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Race and Racism In Video Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the token-hobbit-among-orcs dept.

Software 371

SlappingOysters writes "Racism in video games has been a key topic of discussion in the game industry this year, thanks in large part to the controversy surrounding the Resident Evil 5 launch trailer. In this article, GamePlayer speaks to developers, publishers, activists and journalists about the issue to get various perspectives and insights into how the video game industry is moving forward on the topic of racism. A related piece also has interviews with Sue Clark from the UK's Classification Board and Dr. Griseldis Kirsch, a lecturer in Contemporary Japanese Studies, about how racism in video games is viewed by the BBFC and Japan respectively."

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First (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970097)


Re:First (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971399)

That reminds me of my favorite experiences in WoW. When the instance group sucks call them niggers then hearth!

My grandfather also told me an old joke over thanksgiving. Barack Obama's new policy towards NASA is a coon to the Moon by June.

Re:First (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971455)

Your grandfather is apparently retarded and wouldn't know comedy if it crawled up his ass. Fuck him, fuck you, and I hope an escaped convict breaks into his house, ass-rapes him, then burns his house down around him.

Re:First (4, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971513)

As an escaped convict, I take offense to your generalizations that escaped convicts like to ass rape people.

It could have been worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970107)

At least Resident Evil 5 doesn't take place in Raccoon Country.

Re:It could have been worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970559)

No its just in coon country now.

My education (2, Interesting)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970113)

Games that defined my view of the races in my youth:

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out
Street Fighter series

As a side note - my first American television show was Dukes of Hazzard. Followed, I think, by a re-run of Jeopardy. I was confused.

Re:My education (5, Informative)

reginaldo (1412879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970179)

SO Brazilians are green skinned monsters that can create electric fields to you? Cooool.

Re:My education (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970289)

Brazilians are people who go on MMORPGs and beg everyone else for GIB MONIE PLZ NO I REPORT U huahuehuahuehuahuehuehauheuhue

Re:My education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970557)

They decided to go with Mike Tyson's Punch-Out at the last minute because some C-level morons thought that another Nintendo game -- Rodney King's Beat-Off -- wasn't marketable. I don't get it; I guess that's why I'm not in marketing.

Remember kids (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970153)

It's ok to celebrate the variation and uniqueness of fictional races, like elves and hobbits and orcs, but you can never think about the differences between real races.

Re:Remember kids (5, Informative)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970199)

to be pedantic.... elves, hobbits and orcs are different species.

Re:Remember kids (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970261)

Turn in your nerd card.

"The lands of Middle-earth are populated by Men (humans) and other humanoid races (Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs), as well as many other creatures, both real and fantastic (Ents, Wargs, Balrogs, Trolls, etc.)."

Tolkien defines.

Re:Remember kids (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970363)

He defines wrong. "Elf" is a race as much as "neanderthal" is.

Re:Remember kids (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970401)

Seeing as there were half elf, half humans in LOTR, I say you're wrong.

Species can't interbreed, that's the definition of species. Therefore, they're races.

Re:Remember kids (3, Informative)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970545)

Re:Remember kids (3, Informative)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970585)

It doesn't count as successful interbreeding unless you can produce fertile offspring. Male Liger's are not fertile.

Re:Remember kids (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971535)

It doesn't count as successful interbreeding unless you can produce fertile offspring. Male Liger's are not fertile.

Posting anonymously because I don't want this to come back to haunt me.

What about humans with Down's Syndrome? By your definition they're about as human as a liger or tigon is a lion or a tiger.

I shit you not, pondering this very question has kept me up more than 1 night. If the answer is, by definition, yes, that they are effectively removed from the human species, due to their genetic abnormality and sterility, would aborting them in utero constitute the ending of a human life? Since it wasn't human, by definition, would it not be eugenics?

Re:Remember kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970665)

Not "half-elves" as you might think. I seem to remember they had the choice to be one or the other. There was magic involved. It's complicated?

