copenhageners than to farmers, and most inhabitants in other larger towns aren't country bumpkins either.
However, a very large percentage of Danish media are centered in Copenhagen. If you are something big in terms of media, you more or less have to live there if you don't want to commute every day. And when all of the screen-writers live in Copenhagen, it may be easier for them to write a city they know.
The same thing happens in Sweden too. Almost every TV show or movie will take place in Stockholm, Gothenburg, or maybe Malmö (mostly due to the proximity to Copenhagen).
The Black List: Despite the task force being set up to catch the most dangerous criminals in the world, nearly all of the action takes place in the United States, and while many Blacklisters are non-American, Americans are disproportionately represented on the list (to date, at least). There are allusions to Blacklisters operating all over the world, and the task force is willing to operate abroad to pursue either criminals or its investigations, but the bulk of any episode will take place in America. Sometimes this is Justified as some Blacklisters are based out of America, and occasionally it will turn out that Red actually helped lure them to the US to make the apprehension easier, but in most cases its just a Contrived Coincidence that a Blacklister happens to be doing a job in the US which therefore gives the task force an excuse and opportunity to go after them.
Noob was created by a guy living in southeast France. Guess where all characters whose place of residence has been mentioned live.
"Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.. The title is a common expression for loss of temper in Georgia (where the band hails from) and other Southern states, but elsewhere ... notsomuch. The band didn't realise that the majority of the English-speaking world would be having to guess what they were on about (and therefore make the wrong assumptions).
Elton John's "Social Disease," a country-western tribute in which the tequila-swilling cowboy "gets bombed for breakfast... dinnertime and tea," and his landlady lives "in a caravan" (trailer).
Ludacris' song "Move Bitch" says that he is 'doing 100 on the highway, so if you do the speed limit, get the fuck outta my way...' which is funny when heard by people in countries using the metric system, considering 100 km/h (62 mph) is usually lower than most highway speed limits in those places.
Not to mention that in Germany, the highways don't have speed limits. This was the base of a sketch by German comedian Nepo Fitz, in which he speculated that if Ludacris would try going only 100 mph (about 160 km/h) on the left lane of German motorways, he would be constantly harassed by otherwise boring middle-aged white-collar workers for blocking them by going too slow.
Swedish Power Metal ban Sabaton's latest album, Carolus Rex, is about the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire.
In Warhammer 40,000, in the older background, it was hinted that the Golden Throne was not only in Britain but also in Nottingham, where Games Workshops' headquarters are situated. Newer material makes it more likely to be somewhere in Eastern Europe, where the Emperor is supposed to have arisen. At least, if the Throne is anywhere near the center of his palace, which covers much of Eurasia.
The Horus Heresy novels avert this, fixing the original part of the Imperial Palace atop the Himalayas in Tibet and/or Nepal. This may just be the Emperor's sense of spectacle, or may be a GundamShout-Out.
Older fluff (now retconned) indicated that the Emperor was Jesus, but a still-canon one is that he was Saint George (the Patron Saint of England).
Battletech located the original court of the Star League, the court from which all of human-inhabited space was briefly ruled, in Seattle, where FASA just incidentally had some of their offices.
Also, up untill the source books published post-FASA's Demise, most of the Successor States didn't really adhere to their alleged adopted cultures to any great degree beyond a few token words and all tended to be written as Ersatz Americas.
Speaking of FASA, another major universe of their's, Shadowrun, has its default setting being future-Seattle. Other locations are given some description in suppliments, but not as much detail as Seattle and its surrounding area recieves.
FASA may have had some of their offices in Seattle, but their company HQ was in Chicago which was averting this trope... at least until Chicago became a big part of the setting fiction itself when an invasion of magical insect spirits decimated the city. The nuclear bomb blast that created "Bug City" in Chicago was detonated at the FASA offices.
The original GURPS Time Travel postulated one alternate world called "Campbell", where the science fiction editor John W. Campbell died, therefore not encouraging science fiction writers, which in turn meant that students were not inspired to go into the sciences and science hasn't developed since the end of World War II. The version in the revamped GURPS Infinite Worlds lampshaded the provincialism in this concept by pointing out that since science stopped all over the world, not just in the United States, some suspect a different cause.
