184: Punch-Out!!'s Black Eye

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Pseudonym2:

Locque:
Odlly enough, I still don't think anything in RE5 was really that bad, and I very strongly disagree with all the emotional hurt and outrage that we've seen across the interwebs because of it. Much more interesting was the hating on the nation of Haiti, than any racial overtones. I do applaud the "no hard feelings" gesture of including a black sidekick, but frankly I think everyone should be able to utilise some level of intellectual detachment when playing a game about an american agent shooting zombies in Haiti. The idea of a Haiti full to the brim with white zombies is what I'd consider TRULY offensive.

You missed one of the main points. Why on earth is the main character white in Hati? Why did they need an American? They could have removed much of the imperialism if they made the main character black.

That would have been miles smarter, better and actually kinda cool. There's a big missed opportunity.

Let's say that the story doesn't take place in Africa.
Let's say the main character isn't Redfield but some new addition to the cast, a British special agent tasked with tracking and containing down a bio-terror outbreak in...oh let's say Northern Ireland.

Would anyone have cried foul as loudly as they did when the first footage of RE5 came out?

I would pretty much assume that no, nobody would have even batted an eye at how potentially offensive that might be to a whole bunch of people.

Erm, yes that also would have been incredibly offensive, and kicked up a fuss, at least here in Britain. That's like saying if an Israeli character was sent into Palestine and had to kill loads of them it wouldn't have been offensive - it would have.

Racism is discrimination based on the color of one's skin. Thats not whats happening in Punch-Out. As well as conducting some actual research, you might want to consider consulting a dictionary as well.

Racism is discrimination based on ethnic background. Your definition says I couldn't be racist to the French, by claiming they all eat frogs and horses.

OurGloriousLeader:

You should read the man's points about the trailer this article links you to. It's not about 'killing whites is fine, killing spaniards is fine, killing blacks is bad!' It's about the colonial imagery that can be found throughout the trailer. Now, understand that it probably wasn't intentional at all, and indeed I'm sure Capcom had many discussions about the racial aspect. The problem is that they didn't spot the Great White Man, wandering in to lowly, horde-like blacks, who are a hidden, inhuman menace, then killing them all. It's like Zulu or something.

I understand your point but the thing is, Capcom probably did not see the colonial imagery. Japan never had that problem with black slavery. Except the countries that were born form the colonization of the European colonial superpowers in the XVI-XVII century, I don't think most countries saw that either.

Sadly the whole debate may just have hurt the medium's image in general. One side was saying "It's only a game" which is reducing the cultural value of games and on the other side, people (maybe not N'Gai Croal, he is a smart dude) were saying that video games couldn't touch such dangerous subject as racism, and that was reducing too. It got a little too close to the Fox News argument, that games are for kids and thus cannot aboard mature subjects, for me.

I agree, Capcom probably did not see the colonial imagery. I just think this shows incredibly bad research on their part. Offense doesn't have to be implied, it can also be inferred, legitimately.

I think we should wait and see how the actual release of the game will be met, both from gamers and the mainstream media. Anything that causes intelligent discussion can never be truly bad. Except for Hitler, he was pretty bad.

Punch-Out! really isn't a big deal, since it has a wide range of stereotypes. People who claim to "not see" racial differences are also fooling themselves. Sure, we can treat everyone equally, but ignoring our differences takes away what makes us so interesting.

Here's hoping the Wii Punch-Out! isn't some Politically Correct piece of generic trash.

Pseudonym2:

Locque:
Odlly enough, I still don't think anything in RE5 was really that bad, and I very strongly disagree with all the emotional hurt and outrage that we've seen across the interwebs because of it. Much more interesting was the hating on the nation of Haiti, than any racial overtones. I do applaud the "no hard feelings" gesture of including a black sidekick, but frankly I think everyone should be able to utilise some level of intellectual detachment when playing a game about an american agent shooting zombies in Haiti. The idea of a Haiti full to the brim with white zombies is what I'd consider TRULY offensive.

You missed one of the main points. Why on earth is the main character white in Hati? Why did they need an American? They could have removed much of the imperialism if they made the main character black.

Then you would lose so much. Chris and Wesker have history. Chris wants Wesker's head on a pike. Wesker likes playin with Redfield (and prolly ain't to happy about having a ton of steel dropped on his melon). Since Wesker isn't allowed to play with American cities anymore (see Racoon City Incident) it makes sense he would go to some 3rd world country and toy with some poor villagers.

