Just another upsetting Gamasutra article that I had to post to and figured I’d stick up here too. You know, I have write-ups on here just waiting to be finished and posted, but when I get caught up with work the only times I seem to finish writing are when someone manages to piss me off. I really gotta do something about that. . . .
Anyway, this one is Chris Dahlen‘s plea for new and exciting settings for games, specifically Africa. Among other reasons, he claims that games about blowing Africa to bits are more realistic than films about saving Africa. If one thing is unrealistic, the extreme opposite of that must be the truth? Right? . . . Right?
It was a good chance for me to talk Post-Colonialism for a bit. I’m sure you could apply much of it to games in general. Here’s the article and here’s my response:
That kid you mentioned, the one that wondered if the entire world could be burned down; you’re right about him not being a neo-imperialist sociopath. He’s just asking a relevant question. The discussion was about what could be done in the game, the possibilities brought about by its capabilities, and when you’re being told about each component of a world being flammable, it’s reasonable to ask if all of them are.
This article, however, packs quite a colonialist message. Exotic locations “should” be used in games solely for their exoticism? I guess Africa is a place where us rich, white people go to blow things up for fun. After all, that’s what most of these games are about, right? A white male with apparently no problems in his life except for a single immediate threat which he can fix with a few well placed shots (or badly placed explosions). I don’t think that’s what you want to say, but it’s the message.