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A Criticism of Race Portrayal in Games 141

Posted by Zonk
from the not-everyone-is-equal-in-gta dept.
Joystiq points out (and comments incitefully on) a two-part examination of African-American roles in videogames on the site Black Voice News. Series author Richard Jones takes the videogame industry to task for the numerous poor images that young black people have to compare themselves to. He singles out Carl Johnson, the protagonist of GTA: San Andreas as an example. Jones also acknowledges that 'the video game industry is all about money', pointing out the unfortunate lack of black designers and illustrators in the industry to sway the creative choices of publisheres and developers. He gives a call to arms to black players, saying they should focus some of their passion on the skills required to make games. They'd get rich, he says, and work to reverse some of the negative stereotypes that non-whites are subject to in games. The Opposable Thumbs blog takes a critical look at his argument, offering up another side to the story. While it's obvious that Mr. Jones doesn't have a great grasp on the games industry itself, he would seem to make a few valid points as well.
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A Criticism of Race Portrayal in Games

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  • I doubt that... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by creimer (824291)
    They'd get rich, he says, and work to reverse some of the negative stereotypes that non-whites are subject to in games.

    If rap music is any indicator, the trend for negative stereotypes in video games won't change that much regardless of the game designer's skin color. Besides, with a few big name exceptions, who gets rich in the video game industry anyway?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not to mention, San Andreas was strongly influenced by LA "hood" movies of the 80s and 90s, such as Juice, Menace 2 Society, Boyz in the Hood, etc. etc., most of which were directed and written by black people. Just as GTA3 was strongly influenced by New York mob crime movies such as The Godfather, and Vice City was strongly influenced by Miami drug-kingpin crime movies such as Scarface. It isn't a racist portrayal of African-Americans, it's a very accurate portrayal of previous movie and TV show portrayals
      • I'm personally offended by the way white people are portrayed in GTA1-3, Vice City, and Liberty City Stories.
    • "Rap Music" is no longer black music, and hasn't been since the labels began supporting and marketing it. Same as R&B after Motown died. Same with Blues, Same with Jazz.

      BBH
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:36PM (#18068966) Homepage
    Look, the greatest game of all time already has a black protagonist: Shaq-Fu. I mean, after encountering that masterpiece, how could you ever want to play any other game?
  • huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) * <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:36PM (#18068974) Homepage
    The Opposable Thumbs blog takes a critical look at his argument, offering up another side to the story.

    And in that blog we get this line:

    His argument falls apart, though, when you consider that almost every game in recent memory that has you taking on the role of a character allows some sort of racial customization.

    Which honestly, is a ludicrous assertion. MAYBE if you limit "taking on the role of a character" to RPGs, but most games have you taking on the role of a character, and most of them don't allow any customization whatsoever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xenocide2 (231786)
      Probably the best way the Opposable Thumbs author could have countered the article was a response in kind. Where Jones cites GTA, present an equal and opposite anecdote: Beyond Good and Evil. Failing that, maybe point out the interesting distinction that you can customize everything about your character in San Andreas except the color of his skin, and the implications. Jones's main argument is that blacks spend too much time playing games and not enough making them. Becoming a game developer is a bad career
      • That and the fact that every other GTA game had a caucasian protagonist. I'll bet he'd be complaining about racial underrepresentation if SA didn't have the main character that it does.
  • If anyone else had written it, I might think that "comments incitefully" was a clever pun. But as it's Zonk, I'm afraid it's more likely a Malapropism.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:38PM (#18069008)
    I mean, everyone knows he's Indo-Afro-Latino-Cau-freakin'-castic. The only thing he's not is Laplander. What we need are more Laplander game designers. Then we'd be playing some reindeer games, man.
  • Look at rap music ...
    For the most part, Rap music has the worst portrail of black people and it is created (for the most part) by black people ...

    Simply having more black people in the industry is not going to change how black people are represented in games
    • Look at rap music ...
      For the most part, Rap music has the worst portrail of black people and it is created (for the most part) by black people ...


