Daily Archives: June 3, 2007

Depravity and/or Laziness?

After being the recipient of some interesting accusations, I’ve had an interesting few days (and no I’m not ishmael). I’m also playing a very lame game called Chaser. It must have been made by fans of Final Fantasy because it has tons and tons of cut scenes. Of course I’m not watching any of them.

Having been accused of defending depravity though, I have been thinking more about the depictions of gender and race in games. Games like Chaser and Brothers in Arms are a good case study. In these games race and gender basically don’t exist. Or rather no other genders than masculine and no other races than white exist and so they make gender and race invisible. I can understand a game like Brothers in Arms not including women because it is set in WWII and women weren’t allowed in the military front lines. Chaser, on the other hand, is set in the future and goes from a space station to numerous places on Earth and then to Mars! All without women. I talked about race in Brothers in Arms but Chaser doesn’t even have the excuse of segregation to explain why everyone is white.

Of course the reason for this is that the vast majority of game developers for First-Person Shooters are white men. However, I’m a white man and I notice these things so why don’t they? It isn’t some conspiracy. Internalized sexism and racism may be a reason but more than anything it is probably just laziness. Of course the fact that in the US we don’t talk about gender or race (except to talk about those damn feminists or playing the race card) means that it isn’t something that most people have reason to think about.

But really what I want is for game developers to stop being so lazy. I mean Chaser may be really really not good but at least they didn’t make another WWII game. Make a game that is different. Make a game that has different people in it. I like playing games that involve shooting people but I’m tired of all the people I’m shooting in the game being white men!