OurGloriousLeader:

squid5580:
I have read through the article and the link as well as all the comments here (no way I am reading 400+ from the other article) and I still don't understand 1 thing with the whole RE5 "controversy". In RE0-3 you are killing American townsfolk in an American town and the majority appear white. No problem. RE4 comes out and you are a white guy slaughtering Spanish ppl in a Spanish town in Spain. No problem. RE5 trailer pops up and it has an American white guy killing a bunch of infected Africans in an African village in Africa and that is racist? The only thing I can agree with in that entire interview is "it is just a game" is not an excuse.

Also it is quite clear in the trailer they attacked him first. Chris was just walkin along minding his own business, admiring the reflection of himself in his shiny gun. All of a sudden some guy with a megaphone orders what I can only guess is ATTACK (prolly said KILL WHITEY but I can't be sure) and they charge him.

You should read the man's points about the trailer this article links you to. It's not about 'killing whites is fine, killing spaniards is fine, killing blacks is bad!' It's about the colonial imagery that can be found throughout the trailer. Now, understand that it probably wasn't intentional at all, and indeed I'm sure Capcom had many discussions about the racial aspect. The problem is that they didn't spot the Great White Man, wandering in to lowly, horde-like blacks, who are a hidden, inhuman menace, then killing them all. It's like Zulu or something.

As he says, it has to be contextualised. Europe did not come in and slaughter spaniards. Britain fought Spain, hated their guts, but never truly dehumanised them. The earlier REs are based purely upon Romero films and whatnot, no true history there. But is is the naive, innocent ignorance of those who made that trailer that is offensive, or can be offensive.

To be honest, I actually don't think it's that important. To me, Conrad's Heart of Darkness (not the game!) does more or less the exact same thing. But we need to understand why, at least, this is offensive. It's not because black people are being shot.

So if I understand you correctly (and if I am wrong I do apologize) it is offensive and controversial not because it is shooting Black people but because of what happened between the white ancestors and the black ancestors a long time ago. Something that is history. And if this is truly the case why are there so many WW2 shooters? Shouldn't Germans be pulling out the race card by now? How many games give you a gun and tell you to shoot Germans in the face indiscriminatly? Is it because Nazi's are evil so it is ok? And if it is couldn't the same logic be applied to the infected Africans? A normal African is A-OK but an infected one should be considered evil shouldn't it?

To me, this boils down to the narrow line separating caricature and stereotype. I have always looked on the cast of Punch-Out!! as the former, whereas the author leans toward the latter. Perhaps a case can be made that caricatures lead to stereotypes, but at least in my case, the ludicrous nature of the characters prevented that from occurring.

I never considered Glass Joe representative of Frenchmen; I saw him as a terrible, terrible boxer. Piston Honda's telegraphing every punch never made me think of the Japanese as unscrupulous, although the size of his feet when he went down baffled me. Don Flamenco is a pretty boy who happens to be a Spaniard. For me, the personalities shined through the ethnicities.

By the way, I saw Glass Joe's only victory. That kid had issues.

So if I understand you correctly (and if I am wrong I do apologize) it is offensive and controversial not because it is shooting Black people but because of what happened between the white ancestors and the black ancestors a long time ago. Something that is history. And if this is truly the case why are there so many WW2 shooters? Shouldn't Germans be pulling out the race card by now? How many games give you a gun and tell you to shoot Germans in the face indiscriminatly? Is it because Nazi's are evil so it is ok? And if it is couldn't the same logic be applied to the infected Africans? A normal African is A-OK but an infected one should be considered evil shouldn't it?

A look at another article this week here, See no Evil, tells us that WW2 shooters suffer from their own, albeit quieter criticism. Always have, that's why it took so long for Nazis to bleed in games, although that they do now actually humanises them more so. But, for the most part, WW2 shooters engage well with their history - putting you through real Operations, in real countries with historical accuracy. Furthermore, they tend not to imply that Nazis are actually inhuman. We know they are human, that's why the best WW2 shooters have the germans diving for cover, shouting in pain and fear etc. Just like us.

My biggest criticism of Capcom is simply that they were ignorant of the histories that were always going to be brought; that was obvious to anyone else. Remember, I'm not even offended by it, but I can see why others are. Had I been working on the game, or at least the trailer, I would have recognised this simple fact from the off.

I think that the author and the person he quotes is reading a bit too much into the dehumanizing of the black people in the town. They both decry that these people are kept in the shadows with their faces covered. To them, this is a terrible thing, and is a symptom of the supposed racism that pervades such games.