One might note it is not only geographical provincialism, but also cultural. People who aren't roleplayers and SF&F fans probably wouldn't equate scientific development with the popularity of science fiction.
The majority of the action in Rifts takes place in the (post-apocalyptic) central United States and southern Canada—not coincidentally, areas near the location of its publishing company.
However, there are sourcebooks for almost every other part of the world (South America, Africa, Germany, Russia, etc.) including other regions of the U.S. (New England, the Southwest, etc.).
In The Dresden Files RPG, it is assumed that you know a large city to base your game on. This can be hard if you live in a country that doesn't have the population to have such a large city.
Henrik Ibsen. Most of his plays take place in Norway, and has a Norwegian subtext, although some plays are more subtle than others. Averted prominently in Emperor And Galilean, and in his first play Catilina, both with ancient Rome as a premise. Taken Up to Eleven in The League Of Youth, which is a satire on the Norwegian political system, and with the action taking place in a certain small town in the east of Norway. Exaggerated even more in Comedy Of Love, which is set in a small suburban area outside the capital - and nowhere else!
A lot of Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise lines that aren't designed in the UK often fall victim to this. For example, the Wooden Railway and Take 'n' Play lines have American style cabooses as opposed to British brake vans (although Toad is included in both ranges) and some of the earlier TOMY rolling stock are thinly disguised Japanese vehicles.
The Grand Theft Auto series of games is, in theory, set in America, but is made by Scottish developer DMA Design/Rockstar North; Americans who play it can tell this is neither real the US nor quite Hollywood US. A lot of place-names in San Andreas are thinly-disguised ones from Scottish cities. There's also an exact replica of the Forth Rail Bridge. Rockstar are based in Edinburgh and Dundee, and evidently like their in-jokes.
The bridge next to it is modelled after the Forth Road Bridge, which in real life is also next to the rail bridge.
After production of Sonic the Hedgehog shifted over Stateside, the story primarily centred on the apparently world-dominating United Federation, complete with a president and a San Francisco analogue. Shadow the Hedgehog expands on it: while other cities are said to be under attack, only the UF is shown, and the Big Bad seems to think the UF President controls the entire planet.
Averted in Halo 2 and Halo 3. When the Covenant come to attack Earth, the goal of of their efforts was located in Africa, specifically around south-eastern Kenya, since they were interested in an artifact left behind by the aliens that helped along human evolution and not actually the humans themselves. Bungie (founded in Chicago and moved to Seattle before the release of Halo) said in a panel discussion that this aversion was deliberate.
Sim City 4 is probably the worst offender of this, as everything, from the Empire State building having palm trees to the BART-style transportation systems to the drab adobe/earthtone colors of the standard buildings and even the terrain all drive the fact that the creators based everything on their California home.
Averted in X-COM where you establish a truly international force, encounter aliens all over the world, and have countries cut their contribution to your funding if you ignore them. Though in Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unknown even soldiers from Japan or Ukraine speak perfect American English. Fixed in expansion pack.
The Third Person Tactics game, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, on the other hand, is set within Cuban Missile Crisis America, where the titular Bureau's job is to hide how devastated the US is so that the Soviet Union can't exploit it in the Cold War. Some have pointed out that this is (arguably) more realistic than people from around the world all knowing the same language and getting along.
Mostly averted in the Resistance series; developer Insomniac is based in the USA, but the first game was set entirely in Great Britain (despite having an American lead character who saves the day) and the sequel, while mostly taking place in America, also features Iceland and Mexico, and it's made very clear that the alien invasion has decimated the whole world. Only the third game is solely set in America. PSP gameRetribution also shows western Europe.
A common fan complaint is that Florida-based Tiburon, developers of the NCAA Football series, overrate players from Florida schools and the SEC and correspondingly underrate players from other parts of the country. This complaint sometimes extends to the Florida teams in the NFL getting higher ratings in Madden NFL as well, as Tiburon makes both games.
Gaijin, the Russian developers of War Thunder, has drawn criticism for making Russian aircraft unrealistically powerful, especially the LaGG-3 and its variants, which are very effective early-tier fighters despite the real plane's notoriously poor power-to-weight ratio and fragile airframe.