Re:Remember kids (1)

Repton (60818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971157)

There were very few man-elf unions in Tolkien (Luthien and Beren, Earendil and Elwing, Tuor and Idril; I think that's the lot). Basically, as I recall, Illuvatar had to make a special exception, and the offspring had to decide which kindred they belonged to. Thus, Elros and Elrond were both half-elven, but while Elrond chose to live with the elves (and thus survives in _Lord of the Rings_), his brother Elros choose to be a man, and die (though he lived very long).

It's not clear whether hobbits are truly a different species from Men. Tolkien wrote: "It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered." It seems clear that the powers (Valar, Melkor) did not create them, thus the only real possibility is that either Illuvatar created them as a short species of Man, or they evolved over the years. But there were probably not enough years, so I guess the former.

Re:Remember kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970421)

Elves are just humans with pretty faces and pointed ears. Prove me wrong.

Re:Remember kids (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970489)

to be even more pedantic... the term humanoid merely implies 2 arms 2 legs 1 head etc. doesn't mean they are members of the same species. GP is correct. Comparing Elves to hobbits is more like comparing monkeys to gorillas than comparing different races of humans.

Re:Remember kids (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970361)

Are they? I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that species were classified in accordance to their breeding compatibility... and in most fantasy settings, you can have half elves and half orcs, for example, which are made from mixing these with humans, so you end up with a messed up circular-species-alike situation, where you have A, B and C, A and B can breed, A and C can too, but B and C cannot... what a pain!

Re:Remember kids (1)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970443)

I can't think of any rpg/fantasy world where half-elves are sterile. This implies different phenotypes of the same species.

Re:Remember kids (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970643)

From http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/new-species.htm [messybeast.com]

In Heliconius butterflies genes have leaked from one species into another through hybridisation. Heliconius hybrids are relatively common and are a long way from the biology textbook stereotype of a sterile and deformed hybrid. These hybrids can successfully breed with either parental species or with other hybrids. However, there is natural selection against hybrids. Pure-bred Heliconius butterflies have warning colouration recognised by predators. The hybrids, equally unpalatable, have an intermediate pattern which is not recognised - the predators have not yet adapted and so the hybrids are disadvantaged.

Not mammals, but I'm not even sure orcs are.

Re:Remember kids (4, Informative)

Repton (60818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971321)

Tolkien was unclear on the nature of orcs. The problem is that Melkor could not simply create them, the way Aule did the dwarves, because Aule needed Illuvatar to intercede and give the dwarves life, and he was hardly likele to do that with Melkor. Tolkien appears to have advanced several possibilities:

Firstly, presented in _The Silmarilion_, is the idea that orcs are corruptions of elves. Melkor captured elves (and, later, men), twisted and wrecked them, and ended up with orcs. Possibly there may have been corrupted maia amongst them too, as leaders and spies.

Secondly, that orcs were not "thinking peoples", like elves/men/dwarves; rather they were intelligent beasts in man-shape, of the same theological status as wargs, the talking ravens in _The Hobbit_, as (perhaps) the great eagles, etc.

Thirdly, a variant on the preceding: orcs are beasts, but infused with the dispersed power of Melkor, giving them the ability for independent action. The spirit of Melkor is one of hate, thus orcs will fight amongst themselves, rebel (especially against Sauron or Saruman, neither of whom is Melkor).

Ref: http://www.thetolkienwiki.org/wiki.cgi?The__Origin__of__Orcs [thetolkienwiki.org]

Re:Remember kids (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970521)

What of half-elves and half-orcs then? There must be a common ancestor, hence they are at most of different genus.

Re:Remember kids (2, Informative)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970635)

Well, in Tolkien's mythos the Orcs were Moriquendi (Dark Elves) that Morgoth captured and twisted to create a new race; because he could not create anything of his own but could only pervert the creations of Iluvatar.

Re:Remember kids (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971677)

You're just being racist against orcs!

They deserve equal rights and should not be forced to slave away in the Mines of Mordor without being compensated with 40 virgates and a fell beast.

Re:Remember kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970309)

That's because elves live for a thousand years and dwarves have darkvision.