To me, the answer is much simpler: they are dehumanized because the player will soon be shooting them! Not because they are black, or due to any unintentional post-colonial racism, but simply because you will shortly find yourself putting bullets in them. The fact is, that if you see a group of people strolling down the street, well lit and happy, singing cheerful songs, and then they get zombified and you find yourself having to shoot them all, you may just start to feel bad about that. Or you may not. Who knows? But I'm willing to bet that's why the developers tend to push them into the realm of "the other."

OurGloriousLeader:

So if I understand you correctly (and if I am wrong I do apologize) it is offensive and controversial not because it is shooting Black people but because of what happened between the white ancestors and the black ancestors a long time ago. Something that is history. And if this is truly the case why are there so many WW2 shooters? Shouldn't Germans be pulling out the race card by now? How many games give you a gun and tell you to shoot Germans in the face indiscriminatly? Is it because Nazi's are evil so it is ok? And if it is couldn't the same logic be applied to the infected Africans? A normal African is A-OK but an infected one should be considered evil shouldn't it?

A look at another article this week here, See no Evil, tells us that WW2 shooters suffer from their own, albeit quieter criticism. Always have, that's why it took so long for Nazis to bleed in games, although that they do now actually humanises them more so. But, for the most part, WW2 shooters engage well with their history - putting you through real Operations, in real countries with historical accuracy. Furthermore, they tend not to imply that Nazis are actually inhuman. We know they are human, that's why the best WW2 shooters have the germans diving for cover, shouting in pain and fear etc. Just like us.

My biggest criticism of Capcom is simply that they were ignorant of the histories that were always going to be brought; that was obvious to anyone else. Remember, I'm not even offended by it, but I can see why others are. Had I been working on the game, or at least the trailer, I would have recognised this simple fact from the off.

The big difference between the 2 articles is rather huge. The Grandmother you are refering to was a survivor of the awful times. These actions affected her directly. Since it is a colonial thing and not the 1950 racism or KKK we are talking here so the chances of there being any survivor who was there when the white man showed up in Africa with whips and chains (not in a good way) is rather slim. If there was even the slimmest chance there could be one person alive from then it would be a different story and should be handled differently. Sooner or later everyone is going to have to realize yes it happened, yes it shouldn't have and yes there is not 1 thing anyone (well anyone other than Dr. Who) who can do anything about it. And once that happens then the next step is to put it behind us as the human race and move on. Don't get me wrong I am not saying we should forget. I am saying everyone needs to get over it and get on with it.

In the words of Moviebob, "VIDEO GAMES COME FROM JAPAN". The article places the origin of this view on the US... but a quick check here shows otherwise. Also, I don't remember anything in that game that suggested that the Japanese were untrustworthy... especially since the Japanese made the game.

OurGloriousLeader:

Erm, yes that also would have been incredibly offensive, and kicked up a fuss, at least here in Britain. That's like saying if an Israeli character was sent into Palestine and had to kill loads of them it wouldn't have been offensive - it would have.

Yes, I agree it would be equally as offensive. All things being equal, it would hopefully have created an equal amount of tension.

What I was saying though is that a lot of the folks who were "deeply offended" by the RE5 trailer probably wouldn't have paid any attention to a game about a white guy shooting a bunch of other white guys, regardless of nationality.

Obviously it's a hypothetical situation and we'll probably never know exactly how people would react to it, but my own pessimistic view of things tells me I'm probably right, even if I hope I'm not.

Is it just me or is every article in this issue of The Escapist oriented around the subject of racism? Was this theme announced and I just missed it? Oh well.

Quite frankly, I'm tired of any conversation about racism/sexism or the like being seen as sophisticated or intelligent. It takes absolutely no intelligence or sophistication of any kind to talk about these topics. At the best all it requires for someone to speak on such topics is to watch the news and/or read a newspaper for a few minutes every day. At the worst it only requires someone to feel unhappy about something and fall into some kind of popularly victimized group. Pretty much any non-white, non-attractive or unfortunate person can do this.