Taken further with the introduction of ground forces. The starting Panzer I Is can't penetrate the Russian T26s from the front. The T26s have a 57mm cannon that can oneshot Pz I Is (and other T26s).
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis 's Raccoon City is a supposed to be a modern, Midwestern, American city, but the size of the streets and presence of extensive back-alleys and shopping arcades are clear evidence that Raccoon was based on a contemporary Japanese city. For reference, many of the streets are blocked by a single, longitudinal car across the road. When's the last time you [Americans] saw a road that narrow, especially in a city of over 100,000 residents? Further games in the series that revisit Raccoon, however, seem to retcon them to the proper width.
For the most part, though, the entire Resident Evil series averts this. Not a single character among the main cast is Japanese/of Japanese descent.
The first two Fallout games took place on the west coast, particularly in California, home of Interplay Entertainment. When Maryland-based Bethesda Softworks acquired the franchise, they set Fallout 3 in Washington DC. You can even visit the company's ruined headquarters in the game. Though this may have been done deliberately to avoid having to follow the previous games' canon.
Hits simulation racing games pretty hard. Gran Turismo 5 , developed in Japan, has a car list of over 1000, and about 150 of those are Nissans. Most of the cars in the game hail from Japan.
The Forza Motorsport series, developed in the United States, has a fairly even distribution between modern cars across the continents, but in classic cars, it's almost entirely classic muscle and high end supercars from the 60s-80s. Downloadable content packages after the release of Forza 4 have helped to balance out classic car distribution by adding in more classic Japanese and British cars.
Something of a Justified Trope for the Massachusetts-based developers of the iRacing sim because of the cost and logistics of shipping their laser scanning equipment around the world limited the opportunities to add non-American tracks until the sim became established and they could afford it.
EA Canada, developers of EA's NHL, FIFA and early Need for Speed games, has been showing some of this by overrating Vancouver's local teams and underrating their rivals, or the east coast teams in general. FIFA 12 contained the first non-generic Major League Soccer stadium in the form of BC Place, home to the newly-joined Vancouver Whitecaps, which was still under renovation at the time of the game's release. As far back as Need for Speed II, the Canada level was very obviously based on Vancouver and the Coast Mountains, and included the Sky Train and Expo Centre as prominent parts of the scenary.
Mass Effect 3 starts with the Reaper invasion of Earth, in which Shepard was fighting them on Vancouver (a day's drive away from BioWare's headquarters). Though this would later be averted as when the game returns to Earth, the battlefield is instead on London.
Emily Wong's liveblog of the Reaper invasion took place mostly in the greater Los Angeles area, which includes Electronic Arts' headquarters.
Lampshaded if Shepard romances Traynor. Shepard promises to take them to drinks in Vancouver after everything gets sorted out, but Traynor complains that it's not a more famous, romantic city like Paris or Venice. "You never take me anywhere nice."
Sweden-based Paradox Interactive has often given extra attention to Sweden and Scandinavia in their strategy games. Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and Victoria all provide the player with the option to unify Scandinavia into a single nation. Paradox is particularly unrepentant with regards to this trope.
The Pokémon games made after the 4th generation have many Japanese motifs, even if Black/White and X/Y are set in fantasy versions of the United States and France respectively. Abundant Shrine in the Unova region is obviously a Japanese shrine, and the Lass trainer class wears an outfit based on a Japanese school uniform. Many random trainers in the untranslated versions have Japanese names.
Hideo Kojima's games always had a very odd relation with this trope, depise Kojima being Japanese himself:
The setting of Snatcher is in the city of Neo-Kobe in Japan, except all the important characters are Westerners (plus a Chinese one) and the only Japanese guys you're going to find there are nameless extras.
Played a bit in Policenauts: While almost all the main characters are also Westerners, there's a few named Japanese ones, or with Japanese ancestry, and the main employeer in the space colony when the game takes place is Japanese-owned.