So-called "races" don't have intrinsic differences.

Re:Remember kids (4, Funny)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970417)

That's because elves live for a thousand years and dwarves have darkvision.

So-called "races" don't have intrinsic differences.

Are you sure about that? Look at the percentage of south africans and chinese who are lactose intolerant, and asians who are near sighted.

So well...

Race: Caucasian
No stat bonus or penalty
Racial ability at level 1: Able to see more than 3 feets away without contacts.
Racial ability at level 3: can digest milk even after reaching level 4

The caucasian also has -1 * Charisma modifier to the "Humility" skill.

Re:Remember kids (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970587)

Yes they do. Check your anti-discrimination laws - they will have provisions for health insurers to discriminate based on race.

Re:Remember kids (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970315)

but you can never think about the differences between real races

What you said applies more to cultures, not "races". The term "race" is a non-scientific circular reference:
1. Arbitrarily define "black" people as having broad facial features, dark skin, and recent African descent.
2. "Celebrate" these people for their "differences", which you just invented to categorize them.

This works for any "race".

Re:Remember kids (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970429)

Unlike every other category which is manna from heaven is it? Every word is "arbitrary".. that's what words are.

Re:Remember kids (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970627)

Every word is "arbitrary".. that's what words are.

But we're not talking about words - I wasn't saying that the word "race" was arbitrary. I was saying that the categorization is arbitrary. Aborigines look pretty darned similar to certain Africans in many respects and one could be forgiven for thinking that they are the same "race". But, of course, that would be absurd since they are even further apart genetically, geographically, and culturally than "whites" and "blacks".

People go out of their way to try to categorize people by race, when the whole concept is rendered completely useless by people like Tiger Woods.

Re:Remember kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971437)

Every word is "arbitrary".. that's what words are.

But we're not talking about words - I wasn't saying that the word "race" was arbitrary. I was saying that the categorization is arbitrary. Aborigines look pretty darned similar to certain Africans in many respects and one could be forgiven for thinking that they are the same "race". But, of course, that would be absurd since they are even further apart genetically, geographically, and culturally than "whites" and "blacks".

People go out of their way to try to categorize people by race, when the whole concept is rendered completely useless by people like Tiger Woods.

Point 1) We don't use black anymore, we use African. This is both PC and more accurate since it clarifies the difference between african "blacks" and native Australian "blacks".

2) I hate people like you. Or rather the ignorance that you spread. There are hereditary diseases, GENETIC diseases such as the heart condition specific to the Irish. Thus, there is a race known as the "Irish".

To simplify, consider that race is being used as you might use the term "breed" for dogs. Great danes and not-so-great beagles (sorry Snoopy) can mate and reproduce. They are the same SPECIES, but not the same breed or race.

As far as the games go, elves and humans can breed*: they are both humanoid races and thus the same species.

* Screw the donkey/mule/liger/tion arguments, they don't help anyone who doesn't know them and geneticists already know the difference.

Re:Remember kids (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970631)

Not really. Some words have specific defined definitions. Race is not clearly defined. If it were, then people wouldn't be arguing about whether Barack Obama is black or not [bbc.co.uk]. And if you think that's crazy, wait until you see the Wikipedia discussions...

Re:Remember kids (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971551)

I think the basic point is, fuck categories like this when they end up getting people hurt. Or killed.

Re:Remember kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971329)

"Celebrate" these people for their "differences", which you just invented to categorize them.

No, those differences were not "invented" they are (statistically) real and they are the basis for the classification.

Re:Remember kids (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970325)

...you can never think about the differences between real races.

What's that got to do with anything? I was under the impression that RE5 was under attack because you were firing shotgun blasts into herds of zombies who happened to look a lot like black people.

Re:Remember kids (1)

Cocoa Radix (983980) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970495)

I don't remember anybody caring about doing the same exact thing to hordes of Hispanic zombies/evil mutations in RE4. And, naturally, killing hordes of white zombies in all of the RE games before that was perfectly acceptable.