People doing things that offend or hurt other people. It happens. It has always happened. It always will happen. Racism. Sexism. Prejudice. Abuse. It exists in every society and can occur against anyone regardless of skin color, outward appearance, family tree or anything else. The real evil is the fact that people would treat others badly regardless of the reason. Criticizing someone for being racist is only a minute part of that persons REAL problem of being unloving toward his fellow man. To treat racism as if it's somehow worse than any other person bullying or abusing someone, regardless of the reason, is an insult to our intelligence. This being said, conversations around racism, while not necessarily useless, DO have a great potential to ignore the greater problem inherent in human nature. Nobody wants to talk about this though, because it's so much easier to talk about something when it's confined to a specific group (i.e. racism).

I'm a young white Caucasian male without a racist bone in my body. The most racist person I ever met was a black man who went around talking about how the white man has used and abused him his entire life, and he treated me like dirt. I could care less about his skin tone, but I sure as heck hate his attitude. It's wrong on so many levels, and even though there may be some truth to his claims, he is the only one to blame for his own hypocrisy. Instead of focusing his hatred on the greater evil (that one person would intentionally hurt another), he put his own hatred into the lesser evil of white-on-black racism. The result: He lost focus on what was really important and in the end became exactly what he was claiming to fight.

So I'm sorry, but I don't automatically see well-intentioned racial conversation as somehow 'enlightened'. The racial discussion is overblown, wearing out it's welcome and focused on the wrong priorities.

The big difference between the 2 articles is rather huge. The Grandmother you are refering to was a survivor of the awful times. These actions affected her directly. Since it is a colonial thing and not the 1950 racism or KKK we are talking here so the chances of there being any survivor who was there when the white man showed up in Africa with whips and chains (not in a good way) is rather slim. If there was even the slimmest chance there could be one person alive from then it would be a different story and should be handled differently. Sooner or later everyone is going to have to realize yes it happened, yes it shouldn't have and yes there is not 1 thing anyone (well anyone other than Dr. Who) who can do anything about it. And once that happens then the next step is to put it behind us as the human race and move on. Don't get me wrong I am not saying we should forget. I am saying everyone needs to get over it and get on with it.

There may not be any survivors, true, but the consequences still ring deep in the social consciousness of their descendants. All the poverty, the drugs and violence in inner city ghettos in America, and the further, general impoverishment of black people the world over is an indirect result of colonialism. Also, it was less than half a century ago that in democratic, wealthy nations black people were segregated. Hell, what's it been, only 20 years since Apartheid was ended? That's ridiculous.

Of course there's no general rule to apply here, it's not a science. We can't randomly take examples of other races that are hurt and say 'Look, they're not complaining about those games.'

Yes, I agree it would be equally as offensive. All things being equal, it would hopefully have created an equal amount of tension.

What I was saying though is that a lot of the folks who were "deeply offended" by the RE5 trailer probably wouldn't have paid any attention to a game about a white guy shooting a bunch of other white guys, regardless of nationality.

Obviously it's a hypothetical situation and we'll probably never know exactly how people would react to it, but my own pessimistic view of things tells me I'm probably right, even if I hope I'm not.

In the Ireland example, the anger would be quieter, probably, because relatively few people were affected by that conflict. Here in Britain, a shitstorm would be kicked off, but elsewhere passing news only. The Palestine game would be a different case altogther, methinks. Stop being so cynical! *hugs*

To Novan Leon, I used to have the exact same opinion as you do, but about Feminism. I viewed it as an inherently sexist account of equality. However, I've learned that we still need to rationally discuss it so that theories get to that point. It would be grand if we could realise that racism is just another form of bullying, and it's all a bit silly. But there are many who would view this as downplaying the effects of what was once such an all pervasive belief, and they also would have a point.

Certainly it is not automatically enlightened, but also it is not automatically unenlightened.

OurGloriousLeader:

To Novan Leon, I used to have the exact same opinion as you do, but about Feminism. I viewed it as an inherently sexist account of equality. However, I've learned that we still need to rationally discuss it so that theories get to that point. It would be grand if we could realise that racism is just another form of bullying, and it's all a bit silly. But there are many who would view this as downplaying the effects of what was once such an all pervasive belief, and they also would have a point.

Certainly it is not automatically enlightened, but also it is not automatically unenlightened.

I'm not sure I understand your point. The pervasive belief being racism?

I have no problem with rational discussion, but the vast majority of the discussion going on completely ignores the core issue, that is, that we're all human and there is no excuse for treating anyone with hate or disdain. If most of these discussions came to this conclusion then these talks would be much more constructive (and much more rational).

