Evil Rants

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the videogame industry, or actually any other industry that can raise the least bit of controversy, you can easily then identify Jack Thompson who is an attorney avid on attacking videogames and other forms of entertainment that are psychologically damaging to children and young youth. Given all the shootings that have been happening in the schools around the States, the murders and the crimes, Thompson has been actively attacking games like DOOM and, most importantly, the phenomenal Grand Theft Auto, mostly for its notorious use of organized crime, sex with prostitutes, and beating up police officers and running over them.Though parents of juvenile gamers have been warned of such games and are usually siding with Thompson, the entire gaming community is against such claims and rather blame any violent action by children resulting from playing such games on the parents who had an active (or non active) role in raising their children such that they could not discriminate between what is real and what isn’t.

A few years ago, it was put in a great way, “When you shoot someone in real life, you cannot insert a coin and go back. It is game over”.

Psychologists have done extensive studies on how the brain functions before, during and after playing violent videogames, and most have reported increased aggression, but that is often stemmed from excitement and competitiveness and does not in a long run translate into actual organized crime or increased violence.

People like Thompson though have gone overboard, stating that any kind of violence, even Mario hitting a mushroom on the head with a hammer, can be disturbing. We gamers claimed that Thompson was, in a former life, the said mushroom.

Anyhow, controversy in games have evolved from simple mushroom bashing, to organized crime, to simulation, where recent games have taken place in real life wars like WWII and, recently, Gulf War and even the recent war on Iraq. In this regards, everyone praised the concepts since the gamers were put in the feet of American soldiers taking out the “bad guys” and so it was perfectly normal. It was briefly an issue with non-American gamers but, as gamers, we all know a game is a game, and bad influence of who is the bad guy will definitely come in other forms of media in much more abundant and destructive ways than shooting down a now-extinct sect in Europe.

So why am I babbling all this?

Gamers (and recently non gamers) have been following the Resident Evil franchise since its debut on the PS1 around a decade ago. The most recent game on sale, Resident Evil 4, featured Hispanic zombies and settings, which, strangely, did not bring up any racial or ethnic dispute. In fact, people found it amusing that finally there were non-American and non-European zombies available for the kill. But what was really disturbing about the game was that the “zombies” were not as grotesque as their American counterparts, rather (at least before they start sprouting stuff from their backs and heads) they mostly looked human and attacked you with weapons in packs, violently. And you gunned them down. It was intense and disturbing.

But no one made a racial comment. For America, it was fine to kill Hispanics. To the rest of the world, zombies knew no race.

Now, a few years later, Resident Evil 5 surfaced, offering the first Resident Evil game in high definition, and, more importantly, the zombies are Africans. They’re Black. The main character? The ever popular Chris Redfield – who is white. White guy gunning down Black people. Now THAT is something to talk about.

Or is it?

Some bloggers (and others) are raising the issue that the game is promoting the hatred of black people by pitting a white guy against a horde of the zombified beings. Personally, I found the trailer incredibly disturbing and chilling, mostly though not because of the presence of black people, but because of the very pain you can see on their faces, which I believe is true.

Regardless, the concept of black people seems to be subjective to Americans, which rubbed off through globalization on the rest of the universe, but that does not mean that all countries view the concept of racism the same. Certainly, I doubt that the creators of the game, who are Japanese, have a grudge against Hispanics or Blacks.

Like any piece of art, what people interpret is probably different from what the artist actually intended. Games are a form of art on their own, and how each person perceives a game is subjective to that person.

Gamers, in majority, do not find the concept of Africans in a RE game to be racist. In fact, they put it in a nice way for me to close this post:

“According to the statistics of racial make-up in the world, I’d actually say that whites have been unfairly discriminated against in the series, if anything, since so many of them have been enemies in RE,” said one commenter. “It only seems fair that Africans get treated equally, and with only one game full of primarily black enemies to six games full of primarily white, from a racial viewpoint I’d say that the Africans are getting off easy.”

“There is plenty of real racism alive and well in the world today and words cannot describe how disgusting it can be,” wrote another, “but it is garbage rants like this that take attention from real problems. It is absurd and insulting to everyone to suggest this game is in anyway being designed to teach anyone to hate black people.”

  • Kinan

    It is like Thompson and all his followers implicitly admit that the only factor involved in raising children is their exposure (or lack thereof) to video games. Most violent kids come from unstable homes, distraught families, lower educational backgrounds…etc. Games’ impact, if present at all, is most definitely at the bottom of this list.

    As for racial insinuations in RE 5 – This is taking a whole new dimension. Art imitates life! If there is the slightest hint of racial discrimination in an art form (in this case, video games) then we should look at our societies, not attack art!