How long until the first black Jack Thompson comes along and tries to convince us that RE5, among other games, will promote the senseless and widespread killing of blacks?

Re:Remember kids (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970955)

I don't remember anybody caring about doing the same exact thing to hordes of Hispanic zombies/evil mutations in RE4. And, naturally, killing hordes of white zombies in all of the RE games before that was perfectly acceptable.

Stay focused: the OP was saying something about real differences between races, I was saying that's not what the RE5 controversey was about at all.

I do have to say on your point that there is, in fact, a difference between a white guy shooting a crowd of white/ european zombies and a white guy shooting a crowd of black zombies. Kids are idiots, I don't think it's that far out there that if a kid plays games where he's shooting black people and doesn't run into many in real life, he's going to think less of them. Note that is just a hypothesis, one I don't agree with just that it's not as simple and absurd as you're making it out to be.

As for Jack Thompson and censorship, are you really worried about that? Jack Thompson is making sure that videogames never get censored, and that censorship will continue to be seen as ridiculous. Furthermore, I don't think it's at all realistic that videogames are going to be censored or banned, there's too much money at stake. Anyway, what they're talking about is age-restrictions. At the risk of being modded down, I'm going to say that's an acceptable compromise compared to censorship, though probably I'd object to it more if I were younger.

Re:Remember kids (3, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970919)

What's that got to do with anything? I was under the impression that RE5 was under attack because you were firing shotgun blasts into herds of zombies who happened to look a lot like black people.

I guess that means those same people complaining about that pretty much lost their right to complain, after not standing up for racism against white people in resident evil 1-3, and the racism against whites and Hispanics in #4.

If they are OK with racism against those groups, they have no moral ground to complain about the exact same things towards their particular group.

Personally, I'm having a very hard time seeing what their complaint is.
If it is for what you say, it does not make sense. Even if it isn't, no other aspects of it makes sense either.

Re:Remember kids (3, Funny)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970611)

The thing that struck me most about Farcry 2, being set in Africa, was the lack of black dudes. To be frank I found it hilarious that someone had decided that they needed an even mix of races to avoid the game "being about shooting black guys".

I mean seriously, is everyone really that jacked up about all these perceived slights on their race?

Re:Remember kids (1)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970933)

It's ok to celebrate the variation and uniqueness of fictional races, like elves and hobbits and orcs, but you can never think about the differences between real races.

Yeah, there is that. The fact is that it's entirely possible (even likely) that there are genetic differences between the races above and beyond their physical characteristics. But you know what? While I'm usually all in favour of more knowledge, in this case I think we're probably better off not knowing. Whenever there are differences, people try to assert superiority and inferiority on the basis of them, and we've seen far too [wikipedia.org] many [wikipedia.org] examples [wikipedia.org] of people behaving very, very badly when that excuse is available. If there are differences brain-wise between the races, they're not particularly massive as there are examples of each of the races in just about any occupation of level of education you'd care to mention, so I'd say that it's probably best to simply leave the question alone.

Mod parent troll (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970965)

You do realize you're comparing a concept of "race" with roots in mythology and folklore thousands of years old to a modern understanding of race based on scientific discoveries, right? Back then, the various parts of Europe thought of each other as different species. There are next to no actual differences across the "races" in the real world, most of the perceived ones are just stereotypes. That is the difference here.

Excellent article! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971539)

For provoking kneejerk anti-PC covertly racist sentiments from the suburban white majority of /. !

Re:Remember kids (1)

localman (111171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971603)

Yeah, that's because there aren't differences between real races. That's the point.

I am fully aware that by percentage you can correlate certain traits with certain races. And thus when speaking in gross generalities you can say "blacks are this way, whites are that way, asians are another way", etc. But the fact is that it's almost always a useless exercise, serving no purpose other than to help simplify a complex world at the expense of understanding that people are _individuals_ and nobody is bound by their race.

Yeah, I know all the examples you can point to of races having tendencies. And I can find exceptions to every case. Ask yourself what your point is.


