Saudi Man Accused of Targeting Former President Pegged as a 'Gamer'

February 26, 2011 -

A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.

The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.

6 comments | Read more

Lessons Learned: Resident Evil 5

August 24, 2010 -

A new Gamasutra article called "Games With The Power To Offend: Surviving And Stoking Controversy" reveals that Capcom has learned a hard lesson from the public relations nightmare related to claims of racism in Resident Evil 5. That controversy reared its ugly head shortly after Capcom released the first trailer for the game, which depicted black zombies versus a white American protagonist. After that blew up in their face, the company decided that it could never let something like that happen ever again.

After that nightmare Capcom decided that it had to put a process in place to deal with future international cultural issues - to be implemented on both sides of the world. Here's more on that from the article:

35 comments | Read more

Houston Chronicle: Is Racism Becoming a Norm in Gaming?

July 15, 2009 -

Yesterday's edition of the Houston Chronicle's Game Hack blog ponders whether racism is becoming a norm in video game design.

Blogger Willie Jefferson expresses concern over 2009 releases Resident Evil 5 and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (pic at left) as well as the in-development Left 4 Dead 2. RE5, of course, has already been the subject of much debate over its depiction of African villagers as zombies. Jefferson writes:

I am disturbed by the growing trend of racist undertones that are cropping up in video games.

One of the games that comes to mind is "Left 4 Dead 2." ...Set in New Orleans, players will have to fight their way through hordes of zombies - with several of them who appear to be African-Americans. When I saw the first trailer for the game, all I could think about was Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath...

The game that really inspired this blog entry was Ubisoft's "Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood." The game starts out with players assuming the role of Ray, a Confederate officer... the Confederacy, as far as I am concerned, wanted to keep their cheap slave labor and the like. I can not stand the Confederate flag... To me, the flag represents hate -- and offends me and many others to no end. [It] made me wonder how much research Ubisoft did for this game...

As a minority, had the South won, I wouldn't be in this position I am today...

136 comments

Fans of Gory RE5 Donate Some Real Blood

March 22, 2009 -

Current TV's Ben Hoffman has some fun with gamers who lined up to donate blood and steal a pre-release peek at Resident Evil 5.

The Capcom-sponsored event took place in Los Angeles last week.

Via: Joystiq

5 comments

Game Journo Objects to Army's Presence at Best Buy RE5 Launch Event

March 21, 2009 -

As GamePolitics has reported, the U.S. Army has taken a fair amount of heat in recent times over its use of video games and game-related events for recruitment.

Over at ripten, Chad Lakkis notes with a disapproving eye the Army's presence at a Best Buy midnight launch event for the recently-released Resident Evil 5:

I couldn’t help but notice the “GO ARMY” recruitment tent mixed into the Best Buy Resident Evil 5 launch party video... I don’t mind the idea of recruiters but what I do mind is the methods by which they often recruit.

This isn’t the first time the U.S. Army has been accused of blurring the lines between gaming and recruiting. Promoting an official U.S. Army videogame and lacing their official army game website to contain soldier bios designed to look like videogame stat cards is youth marketing at its finest. Look at all the stats you can wrack up kids - assuming you don’t die first.

56 comments

Today's Roundup of Media Commentary on RE5 Race Issue

March 17, 2009 -

Posted by GP on Twitter this morning: Game press commentary on RE5 issue perplexes me. Can a white guy even have an opinion on whether something is offensive to black people?

---------------

The controversy over whether there is racism in Resident Evil 5 continues to bounce around the media.

Variety's Ben Fritz pens a review of the game (he didn't like it so well) and, near the end, touches on the race issue:

The racial imagery is disturbing at times. No, that doesn't mean the game is "racist." Racism is the belief that race is a determining factor in human capacity and that some are superior to others. That's a tall order for a game and certainly not one "RE 5" fulfills.

But the game does contain some disturbing imagery reminiscent of the violent colonial past... you're the white solder, walking through their villages, murdering every single one of them...

Does that mean you can't make an action game set in Africa, even with a White protagonist and Black enemies? Of course not. It just means you have to address the issue in some way because it's real and unavoidable...