    On a more general term though, I personally think there are so many contradictions within the American society that it does not surprise me at all that this issue has arisen.

  • Kinan

    It is like Thompson and all his followers implicitly admit that the only factor involved in raising children is their exposure (or lack thereof) to video games. Most violent kids come from unstable homes, distraught families, lower educational backgrounds…etc. Games’ impact, if present at all, is most definitely at the bottom of this list. As for racial insinuations in RE 5 – This is taking a whole new dimension. Art imitates life! If there is the slightest hint of racial discrimination in an art form (in this case, video games) then we should look at our societies, not attack art!On a more general term though, I personally think there are so many contradictions within the American society that it does not surprise me at all that this issue has arisen.

  • KJ

    KI – Thompson is ridiculous. I mean how can you exclusively blame one thing and claim that it causes a child to become this hooligan? I don’t know how they think. He’s always trying to come up with extinct Freudian theories that people began to think he is simply bitter that he did not play games in his childhood.

    The problem with the American society is, like you said, it is so full of contradictions because they all uphold very subjective and abstract concepts such as free speech (which no one knows how to define), democracy (which no one knows how to run) and human rights (as long as it is in their interest).

    Thankfully though the newer generations are becoming aware of this and hopefully, with time, the older, stupid generations will die out.

    Unfortunately though there are some really, really bad apples in this current generation and I don’t know what will happen to the world. But I am sure that Resident Evil will be the least of their worries by then

  • KJ

    KI – Thompson is ridiculous. I mean how can you exclusively blame one thing and claim that it causes a child to become this hooligan? I don’t know how they think. He’s always trying to come up with extinct Freudian theories that people began to think he is simply bitter that he did not play games in his childhood.The problem with the American society is, like you said, it is so full of contradictions because they all uphold very subjective and abstract concepts such as free speech (which no one knows how to define), democracy (which no one knows how to run) and human rights (as long as it is in their interest).Thankfully though the newer generations are becoming aware of this and hopefully, with time, the older, stupid generations will die out.Unfortunately though there are some really, really bad apples in this current generation and I don’t know what will happen to the world. But I am sure that Resident Evil will be the least of their worries by then

  • The Criticizer

    Like any piece of art, what people interpret is probably different from what the artist actually intended. Games are a form of art on their own, and how each person perceives a game is subjective to that person.

    Exactly. I don’t know where people get so paranoid with these conflicted thoughts. :/

  • The Criticizer

    Like any piece of art, what people interpret is probably different from what the artist actually intended. Games are a form of art on their own, and how each person perceives a game is subjective to that person.“Exactly. I don’t know where people get so paranoid with these conflicted thoughts. :/

  • Ghasheema

    Great post KJ

    I have always wanted to see ppl who actually despise these high definition video “games”. I personally these game are barbaric and they are there to get the really blood thirsty animal in some of us?!?!

    I second Thompson, but i also do think he is going a little over board.

    to most ppl’s amazement video games are creating a smarter generation due to the fast and precise eye-hand co-ordination…so they are not only there to train for killing purpose ;)

    and I due think parent supervision is VERY necessary….I was outraged when my Dad bottom grand theft auto for my 13 year brother ( this was like 4 yrs ago) and he wasnt convinced thats its dangerous til after the columbine shootings :/

    my brother still plays these games…he is 18 now

    allah yster :|

  • Ghasheema

    Great post KJI have always wanted to see ppl who actually despise these high definition video “games”. I personally these game are barbaric and they are there to get the really blood thirsty animal in some of us?!?!I second Thompson, but i also do think he is going a little over board.to most ppl’s amazement video games are creating a smarter generation due to the fast and precise eye-hand co-ordination…so they are not only there to train for killing purpose ;)and I due think parent supervision is VERY necessary….I was outraged when my Dad bottom grand theft auto for my 13 year brother ( this was like 4 yrs ago) and he wasnt convinced thats its dangerous til after the columbine shootings :/my brother still plays these games…he is 18 now allah yster :|

  • Hamza

    Great post. Couldn’t have been more objective and well-structured like that.

    Having played all Resident Evil games, I can assure you that CAPCOM (company) did not have any racial themes in any of the other series. The fact that they have black zombies is MAYBE MAYBE because it is set in Africa. Other than South Africa, I wonder who would we find non-black people.

    Let’s give the game time. As its been suggested by few said, it could be talking about AIDS or MALARIA and in that case it’ll make sense.

    As for Jack Thompson, let’s not forget that he was involved in lawsuits against RAP music. Apparently he failed as the RAP music industry is no longer controllable. Videogaming industry is exponentially growing and its revenues have surpassed hollywood’s revenue on movies. In a couple of years, people like Jack Thompson will no longer be able to restrict videogames and he’ll have to find another growing industry to bully.

