August 3, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2: Why I am NOT offended.

The media is at it again!  Another debate about race in video games.  I'm a little late on picking up this one but that's okay, I was late with the RE5 issue as well.  

Again, this is coming from a GamePolitics article that read a post in a blog by a writer from the Houston Chronicle who's saying that Valve is being insensitive by putting black zombies in their Left 4 Dead sequel that takes place in New Orleans.

Okay... what?

Let's take a look at some game play, shall we?

Did you watch?  Okay, did you see anything that offends you?  I didn't.  If you are offended let me know because I might be missing something.  But I don't find anything that's inheriently racist.  There are zombies.  You are trying to shoot at them.  Or beat them with a frying pan, which makes a very satisfying PANG on a zombie's head.

The writer for the Chronicle says that Valve should be more careful about using the former disaster zone in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, with the remembrance of "bloated bodies".  I understand that, but almost every story has a tragedy.  Should we not have games that have fires in Chicago, or earthquakes in L.A.  Yes, Katrina is recent, we're approaching the 4 year anniversary (I remember because I had just moved into my dorms as a freshmen in college).  But we have to give valve the chance to deal with the situation appropriately.  If we don't you know I will whine about it on the internet.

I think what ticks me off is that unlike the RE5 incident, there aren't any instances where the game play has racist images or messages.  Yes, there are black zombies.  But New Orleans has black people in it, and I don't see African Americans being immune to a zombie outbreak.  Although that would be pretty sweet.  Anyway, there are also two black protagonist that don't seem to be overt stereotypes either.  There's just nothing for this writer to cement his assertion on.  Luckily the developers of the game are calling it "utter insanity".  Because it is, not every game with black zombies are racist.  In fact, none of them have to be as long as people think things through, and hopefully Valve will prove that they have thought things through.

I invite you to look at all the media available on Gametrailers here.  To be honest I haven't watched anything, but I have watched a substantial amount without seeing anything that is offensive to me as a black person.  Although, their standard redneck character might offended someone.

If you go to the article in GamePolitics, you might see that one commenter says it's a way to gain readership for the Chronicle.  I will say if it is, it's probably working.

No comments:

Post a Comment