Monday, May 3, 2010

Race to the Finish

 Here's my N-Word license. I believe everything is in order...

Long time no see.  Now, friends, I want to talk about something, and it's a bit of a touchy issue. I want to talk about race.

There are certainly some default reactions I expect some of  you will have regarding this topic. And it's about those reactions I want to talk about.

See, in a recent event a chat was had regarding racial equality, and representation and all that...on video games. It was a long Video, but I had the sense a lot of you just didn't watch it. Which is fine. It's a bit of an abstract thing, not in any way related to the veracity of cake or other Lulz inducing affairs. Still, the reactions I saw where disapointing, to say the least. Many of you felt that race just doesn't matter at all. After all, we're living in a "post-racial" world, where the President is black and Limp Bizkit is allowed to walk the streets.

But I think a lot of you missed the whole damn point.

You see, it's not just about how many black people star in videogames and how much you can totally identify with the character, even though he's skin color isn't yours. It's about having a wider range of experiences in videogames.

I mean, I think we all want newer experiences in videogames, correct? Sure, we can still sweat the Tolkien Ripoffs and JRPGs, the WW2 Shooters and Fighting games, the Kart Racing Games, but whenever something different is announced, something that hasn't been done, you feel that hype. "Hey, it's that new detective game that's all down to earth and junk. Never seen that before" or " Hey, it's the Space/Norway mythology game, that's different" or "Hey, Steampunk, cool".

Well, there are a wide array of cultures from which to derive stories and concepts for games, and it IS a loss for us, as gamers, and for the industry in general, to not draw from them. What could anyone have to say against that? "No, too much difference! Take it away, it burns!"

I don't think industry types wake up in the morning hoping no Hispanic leads a game. But they are sticklers for what works, or seems to work. The world doesn't start at "Greek Myth" and end  at "Apocalyptic Future". And even though you "don't care about that stuff", tell me if you'd rather Assassins Creed be a WW2 shooter, and Heavy Rain be fantasy hack and slash.  Diversity in characters and settings hurts no one at least, and makes something fairly straightforward and generic into something special.

1 comment:

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