Another problem with the racism discussion is most American's distorted perspective on the subject. Many American's believe that racism is a uniquely American sin, or that racism in America was/is much worse than anywhere else. This is completely and utterly false. Pick any nation or people in the world and I can give you numerous examples of racism/sexism/religious prejudice that goes on to this day, much of it worse than anything that has ever occurred in the USA. The problem with the USA is that any Joe can stand up and yell discrimination and receive popularly lauded 'victim' status regardless of whether the reasoning behind the claim is valid or not. People care less about the rationale behind the claim than the seriousness of the claim itself. This is a slippery slope to be sure.

Greyhawk:
If I recall correctly, wasn't Soda Popinski's original name "Vodka Drunkinski" in one of the arcade versions?

yes indeed. The original Mike Tysons Punch out was one of my favorites when i was a pup. Im surprised this no one has been banned for initiating this thread since most of the the time everyone in here is so sensitive.

When it comes to Street Fighter, where do you draw the line between racial stereotype and amusing caricature? As Ray Huling pointed out in his "Diversity, One Dragon-Punch at a Time" article, nationality was an intuitive way to communicate to the player the differences in play style between characters. I think it's fair game that a person of a given nationality would represent the fighting style associated with that culture. Perhaps fighting games are a special case, because by design, every opponent is also a protagonist and is thus created to have some player appeal.

Does anyone have anything to say about how Ready 2 Rumble and/or Facebreakers employ either caricature or stereotype in their character designs?

"I have read through the article and the link as well as all the comments here (no way I am reading 400+ from the other article) and I still don't understand 1 thing with the whole RE5 "controversy". In RE0-3 you are killing American townsfolk in an American town and the majority appear white. No problem. RE4 comes out and you are a white guy slaughtering Spanish ppl in a Spanish town in Spain. No problem. RE5 trailer pops up and it has an American white guy killing a bunch of infected Africans in an African village in Africa and that is racist?"

It's the imagery, apparently.

telephonline92:
"I have read through the article and the link as well as all the comments here (no way I am reading 400+ from the other article) and I still don't understand 1 thing with the whole RE5 "controversy". In RE0-3 you are killing American townsfolk in an American town and the majority appear white. No problem. RE4 comes out and you are a white guy slaughtering Spanish ppl in a Spanish town in Spain. No problem. RE5 trailer pops up and it has an American white guy killing a bunch of infected Africans in an African village in Africa and that is racist?"

It's the imagery, apparently.

It's the politically correct crowd, particularly those who have a bone to pick or make a decent living off of the racial prejudice topic, that push this kind of idiocy. What most people in the USA don't realize is that the affirmative action movement no longer has anything to do with race or gender. It's all about politics, power and money. It may be about race to the little guy who feels he's been a victim of racism but that's pretty much where it ends.

Most of these simply stupid complaints of discrimination and racism get amplified by the powers that be in order to influence voters, receive funding, restrict free speech, etc. It's all a big game now (the irony!). If racism died out, a lot of people would lose their pedestal and become nobodies again, and a lot of politicians would lose a ton of brownie points by claiming to fight for victims of racism.

*Ahem* Sorry. Rant over. I'll let it lie now.

Novan Leon:

telephonline92:
"I have read through the article and the link as well as all the comments here (no way I am reading 400+ from the other article) and I still don't understand 1 thing with the whole RE5 "controversy". In RE0-3 you are killing American townsfolk in an American town and the majority appear white. No problem. RE4 comes out and you are a white guy slaughtering Spanish ppl in a Spanish town in Spain. No problem. RE5 trailer pops up and it has an American white guy killing a bunch of infected Africans in an African village in Africa and that is racist?"

It's the imagery, apparently.

It's the politically correct crowd, particularly those who have a bone to pick or make a decent living off of the racial prejudice topic, that push this kind of idiocy. What most people in the USA don't realize is that the affirmative action movement no longer has anything to do with race or gender. It's all about politics, power and money. It may be about race to the little guy who feels he's been a victim of racism but that's pretty much where it ends.

Most of these simply stupid complaints of discrimination and racism get amplified by the powers that be in order to influence voters, receive funding, restrict free speech, etc. It's all a big game now (the irony!). If racism died out, a lot of people would lose their pedestal and become nobodies again, and a lot of politicians would lose a ton of brownie points by claiming to fight for victims of racism.

*Ahem* Sorry. Rant over. I'll let it lie now.