Is it unfair that you have to address the race issue differently for a game set in Africa than for what was essentially the same game set in Spain? Sure. But, you know, colonialism was unfair too. Such is the reality of the world in which we live.

Meanwhile, in a lengthy post, Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer writes that his concerns about the RE5 race issue have faded:

Watching the [E3 2007] trailer again, it still made me feel uneasy. I still didn’t like the fantasy it portrayed...

In the game, however, I saw something different. The white vs. black racial dichotomy was gone. The infected people looked infected. The characters who once looked like poor Africans whom I didn’t want to shoot now looked like undead menaces I needed to stop to stay alive.

I don’t know if I have changed. I don’t think I have. But what I’ve seen of the game has changed. The game gives a different feeling than the trailer. It uses race and color differently. That’s worth more discussion, and I hope people will engage with it.

27 comments

NY Times: Resident Evil 5 Not Racist

March 16, 2009 -

Yesterday, GamePolitics reported that the mainstream (i.e., non-gaming) press was beginning to weigh in on the race issue in regard to Capcom's just-released Resident Evil 5.

As we noted, the AP's Lou Kesten was concerned. The Huffington Post's Earl Ofari Hutchinson was angry.

Seth Schiesel is the video game reporter for the New York Times. Like Kesten, he has a foot in both worlds. You can't any get more maintream than the Times, yet gaming is his daily beat. Schiesel, who reviews RE5 this morning. believes that the race issue is overblown:

Let’s get this out of the way: Resident Evil 5 is not a racist game.

For at least a year some black journalists have been wringing their hands about whether the game... inflames racist stereotypes because it is set in Africa. The answer is no... Resident Evil 5 exposes the perhaps uncomfortable truth that blacks and Arabs can become zombies too, just like anyone else... The point of the story is that the indigenous people have become the innocent victims of evil white people.

All that said, Resident Evil 5 could not possibly have been made in the United States. Racial sensitivities and prevailing political correctness would have had American game executives squirming in their Aeron chairs the minute they read a budget proposal for a game featuring African zombies.

Not so in Japan, apparently...

40 comments

Mainstream Media Considers the Resident Evil 5 Racism Question

March 15, 2009 -

While the video game press appears to have reached a consensus that Resident Evil 5 is not racist in its portrayal of blacks, non-gaming media outlets do not seem quite so sure.

Lou Kesten, for example, who covers games for the Associated Press, straddles the line between games and the mainstream. In a syndicated column which will be reprinted across North America, Kesten clearly is uncomfortable with RE5's racial vibe:

Even longtime fans of the horror franchise may find themselves wondering: Is this game racist?...

 

Yes, the vast majority of monsters in "RE5" are infected black men. Does that make it racist? I believe producer Jun Takeuchi's claim that the story led naturally to Africa, and it's obvious that a zombie-creating virus unleashed there would lead to hordes of African zombies.

Still, there were plenty of moments where I felt uneasy after shotgunning a path through a crowd of feral Africans. Even though "RE5" makes some points about colonialism and capitalism... the racial imagery is more loaded than its creators probably realized.

Judged purely as a game, "RE5" is undeniably entertaining. But many players are going to find it disturbing for the wrong reasons.

At left-leaning political blog Huffington Post, commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson pulls no punches. For Hutchinson, RE5 is clearly an exercise in racism:

The well-worn script reads like this. A protest group blasts a video game manufacturer... for dumping a game on the market loaded with racially insulting and demeaning stereotypes. The video game team yelps that the game is pure entertainment, has some blacks or Latinos in on the design and production, and gets high marks from the industry...

So it was no surprise that Jun Takeuchi yanked out that script to defend his video game brainchild Resident Evil 5 from the charge that it's racist. But what else could one call it? It features a white male (modern day Bawana) mowing down a pack of poor, primitive disease challenged Africans... . The racist game reinforces the worst of the worst ancient stereotypes against and about Africans...

GP: When video game controversies flare, there is typically lag time between the gaming press's more immediate coverage and the issue's crossover to the mainstream media. Now that RE5 has been released, it's likely that the racism issue will be receiving a new round of attention from mainstream outlets in coming weeks.

73 comments

BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

March 2, 2009 -

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has weighed in on Resident Evil 5 and finds no evidence of racism, reports Eurogamer.

