April 12, 2008

Gamers Dissapoint Me Once Again

I know, it's the internet, and I really should have expectations in the basement as far as good debate goes. Still, the reactions to this interview with N'Gai Croal about the controversial Resident Evil 5 trailer are pretty abysmal. It's not that most gamers seem to disagree with Croal that bothers me, it's that they seem completely incapable of engaging his points directly. The number of people that respond with "it's just a game" when he explains in the interview itself why that's not a sufficient answer it just disheartening.


Noumena said...

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but I've been too lazy. So I'll just mush this point into this comment.

The `it's just a game' defence sounds a lot like the `it's just a joke' defence of racist (and sexist) humour. But Thomas Ford, a psychologist at Western Carolina University, has done work showing that sexist jokes not only make it more likely that audiences will subsequently act in sexist ways, but that sexist jokes have a greater effect in this respect than non-humorous sexist statements. It seems quite plausible that the same goes for racist jokes. So, rather than a defence, `it's just a joke' really just makes things worse.

I don't keep up with the social psych research into such things, so I don't know if anyone has done any research that would be directly applicable to this trailer. But, since `it's just a game' is so close to the crappy `it's just a joke' defence, the former should be regarded as, at best, also a crappy defence.

Noumena said...

Okay, I dipped into the first dozen or so comments. It's amazing how quickly the same tropes appear in American discussions of race:
1. Censorship!
2. Political correctness run amok! You're just being oversensitive!
3. It's not racist because I'm black/arab/other minority and I don't think it's racist.
4. Ignorance of racism is the same thing as not being racist at all.
5. It's not racist because, if the images involved a different group, I don't think people would complain.
6. It's not racist because it doesn't involve the very specific images that I think are racist.
7. It's not racist because it was made by people who don't know about racism.
8. It's not racist because the creators didn't intend it to be racist.