As harshly as you said it (or as people will intrepret it being really harsh when they read it) that makes the most sense to me. I gotta say when I saw the trailer for the first time (and second 3rd and possibly 100th all thanks to tivo) the thought never dawned on me once that it was a white guy shooting black guys. All I saw was a possible Chris or Barry (cuz I wasn't sure at the time) killing a bunch of "infected" in an African village. Then I log onto a few game news sites and they are filled with "OMG Capcom is ran by racist bastards, boycott RE5, burn thier offices to the ground!" O.K. slight exxageration. I was stunned. Not saying things like KKK don't exist. It is just they should go after people like them not a company that makes a game like this.

justdan:
I just cannot resolve these two conflicting ideas: 1. Do not see racial differences, 2. Racial differences are constantly highlighted (for example, the reactions to the election of Barak Obama in the USA, being a great racial victory). As a white person, I have to walk a tight-rope whenever talking to a different race; so much so, it makes me not WANT to becuase of the effort that goes into having to parse everything I say just in case it may come off racist.

Or you could simply speak honestly and not with a judgemental air. Someone spouting stereotypical trash with a righteous mind sorta kills the desire to have conversation, while being honest and straightforward can lead to a stimulating debate that you and everyone else may learn from.
If you are so worried about being attacked for voicing your opinion in a neutral enviroment, that right there is a start.

squid5580:

Novan Leon:

telephonline92:
"I have read through the article and the link as well as all the comments here (no way I am reading 400+ from the other article) and I still don't understand 1 thing with the whole RE5 "controversy". In RE0-3 you are killing American townsfolk in an American town and the majority appear white. No problem. RE4 comes out and you are a white guy slaughtering Spanish ppl in a Spanish town in Spain. No problem. RE5 trailer pops up and it has an American white guy killing a bunch of infected Africans in an African village in Africa and that is racist?"

It's the imagery, apparently.

It's the politically correct crowd, particularly those who have a bone to pick or make a decent living off of the racial prejudice topic, that push this kind of idiocy. What most people in the USA don't realize is that the affirmative action movement no longer has anything to do with race or gender. It's all about politics, power and money. It may be about race to the little guy who feels he's been a victim of racism but that's pretty much where it ends.

Most of these simply stupid complaints of discrimination and racism get amplified by the powers that be in order to influence voters, receive funding, restrict free speech, etc. It's all a big game now (the irony!). If racism died out, a lot of people would lose their pedestal and become nobodies again, and a lot of politicians would lose a ton of brownie points by claiming to fight for victims of racism.

*Ahem* Sorry. Rant over. I'll let it lie now.

As harshly as you said it (or as people will intrepret it being really harsh when they read it) that makes the most sense to me. I gotta say when I saw the trailer for the first time (and second 3rd and possibly 100th all thanks to tivo) the thought never dawned on me once that it was a white guy shooting black guys. All I saw was a possible Chris or Barry (cuz I wasn't sure at the time) killing a bunch of "infected" in an African village. Then I log onto a few game news sites and they are filled with "OMG Capcom is ran by racist bastards, boycott RE5, burn thier offices to the ground!" O.K. slight exxageration. I was stunned. Not saying things like KKK don't exist. It is just they should go after people like them not a company that makes a game like this.

I have some copypasta I save just for times like this, when I need to explain why someone in the world may have a different opinion about a group then yourself.

