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Op Ed

Ars Technica - It’s time for Nintendo to move beyond white characters. Japanese company too Caucasian-centric?
By the time fan-service fighting series Super Smash Bros. expanded to a 34-character roster, it too reflected Nintendo’s narrow palette: 20 “human” characters populate Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s roster, and they’re all white. In fact, that game operates as a sort of Nintendo museum, thanks to its giant “trophy” selection, and its diversity offerings are just as scant.

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58. Re: Into the Black May 23, 2014, 19:00 Eirikrautha
 
Overon wrote on May 23, 2014, 06:52:
Culture War!

Interesting observation. Of course, cultural diversity is hardly ever a concern. Instead, the focus is always on skin color or male/female. It's almost as if the folks who are stirring this up believe that someone's skin color or sex determines everything about him/her. I've heard other people say that kind of thing before; usually from under a white hood, though.

Compare an African-American and a Caucasian-American with an African-American and a Sub-Saharan African. Which pair actually are the most similar? It shows a massive parochialism to think that cultural differences don't dwarf any difference in melanin content (those folks that haven't ever left the Western world are amusing in their strident ignorance). Yet cultural diversity never gets mentioned (unless you are talking about the fine cultural variations between comparatively affluent Westerners). Why is that? My bet is that it doesn't provide as much possibility to make money or stroke one's ego as a straight focus on race or sex can provide...
 
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57. Re: Op Ed May 23, 2014, 12:05 Creston
 
windsock wrote on May 23, 2014, 01:33:
Every now and then I'm reminded how even the most well-intentioned Westerners still fall so easily into the same historical habits of their more imperialist predecessors. Clear away the modern language, and the assumptions and attitudes this writer displays is basically akin to the various colonial-era "white man's burden" exhortations to "civilize" non-whites in accordance with the "correct" (and inevitably white-centric) viewpoints.

It would be funny, except that as we can so clearly see by this awful article, this sort of subtly patronizing racial paternalism is still so very prevalent, even amongst the more liberal circles. I was hoping this sort of thing was finally dying out back in the 1990s with the multiculturalism push, but over twenty years later I'm still seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again, by the same sort of well-intentioned Westerners who are so blinded by their righteous ideals that they can't see how hypocritically racist and ethnocentric they are being.

Maybe I'm getting too old for this shit. Maybe I should stop caring so much. It's just another stupid racist article in a sea of relentless idiocy. Outrage fatigue is a real thing; the more you worry about every little meaningless offensive thing, the less energy you have to work on the things that actually, really matter, and I just don't have nearly as much energy to spare as I used to. But for some reason or another this irks me more than usual, so I take the time and trouble to de-lurk and rant uselessly like the cranky old geezer I've become.

Very nicely put.
 
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56. Re: Op Ed May 23, 2014, 12:03 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on May 23, 2014, 01:56:
You see what happens whenever race and gender come up in this forum as well as I do. You can really deny that games have an issue?

No, games do have 'issues' (which is a very wide-reaching concept), I just think that Nintendo only having "white" characters isn't something to get upset over, or even something they need to change.

Nintendo has been putting out the exact same games since the 1980s, when obviously none of this was even considered an issue to begin with. They are using characters they've been using for decades. What are they supposed to do? Make Mario black out of some token effort to be race-inclusive, or whatever? All their fans would explode.

Also, how many outcries from colored people have there been regarding this issue? Was it even an issue until Ars Technica White Guy brought it up?

There are idiots like Broussard in gaming who think a trailer should be a chick in hotpants with her tits hanging out of her torn crop top. That's probably a far better issue to complain about than Nintendo being stuck in the 80s.

In any case, like I originally said, it just seems that all these "gaming journalists" are now just actively looking to whine about shit. When we've fixed the more serious issues in gaming, maybe we can start worrying about Nintendo needing to realize there's more to life than people of one skin color.
 
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55. Re: Into the Black May 23, 2014, 06:52 Overon
 
Culture War!  
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54. Re: Into the Black May 23, 2014, 03:21 NegaDeath
 
Beamer wrote on May 23, 2014, 01:56:
Creston, you're a smart guy. You see what happens whenever race and gender come up in this forum as well as I do. You can really deny that games have an issue? It sets many here absolutely frothing at the mouth in ways that Jack Thompson always failed to do.

Gaming or even western/eastern media in general having an issue with race or gender or sexuality is a good topic. An article about one company, within a specific group of old established characters, with a legitimate historical technology explanation for them being all white is clickbait. They have other more ethnically diverse series that are being glossed over. They agreed to include gay marriage in that Tomodachi game after the complaints a few weeks ago. They were also ahead of the pack on having women in leading roles in their game. There's no evidence of malice or a lack of progress unless you zoom in a specific section which is a pretty shitty way to judge anyone.
 
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53. Re: Op Ed May 23, 2014, 01:56 Beamer
 
Creston wrote on May 22, 2014, 22:44:
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 19:04:
They can do better. We should expect our companies to do better. But, for whatever reason, while this board is very quick to make all kinds of demands that corporations do everything better, those same people are equally quick to defend them whenever it turns to race, gender or sexuality.

Yeah, I'm going to put "NINTENDO ONLY HAS 'WHITE' CHARACTERS IN THEIR GAMES!" as approximately #93,478 on the list of "Shit corporations have to improve."

But hey, keep fighting the good fight. I'm going to focus more on US corporations trying to fucking rape the internet into oblivion.