      It's marketted and sold by white people to other white people. The largest rap market is surbanite kids/wiggers. It's chosen to appeal to this fairly insipid group. Just as GTA is targetted at this infantile audience.
      • by BoberFett (127537)
        Yeah, Suge Knight is pretty white.
      • "t's marketted and sold by white people to other white people. The largest rap market is surbanite kids/wiggers."

        It might be that way NOW, that's definitely not how it began, and how it was for years during the "worst" portrails, bands like NWA, Easy E, 2 live crew, remember those groups?
  • by wolfemi1 (765089) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:40PM (#18069034)
    ...seeing that it is the fourth game in a series where all the other anti-hero protagonists have been white guys.

    I'm not saying that the GTA series is a good role model, but I don't see how it is inherently racist that the PC is a black man.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by El_Muerte_TDS (592157)

      I'm not saying that the GTA series is a good role model

      Now there's an understatement.

      The last 3 GTA games (GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas) was paroday games where they tried to apply as much as cliche's and prejudice things into the game. It's probably the worse example for any serious virtual world real world analysis.
  • by EWAdams (953502) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:40PM (#18069038) Homepage
    African-Americans play a BIG role in the music industry, unlike the game industry, so you have to wonder why so many of them persist in portraying themselves in such a negative fashion there. Gangsta rap has been the worst thing for race relations since the acquittal of the cops who beat up Rodney King -- and for the most part it's not white musicians making it.
    • African-Americans play a BIG role in the music industry

      Define "BIG" - while rappers, R&B singers, and certain producers are visible on TV, the great majority of executives, A&R reps, and producers are white, even at hip-hop labels like Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella.

      so you have to wonder why so many of them persist in portraying themselves in such a negative fashion there.

      Again, define "so many" - popular artists =/ most artists. And these guys are popular because white teenagers are buying so m

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by l4m3z0r (799504)

      Gangsta rap has been the worst thing for race relations since the acquittal of the cops who beat up Rodney King...

      Gansta rap predates the Rodney King fiasco by a number of years.

  • by mattr (78516) <.mattr. .at. .telebody.com.> on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:42PM (#18069070) Homepage Journal
    I've been wondering recently with people talking about race in games why the games can't be adjustable. Although I've most recently played games on the Wii that seem to let you create different race individuals, apparently many do not let you do that. It would seem useful to allow the user to adjust things to look like his or her community, or like a different community. It could be done by parents, or just for fun. When I was a kid we had Wizardry II (Apple ][) and IIRC you could select Dungeons and Dragons style races like dwarf, mage, etc. Ultima and the rest of the genre too. I didn't realize games created roles for kids to look up to, but certainly I was looking in the Wii selection for faces that I wanted to be. I had lots of fun doing it but actually they ought to provide more combinations, it took a while to find one I really enjoyed "being".
    • by mikesd81 (518581)
      I would assume the reason is that's a lot of coding to add that feature. And is it really a worth while feature? Most games I play that are shooter games are based on a movie or based on a story where changing the character doesn't make sense.
    • by echinda (948608)
      Lots of games give the player the ability to not just adjust the race of the protagonist, but micro-adjust his/her features. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion gives you so much fine tuned control over your characters features that it borders on the fetishistic.

      Which makes games where you don't get to choose and are just stuck in a white body gunning down dark-skinned folks all the more bizarre.
    • by Megane (129182)

      When I was a kid we had Wizardry II (Apple ][) and IIRC you could select Dungeons and Dragons style races like dwarf, mage, etc. Ultima and the rest of the genre too.

      Yeah, but them was cracka dwarfs and mages and elves.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:43PM (#18069084)
    And are Orcs really soooo bad?
  • Previous Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by warmgun (669556) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:43PM (#18069090)
    In the first GTA3 you were an unnamed white hoodlum in NY. In the second, you were an italian mobster in Miami. In the third, you're a black gangbanger in LA. The series plays on stereotypes and nothing is sacred. In all of them, all races were equally depicted as villains. It really isn't fair to decry their depiction of African Americans unless you include their depiction of homosexuals, hippies, latinos, bikers, cops, jews, lawyers, etc...

