Let’s Talk Race and Racism In Games

I can remember the first time I watched Rosewood. It was a visual representation of what I read about in school. About the evil that one race of people can inflict on another. I remember finishing that movie and side-eying White people for about a week. I was young, but the truth was out, and I then knew what many people would try to forget. Racism, discussions of race and the way in which we treat those of color today share many of the similarities of the period in which Rosewood takes place. And while many forms of media attempt to depict the racial climate of America and our history, video games struggle with the idea that you can be entertaining and push boundaries.

When I initially decided to write this, I wanted to focus on my recent experience with Mafia III, one of the latest games to depict America during a time of civil unrest. However, I’ve found that in trying to discuss one game that I would leave out games like Bioshock Infinite and Freedom Cry, an expansion to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. Games that left marks on me as a black man who also loves playing games. Video games have the power to move us in a way that we have yet to experience, placing us in the center of racial encounters. Unlike movies, we are in control of the characters in these situations. We are active participants, and it is this shift that gives developers great power in moments they create, but many of these moments feel like the team lacked the conviction to push the envelope. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Race and Racism In Games”

Microsoft’s Next Opportunity is Following Apple

You want to know how to get me to buy your video game? Have the platform you sell it on curate it for me. Example, Apple recently decided to highlight indie games in the App Store…and not the free to play games that litter the front page of the featured section, but premium games made by small teams. It’s something many people had asked for and when Apple finally decided to make that move, my wallet followed. In the span of a couple hours I picked up Oxenfree and The Adventures of Pip. Two games that embody the old school feel that I’ve been looking for. I’m a 16-bit kid at heart and no matter how ‘amazing’ AAA releases are, I’ll always want the games I played on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Not to say that I won’t play new games, but when I find myself bored with what’s offered, I always find myself going back to the well of retro style games to rejuvenate me. Apple has found a way to my wallet and surprisingly, Microsoft has the opportunity to do the same.

Continue reading “Microsoft’s Next Opportunity is Following Apple”

Why I’ll Never Finish DOOM

When we discuss or review video games we’ll often talk about the controls, graphics and/or the story. Yet,  for all the technical discussions we hardly discuss a game’s content, unless it’s in the context of violence – where we question whether a game is too violent. What we rarely discuss, however, is when you stop playing a game because the content is at odds with your beliefs. Because that’s what happened when I played the DOOM demo.  Continue reading “Why I’ll Never Finish DOOM”

My Thoughts on Fallout 4

 

I’ve seen this place before. In fact, this is probably my fifth time staring at the elevator that exits the building. Each time I’ve entered this elevator, I’ve promised myself that it would be the last time I would see it again–that this is the time, I would leave and never come back. But here I am again, trying to figure out the right combination of skill and patience to make this the final time I use this elevator. I want this to be the last time I leave Vault 111. Sadly, I know that I’ll be back. That the cycle will continue and I will once again find myself staring at the exact same platform, having the same internal conversation that I’ve had four times before – Why am I continuing to play a game that I find boring and uninspiring?

Continue reading “My Thoughts on Fallout 4”