Can't we all get along-Rodney "Quake" King. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970215)

I've been playing Q4 and you find different races in that. All dying for the same cause. Now that's equal.

Change We Can Believe In! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970219)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:Change We Can Believe In! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970591)

Video games? What about racism on slashdot. This is a perfect example. I mean, what sort of racist would mod this down? For shame, slashdot.

Rule-wise color-blindedness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970351)

Many current video games start with a selection of skin color...I'm not aware of any that have perks or penalties for racial categories, however. It's not like your jumping ability varies with your skin albedo...what's the big deal?

Re:Rule-wise color-blindedness? (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970613)

Actually, in Fallout 3, if you choose a black character, your default intelligence is 2 points lower, and your default strength is 2 points higher (you can edit them). Bethesda claimed it was a bug. In fact, it was one of the few they've admitted to.

I have a dream (4, Funny)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970423)

that one day on the red hills of Silicon Valley, the sons of former Pac-Men and the sons of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that my four little children will one day play a game where they will not be judged by the color of their avatar, but by the content of their player stats.

Perhaps... (5, Insightful)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970459)

How ironic to think that perhaps (just perhaps) a game developer, or movie director, who isn't at all racist, wasn't at even thinking about race, may have created something based in a certain country. And in that country they just saw people as "people".

And then, the players of a game, or viewers of a movie turn out to actually place more of a distinction on "races" than the developer. They see the skin color, or different shaped eyes, and it becomes an issue to "them" where it wasn't to the creators. They start screaming "racist" and "bigot", when in fact they scream it at people more innocent then them.

Perhaps things like this are rare, but I've seen similar things in my own life. People who I know aren't even thinking about distinctions between so called "races" getting yelled at by people who are.

Racism in any form should not be tolerated. But we should be sure that there's a blanket, derogatory emphasis placed on someone simply because of their group, and not the content of their personal character.

Re:Perhaps... (4, Insightful)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970633)

That happened to my friend once. He was working at a bowling alley where they keep the pool sticks behind the counter. Some Spanish kids wanted to play pool and my friend, who is white, said he would get to them when he could because the place was busy. It took him a little bit to get to them but when he finally did their parents were yelling at him calling him racist for making them wait. My friend, who was fed up with always be called racist since he was white working in a predominately Spanish area, finally snapped and yelled back at the guy why is he a racist, why can't he just be a jerk. If he was Spanish and he made them wait would he have been called racist?

Re:Perhaps... (3, Insightful)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970759)

Perhaps. But there's also the camp that suggests that the roles we see for black (or x other minority or female) characters are cast as they are due to subconcious racism (or sexism), which frequently is brought on by viewing other media with similar unintentional racism. In this case, although the developer was entirely innocent of intentionally adding racism, their characters are just like the others found in other films and therefore have the same racism in common with them. The people who kick up a fuss are trying to break the circuit by forcing the developers to take another look at their preconceptions.

I don't know much about RE5, so I'm not familiar with whether this applies in this case, but doing something unintentionally can be, in some cases, even worse than doing it intentionally, as it means that the problem is rooted in the fabric of the culture rather than one or two bigoted individuals.

Just a couple of cents.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971669)

But you shouldn't have to change movies like Black Hawk Down just because you think it might be racist. That's like advocating the rewriting of history to make it sound better or to try to wipe out wrongs in the past.

The same really applies to this game. If it's based in a part of Africa that's predominantly African Males, you shouldn't have to place other races/sexes in there to make it even. If you were to do that, and teach children that the world is perfectly diverse in some magical way, it only sets them up for a rude or startling awakening if they travel to said location later in life.

important issue (0, Flamebait)

ashleyandtiana (1422587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970603)

I do not really play video games but it does not surprise me that there is racism - and sexism, I am sure - in them. I am glad to know that this important issue is being discussed, especially considering the number of children who play video games and the subliminal messages that are transmitted.

Re:important issue (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971203)

I am a game developer. Let me assure you that explicit racism and sexism is long a thing of the past in video games. Today's problem is getting past the archytypical stereotypes that all media reach for when it is 9 PM and you really need to write in a character before you can go home.

