July 24th, 2006

Do Video Games Promote Racist Stereotypes?

A Canadian researcher questions whether some popular video games encourage negative racial stereotypes.

According to AFP, Robert Parungao researched the issue at the University of British Columbia. Parungao looked at Kung Fu, Warcraft III, Shadow Warrior and Grand Theft Auto III.

A press release on the university's website reports that Parungao spent 100 hours playing the four games during an eight-month research period.

A gamer himself, Parungao noted that the games all feature non-white villains who "function as narrative obstacles to be overcome, mastered or ultimately blown to smithereens by the white hero."

Parungao also points to a "grab bag" of Asian stereotypes which he says are employed by game designers.

"The villain in Shadow Warrior goes by a Chinese name, Lo Wang. But when he fires his rocket launcher at his enemies, he screams 'just like Hiroshima.'"
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Twenty Bucks? For a TV Show About a Game?

Those nice guys at EA Sports - always looking out for you, the consumer.

Concerned that the excess cash in your pocket might slow you down, they find new and creative ways to separate you from your money. Last year's innovation was to jack up the cost of Madden by $20 over the previous edition.

EA was able to raise Madden's price because they eliminated the competition (NFL2K series) by scarfing up an exclusive NFL licensing deal. That little maneuver reminds GP of another famous game.

Now comes word that EA Sports and ESPN are thoughtfully prepared to help you part with yet another Andrew Jackson. This time, it's by charging real money to watch one of those "behind the scenes" videos. Ummm, didn't they run something like that for free on MTV last year? And the year before that?

Well, along with the five-cent cigar, those days are gone. A corporate press release just received here at GP HQ announces Inside Madden NFL 07, a pay-per-view special scheduled to debut on August 4th. So what does your $20 buy you? Here's what EA says:

"In this special, available 18 days before the release of Madden NFL 07... fans will get an early look inside one of this year's most anticipated video game releases. EA game designers and some of the best Madden players will lead gamers on a guided tour through new changes and advances in all aspects of the game..."

There are also interviews with top Madden players as well as some NFL stars. Nice for hardcore Madden types, I guess, but a pay-per-view special? About a video game? Are ya kidding me?
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