Okay then. I say the preview for Resident Evil 5 and the first thing I thought was "This will be bad." I am a gamer. I've played Resident Evil since I was a teen. I am a young, black male in America. And I know quite well what people on the internet have said about this entire ordeal, good and bad. Most don't seem to see the problem, so here is a bullet point.
1. The developers of the game itself. Japan is world reknown for it's closed-minded, xenophobic view of the rest of the world. This shows in the media they create and statements by their politicians (see 1989, Japanese Prime Minister). Japanese media keeps a stable of the worst stereotypes of cultures everywhere and freely dispense them without care or concern. They will not offend themselves, or the caucasians who make up the bulk of their profits, but others see easily what they do not. Nintendo recieved a harsh critique when in one of their pilot Zelda games, the Muslim call to prayer was featured in the backround music (this was removed when localised for the U.S.). Capcom again recently had been called on a game preview where a creature clearly called out "Allah-u Ackba" (God is great in Arabic) before eating a cannabalistic stew (this has also been removed). Muslims and Black people are not the only ones who "cry and complain" about "supposed" insensitivity. Most people have not heard of Magna Carta: The Crimson Stigmata. Why? Because the group who brought this game over to the U.S. quickly realized the ramifications of trivializing the crucifixion of the Christ and changed it to something else. Or the Metal Slug series about the rebirth of Hitler and the Third Reich. All refererences to Hitler was removed and the prevalent swastikas where changed. It seems to depend on who you insult that results are made.
2. The developers are entirely ignorant of the trials of black people in America as evidenced by the line "bright eyes, simian strength and room temperature i.q.", all of which are popular stereotypes of African peoples in general. As mentioned before, the scenes showed hearken too closely to real-life episodes of violence and terror experienced by African peoples the world over.
Long story short, I do not belive that the game is racist, nor do I think that the makers went the distance to insult African peoples. Ignorant, yes. Blatant racists, not so much. These games have always been about killing monsters that look human and beyond the violence, few complaints have been made. The 4th game has been referenced often as a rebuttal to the racism argument, and would be considerable if the developers had not gone on the record and said that the game takes place in eastern Europe and failing that, Spaniards are caucasian Europeans, not the mixed blood Hispanics of the Americas. All of this could of been avoided had the companies spent some time with their pr people and got the hint that someone may take offense to what you have planned to show and say, especially black people in America who still fight to overcome centuries-old stereotypes and will not tolerate them being proported any longer. That said, the majority of these whistle-blowers need to CALM DOWN. Many have admitted knowing nothing about what they speak of on the subject, and rob others of credibility by crying wolf so quickly. Do some digging, get the facts right and if there is a problem, we will deal with it. And yes, the majority of the ignorant rabble who have posted crude comments on many of these websites do so due to their imagined anonimity and willful desire to hurt others. They do not, however, make up the majority of gamers like me, nor should it be construed as such, as it is as foolish and base as those who you lambast. I would like to see more of this game before my view is set, as should others. The game is not even near release and more information shall be availible later. /comment

It's hard to say about RE5. If you're going to place it in Africa, then you're going to have to use black people. The problem is that this is emotionally unsettling because Sub-Saharan Africa is among the poorest, most pestilent, and malnourished regions in the world. I just find it more than disturbing to be killing a starving, dirty peasant with malaria/AIDS/whatever, leaving his kids as an orphan. But is it racism- a term reserved for the believe that your race (one of the most intangible concepts of identity ever) is inherently superior to display a form of entertainment media in the way that RE5 does? It's hard to say. Killing a group of people who have it toughest in the world due to their natural birth characteristics is a bit insensitive, but unless the dialogue makes Mamie look like the guy from Night of the Living Dead, I'm about an inch in the territory of "not racist."

I would not be suprised if as Croal suggested there was a big Black Hawk Down influence here, nor would I care because its a cool film!
I do believe that the Japanese developers were had no idea what the effect of the trailer would be because they simply hadnt thought of it that way and my personal opinion is that alot of people complaining about it now would not have noticed on viewing it had it not been pointed out in this context.
By the logic of the argument about imagery there could never be another game or movie set in a predominantly black country with a white protagonist and I think that is a bit silly.(Not much of a problem though, make the hero's skin a bit darker and I will still happily play!)It seems like Croals only real point here is that the developer was stupid for not realising how easily offended some people are. Fair one. But how could you have this game without this imagery? A non infected local who had to put down his own family would have been awesome to play as and Im gutted we wont have the chance to experience that story as it could have been far more personal than any previous game. The S.T.A.R.S team could have been supporting and sometime playable characters, but this is a creative decision and should not be motivated by trying to appease the people who scream the loudest.
Personaly I cant see the problem with similar imagery in 1940s Germany or Northern Ireland.
As an Irish person that wouldnt bother me. Stories need settings, its as simple as that. You will usualy be a minority facing an opposing majority in games because that is the most fun to play. Unless we make up new groups of people who bear no similarities to any group in history then there are going to be groups that get put in to the position of bad guys.
The Oddworld thing struck me as a bit funny because I immediatly thought of the holocaust in that game. I dislike the point the author makes here though because it implies that parody and metaphor are not legitimate ways to teach a lesson or raise awareness. In many opressed nations they are the ONLY way and by this logic we should stop reading Aesops Fables to our kids because it lacks the balls to tackle laziness head on!

Racism is discrimination based on ethnic background. Your definition says I couldn't be racist to the French, by claiming they all eat frogs and horses.

Correct. Thats Xenophobic as far as Im aware.
I do laud the direction of this article though because I would love to play as more unstereotyped characters from different racial backgrounds and im getting really sick of crime sims being the only place it happens.

I'm going to do my best to try to clarify, for those with open minds but who "just don't understand what's so bad about it" (the RE5 controversy).