The Metal Gear series plays with this trope to ridiculous levels. Just like the aforementioned games, almost all the characters are techinically Western too, but many of the characters, including the protagonist Solid Snake included, has some relation with Japan, even if that relation barely matters for the plot, other than helping the Japanese players to empathize with the already too Western cast of the series. The only characters with closer ties with Japan are Kazuhira Miller (even if he looks too American, being half-American himself), Teliko Friedman, Michiko Takiyama, Johnny Sasaki and Allen Ishiba, an Japanese-American soldier from a radio drama.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance plays this trope somewhat straight: The main character is a American-Liberian Ninja cyborg, one of the stages of the game takes place in a Japanese garden, one of the bad guys is a Japanese-Brazilian ninja as well and in the most oddest case of this, Senator Armstrong use a Sumo wrestling pose before fighting against Raiden. The odd part came with the fact it's heavily implied he somewhat dislikes Japanese culture.
Subverted in the Zone of the Enders series, as there's a single Japanese character, but as just like the rest of the cast, nobody cares about from which country came from.
Both Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus avoids this since, despise almost all the main characters being Korean, the author is a white Canadian girl, Christine Love. In fact, in Analogue, there's a section that shows the various works she used for research in order to avert this trope.
A partial example: Though StarTropics and its sequel were made by a Japanese team, it was only released in the US, so in the sequel it was quickly revealed that the main character lives in Washington State, where Nintendo of America is located.
Later Lampshaded and defiedhere. The Doctor is convinced the aliens will attack London, Kamen Rider is positive Tokyo is the target, and Wonderella is pushing New York. They attack Antarctica.
All of the Kids in Homestuck are American, and the fate of the rest of the world gets shown all of once when Becsprite blows Jade's meteor up and is briefly shown eradicating a nameless city in either Australia or Southest Asia and basically vaporizing the entire Pacific Ocean.
Jade's meteor taking out the Pacific Ocean indicates she lives in the area, but her family history is still American.
At times, This Very Wiki. Uses of phrases like "our part of the world" and so on, especially when used to contrast with other cultures and nations, reveal the assumptions of the troper responsible. Usually involves we all live in the US or other Western perspective and neglects the existence of non-Western audiences or tropers.
Any film that underperforms in the United States is considered a failure, even when the international gross is high (as shown in this article, where The Prestige - which grossed over $100 million internationally - and Terminator Salvation - which grossed almost $400 million worldwide - are counted as flops).
Much of Homestar Runner's Atlanta origins appear on the website. One example is an easter egg for the first Teen Girl Squad episode where Strong Bad appears and asks Cheerleader to go to Rally's with him (or Checker's or Sonic or whatever is in the show's universe). Rally's, Checker's and Sonic are restaurant chains best known in the South.
Ducktalez: Duckberg is in Canada, as Vegeta!Scrooge destroyed Winnipeg by accident in 3 and Ogopogo showed up in 7.
Epic Rap Battles of History: Most episodes have at least one American participating in the battle, sometimes not even people very well known outside of the USA, such as Bill Nye, Mr. Rogers, Randy Savage,...
That Guy with the Glasses: Most reviewers on the site are American and thus reference American pop culture and customs all the time, often forgetting that not all of their viewers are familiar with the things they discuss.
The Nostalgia Critic: Often talks about comic book movie adaptations of superhero comics in his editorials, which aren't that popular outside the USA, especially not with people beyond the age of 16. Yet Doug (and his fellow reviewers) will talk with great admiration and glee about the deeds of Superman, Batman, Spiderman and others, as if they are some kind of godly humanitarian activists.
Radiodrome: An entire episode was devoted to comic book movies, but mostly discussed superhero comics of American origin. The only foreign one mentioned was Judge Dredd, British yes, but again a super hero comic, and Tintin, but only for a millisecond. Nobody seemed familiar with Tintin and thus they continued their discussion about American superhero comics.
An episode of the animated series Freakazoid! had Freakazoid being... Freakazoid by traveling back in time to prevent World War II by preventing the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In Real Life, World War II started in 1939 or earlier - the US simply didn't fight in it until 1941. Freakazoid! quietly assumed that World War II did not exist until the United States was attacked, completely ignoring earlier events that did not directly involve the United States such as Japan's invasion of China in 1937 and Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939.
This is entirely in character for Freakazoid, though. Most of his actions are half-baked without thought for consequence or logic.
In Transformers Animated, a number of the Transformers seem to have accents which, by Earth standards, would come from different countries (Blitzwing is German, Jetfire and Jetstorm are Russian, Master Yoketron appears to be some form of Japanese, and so on). But there's rarely more than one of any non-American accented Transformer, and the majority of accents are American.
