'Super Mario Maker' hand has different skin tones and... fur color?

August 20, 2015 - Andrew Eisen

It took a bit of work but Nintendo finally clarified that the white, female hand graphic that appears when you place objects in the company's forthcoming Super Mario Maker will have a variety of skin tones to choose from in addition to a few... alternate options.

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Intel makes inroads in diversifying its workforce in the first half of 2015

August 13, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

According to Intel's mid-year diversity report released yesterday, the 43.3 percent of the people it hired in the United States over the last six months were either female, African American, Hispanic or Native American. The hiring period highlighted in the report was roughly January - July, 2015.

Of the 2,944 people the company hired since January, 1,035 were women, 139 were African American, 222 were Hispanic and nine were Native American, according to Intel's report.

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Racism and anti-war sentiment serve as the backdrop for 'Mafia III'

August 5, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

At Gamescom in Cologne, Germany today 2K Games announced Mafia III, the follow-up to the open world, organized crime action game series. This time around, the game will take place in New Orleans during the 1960's and will be set in the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. The game is being developed by 2K studio Hangar 13 and being overseen by  Star Wars game veteran Haden Blackman.

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Crowd funded 'Invisibility Blues' video series will critique race and representation in video games

August 4, 2015 - Andrew Eisen

Okay, we're a little late on this one but better late than never, eh?

Anyway, in July, two of the writers from Not Your Mama's Gamer, Associate Professor of English Dr. Samantha Blackmon and PhD student Alisha Karabinus, both of Pardue University, launched a Kickstarter for a new video series called Invisibility Blues: Exploring Race in Video Games.

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Xbox boss talks gender, diversity in new interview

July 28, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

In a new interview with Edge Magazine, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer took some time to talk about gender and racial diversity in the games industry and what his company is doing about it in its own backyard.

The talk of gender and race came up after Spencer said that the traditional videogame image has been "all sports, broad shoulders and guns."

When asked how that can be changed, he said:

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Poll: How do you feel about not knowing which race and gender you'll play as in Rust?

July 21, 2015 - Andrew Eisen

In the PC survival game Rust, your player character is unique to you.  Using your Steam ID as a key, the game randomly generates your character's look - including race and gender.

So, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

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Nintendo flip-flops on 'Super Mario Maker' hand color

July 17, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

After being told by a room full of Nintendo reps. that the white female hand in Super Mario Maker would be the default, Nintendo has backpedaled a bit, according to Business Insider writer Ben Gilbert. Gilbert noted on Twitter this morning that the backpedalling was disheartening because it made him look like he made a mistake or didn't ask the right questions of Nintendo at the time... but he did. In fact, he specially asked about this issue before writing about it here.

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Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 19, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Today we honor the life and work of an American hero and patriot, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On August 28, 1963, Dr.

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Intel Pledges $300 Million To Encourage Women and Minorities To Join The Tech Sector

January 7, 2015 - James Fudge

During his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week,  Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the company will pledge $300 million to be used for scholarships aimed at bringing more women, African Americans, and other ethnicities into the tech sector. The company is partnering with a number of groups to do this including Feminist Frequency, The National Center for Women and Information technology, The Anita Borg Institute, UNCF, Girls Who Code, Society of Women Engineers, the IGDA, NACME, and many others.

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Breitbart.com Thinks 'Battlefield Hardline' Maligns Tea Partiers

August 14, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Battlefield Hardline is taking a bit of heat today in Conservative circles for using imagery and language that some insist is meant to malign members of the Tea Party.

'Tekken 7' Producer Seeks Feedback on Middle Eastern Character

August 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada is asking for feedback on the next title in Namco Bandai's long-running fighting game series. In a Facebook post Harada showed off some early designs for a "Arab" character.

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Crowd Funding Campaign for Holocaust Game 'Imagination is the Only Escape' Launches

September 4, 2013 - James Fudge

An Indie GoGo fundraising campaign has launched for Luc Bernard's Imagination Is The Only Escape, a game about a young Jewish boy named Samuel who uses the power of his imagination to escape the horrors of the Holocaust after the Nazi occupation of eastern France during World War II. To say that the game's subject matter is dark is an understatement, but that's the point of the game, according to what Luc Bernard recently told The Verge.

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Brad Keselowski Credits Video Gaming for NASCAR Nationwide Series Win at Watkins Glen

August 12, 2013 -

Something interesting happened this weekend after Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen: he credited video games for helping him to master the track. Keselowski told Motorsports Talk that he learned to navigate the legendary New York road course by playing video games, and that the knowledge and expertise he gained playing the track in the virtual world translated to success in the real world.