------------------------

Imagine a zombie game set in German-occupied Poland. Emaciated white people scramble around, looking for all intents and purposes completely like the propaganda 'monster jew'. They lunge from the dark corners of the seedy, war-torn city as the glorious Aryan hero strides among them, back-lit by god-rays, dispensing death to the tune of a patriotic victory march. Er, but...it's okay, because they're zombies. He's a zombie hunter.

There is an unspoken vocabulary to visual media. You can recognize that one character is about to do something horrible to another based on how he stands in the doorway and cocks his head. You know two characters are about to kiss when you see a side-angle of their faces positioned at the extreme edges of frame.
These are not universally recognized symbols; a Renaissance painter or an Australian aboriginee would not recognize that Morpheus is becoming emotionally empowered and about to stand up dramatically because of how Laurence Fishburn first tilts his head downward.
These images and what they imply are ingrained into your consciousness as a viewer because you've seen them so many times; interpreting them is practically an subconscious action.
Similarly, there are certain iconic depictions of racism--say, snarling gorilla men or large-lipped cooks in polka dot aprons--are part of our cultural consciousness, and cannot be disregarded as such.

As one blogger puts it, "It's perfectly possible to use Africa as the setting for a powerful and troubling horror story, but when you're applying the concept of people being turned into savage monsters onto an actual ethnic group that has long been misrepresented as savage monsters, it's hard to see how elements of race weren't going to be a factor. And all it will take is for one mainstream media outlet to show the heroic Chris Redfield stamping on the face of a black woman, splattering her skull, and the controversy over Manhunt 2 will seem quaint by comparison. "

Now if this were an American-made game, I would have to call foul a great deal louder. I think, however, that for the Japanese the context of these images may not resonate quite as strongly as, say, nuclear devastation in Fallout 3.

This is ignorance of the American (and particularly the black) soul, no doubt, but probably not outright wicked maliciousness (ala Punchout).

That said, in lieu of a retraction--"We recognize this imagery to be intrinsically offensive to many and apologize to the African American Community"--a boycott might send a message; and that message may NEED to be sent.

And conjuring up RE4's impoverished Spanish villages to rebut accusations of racism in impoverished African villages is akin to saying:
"Well THEY didn't complain about being stereotyped, so clearly there is no stereotyping going on. And if there is, they didn't bitch, so neither should you. Bear it and be quiet; you'll hurt Capcom's profit margin you evil free-speech hating monster you."

-----------------------------
And on that note:
Really, if you're going to try drawing broad ultimatums about the nature of art and expression as it pertains to being offensive, Resident Evil is not the game to do it over. It might be a different matter to justify these images if, say, they were used to portray an overarching artistic theme, ala Spike Lee's portrayal of white people (utilizing almost caricature-levels of monstrousness to highlight the absurdity of their hatred, given a specific context). But there's not a lot of depth here to tip the cost-benefit scale.
It is an action horror game, where you shoot zombies, with rocket launchers.
The FIFTH in a SERIES of action horror games, where you shoot zombies, with rocket launchers.

If you're going to wage war for moral absolutism, you might pick a better staging point.

------------------------------

Also of note is that the kind of person that tries to shrug this off by saying "It's just a game!" is usually a stark defender of the videogame as a legitimate art-form.
Ring ring.
(That is the sound of a double-standard calling. On the telephone. ...it's for you.)

--------------------------

Having thoroughly corrected the entire internet, the Tekno grows weary and retires to a small hovel beneath a rotted log. Here, he can sleep undisturbed, safe from hungry predators who would seek his fatty meats to nourish their young

Sumantra Lahiri:
Punch-Out!!'s Black Eye

The controversy over perceived racist undertones in Resident Evil 5 may have made Capcom seem culturally insensitive, but it's nothing compared to the Most Racist Game of All Time: Punch-Out!! for the NES.

Read Full Article

Don't see why they make such a fuss about games like RE5 and L4D2. They act like there are no black people in New Orleans or Africa, but it's not even like you're only fighting black people. People always want their 15 minutes right?

Video games might be capable of being art, but the main thing is that they be freaking FUN I don't consider a "serious discussion of race" to be fun, and I love to debate and argue, but honestly, fighting over race or religion is like running head first into a brick wall... over and over again... it's not fun.

And allow me to say this as clearly as i can:

Boo-hoo.

Political Correctness is a blinding shroud that all mankind should cast off.

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