Cultural appropriation in fantasy. On Far Cry 4 and Respect. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. (Note- this essay was written before Ubisoft indicated that the figure was Asian with dyed blond hair and that he was a villain. I feel that my greater point on perception and South Asian representation still stands.) Last week Ubisoft unveiled the cover art of the latest game in their Far Cry franchise, and the outcry was immediate and widespread. The image of an ostensibly blond haired white man with his hand on the head of a kneeling Nepali or Indian man with a grenade in his hands conjured up accusations of racism, colonialism, and general tone-deafness. My own personal history is full of proud, high caste men who knelt at the feet of the stooges of Victoria, hoping that this year the tax burden might allow their villages to keep some grain.
From just one image, all of this. Exhuming Grim Fandango’s Mexican folklore inspirations. Grim Fandango is a game about exploring the unknown, some of the deepest mysteries of life, as seen through the lens of Mexican folklore and film noir in a point-and-click adventure.
Even all these years later, that sounds like an incredibly odd and ambitious combination for a videogame to express. Not that larger or mid-tier games haven’t displayed creativity on that level since 1998 when Grim was first released, but its implied abject lesson is that this particular cocktail was spiked: When people talk about Grim, they also talk about the “death” of the adventure-game genre in the late ‘90s. They’re saying it was “ahead of its time” and “too creative.” Anything else that goes this far over the line will mean trouble—for its creators or investors. All of which may have been and continue to be true, but it’s also possible the game and its intentions were never fully understood or appreciated. Thoughts on Lightning Returns and cultural appropriation [SPOILERS]
[NOTE: I’m just about to finish Day 10, so please no spoilers on things that come after that.]
I was having a conversation with my husband the other night about cultural appropriation and Lightning Returns, in which I had occasion to make the following comparison: “It’s like an Evangelical white Texan decided to write a game about Hinduism. That’s how wrong it gets everything.” And I’d really like to expand on that! But before we go any further, let’s break down the specific example I’m talking about. Lightning Returns: the most bonkers take on Catholicism ever So firstly, let’s just get started with the fact that in 13-1, Lightning becomes the pawn of the fal’cie, nigh-omnipotent servants of an omnipotent but mostly absent god who created the world and then abandoned it.
Then in 13-2, she’s suddenly abducted by a goddess of Death-but-not-really(?) Fetish messiah ftw Why is Yggdrasil a plot point in a game that is literally about making Lightning the Christian Bondage Wear Messiah? ‘PBS Game/Show’ Explores Cultural Representation and Appropriation in Video Games. Help support Laughing Squid by hosting your website or WordPress blog with Laughing Squid Web Hosting.
Our hosting plans start at $4/month. Check out the Laughing Squid Store featuring unique gear, gadgets, apps, software and more! Problematizing Cultural Appropriation. Grand Theft Auto, Postmodernism and Cynical Exploitation. By Jon BailesDecember 16, 2013 “In what is otherwise a politically correct world that would not dare to be deliberately controversial on matters of, say, race, for fear of alienating a section of its audience, the need for a game aimed at young males to include a retarded attitude to sex is deemed by its writers to be unavoidable, if not desirable.”
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V, the latest addition in a videogame series that began in 1997, is a prime example of postmodern culture, and the most complete and comprehensive realisation of the GTA vision to date. Its players are once again set loose in a virtual approximation of an American city, and tasked with climbing the ladder of organised crime through activities ranging from street muggings and car theft, to bank heists and assassinations, as well as enjoying various consumer leisure pursuits with their hard earned cash. In short, GTA V wants to be regarded alongside the highly acclaimed gangster films and TV shows of its time.