    The GTA games have always had a heavily satirical slant to them, and anyone who has actually played the games would be able to tell you that.

    • by bateleur (814657)
      Entirely true, but then satire always suffers from this vulnerability.

      Because it requires just a little bit of actual intelligence to realise that something is a joke, there will always be some people who miss the point. Those few people, whether themselves or via third parties with anti-games agendas, cause a disproportionate amount of trouble.
    • by j-turkey (187775)

      In the first GTA3 you were an unnamed white hoodlum in NY. In the second, you were an italian mobster in Miami. In the third, you're a black gangbanger in LA. The series plays on stereotypes and nothing is sacred. In all of them, all races were equally depicted as villains. It really isn't fair to decry their depiction of African Americans unless you include their depiction of homosexuals, hippies, latinos, bikers, cops, jews, lawyers, etc...

      I couldn't agree more -- this is much ado about nothing. It's

    • by Bastian (66383)
      Really, it's interesting to note that the most multiracial games on the mass marke are the GTA series, where everyone is a hoodlum. Most other games feature overwhelmingly white casts, especially if that game's characters have much personality. The first non-white protagonist that pops into my mind outside of GTA is Barret, and he is laden with a multitude of stereotypes - basically just Mr. T with a prosthesis.
      • by ubertote (166928)
        The first main dark-skinned protagnist i can think of is Cain (Agent Nathaniel Cain) from the computer game "Sanity" my friend had once. Man, i need to get a copy of that. It was one of the few overhead view games (think the original GTA) that i really liked, besides "Syndicate".
  • Post Final Fantasy 7 Berret quotes here. I'll start: "But that's for Marlene's schoolin'!"
  • Minorities (Score:2, Insightful)

    by digitrev (989335)
    The biggest problem is that racial minorities are just that. Minorities. As such, most games are geared toward the majority. Which, in North America, is your white middle-class suburbanite teen. And the only thing that a lot of them know about minorities is the stereotypes. It's so much easier to make money feeding on people's preconceived notions that worry about educating them.

    The real solution? Dilute North America so far that we all become one race.
  • I can't but think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <<mikesd1> <at> <verizon.net>> on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:46PM (#18069136) Homepage
    that we get 2 articles about this in one month because it's February [wikipedia.org]..second /. article here [slashdot.org]

    I personally never noticed in a game about shooting thugs what their race are. It's a shame that racism still exists. Even the blatantly biased commercial for the superbowl about Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith. What really keeps racism alive is these arguments about it. How many people have played Max Payne or Dead to Rights and really take notices of the color of the digital skin of the guy you're shooting? The links in the summary surely will open up heated debate. In the article "Psychologists agree that if your race is always the thief or killer, then after a while you start to think that's how you should be, or you think that's how your people are." ... Well, what about in games like Dead To Rights where the white cop just goes through the street shooting people? So does that make white kids think they should become vigilante cops?

    I'm not saying that Mr. Jones is incorrect. I'm saying it's how you are raised. You can't just blame things on games and movies. Society needs to change and become more acceptable. Take a lesson from Star Trek.
  • I think it's time we applauded Daikatana for not allowing the player to leave without his African-American buddy, Superfly.
  • by Chacham (981)
    While we're on this topic, i would like to point out the apparent age discrimination on slashdot in moderators. The popular comments far outweigh intelligent ones in high moderations.
  • by ReverendLoki (663861) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:52PM (#18069220)
    The latest chapter of GuildWars, Nightfall, is set in a Northern African inspired area of the GW world, has quite a few positive black and vaguely Arab/Mediterranean characters. Now, as the protagonist in an RPG, you get your standard character customization, but it seems to me they included more options for the various ethnicities one would expect to find in North Africa (then again, it may just be me; of course, I also thought the Factions chapter included more Asian ethnic options as well, which is appropriate given the Asian theme of that chapter). So, you don't have to be a black character, but a number of your comrades, allies and such are, and are cast in the role of hero alongside your own in a fantasy setting. And the thing is, none of them are really ethnically stereotyped, and if you're not paying a lot of attention, it's easy to overlook while playing. In short, I really like the way they handled it in game.
  • Second Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    Except for the furries which seem to be all around in Second life, most people are white, or some other typical shade of human with less frequency than they are white.