In terms of racism, video games have more or less the same preponderance of "Black best friends" as other modern media. There is the spunky old black engineer with only the slightest bit of white hair. There are the seductive, ass-kicking amazonian black women. There is the black player 2 character, who is black mainly so that he looks different from player 1. You won't see any blackface 1930's stereotypes, but you also won't see a lot of black leading men in nontraditional roles.

Gender tends to receive a worse treatment than other media, unfortunately, as A: there are far fewer female game developers, which tends to promote a teenage view of gender and B: gender stereotypes are actually useful from a gameplay context (rescue the princess, smaller / faster / weaker, etc). I haven't ever seen a game where the female character is a worse driver, but I've definitely seen games where the female characters needed to be a bit less of a teenage male fantasy. Female representations in gaming are approximately at the same place as they were in early 90's music videos: better than 10 years ago, but still with a ways to go.

Black College Football: The Xperience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970623)

"Nerjyzed's only game to date has been Black College Football: The Xperience, a sports sim based around the American football leagues of HBCUs. When BCFX was first announced, the developer was criticised for attempting to segregate the gaming community and was even accused of racism. Jackson says such arguments are a 'fallacy', stating that Nerjyzed is simply making a product representative of a thriving sports league, which has existed for decades: 'BCFX is not just a football title,' he says. 'It is a cultural lifestyle product that centres around the HBCU football culture.'"

Step 1: Develop "Black College Football: The Xperience"
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Racial Harmony

There's one safe group.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25970625)

as advertisers have found out. You can always make fun of white males. If Spike Lee did a film or video game where white males were being shot there would be no mention of racism. Racism itself has gotten very subjective. A number of serious diseases have come out of Africa so it was a logical choice and it's hard to make a game set in Africa with a bunch of blond haired blue eyed Nordic types turning to zombies and getting shot. Set a game in Beverly Hills with a bunch of rich yuppies turning to zombies and getting shot and people would find it funny not offensive.

Game categories... (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970671)

Someone who...

  • Plays pianos is a pianist...
  • Plays guitar is a guitarist...
  • Plays racing games is a racist?! - er um, gamer?

Honestly, I'm sick to death of the whole racism debate. This is nothing more than a manufactured controversy. Seriously, people, move on - in case you didn't notice, a Black man was elected President and has chosen a woman for his Secretary of State. The debate is over, racism is out. Sure, you can find racists if you look, but the majority of America is not racist, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that there are more Mac users than racists. (Okay, that last part was troll bait, but only in jest...)

There are bigger, more important issues in the gaming world than whether or not some game is interpreted by some conspiracy-loving-nutjob as racist.

I mean, just think of the titles passed over by the gaming industry in the name of sensitivity to women and minorities:

  1. Grand Theft Auto: Nigga Thug Style...
  2. Age of Empires: African Conquest.
  3. World of Whorecraft...

And many more!


But on a more serious note, games are about fantasy, not reality. I'm not interested in a game which represents someone else's politically correct reality. Conflict is part of the fun. But I've yet to see any game where racism represents a major theme. It would be just too close to reality to be fun. Instead, game makers concentrate on the fantasy, escapist themes which take the players away from the daily boredom and unresolved difficulties of normal life.

Re:Game categories... (4, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971225)

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that there are more Mac users than racists.

Why do you think they're only available in white?

(I kid, I kid)

The Relentless March of Political Correctness (1, Flamebait)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970695)

Well, the grievance crowd was sure to come to gaming sooner or later. And you Hentai fans that like your young asian porn, you're probably next on the hit parade of incorrect behavior.

Re:The Relentless March of Political Correctness (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971439)

They can have my hentai when they pry it from my cold dead tentacles.

Blacks have too much power (-1, Flamebait)

lbane (1329209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970737)

thanks to political correctness.

They have the most diseases. They have the highest jail population. They are the most violent. They are the laziest. And now, we have an illegitimate Rhineland bastard without a birth certificate becoming the 44th president of the United Socialist States of America.