Averted in Transformers Cybertron, where everyone's accents are all over the freaking map for no particular reason.
The ghosts of Danny Phantom can turn invisible and fly incredibly long distances... yet, even after the presence of the half-ghost superhero in Amity Park who beats them time and again becomes well-known, they never try making their debut somewhere else and coming for Amity Park when they're a bit more established. The rest of the world is also suspiciously inactive about the whole "ghosts exist!" thing when it gets out; the only sign that it even exists is the occasional Guys in White attack or Danny having to pursue a ghost he wasn't able to stop in Amity Park for some reason.
There actually is an explanation in the series; ghosts can only enter Earth through the Ghost Zone, of which only exists in Amity Park' though that brings up even more questions.
Danny's parents are the only people to make a stable portal to and from the Ghost Zone. Usually Danny intercepts any ghosts that get through the portal before they get too far. Danny takes his role seriously.
Il Etait Une Fois: The French series Once Upon a Time… Man (French: Il était une fois… l'homme) has its own problems on occassion. In 26 episodes, aired between 1979 and 1981, the show covers world history from the birth of planet Earth and the evolution of life up to the 1970s. While fairly accurate and attempting to be objective, the show covers important events and eras as seen from a Western perspective. Most of the action takes place in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. Figures like Pericles, Julius Caesar, Muhammad, Charlemagne and Peter I of Russia get entire episodes devoted to them. But the cultures of the rest of Asia, Africa and pre-Colombian America are hardly represented. For example, out of the entire history of China, only Kublai Khan gets the spotlight treatment and then only through his interactions with Marco Polo.
Unlike a number of examples on this page, this can at least be justified as budget constraints. You can only condense so much global history into 26 episodes at 25 minutes each without becoming too general; as such, it makes sense for an educational children's TV series to show the history of places that are the most immediately important for them — which is, for a French kid, Europe and surroundings.
Of course, American kid shows with a world history theme tend to be guilty of the same thing: Histeria! did two episodes each on the American revolution and the American civil war (in addition to dealing with these events in other episodes as well), while in Time Squad, every other location and period the squad visited was in the U.S. after 1776.
An inordinate large number of GI Joes are from the small state of Rhode Island for a reason: Hasbro's headquarters are located there.
In Futurama, the government isn't just like the U.S. government, it is the U.S. government. The flag of the World resembles the American one, the Earth's president lives in the White House and the people are called "Earthicans." Also, there are only two significant political parties to vote into office, both of them American.
When Richard Nixon first runs for President of Earth, someone objects that the Earthican Constitution states that nobody can be President more than twice. Apparently being President of the US counts as being President of the Earth.
The Simpsons has been known to be guilty of treating Springfield as if it is in California, since that is where the writers live, and according to the DVD commentaries they are aware that this trope has been in effect. Most notable is the weather - Springfield is often shown as bright and sunny year round (the exception being Christmas, when it is usually portrayed as permanently snow-covered for thematic reasons). This being The Simpsons, it has been Lampshaded.
Lisa: It was an unseasonably warm February 14th, so the children walked home without jackets.
The overwhelming majority of films in the Disney Animated Canon take place in either North America or Europe. Also, 101 Dalmatians is the only European-set film to take place in The Present Day. When it comes to specific identifiable countries, the ones most frequently depicted are, by a huge margin, the United States and Great Britain. France, withthreefilms is in a distant third place.
Google Translate used to translate 华裔女孩 as "Chinese-American girl", when it simply means a girl of Chinese descent who is not a Chinese citizen, without any reference to the US. It has now been changed, however.
It should be noted that Google Translate uses automated algorithms that compare different translations of websites instead of the translations being defined by hand, which can result in errors like this.
This is the Google bots picking up on a Chinese bias rather than an American one. The Chinese word for "American" is frequently used to mean all foreigners in general (including south and south-east Asians), and "America" is essentially synonymous with "waiguo". I lived there a long time and was still called "American" by people who knew me for years, not to mention walking into stores and have people scream "Look, an American" or tell me "You're not the first American to shop here". Strangely, it was the Americans who seemed most bothered by it.