    I'm green. When people meet me, they usually say "Whoa dude, you're green". Fucking stupid. Why NOT be green? It's bizarre that most human characters in second life are boring human colors which you can just go to the mall to see. And if they're animals, they are just big versions of things you can see at the zoo.

    Why don't Second Life people d
    • by Madpony (935423)
      Personally, if I played Second Life, I believe I would rather look a little something like this: http://www.localarcade.com/arcade_art/data/thumbna ils/2/q-bert.jpg [localarcade.com]
    • Why don't Second Life people dress up like animals that you can see at the grocery store?

      Because SLers have already experienced that to death in Animal Crossing games.

      I don't recall ever seeing a cow in Second Life either. Or a chicken.

      Probably because some cow or chicken in AC pissed them off?

      Everybody's a [with] covered fox or kitty it seems.

      Does the fact that fox and kitty were the villains in Pinocchio [wikipedia.org] have anything to do with it?

    • Why NOT be green?

      Because, as a great philosopher [msu.edu] once said, it's not easy being green.

      • I'm green. When people meet me, they usually say "Whoa dude, you're green".
        I think you just solved the whole race-in-games problem here. Make all the bad guys green.

        Because, as a great philosopher once said, it's not easy being green.
        O.K., maybe instead of green, all bad guys can be cyan or violet, or some other color that no person possibly could be naturally.
        (
        side note:As an MSU Spartan fan, I can attest to that!)
    • Good "black" skin is hard to find, that's the complaint I've heard.

      There's cow avatars out now, I've seen a chicken, and a penguin. Various anthropormhic animals of course, the usual cats and foxes as well as jackals, rats, racoons etc.

  • It's a Good thing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IBitOBear (410965) on Monday February 19, 2007 @01:53PM (#18069240) Homepage Journal
    It's a good thing that the first four GTA games weren't about some white guy....

    Oh wait...

    And of course the Arabs and Persians and Jews all get off scott-free because they control the media...

    Of course the gay characters are _never_ stereotypes...

    And the "sex workers" of the world are always portrayed in the most positive and even-handed light possible...

    And the "spics" and "rice burners" were perfectly valid and even-handed portrayals of racial norms as well...

    (And we all know that cops are just corrupt dealers and killers with legal enforcement powers that can be convinced to leave you alone if you change your clothes or drive your bike through just the right spot in the local mall parking lot.)

    I don't hear this guy protesting the treatment of and message presented to the youth of any _other_ "minority".

    ENOUGH WITH THE EMOTIONAL STUBBED TOES ALREADY!

    The sad fact of the matter is that GTA wasn't portraying "black people" as anything, it was portraying the "black gansta stereotype" and it was _even_ somewhat even-handed since the main character was "acting against type" by trying to straighten out a mess as much as make one.

    And before you re-stub your emotional toe on the word "stereotype", please keep in mind that every non-proper noun _IS_ a stereotype. Teacher. Cop. Politician. Meter Maid. Brother. Sister. Nun. Clerk. Priest. (etc od nausium). Every single damn one of those words come with a precompiled message and set of expectations. That's all a "stereotype" is. "Baseless racial stereotype" is a different concept all together.

    The actual problem is that the "gangsta" movement has deliberately manufactured a stereotype that someone doesn't like, but this is being hoist on their own petard. Heck, the members of that self-created group probably thought the portrayal was totally cool.