Complaints of racial insensitivity in RE5 have cropped up periodically ever since a trailer for the game was released at E3 2007. Most recently, Eurogamer's report on a pre-release look at RE5 code renewed concerns about possible racism in the game.

But the BBFC's Sue Clark dismissed the racial angle in a scene fretted about by Eurogamer:

It's the bit where you see "a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men", as our preview put it... [BBFC's] Clark responded, "In the version [of the scene] submitted to the BBFC there is only one man pulling the blonde woman in from the balcony, and I can't say the skimpiness of her dress impressed itself on me. The single man is not black either.

"As the whole game is set in Africa it is hardly surprising that some of the characters are black, just like the fact that some of the characters in an earlier version were Spanish as the game was set in Spain," Clark continued.

"We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism."

Odd that both Eurogamer and Kikizo reported it was black men doing the dragging, but presumably we were given an earlier version of the code than the one submitted to the BBFC.

27 comments

Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

February 18, 2009 -

While gamers continue to debate whether or not the upcoming Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery, the Penny Arcade crew has weighed in on the issue with a new comic (left).

Incidentally, in a recent GamePolitics poll on the topic, 83% of GP readers disagreed with the idea that there was racism in the game.

For the full PA comic, click here.

73 comments

GP Poll: Racism in RE5 ?

February 12, 2009 -

With the release of Capcom's Resident Evil 5 drawing closer, the debate over whether the game contains racist imagery has been rekindled.

What do you think?

Register your opinion in the GamePolitics poll at left...

 

78 comments

The Atlantic Weighs in on RE5 Racism Controversy

February 11, 2009 -

In what is likely the first of many mainstream media outlets to weigh in on the topic, a blogger for The Atlantic seems convinced that the upcoming Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes:

Seriously, I have no idea what the frack Capcom was thinking, when they went ahead with Resident Evil 5...

 

the whole "it's only a game" defense--which people always raise--is so lame... if we're going to allow video games to enter into the world of adults, if we don't want to looked upon as boys in the bodies of men, then we have to be serious... You can't ask people to at once respect the creativity of gaming, and then tell them they can't critique it.

84 comments

Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism Controversy

February 6, 2009 -

The debate as to whether the upcoming Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery has raged ever since Capcom released a controversial trailer for the game at E3 2007.

Eurogamer, which has a detailed hands-on preview of RE5, reports that there is additional room for concern over images in the retail version:

There's also the spectre of the old racism debate, hovering the background. That debate is only going to get louder and more urgent once the game is released...

One of the first things you see... is a gang of African men brutally beating something in a sack. Animal or human, it's never revealed, but these... are ordinary Africans... Since the Majini are not undead corpses... it makes the line between the infected monsters and African civilians uncomfortably vague. Where Africans are concerned, the game seems to be suggesting, bloodthirsty savagery just comes with the territory...

Later on, there's a cut-scene of a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men... If this has any relevance to the story it's not apparent in the first three chapters, and it plays so blatantly into the old clichés of the dangerous "dark continent" and the primitive lust of its inhabitants that you'd swear the game was written in the 1920s...

 

All it will take is for one mainstream media outlet to show the heroic Chris Redfield stamping on the face of a black woman, splattering her skull, and the controversy over Manhunt 2 will seem quaint by comparison. If we're going to accept this sort of imagery in games then questions are going be asked, these questions will have merit, and we're going to need a more convincing answer than "lol it's just a game."

Resident Evil 5 will be released on March 13th.

252 comments

Resident Evil 5 Producer Slams Racism Charges

October 27, 2008 -

Most gamers will recall the race controversy sparked by the Resident Evil 5 trailer released at E3 2007. Set in Africa,  the trailer showed a white protagonist mowing down hordes of black zombie villagers.

As the long-awaited game draws closer to its March, 2009 U.S. launch, CVG serves up an interview with Capcom's Masachika Kawata, an RE5 producer who says his team had no racial agenda in the game design:

We chose Africa [as RE5's setting] because we're extending the storyline logically. Following the tradition of the Resident Evil franchise, you'll remember from Code Veronica - the Progenitor virus comes from Africa so we wanted to go back to the root of where the virus originated.

