Humanity’s technological advancement has bought about the demise of most of the world’s population. The earth is scorched. All manner of unsavoury creatures roam it – mutants, ghouls, slavers and raiders are all there to greet you when you escape your home and prison, Vault 101. There are reminders of a past where men and women cared for perfectly square lawns, shopped in all-new supermarkets, cheery diners and cheerier housewives. In fact, the game really makes you wonder if the American dream was really any better than nuclear armageddon. On the other hand, considering Fallout 3’s preoccupation with the themes of prejudice, discrimination and slavery, why is it silent on topics of (human) race, (historical) slavery and racism? One has to ask: Is Fallout 3 really as subversive and “out there” as it thinks it is? Continue reading
This is the first in a set of posts on racism and some AAA games I’ve been playing recently. Key question: why do triple A games rely so heavily on stereotypes that continue to dehumanize black people and people of colour?
Today’s post is all about Resident Evil 5 (2009), which holds the dubious honour of sparking a race debate in the videogame world – such was its impact that Capcom USA now vets the company’s Japan-made games. RE5 garnered a lot of conflicting assessments. On the one hand, you had critics like N’Gai Croal who argues that the imagery in RE5 was inflammatory and tactless (see below). On the other hand, you had people like Chris Hudak who called the racism allegations “stupid”: “If you are aware from the outset that the game takes place in Africa and yet you are still troubled by any skin-tone-related aspects … there exists the possibility of simple, congenital retardation on your own part.” Hmmm. Well, needless to say I disagree. Continue reading
This post was inspired by a couple of recent things: A Most Agreeable Pastime’s post on the impact of the decline of the Japanese gaming industry discusses the heightened prominence of Anglo-American narratives in games. On Nine to Five Gamer too was a post on race in videogames which discusses the lack of non-stereotypical representations of black people in videogames. I’ve noticed though that the question of representation often gets bogged down in the issue of character attributes, so in this post I don’t want to focus on characters at all but instead common narratives, settings and themes which are pervasive in Western culture. These narratives are often Eurocentric in their repetition and emphasis of certain historical events to the exclusion of countless others. Continue reading