Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yet another (white) guy who just doesn't understand.


I try to read Racialicious every day, and almost every time I end up yelling at my computer screen. Today was no different. Here is the article that the site linked to yesterday that got me perturbed: That's Racist! The Unjust Crusade Against Video Games, by Chris Mottes, CEO of developer Deadline Games, on GameDaily BIZ:

Members of the media often attack video games for being racist, sexist, mean-spirited, callous, unpleasant, insensitive, or just generally nasty. As a developer, I find most of these claims not only a touch insulting but also extremely tenuous, and in the majority of cases unfounded...


Unfounded? Really? Has he heard of Grand Theft Auto?

...while critics most frequently assert that video games contain too much violence and sex, they also endeavor to expose games as racially prejudiced. Games with minority characters, and especially minority stereotypes—even tongue-in-cheek characters not meant to be offensive—are torn down by accusations of intolerance. A surprising number of critics condemn video games as blatantly racist...


How dare they.

...Total Overdose and Chili Con Carnage, titles I helped develop at Deadline Games, were both targets of this type of criticism...


Chili Con Carnage? (Shaking my fist.) Calm down, calm down.

...When researching for Total Overdose, we spent a great deal of time in Mexico, taking over 6,000 photos—photos that were the basis for the vast majority of the textures that appeared in the game. We visited a variety of nightclubs to influence the settings and humor of the game, and we spent time in the company of self-styled gangsters to get a flavor for how they spoke and what they said.

When recording dialogue for both games, we employed Mexican-American voice actors to ensure that we would be providing accurate representations. And when it was time to decide on the soundtrack, we chose to include music from several acclaimed underground Mexican bands, including Molotov, who enjoyed the game to such a great extent that they offered to record unique tunes for a sequel.

However, in reviews, forums, and blogs following the releases of both games, some people slammed Deadline for being bigoted towards Mexicans. While we did employ stereotypes we considered lighthearted and humorous...


Well, if you considered them lighthearted and humorous, Mr. Mottes, why should anyone else complain? I'm sure you not only have participated in, but also have led many Diversity Days.

...our intent was most certainly not to cast Mexican individuals in a derogatory light. In fact, we continue to receive fan mail from Mexican gamers who love the games and praise us for depicting our cartoon version of Mexico as a modern, if corrupt, place.


Someone better hold me back. Who the bleep does Chris Mottes think he is?

In response: Denial and Delusion - Why Public Conversations About Race Fail Before They Begin, by Latoya Peterson, on Racialicious:

...As a black, female console gamer, I can definitively say that many of the video games I play (and enjoy) can be considered both sexist and racist. Sexism is rampant, particularly when you consider character design, costuming, and forced gender roles in play. Most female characters are designed for maximum sex appeal, relegated to damsel in distress roles, or physically limited and/or forced to contribute to the game in a limited capacity...

...The reality is that no stereotype can be considered light-hearted and humorous. A stereotype is defined as “an often oversimplified or biased mental picture held to characterize the typical individual of a group.” Stereotypes are negative. Even “positive” stereotypes are ultimately detrimental to the groups that struggle to find a sense of self within the narrow parameters of society’s vision...

...Stereotype after stereotype abound in the virtually crafted console world, with very few characters of color to provide an alternate perspective. Mottes argues that "most games with racist characters do not reflect the mindset of their developers." I would argue that they do. It reflects the developer’s mindset in dealing with the world and in dealing with minorities. If the developer was not holding on to this mindset that minorities can be categorized with one or two main characteristics, we would have multi-faceted characters of color to play...

If anyone knows of a similar critique of the video gaming industry based on sexism, homophobia, or any other general bigotry, prejudice or discrimination, please let me know. Thanks, readers!

4 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Bianca Reagan said...

I think that's Portugues. Anybody?

Pai said...

Shrub is a feminist blog that deals with many gaming-related issues, specifically sexism and stereotyping in the industry:

http://blog.shrub.com/

Bianca Reagan said...

What is with the weird ads on this post? At least the second one is related to the topic.