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First Lady Sees Culture as an Obstacle to Higher Education for African American Youth

May 17, 2013 -

First Lady Michelle Obama recently gave a commencement address at Bowie State University encouraging more young African Americans to continue their education. She does so by throwing culture like videogames, television, and music under the bus.

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Accidently Racist: Indie Studio Changes Name of 'Raccoons in Space' Game

May 2, 2013 -

Nnnnice Games, an independent studio operating out of the Netherlands named its "raccoons in space" game "Starcoons," not knowing that the term is considered by some as a racist term. After learning that the title of its game might be offensive to African Americans and people of color, the studio decided that it had to change the name of its game. Starcoons will now be known as Curio's Starquest, the developer announced. The studio also said that it was unaware of the possible cultural issues associated with the game's original title.

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'The Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley River' Hopes to Teach Fourth Graders About Slavery in America

January 11, 2013 -

Ball State University (in Muncie, Indiana) professor Ronald Morris and computer science professor Paul Gestwicki have teamed up with graduate students to create a Unity-based game that teaches fourth grade students about the Underground Railroad (thanks to Polygon). The game is called The Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley River and puts students in the shoes of a runaway slave who must make his or her way to Canada where they can live a free life.

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Poll: Does the Gender or Race of a Game's Protagonist Matter To You?

November 28, 2012 -

Yesterday, Jean-Maxime Moris, co-founder of the studio behind Capcom's upcoming action game Remember Me, explained to CVG why the game's protagonist is a mixed-race female.

"We wanted [Remember Me lead] Nilin to stand out.  I think these sort of issues become self-fulfilling prophesies; people saying that only white males sell so then everyone only does white males."

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How Capcom's 'Remember Me' Challenges the Popularity of the White Male Protagonist Stereotype

November 27, 2012 -

In line with a story we published earlier this morning, Computer and Videogames highlights some excerpts from an interview with Jean-Maxime Moris, the co-founder of Paris studio Dontnod. Dontnod is the studio behind Capcom's upcoming action title Remember Me, which features a mixed-race female star as its protagonist.

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Kixeye Fires Four Employees after Complaints of 'Institutional Racism'

October 4, 2012 -

Following up on yesterday's accusation by an employee that social game developer Kixeye engaged in "institutional racism," four employees have been fired today. The accusations were made by an unnamed contractor who wrote a blog post under the name of Qu33riousity. He claimed yesterday that he was the victim of racial discrimination and has also seen it directed at others.

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Kixeye Accused of 'Institutional Racism' by Employee

October 3, 2012 -

Social game company Kixeye finds itself embroiled in an allegation of institutional racism this morning after an employee going by the handle "Qu33riousity" detailed multiple instances of discrimination against Kixeye's African American employees in a blog post. That blog post has since been removed, but not before he was told that he was being "too sensitive" and that the comments were "just jokes."

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AC3 Creative Director: Japanese Developers Get a Free Pass from Journalists on Bad Story-Telling

August 17, 2012 -

In a recent interview with Computer & Video Games, Ubisoft's Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin's Creed 3, said that games journalists are engaging in subtle racism when they give Japanese games a free pass on bad or odd story-telling while putting Western games through the ringer. When asked about why Nintendo can get away with endlessly reiterating the same basic stories with games like Super Mario Bros., Hutchinson offered a blunt response.

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Gamers Against Bigotry Succumb to Hacker Attacks, Launch IndieGoGo Drive

July 25, 2012 -

Gamers Against Bigotry, a site that asked gamers to take a pledge promising not to use bigoted language while playing games online, announced that it has lost 1500 signatures due to repeated attacks from hackers. The site has faced some tough challenges from months of repeated attacks from hackers who have done everything from posting "grotesque images" on the website's signatures page, to making it impossible for new visitors to sign on to the pledge.

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Morons on Parade: Slavery - The Game Trailer

September 6, 2011 -

It takes a unique kind of person to create a video promoting an obviously fake video game about slavery, a sad part of our history that the majority of Americans do not find much humor in. Nonetheless, we live in an age where the Internet allows for all kinds of free speech - even the kind we do not agree with, find offensive, or find to be outright disgusting. Still, sometimes you have to look straight into the abyss to see the foolishness of humanity. Perhaps this is one of those moments, so we present the promotional video for "Slavery - The Game."

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3D Games, Motion Controllers, and Motion Sickness

December 23, 2010 -

A Science Daily report called "Motion Sickness Reality in Virtual World, Too" discusses a new study about motion sickness associated with the Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation 3 Move. Clemson University (Clemson, SC) psychologist Eric Muth says that motion sickness from high-end technology that was at one time limited only to commercial marketplace and government training simulations is now in livings rooms across the U.S. This means that, with more access to this technology and the advent of 3D TV, motion sickness may become a more common thing to regular consumers. 

