Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Dragons and Dark Eyes!

Posted by deckard47 on April 2, 2009

So I’m sick today, in an unpleasant way, and while most of the day will be spent working on stuff from the office, I intend to start out a character in Drakensang, which Owen so kindly gifted to me. I’m torn between a charlatan and a dwarven prospector. Exciting, right? The manual is pretty thorough, which is always an unexpected delight in games today. I guess I have to go looking for long, involved manuals, now that some manuals are 2 pages long.

What follows are my musings on the dank hell that is the comments section attached to an article written by me. I apologize, I really try not to go all Dyack on these things for the most part; normally I reserve such unpleasantness for Owen. If that’s not your thing, get out will you can.

The inelegant article I wrote for GSW about RE 5 was posted on Gamasutra. The comments are interesting, and there’s a ton of them. I’d like to respond to some in person, but there are some weird trends. There is of course the “you”re racist ’cause you think that the game’s racist,” quadrant of responses, but there’s also an alarming number of people who decry my discussion of “Africa.” They keep on talking about how I think “Africa” is poor, or think “Africa” is (fill in the blank), etc. I’m not sure how to say it guys, but that’s bullshit. Part of the difficulties in writing that article were that Capcom intentionally made it difficult to specifically critique their mistakes. When your game is “set in West Africa,” in a fictional town, and most of your imagery could be from any part of the African continent that your audience unthinkingly coded as “African,” it’s tough to cite factual gaffs. This shouldn’t be something anyone needs to say, but I’m going to: Africa is a continent. It has many nations that are included within its continental boundaries. Part of the problem is that a lot of responders obviously take “Africa” to be some kind of contiguous whole. It’s as if they’re comparing it to the United States. Sure, those nations are all on the same land mass (and hello, Madagascar), but they are all different from each other. This shouldn’t be something that we need to even think about. Have you taken a geography class? Would you like to go read about how African nations are different from one another (please tell me this isn’t a surprise)? Then we’re done.

Some people are saying that since the article does not make a clear statement for or against Capcom’s being “racist,” my argument is morally or intellectually bankrupt. It’s that way for a specific reason. When you start calling people racist, hackles go up. People especially get angry when you say something they like is racist. Does that mean they’re racist too? Defense time! In all seriousness, I chose to use the terms offensive and bigoted because I think that the term “racist” implies a certain degree of intent and knowing judgment. I can make the argument that Capcom knowingly and unthinkingly included racist caricatures in their games, but I feel that my argument begins to crumble when I say that Capcom “is racist.” But there’s a difference between using a stronger word and having a stronger argument. There are writers out there who are more bold than me, and making that very claim (Capcom and various video game companies are racist) every day. It’s a perfectly valid thing to do, and since I do think that the game is a product that depicts and encourages racist points of view and assumptions, I’d say that it’s an important thing to say. Oh, and there are some well-thought out responses to the article which I enjoyed. So thanks for those, it made some of the other stuff more bearable. Finally, some people thought that the article was so dumb because Gamasutra was pulling an April Fools on them. Sweet.

Finally, the article starts out mid-sentence or mid-thought, I’m not sure which. What was I thinking. Also, Left 4 Dead 360! Where my WASPs at!?

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5 Responses to “Dragons and Dark Eyes!”

  1. Yikes, what a shit storm. Like the day I got Kotaku’d on a post that I’d spent about 45 minutes working on.

    Gah I want to L4D with you so badly, but I’m working up a storm at the moment and only getting on the 360 at 4 in the morning when I can’t get to sleep. Totes not white, or an anglo-saxon, or a protestant, though.

  2. Sam said

    u r dumb

  3. deckard47 said

    @Sam: No ur dumb.

    @Simon: Shitty about the work. I’ve just always wanted to say that to people. I don’t think anyone would ever respond though.

  4. Simon said we should do some L4D once you got it. I sent you a friend request if that’s not too presumptuous.

  5. deckard47 said

    Nope. I’ll accept it whenever I turn on the Hexbox.

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