    You cannot save people from their own damn selves, nor should people who make a bad image for themselves garner sympathy.

    As far as the "game makers", well, they know that a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOUDL MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.

    I'd say "They tried to make a good game, so sue them" but I am sure somebody somewhere with a bruised medula would do just that.

    And P.S. I didn't like or play the game when my roommate brought it home because _NONE_ of those stereo types interested me. I kind-of liked Vice City because the soundtrack was interesting and the action wasn't skewed beyond the empty plot of Miami Vice. But I didn't whine about the game much either, except when it was interfering with me using the TV for something valuable. (I'd say "like NASCAR or Pro Wrestling" but I fear the irony would be lost on the stupid and someone would take that seriously and dub me "raciest" without regarding context, so let me put "watching firefly" here instead.)
    • by travdaddy (527149)
      As far as the "game makers", well, they know that a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOUDL MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.

      You mean The Sims? Yeah, people hated that...

      But seriously, you're right. Video games should be held to all the same standards as movies. Why should CJ in San Andreas be held to a different standard than Samuel
      • by IBitOBear (410965)
        Actually a lot of people hated The SIMS, myself included. But even if they hadn't, the game was made, and made by a competitor, so the slot for "that video game plot" was "used up". There isn't enough room in the market place for non-covariant repetition. Yea we keep making variations of stories by Shakespeare and The Bible, but they _are_ variations. We don't just keep making Gone With The Wind from the same script, we at least tweak it between iterations.

        E.G. once someone made "The SIMS" so nobody els
        • once someone made "The SIMS" so nobody else needed to, or really could, not at least without taking at most a minuscule fraction of the market and a whole lot of grief for being a copycat.
          Really? Is Nintendo a copycat for taking elements of EA's The Sims and adding a dash of Natsume's Harvest Moon to make Animal Crossing?
          • Animal crossing is "covariant" as opposed to "non-covariant". That is, according to your position, they took The SIMS and added things. Which is fine.

            My immediate point was that nobody could make another "The SIMS" (particularly to model the boring life of some accountant.)

            My larger point implicit in the thread as a whole is that a "first person" game about some random law abiding person would not sell.

            As a matter of fact, not all The SIMS are "law abiding" and for that matter "The SIMS" doesn't follow an
        • Actually a lot of people hated The SIMS, myself included. But even if they hadn't, the game was made, and made by a competitor, so the slot for "that video game plot" was "used up". There isn't enough room in the market place for non-covariant repetition.

          What about the 5,000 or so knockoffs of Wolfenstein 3D?
          • by IBitOBear (410965)
            Ok, what _exactly_ about the the Wolfenstien rippoffs?

            Before you answer, let's recap:

            We are talking about what I will, for the lack of a better name, call "second person shooters" where we follow the development of _specific_ (thats singular for you ESL people) character. This is a kind of interactive literature sort of game. I bring up the literary uninterestingness of such a game centered around an accountant who is living an uneventful law-abiding life. Said game being uninteresting for the same reaso
        • by cliffski (65094)
          "Meanwhile, "Middle Class Accountant: The First-Person Actuarial" would sell to _nobody_ 8-)."

          actually it sells pretty well...
          Ok so you can't be an accountant (yet) but you can be a lawyer:

          http://www.kudosgame.com/ [kudosgame.com]

          And you can even be a waiter, a shelf-stacker in a grocery store, or a taxi driver.

          I think there is actually a market for games that feature people of every race without going into clichéd stereotypes. The thing is, most game designers, producers and biz people will not make them. I've worked
          • by IBitOBear (410965)
            [sarcasm]
            yes, this _clearly_ is the perfect drop-in replacement for GTA on the PS(x) where I can sit down and follow the rich action experience of...

            oh wait, this is a "turn based strategy game where you..."

            So there isn't a plot, as such.