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Study: Depression, Not Violent Media, is a Predictor of Aggressive Behavior

December 14, 2010 -

New research by one Dr. Christopher Ferguson from Texas A&M International University finds that depression in young people has more of a correlation to aggressive and violent behavior than gaming does - at least among Hispanics. While the study was narrowed to one demographic, the conclusions are nonetheless interesting.

"Depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression, and therefore current levels of depression may be a key variable of interest in the prevention of serious aggression in youth," Ferguson concluded. "The current study finds no evidence to support a long-term relationship between video game violence use and subsequent aggression. Even though the debate over violent video games and youth violence will continue, it must do so with restraint."

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Xenophobic Spanish Political Game Taken Down, Developer Blamed

November 17, 2010 -

A game appearing on the website of a Spanish political party, in which players shot down illegal immigrants, was quickly yanked from the Internet after objections to its content.

The game, entitled Rescue, appeared on the website of the Catalan branch of the conservative Partido Popular (or People’s Party). Further describing the game, the Telegraph indicated that the goal was to “shoot down targets including ‘illegal immigrants’ parachuting from a plane and donkeys intended to represent Catalan separatists."

Once culminated, the game urged players to vote for the PP in the November 28 elections.

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Consumer Reports: Kinect Works Fine, Requires Adequate Lighting

November 5, 2010 -

Responding to a story from GameSpot which claimed that Microsoft’s Kinect had trouble recognizing the facial features of dark-skinned users; Consumer Reports refuted the problem, stating that the reported flaw was most likely due to low lighting.

Consumer Reports found that “The log-in problem is related to low-level lighting and not directly to players' skin color,” adding that the Kinect camera needs a certain amount of light and contrast in order to determine a user’s facial features.

In testing Kinect, the organization “did not experience any instance where one player was recognized and the other wasn't under the same lighting conditions.”

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GameSpot: Problems with Kinect and Dark-Skinned Users

November 4, 2010 -

A story on GameSpot details the problems two dark-skinned site employees had with Microsoft’s Kinect, the just-released, controller-free add-on for the Xbox 360.

According to the site, the two employees in question had problems with Kinect’s facial recognition abilities. One GameSpoter’s face was recognized “inconsistently,” while when it came to the face of the other staffer, Kinect was “never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts.”

To make it even more confounding, Kinect had “no problems” recognizing the face of a third dark-skinned employee. No hurdles were reported with Kinect’s skeletal tracking system for any of the employees, which is good, as it is the primary means of controlling on-screen action.

The problem may or may not be that big of a deal however, as GameSpot wrote:

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Columnist Asks if Enslaved Game is “Racially Insensitive”

October 19, 2010 -

An article on the African-American news site the Grio takes issue with the subject matter of the recently released Namco Bandai Games title Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, labeling the game "hurtful."

The game is set 150 years in the future, during a time when a war has destroyed much of the Earth and civilization, leaving robots more or less in charge.

The game’s main character, named Monkey (pictured), awakens aboard a slave ship as it is about to wreck. Monkey escapes with a woman named Trip, but loses consciousness.

When Monkey awakes he finds that Trip has applied a slave headband to his noggin, which forces him to follow her orders.

The Grio columnist called Enslaved “culturally insensitive,” adding:

31 comments | Read more

Race Politics and First-Person Shooters

October 19, 2010 -

An interesting opinion piece on The Atlantic Wire looks at race politics in video games, focusing on first-person shooters. Author Max Fisher talks about Resident Evil 5, Medal of Honor and Modern Warfare 2, inspired by an essay from Jim Gourley for ForeignPolicy.com.

The thrust of the opinion piece is about the painful transition from conflicts against zombies and fictionalized Nazis to real world conflicts involving real groups of people and how developers portray them. Here's a taste:

19 comments | Read more

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james_fudgeI'll be watching the Facebook page09/01/2015 - 10:14am
james_fudgethe site maybe up right now, but we're not updating until we're at the new location.09/01/2015 - 10:13am
james_fudgehttps://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics09/01/2015 - 10:12am
Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MattsworknameTotal bisquit talkes about why teh Deus X pre order systems is garbage.09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MechaTama31Infophile: Kind of like how you're criticizing these theoretical reactions before you've even read any? ;)09/01/2015 - 12:44am
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
james_fudgeSee you all on the other side! Find me on Twitter :)08/31/2015 - 9:51pm
james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenYeah, we could use my Twitch chat box too. There's always IRC but we don't currently have a GamePolitics channel.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm

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