It is time to ban the race. Ban labor union to restore an effective workforce. Japan does not have one. China does not have one. Now look how prosperous they got.

It is time to stop the political correctness.

We must secure the existence of our people and a future for our children.

Anti-Political correctness video game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971091)

Zog's nightmare free download:


Re:Blacks have too much power (4, Interesting)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971343)

... ...
(I'm not sure if I should just play it off and laugh because you're probably kidding, or simply open fire.)

I'm a developer who works *damn* hard at what I do. It wasn't some affirmative-action crap either - I just kick ass.
I didn't/don't do every woman on the block, and I don't have aids.
I didn't grow up in "the hood" - (hell, my graduating class was 36.)
I rake in the bucks.
I own my home.
I spend as much time as I can with my family.
I'm black.

Seems to me, the only downside is having to listen to people like you spew bile because you're too fucking stupid to climb out of the rut you're in.

Japan has been recessed for awhile and has the highest suicide rate in the world - I'm sure work has a lot to do with it.
China, lets not talk about China too much. Maybe the coal-mine near your trailer park is hiring?

This is a country where with just a little opportunity can go a long way. But only for people who don't spend their time doing what you're doing: nothing.

The tubes (3, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970743)

If you think the games are racist, wait until you hear the rambling smack talk from the troglodytes on XBL (or, I would presume, any other online service).

On the plus side it does make me feel young, as it reminds me of junior high in East Texas. Only stupider.

wtf? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970757)

I have to stop and ask a big WTF here.

... thanks in large part to the controversy surrounding the Resident Evil 5 launch trailer.

So not having heard of any racist issues with this new game, nor seen its trailer yet, i simply highlighted "Resident Evil 5 launch trailer" and hit 'google', which the first link back appears to be said trailer at http://www.gametrailers.com/player/41037.html [gametrailers.com]

I see absolutely nothing controversial nor racist there.

Even the article doesn't help.

The trailer sparked angry reactions from black activist groups and saw legions of gamers rush to defend the franchise's reputation

But why?
Is this seriously a problem in todays world? Am I missing something?

I realize the only point of activist groups such as these are to promote racism to keep them selfs in a job, but really now...

Re:wtf? (3, Insightful)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970971)

Remember, It's cool to kill honky ass white bread crackers. Though, The minute you start killing Africans in Africa the gloves are off and it's just plain racism. This is regardless of the fact that blacks with a minority complex are racist towards whites and other races. It's the stupid view that racism is a one way street.

Re:wtf? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971469)

I'm trying to figure that out myself. It's no more racist than Black Hawk Down was. (And I didn't consider the coverage of real life battles to be a racist action.) I assume that games can no longer take place in tropical climates because you'd have to shoot at Black people?

Disclaimer: I'm making assumptions as to the racist nature of this video. I may be incorrect as to what exactly offended someone.

When can we consider games to be completely non-racist? Would you consider a similar game like Left4Dead racist? They included a somewhat generic Caucasian woman, a Caucasian man, a Black man, an old pale skinned man, but no Asians, Eskimos, Latinos, or Native Islanders of any sort that I could identify. Can we consider a game non-racist when every character is purple and pink or when every race in the world is properly represented as a playable character with every race properly distributed equally throughout the game?

Is it also racist (or accurate) that the Black man in Left 4 Dead speaks in broken English and pronounces Pills like "Piws"? This is an honest question here. If someone is portrayed in game speaking and acting like their real life model in real life... is that racist? I really want to know. Maybe we should start monotone only recording of perfect dialog voices for games from now on to strip out anything that can be perceived as racist tone.

Hmm... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25970895)

I think the article has a fair point, in certain respects(Sure, even in the far future of human colonization, when we're rubbing shoulders with aliens, the black guy will be muscle-bound and jive talking. Good work guys). It certainly wouldn't hurt and it might even help in terms of atmosphere, to say nothing of social objectives, for games to do some slightly subtler thinking on that one. I found Firefly's setting rather interesting for that reason: the visible population actually looked and sounded somewhat like you'd expect the descendants of a grab-bag of human colonists would look and sound like, rather than the brits that happened to be available as extras(plus Lando, yes, I'm talking about Star Wars).