            Oh, I see, this is a completely different kind of game, but I can totally see how it would just draw in the GTA crowd because nothing says "fast action" and "good story telling" like an open-ended turn-based strategy game. Gee, let me at it. I can hardly wait to throw off
    • by dominion (3153)
      And of course the Arabs and Persians and Jews all get off scott-free because they control the media... Of course the gay characters are _never_ stereotypes... And the "sex workers" of the world are always portrayed in the most positive and even-handed light possible... And the "spics" and "rice burners" were perfectly valid and even-handed portrayals of racial norms as well...

      You're right, two wrongs do make a right!

      Amazing!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IBitOBear (410965)
        Where exactly did I say "two wrongs do make a right"? Where did I even hint at that.

        I'm pretty sure I said "no wrongs make for a complete failure of marketability".

        I'm also pretty sure that I said that people who cherry-pick their outrage from within a complete festering scab of outrageousness are not worth taking seriously because selective rage about something no worse than the background noise was crying wolf in a crowded theater full of sheep... or maybe not that last one...

        I think it _would_ be safe
    • by peterpi (585134)
      As far as the "game makers", well, they know that a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOULD MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.

      It certainly would. And The Sims already has that market covered! :D

      • by peterpi (585134)
        Oh shit, I'm so -1 Redundant :(

        Read before Post
        Read before Post
        Read before Post
        • You actually made a unique post, so it's alright. The previous posters were "nuh hua, you are so wrongorzs cus like da SIMs is so _exactly_ a game *about* accountants" (and so on 8-)

          At least you apparently got the point, and on slashdot that makes you totally a new thing.
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that game devs see latinos and think "target"?

    I played the demo of the new 360 shooter "Crackdown" on the weekend. From a race relations perspective, on the plus side you get to pick the race of your character and have a fairly wide range of options.

    On the negative side, you then spend the next hour of the demo killing latinos. Lots of them.

    One example does not an argument make, you say? Arguing from analogy is bad logic, you postulate?

    Well, t
    • I don't know about GRAW, since I haven't played it, but I can speak a little to Crackdown and Saint's Row, having played a lot of both. (Yes, I got the retail copy of Crackdown before it officially released)

      Both Crackdown and Saint's Row certainly have your fair share of hispanic thugs that you take down. But to be fair, they also have several other gangs of various ethnic types. Saint's Row has your stereotypical rap-listening, gold-chain wearing African-American gang that you have to take down, as well as
    • by strobe74 (617588)
      Yeah I can't wait until they bring some reality to these games. We all know that the inner-city areas of the major metropolitan cities we've all come to know and love are not filled with black gang members wearing colors, driving low rider cars, or Latino's wearing their button down blue/white/plaid shirts buttoned only at the top with their kaki pants.. NO.. it's all lies created by Hollywood.. the bitches.

      Why can't the reality of street gangs and inner-city skid row neighborhoods finally be brought to
  • There was an interesting article [wired.com] where the main character had an ambiguous race. Players were welcome to decide if she was asian, black, or perhaps some humanoid alien of some kind. Personally I just thought she was smart, cute, and sassy, always a winning combination.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      That's ambiguous? I always assumed they meant her to be sort-of-asian, with the name Jade and the shade of skin. That world doesn't have China, Japan, etc, so she's not asian no matter what, of course.

      As for being on topic... I think these people just want to be heard. They pick the main character of a sequel to complain about. Sorry, but that character DOES fit there. No stereotypes needed. Just like the first GTA games. Those characters fit, too.

      It reminds me of the complaints about the nose on th
  • Keep in mind that often when a positive black character comes along, he is accused of being an "oreo" or something to that effect. Even if you had something like a black cop as the hero, people will call it "stereotypical" if he still says "whats up, dog?" to an informant or fellow cop. But if he says "Well there my dear friend, do you have any news on that narcotics shipment coming in a fortnight?" he would be accused of "not really being black." Its like people are EXPECTED to act according to the ster
  • Why does everything about race in America have to have a negative connotation? Why is it all about the stereotypes?