 

For the people who think it's racist... well, we can't please everyone. We're in the entertainment business - we're not here to state our political opinion or anything like that. It's unfortunate that some people felt that way.

We've gone where the story has taken us...

Via: Edge Online

 

 

52 comments

Capcom Frets Over Game Violence Backlash (RE5?) in Annual Report

September 12, 2008 -

Is Capcom worried about media and/or political backlash from its upcoming Resident Evil 5?

videogamer.com raises the question after flipping through Capcom's 2008 annual report. In the document, Capcom lists potential risks to its home and arcade-based operations.

Buried on page 46 is this nugget:

Some of our popular software titles have provocative graphics and text, such as violent and grotesque scenes. Accordingly, in the event of violent incidents and other criminal cases involving juveniles, we may be subject to a smear campaign by some sections of the mass media which often point out the correlation between crime and games.

 

Therefore, there is a risk that it may result in having an adverse effect on our business performance, corporate value and narrowed distribution channel under instructions by the relevant authorities.

GP: This is not likely related to RE5 specifically. We've seen similar disclaimers in other corporate reports. It's just good business practice (not to mention a legal requirement) to level with investors about potential risks. 

17 comments

Resident Evil Activity Book

September 11, 2008 -

Not content to rest on the laurels of their hilarious GTA IV Activity Book for Kids, the crew at the -minusworld has come up with a Resident Evil Activity Book for Kids.

By way of explanation, there's this:

Oh Resident Evil 5, you elusive wench! Why must you make us wait so long to play you? What the hell are we supposed to do until March? And think about the kids! They can’t even play the game, period. Luckily, though, Capcom has heard your cries and is clappin’ back with the Resident Evil Activity Book For Kids. You won’t find any blood, gore, or racism here but you will find good old wholesome fun! So much fun that your head might explode, exposing wavy tentacles of joy that flail around the village. Get to it!

 

13 comments

Resident Evil 5 Race Controversy Resurfaces

June 20, 2008 -

While the issue of race in the trailer for the upcoming Resident Evil 5 has received no small share of attention in recent months, it continues to spark outrage among some members of the black community.

On Your Black Writers today, Tolu Olorunda takes exception to the RE5 trailer:

What I witnessed [in the RE5 trailer] was nerve-wrecking, painful, mind-numbing and heart-racing... It wasted no time in capitalizing upon the long history of blatant depictions of Africans as savages and helpless imbeciles. The trailer featured a Caucasian male mutilating African villages, along with Africans. With the not-so ancient history of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa, the issue of racial insensitivity and indifference must be brought to the centerfold...

Olorunda also raises the issue of under-representation of African-Americans in the video game industry:

The Video Game industry is one which has profited immensely from the casualty of black on black hostility. Notable products of its faculty include, “50 Cent: Bulletproof,” “Def Jam: Icon” and “Grand Theft Auto.” This $10 billion market owes the majority of its inspiration to the tragic decisions of young black and brown teenagers...

 

A 2005 survey suggests that Blacks constitute 2% of the demographic makeup of Game Developers, with Latinos making 2.5%. How ironic is it, that this reality does very little to punctuate the disproportionate consumption of video game products by Black and Brown teenagers...

 

272 comments

 
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Matthew Wilson@pm I doubt it. Google seems to be distancing themselves from G+07/25/2014 - 9:31pm
Papa MidnightGoogle+ Integration is coming to Twitch!07/25/2014 - 8:41pm
MaskedPixelanteThis whole Twitch thing just reeks of Google saying "You thought you could get away from us and our policies. That's adorable."07/25/2014 - 2:52pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - hopefully that's the case, but I wont hold my breath for it to happen.07/25/2014 - 1:08pm
SleakerUpdate on crytek situation is a bit ambiguous, but I'm glad they finally said something: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-25-crytek-addresses-financial-situation07/25/2014 - 1:07pm
E. Zachary KnightMan Atlas, Why do you not want me to have any money? Why? http://www.atlus.com/tears2/07/25/2014 - 12:06pm
Matthew WilsonI agree with that07/25/2014 - 10:45am
james_fudgeI think Twitch will have more of an impact on how YouTube/Google Plus work than the other way around.07/25/2014 - 10:22am
IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
 

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