Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Only A Game?

First, back to an old topic, racism and video games.

I recently came across a comment by a reader, who claims he's black, saying that he has no problem with Resident Evil 5's controversial trailer. (The trailer shows a protagonist, who is white, in what it appears as an impoverished African village, full of black villagers, who are also zombies. And yes, it also shows the good dude fighting the villagers.)

How does everthing turn into race, Yeah I’m Black too, and it’s only a video game. DAMN! I mean every shooting game has somebody being shot, Look at all the R.E games, I don’t see a problem with the game, It’s not like they’re saying lets kill n*ggers or cr*ckers, quit trying to turn little things into big things.

So, he's saying anybody can say anything in video game, where as murmurring the "n-word" can cause a murder? (Of course there's a deep history behind that word, but my point stands!) If video game's so pitifully weightless, then why is he wasting his precious time even talking about a trailer, not even a real game?! People like this, who tries to bring video game's down to the level of tiny baby's meaningless da-da's (even that has so much meaning to the baby's parents), pisses me off.

I really, truly want to see people, gamers so much more especially than anyone else, start treating games as something fascinating, meaningful, and worthy of serious affection, just as big names in cinema thinks of feature films.

No? Then go play with Legos, instead of just video games. God.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry dude, that was probably one of the most retarded things I have read in quite a while. I am in total agreement that video games are so much more than typical entertainment - but honestly? You dismissed the other reader's comment as if he were not taking video games seriously - how can you, as a gamer who "truly wants people to see" how great games are, say that his opinion doesn't matter? Racism? He is defending what you apparently so adore. Are you looking ANY further than the simple skin vs. skin argument? How can you qualify RE:5 as racist towards blacks, but then not critisize the near 15 other games, compliations, and re-releases of the series that feature the mass-destruction of -white- zombies? As soon as a game is set in an area outside of Middle-America, THEN we can start to call it racist? Gimme a break. Why not simply look at it in this respect: they are all zombies... black, white, asian, indian... they are all freaking zombies - in a freaking fictional game.

You seem to fancy yourself as a gamer, and if that is the case, I can't help but wonder why would you draw such negative publicity to a game that looks like it is going to be amazing. Can you honestly fault Capcom for trying a new location and plotline for a series that has been around for over 10 years? How do you expect any sort of innovation, anything new and original, if by interjecting the series into some place new, it can't avoid being called racist?

Get off your holier-than-thou high horse and let it be.

Peter Park said...

I think you've failed to see my point--or maybe I failed to put it easy to see for you. I meant to point out that using "it's only a game" as an excuse for ANYTHING is not acceptable, as it implies video games are only games and so should not be taken seriously. I do think trying something innovative in a game, especially in a solid franchise where low-risk move can generate huge profit, a noble move. I just don't think that should be an excuse for that game to be not considered with critical views.

I think games are yet to go through many of controversial topics; racism is one of them. One part of me actually wants this game, RE5 to start a debate on racism in game, so that at the end of it, we'll see a much more mature medium where it can contain so much more than it does at this time.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying, but I also think you missed my point. I was making an argument that the game is not racist, yes, but more importantly that I didn't feel like the comment you posted in your entry deserved the scorn you greated it with. It seems to me that that person wasn't trying to say that it's "just a game" even if it is, but rather that it's retarded to try and argue over something that shouldn't even be an issue - race in this instance.

I agree that it's retarded to label games as "just games - ergo unimportant," but I think you might want to realize that they -are- games. Just because something is a video game doesn't mean it can't be all those things you believe, but to what extent? If it comes to peope being at odds or actively looking for something to be at odds over - then everyone has taken the game too far.

Peter Park said...

As I have said in my ealier post (linked at the beginning of this entry), I am not accusing anyone a racist.

Rather, I want this opportunity to think about how racism affects game design, and how it affects players in return. You say this issue is only skin-deep. I say even that is worthy of a good consideration, for no one have done so, as far as I am aware.

One thing about racism, or stereotype in general, is that it is everywhere. It is in our very nature to create and enforce various stereotypes as many studies have found. We, as gamers, should be aware of it, especially in games.

And as for your last sentence, I would actually welcome such thing, as it can be very progressive and constructive for this medium as a whole. Think about how many artistic works have been accused of, and persecuted of being so many different things. In my opinion, those only helped shaping and maturing humanity's art to what it is today, and such thing is happening even at this moment.