    One last thing. Personally, I am one of those candidates who have the potential of being the next “Jack the Ripper” and this is because of all the idiots that surround me everywhere I go. Whenever I am in that mood, I go and play one of those “violent” first person action shooting games to suppress my massacre desires. and Let me tell you, its working like MAGIC.

  • Hamza

    Great post. Couldn’t have been more objective and well-structured like that.Having played all Resident Evil games, I can assure you that CAPCOM (company) did not have any racial themes in any of the other series. The fact that they have black zombies is MAYBE MAYBE because it is set in Africa. Other than South Africa, I wonder who would we find non-black people. Let’s give the game time. As its been suggested by few said, it could be talking about AIDS or MALARIA and in that case it’ll make sense.As for Jack Thompson, let’s not forget that he was involved in lawsuits against RAP music. Apparently he failed as the RAP music industry is no longer controllable. Videogaming industry is exponentially growing and its revenues have surpassed hollywood’s revenue on movies. In a couple of years, people like Jack Thompson will no longer be able to restrict videogames and he’ll have to find another growing industry to bully. One last thing. Personally, I am one of those candidates who have the potential of being the next “Jack the Ripper” and this is because of all the idiots that surround me everywhere I go. Whenever I am in that mood, I go and play one of those “violent” first person action shooting games to suppress my massacre desires. and Let me tell you, its working like MAGIC.

  • KJ

    Mac – Sometimes I wonder if it is internal propaganda just to make the game more popular like they did with GTA

    Ghasheema – don’t forget that there is a cultural difference of course between us and the States, so I don’t think your brother is going to become a hooligan. If he has been exposed for this time, it would have shown by this now. The only thing I agree with Thompson is that parents should know what games their kids buy, and each game is rated on the back of the box for violence and other disturbing themes. Unfortunately, parents (this generation) are not aware of all the game franchises and there just judge by the box cover and popularity of the game, which is not enough. Hopefully when us gamers become parents, we will know how to raise our kids.

    Hamza – LMAO. Yes playing violent games is a good way to relieve stress. Get a game called “Condemned: Criminal Origins”. It is on PC and X360. It is highly disturbing, bas you will love it because it is puzzles + first person

  • KJ

    Mac – Sometimes I wonder if it is internal propaganda just to make the game more popular like they did with GTAGhasheema – don’t forget that there is a cultural difference of course between us and the States, so I don’t think your brother is going to become a hooligan. If he has been exposed for this time, it would have shown by this now. The only thing I agree with Thompson is that parents should know what games their kids buy, and each game is rated on the back of the box for violence and other disturbing themes. Unfortunately, parents (this generation) are not aware of all the game franchises and there just judge by the box cover and popularity of the game, which is not enough. Hopefully when us gamers become parents, we will know how to raise our kids.Hamza – LMAO. Yes playing violent games is a good way to relieve stress. Get a game called “Condemned: Criminal Origins”. It is on PC and X360. It is highly disturbing, bas you will love it because it is puzzles + first person

  • 7aki Fadi

    KJ, the first comment left on the previuos post was not mine, somebody is impersonating me.

  • 7aki Fadi

    KJ, the first comment left on the previuos post was not mine, somebody is impersonating me.

  • Ms Loala

    And all this time i thought this post was about some game rather than a subjective thesis.

    I don’t agree with Thompson about games influencing young poeple but there are some cases however that proved that theory right.
    Game industry got carried away and from what i read, it reached racial issues which i think is completly wrong. Specially if the gamer was at a young age where the acquisition process is at its peak.

    If it was my child, i wouldn’t let him get too carried way with this industry. For fun only that is but otherwise, barney is the smartest choice :P

  • Ms Loala

    And all this time i thought this post was about some game rather than a subjective thesis.I don’t agree with Thompson about games influencing young poeple but there are some cases however that proved that theory right.Game industry got carried away and from what i read, it reached racial issues which i think is completly wrong. Specially if the gamer was at a young age where the acquisition process is at its peak.If it was my child, i wouldn’t let him get too carried way with this industry. For fun only that is but otherwise, barney is the smartest choice :P

  • KJ

    Ms Loala – the game industry did push it so much forward to the point of no return, but there are ratings for each game, like in movies, and it tells on the back of the box what disturbing content it contains. So parents have generally a decent idea what the games contain, and they can always do some homework to go online and check

  • KJ

    Ms Loala – the game industry did push it so much forward to the point of no return, but there are ratings for each game, like in movies, and it tells on the back of the box what disturbing content it contains. So parents have generally a decent idea what the games contain, and they can always do some homework to go online and check