Now, this doesn't mean that all games ought to be triumphal portrayals of racial togetherness. Various sorts of strife on the point have cropped up in human history, and continue to do so, and are in principle legitimate gameplay elements as well. Arguably, in traditional scifi and fantasy settings, a lot of stuff about race is already there, just sublimated into orcs and aliens.

One thing, though, struck me as rather seriously flawed with the thinking of some of those interviewed: they seemed to view the game making as a means to an overtly propagandistic end. Games(as well as films, books, etc.) that labor under a heavy moral frequently suck, no matter how good or bad the moral itself might be. At best, propaganda games tend to be attention getting, good for a few rounds of play; but ultimately mediocre as games(The Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator, Operation PedoPriest, and similar come to mind). It is certainly possible to make a good, or even great, game that also has a moral of some sort; but only if you start with the game and weave the moral in seamlessly. If you start with the moral and try to build a game, or start with a game and tack on the moral, you are screwed.

In particular, if your tactic is to simply take an existing work and hack your moral onto it, the product is likely to be weak and, I would argue, even counterproductive. Take Guitar Praise [guitarpraise.com] as an example. Straight guitar hero clone, with "christian" hacked onto it. Whatever you think about christianity, that is weak. It essentially says: "My religion is too sensitive for me to play a game with music that doesn't pander to it; but it also presents no compelling alternative to secular culture, so I'm just going to play a shitty clone with the offensive stuff clipped out." C'mon, either play guitar hero or come up with something that is genuinely inspired by, and an organic product of, your faith. Slapping a decal on somebody else's cultural product just makes you look uncreative and horribly thin skinned.

Praise hero is merely a dramatic example of this, I'm not singling out christianity specifically. Anybody who says: "We need an alternative to X"; but then turns around and produces a simple copy of X with a few words replaced is guilty of this. If you want to change something, you have to do more than rebrand it. From the tone of the interview, it sounded like some of those interviewed were going down the path of "games are too white, therefore we will make black versions of existing games." That is a weak approach at best(this works the other way as well, the fact that the guys at Resistance Records could only puke out a derivative fourth rate shooter [wikipedia.org] just makes them look pathetic.)

TF2 "demoman" (0, Troll)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971029)

I never ran across racism in a video game until Team Fortress 2's Demoman. Some people really seem to have a problem with that character.

nigger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971351)

that's right, nigger.

There's more than one kind of racism. (5, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971395)

There's active racism. It's the virulent kind. The asshole with shaved heads attacking people on the street.

There's passive racism. It's just as evil, but not as out in the open. It's the asshole in a suit and tie who prefers to hire certain kinds of people for certain kinds of jobs.

There's latent racism. It's in no way malignant. It's when someone honestly doesn't think about races or and differences between them, but they can accidentally say something stupid or offensive. Like when Tony Snow made his "tar baby" comment.

In video game development, I see latent racism. In many games all of the central characters are white. The game developers probably never even though about racial issues. They just made a game. Being rendered invisible is almost as hurtful as being actively discriminated against. In the first several GTA games the central character is white. In San Andreas, the central characters are almost all black and THAT'S when people notice. I salute Rockstar for making an effort.


Re:There's more than one kind of racism. (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25971663)

Wait, are you complaining that the main character was black, and stealing cars and shit? That the developers were being racist when they were just trying to change something up a bit? Sorry, I'm just unclear on this and if you're being an idiot I want to make sure I, and others, are aware of it. If you're saying that people are dumb for caring what color the main character is, feel free to disregard this.

unintentional but nonetheless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25971625)

I think it's really sort of an unintentional consequence of the fact that the majority of videogame developers are white males, but that doesn't make it less egregious. You take Gears of War 2 for example.
Cole: My psychological dep consist of a exxajuhrated accent. Bitch.

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