Google Translate also appears to sporadically convert things like placenames, names of bands or artists and other terms that are rarely used outside of the language from their area from the original text into ones local to the language it's translating to, rather than maintaining the one that makes more sense in the original context. Phrases like "Raggende manne komt naar de Efteling" are translated to "Sabaton is coming to the Big Ben." (Although sometimes the words remain untranslated when used in a slightly different sentence.)
Due to Political Correctness Gone Mad, many Americans use the term African-American to indicate any black person, regardless of whether they are American. This has even resulted in people calling black people living in Africa "African African-Americans" or "African-American Africans."
A London newspaper made a ranking of "most appropriate cities to be the world's capital" (without explaining why). Guess which was number one.
The alleged issue of "East Coast bias" in North American sports, which claims that, since most sportswriters are based in New York City, they give undue focus to teams in the eastern half of the country (and particularly franchises in the Northeast) and short shrift to teams out west. Whether it exists or not, to what extent it exists, and other questions are probably best left to another article.
Similarly, the British media is frequently accused of being London-centric.
Toronto is sarcastically referred to "the centre of the universe" by Western Canadians sick of the same phenomenon. Atlantic Canadians also have similar sentiments.
Wondering why so many Chinese restaurants in the US claim to cook Hunan-style? When Richard Nixon went to China, he was greeted with a lavish banquet. Whenever he found a dish he particularly enjoyed, he'd ask Chairman Mao where it came from (seeking to avert this trope and demonstrate his knowledge of and respect for the diversity of Chinese culture—"I know you're a big country with lots of different cuisines, just like us!"). Mao, having grown up in Hunan Province, would always say it was from the Hunan area. Nixon came back singing the praises of Hunan-style cuisine.
The naming of the "World Series" in baseball is a classic example. Partially justified, at least until recent decades, in that baseball was played in very few countries outside the US, but still... (This is to some degree the Grandfather Clause at work: the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries was famous for its bombast, and styling the national baseball championship the "World Series" was wholly unremarkable even for those who realized it was silly. If baseball were a new thing, the "World Series" would most certainly not be MLB's championship.)
For what it's worth, one of the teams to win the World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays, are based in Canada...who as of 2004 are the only MLB franchise to operate outside the US.
The Australian Football League (the premier competition of Australian Rules Football) has 18 teams, of which 10 are based in Victoria (and all but one of those are based in Melbourne). Somewhat justified in that the League is an expansion of the Victorian Football League, and Victoria is the birthplace and home of the game.
Computer programs like Microsoft Word often have the default language setting as American English, which is frustrating for any other English speakers, who want spell check to stop telling them they spelled "colour" wrong.
Some tech or web companies from California's Bay Area or Silicon Valley usually show their publicity in their home region.
Guess what is Yelp's default city.
The file card bios for an inordinate amount of G.I. Joe characters indicate they're from Rhode Island (the website yojoe.com has a list of all the Joes by state...RI wins by quite a margin). Seems strange that such a small state could produce so many badasses...until you realize Rhode Island is where the corporate headquarters of Hasbro is.
Many websites that ask for country of origin when making an account have the default as "USA", and have it at the top of an otherwise alphabetical list.
Likewise, many Japanese websites list the 47 prefectures of Japan first when asking for members' locations. "Overseas" is almost always listed last, and hardly ever allows you to specify where. However, Japanese websites that have gained more international members (and have been translated into other languages), such as Pixiv and Nico Nico Douga, have started to avert this, allowing members to specify which country they're from.
The Film At Eleven trope doesn't account for the fact that in the Central and Mountain Time Zones the late local newscast has always been at 10:00 pm. Plus, in all time zones FOX affiliates have their late local news one hour earlier than the other networks (though of course the trope pre-dated the creation of FOX by several decades).
The reason for geocentric model. Everyone who cared knew that the Earth is round as early as III century BC, but we've needed a telescope to stop assuming that the Earth is the center of the universe.
The standard barcode with 13 digits used world-wide is the EAN: European Article Number. The 12-digit number only used in North America is the UPC: Universal Product Code. Go figure.
President George Bush Jr. commemorated D-Day in 2004 by calling it a day when "the USA was saved from the Nazis".