The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Luke
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Luke Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:48 am

MrPopo wrote:I'm still pulling for a WWI game.


How terrifying, haunting and controversial would an "Auschwitz" game be? Even if it was the beast stealth game ever made I don't think I would have the stomach to play it.
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Luke
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Luke Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:50 am

Gunstar Green wrote:It's the same with American movies where you're either a white protagonist or Will Smith.


Way off. Plenty of directors and writers do not include stereotypes, and when they do it is tongue in cheek.
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by o.pwuaioc Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:03 am

Menegrothx wrote:Lack of representation has nothing to do with racism, what matters is how those characters that exist are represented (like you mentioned yourself)

Disagree, but they are on different levels, the former being institutional, and the latter being personal.

What's the point of having different "clans" of humans in a RPG if there is no difference between them?

Nothing. It's when they seemingly correlate with stereotypes of today's "races" that it becomes racist.

I can understand the Elder Scrolls example, but generally I think that it's a form of racist thinking itself to see racism in fantasy games because some fantasy race matches the cultural traits or stereotype of some real life ethnicity.

Explain.
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by fvgazi Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:14 am

I'll defend Bioshock Infinite in that it was set in a point in history where american society was just starting to get the ball rolling on civil rights, unless of course you mean a specific point in the game.

However, I do agree on the disproportionate amount of "European" or Caucasian protagonists.

It becomes hard to avoid stereotypes because you can't rob someone of certain things that might be integral to their culture (which is basically just as racist of confining someone to their culture), and video games are not advanced enough of a medium to portray some of the necessary character development.
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Menegrothx
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Menegrothx Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:41 pm

it's ok to make a picture comparing George Bush to a monkey, but it's racism when you do the same to Obama. That means you are subconsciously making a distinction between black and white people. If you you don't think in a racist way, the skin color of the person whose being compared to an animal shouldn't make any difference.

On a some what related note
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Luke
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Luke Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:52 pm

Menegrothx wrote:If you get upset by a work of fantasy, because you see goblins as jews, orcs as black people etc, it's you who's thinking in a racist way. It's the same as people who think that it's ok to make a picture comparing George Bush to a monkey, but it's racism when you do the same to Obama. That means you are subconsciously making a distinction between black and white people. If you you don't think in a racist way, the skin color of the person whose being compared to an animal shouldn't make any difference.


I agree to a certain extent. I think "Racism in video games" is a silly subject as game characters are always exaggerations and are meant to be so. I mean, isn't every "short person" a viking dwarf in video games?

But if someone throws a banana at a black person, there is certainly something to be upset about.

Comparing people to monkeys is something different. That should be fair game.
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by isiolia Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:26 am

o.pwuaioc wrote:Resident Evil 5 is something that has been hacked to death, but then there's the controversy surrounding Bioshock Infinite, concerning which I'm simply shocked that many of you didn't pick up on when you issued it your GotYs (or top 5s or whatever).

http://starburp.tumblr.com/post/4688248 ... when-white


Setting aside that the post linked is filled with gross generalization in general...it's a Bioshock game. The point is that it's a failed city based on some extremist ideas. Neither side is portrayed in an entirely realistic, historical manner.
Arguably, there are an "infinite" number of possible iterations of the world, we are shown a handful that sufficiently illustrate that it is a no-win scenario. It serves to justify the end of the game. Regardless, it's a backdrop, the same as the Objectivist bent for Bioshock 1 & 2 was. The only person Booker is there to save is Elizabeth...which in turn means saving the US/world from a war they can't win, but still.



Regardless, for a possible good example, maybe take a look at Guild Wars: Nightfall. It doesn't make the Mobygames list because the "main character" is the player. However, if the player creates their character in that campaign, their character will be black (same as it'll be white if they start in Prophecies, or asian if they start in Factions). examples.

Additionally, nearly every NPC of note is also black. Since it was also the campaign that introduced the Hero companion characters, a fairly good chunk of them are black as well (nearly all from Nightfall are, though Eye of the North added most of the rest, and diverged a lot (not the same setting).
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by samsonlonghair Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:28 am

I have to take issue with this:
Moby Games wrote:Limitations
Games that are bi-racial (other selectable non-black characters) should not be included in this game group.

Games where the player may select or choose from multiple racially diverse characters in the game, should also not be included. Except under the rare circumstance where all the selections are black person(s).


This automatically rules out any game wherein the player can choose his race. I call foul on this. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of games with a "create-a-character" feature built in from the start. The player can then choose to build a character with the race of his choice.

How's that for racial equality?
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Ack Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:14 pm

I think some of the threads linked by Ds early on hit the nail on the head: a lack of diversity in game creation has lead to a lack of diversity in games. This applies not only to race and gender, but also transitional gender, sexual orientation, physical ability versus disability, age-based perspectives, and so forth. Now some of this could be considered a barrier due to the difficulty of entry (a 5-year-old being unlikely to program a game, for instance), but the video games industry is largely composed of white males in the United States, and while I've never seen a breakdown of sexual orientation, I'd be willing to bet the vast majority is heterosexual.

Recently I've become more interested in independent developers, and this is part of the reason why: it allows for smaller teams of individuals to band together (or a sole individual) to express a unique voice or perspective which might not be welcome or will ultimately be drowned out at one of the larger companies which currently dominate the market. So a black person working on a game in a majority-white company may not be able to express themselves or exert much control over the final product. But a smaller team can allow for an easier method for such self-expression.

Personally I want to see more games with wider perspectives. Yes, I play as a black character at times in games, though often this does little beyond influencing physical appearance and perhaps a few stats: in the Elder Scrolls games I often play as Redgaurds or Nords for the physical stat bonuses, but functionally beyond a few specific instances, these characters play no different and the world reacts no differently to them. I believe this is part of the problem: the game is geared towards males (usually white males), and despite picking a different race, the game is still geared towards a white male. If any black people have shared their perspective in development of this series, it doesn't appear to have come through. So even though there are "black" characters, they are still effectively white.

o.pwuaioc, do you have any statistics on the number of black people working in game development, at major companies or independent development groups? I'd be interested in seeing if these numbers have increased, decreased, or remained static over the last 40 years.
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Re: Racism and Video Games

by Retrogamer0001 Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:23 pm

Sociology and video games? Oh boy, sign me up! If we're moving from women to racism, we might as well include:

Socio-economic representation in video games, including pay inequality, the working poor, and discussions about minimum wage. Just how much did the creators of such games as McKids and the recent Burger King games on 360 make, anyway?

Teenage pregnancy and the single mother - if Lara Croft wanted to adopt, should she have the right, given her career choice?

Politics and international relations in today's gaming world - do we have the right to create games like Army of Two, Rainbow Six, and Homefront which show unrealistic and violent images of Middle Eastern nations and peoples, as well as spread the stereotype that all such people are terrorists?

Finally, let's give a good, hard look at the way children are represented in video games. Where are the parents of children like Alex Kidd, The Goonies, and those loveable raggamuffins in Fallout 3. Are they realistic portrayals, or simply reinforcing stereotypes?

We must discuss!
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