    Every time you read some self-centered interest group going on about the treatment of (fill in ethnic, racial, religious) group in a game it's hard to decide what's worse; the whining or the fact that the game makers are taking advantage of these fractures in American society.

    What is most depressing is that there doesn't seem to be any possibility of resolution within anyone's lifetime. I'm no
    • by archen (447353)
      I agree. From what I've seen it comes down to the fact that Americans now live in fear of offending anyone. And it doesn't even seem to matter how harmless something is, people just avoid it at all costs. What I've seen is many preach acceptance, but actually expect avoidance. Just ignore the fact that a guy is black. When I say "that black guy" it's probably because he was the only black guy there, yet some find this offensive. When I say "that white guy" (inferring everyone else in the area was bla
    • "Your heart of hearts. Your show of shows." tm
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swordgeek (112599)
      Funny story that your post brings to mind.

      About a decade ago, I lived in the US (Southern California, to be specific). I said something about an Oriental friend to a coworker whose grandparents had been born in China and brought to the US when they were infants. He immediately got offended at the use of the term "Oriental," and said that I should use Asian-American. After I pointed out to him that the subject in question wasn't actually American, I asked him what was wrong with the term Oriental. To the bes
      • by Kelbear (870538)
        Your friend needs to loosen up. I'd be considered an Oriental.

        But my preferred term of address is just "American".

        It's not big deal if you want to use the "Asian-" prefix if there's a need to specify my race or racial features for additional identification detail. Otherwise I'd prefer to just be considered American since I was born and raised in New Jersey.
  • There are a few here. Along with some misunderstandings.

    1) Why is it perfectly mainstream and acceptable to link sympathetically to a site called "Black Voice News", when if you did the same thing for a site called "White Voice News", you'd be instantly accused of wanting to gas 6 million people?

    2) "The video game industry is all about money"... um, ok. Like any other form of media, it's an immense power that has a small ability to make some money on the side. The ability to shape the minds of millions of p
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Why is it perfectly mainstream and acceptable to link sympathetically to a site called "Black Voice News", when if you did the same thing for a site called "White Voice News", you'd be instantly accused of wanting to gas 6 million people?

      Because the USA hasn't really got over slavery yet and is very touchy on this race topic. I couldn't even order a coffee there without getting called a racist and a sexual deviant by a white waitress ("long black" is the description of a lot of strong coffee without milk)

  • As a man who plays a lot of video games across a lot of platforms and genres, I like to think that I have a fairly good understanding of the representation of reality rendered by most games.
    Riiiight .. Just because a fisherman fishes all day doesn't mean he knows the eating habits and reproduction cycles of the fish he catches.
  • I suprised there hasn't been more about FF12. The only dark skinned character is an actual bunny that lives in a jungle. That definitely caught my attention.
  • Have these guys actually played the other GTA games? White dudes doing really, really bad stuff. The fact is, in GTA:SA you don't actually need to be particularly evil to complete it, and the main character does at least have his own moral code and is trying to make things better for the majority of good/innocent people.

    I don't think GTA:SA even has kill frenzies any more.
    • I don't think GTA:SA even has kill frenzies any more.

      Yep, you have gangwars instead. They fit the theme of the game way more than the kill frenzies.

      But besides that. What is evil? It's a game afterall, nothing is real. It's an alternate reality, so concepts of evil can be the other way around. For example would you say Che Guevara was evil or good. It depends on your perception of reality.
  • >>
    If games have a blind spot about race, I'd have to admit that it's the appearance of Indians, Muslims, Sikhs and the other eastern peoples as "terrorists" in most situations.
    >>

    Darn straight, we need to have more diversity among our terrorists or budding lesbian Latina Shinto suicide bombers will suffer from depressed self-esteem.

    (Sidenote: Aladdin, in his zillion incarnations. The entire freaking cast of Prince of Persia. You can play as Tehran Airlines in Aerobiz, and if you manage to get p

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