Just because something isn't terribly significant and is low hanging fruit means we need 60 posts about how stupid it is?

Creston, you're a smart guy. You see what happens whenever race and gender come up in this forum as well as I do. You can really deny that games have an issue? It sets many here absolutely frothing at the mouth in ways that Jack Thompson always failed to do.
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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52. Re: Op Ed May 23, 2014, 01:33 windsock
 
Every now and then I'm reminded how even the most well-intentioned Westerners still fall so easily into the same historical habits of their more imperialist predecessors. Clear away the modern language, and the assumptions and attitudes this writer displays is basically akin to the various colonial-era "white man's burden" exhortations to "civilize" non-whites in accordance with the "correct" (and inevitably white-centric) viewpoints.

It would be funny, except that as we can so clearly see by this awful article, this sort of subtly patronizing racial paternalism is still so very prevalent, even amongst the more liberal circles. I was hoping this sort of thing was finally dying out back in the 1990s with the multiculturalism push, but over twenty years later I'm still seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again, by the same sort of well-intentioned Westerners who are so blinded by their righteous ideals that they can't see how hypocritically racist and ethnocentric they are being.

Maybe I'm getting too old for this shit. Maybe I should stop caring so much. It's just another stupid racist article in a sea of relentless idiocy. Outrage fatigue is a real thing; the more you worry about every little meaningless offensive thing, the less energy you have to work on the things that actually, really matter, and I just don't have nearly as much energy to spare as I used to. But for some reason or another this irks me more than usual, so I take the time and trouble to de-lurk and rant uselessly like the cranky old geezer I've become.

This comment was edited on May 23, 2014, 01:40.
 
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51. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 22:44 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 19:04:
They can do better. We should expect our companies to do better. But, for whatever reason, while this board is very quick to make all kinds of demands that corporations do everything better, those same people are equally quick to defend them whenever it turns to race, gender or sexuality.

Yeah, I'm going to put "NINTENDO ONLY HAS 'WHITE' CHARACTERS IN THEIR GAMES!" as approximately #93,478 on the list of "Shit corporations have to improve."

But hey, keep fighting the good fight. I'm going to focus more on US corporations trying to fucking rape the internet into oblivion.
 
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50. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 22:21 HorrorScope
 
Don't they have Donkey Kong and their kid?  
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49. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 20:49 Jivaro
 
I think some of you, indeed most of you, have the right idea at heart. Nobody should tell game designers what to make and what not to make. I can agree with that premise at it's most base concept. The only real error (outside of the unusual amount of anger and defensiveness) I see in any of the presented opposition to Beamer's comments is the assumption that if everybody just stopped making a fuss over race or sexuality, or gender, or whatever it wouldn't be such a big deal. If that worked we wouldn't have any bigots, racists, etc in the first place. It doesn't work and it is the responsibility of those that are not biased or prejudiced to make sure that the future generations are raised in a world that has less and less room for those that are bigoted and prejudiced in some way. You do that through parenting first of course, but the culture, the media, and even our entertainment...books, movie, tv, video games...all of these things have to reinforce it.

My two cents.
 
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48. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 20:40 Beamer
 
Suppa7 wrote on May 22, 2014, 20:27:
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 19:04:
They can do better. We should expect our companies to do better. But, for whatever reason, while this board is very quick to make all kinds of demands that corporations do everything better, those same people are equally quick to defend them whenever it turns to race, gender or sexuality.

That's because we're talking about escapism here, we're not talking about some little old lady being pushed out of her apartment or being discriminated against. We're talking about FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS IN FICTIONAL WORLDS. Yes having more white/brown/asian/whatever models is going to change the world... Not.

People like you need to get a fucking clue, 99% of people of all colors and creeds give not one fuck about sex/race/gender in videogames. That tells you all you need to know about the race/sex/gender weirdo's on the internet broadcasting their extreme minority opinion.

"It's just fiction" is a funny argument to make. Is fiction not a reflection of society? If America is 12.5% black, and even more Asian and Hispanic, yet TV is 90% white, should we say "it's just fiction?"

No. That's lunacy. And it's you defending racism.
Sorry, integration matters, even in fiction. Yes, it's true that white people are far less likely to watch black people than vice versa, so what makes business sense is to stick with wealthy, affluent white people in sitcoms. But that just enforces the status quo. People need to adjust to things, and you want your entertainment to help lead that.

"People like you" is also funny. And arguing "it's just videogames" is also funny. But, looking at your posting history, it's full of removed posts, weasel words, and a weird superiority where you constantly call everyone else, and everything else, "stupid."
 
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47. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 20:27 Suppa7
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 19:04:
They can do better. We should expect our companies to do better. But, for whatever reason, while this board is very quick to make all kinds of demands that corporations do everything better, those same people are equally quick to defend them whenever it turns to race, gender or sexuality.

That's because we're talking about escapism here, we're not talking about some little old lady being pushed out of her apartment or being discriminated against. We're talking about FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS IN FICTIONAL WORLDS. Yes having more white/brown/asian/whatever models is going to change the world... Not.

People like you need to get a fucking clue, 99% of people of all colors and creeds give not one fuck about sex/race/gender in videogames. That tells you all you need to know about the race/sex/gender weirdo's on the internet broadcasting their extreme minority opinion.
 
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46. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 19:04 Beamer
 
I'm sorry, I still find it odd to cop out to "but it'd be a token character!"

Was Brock in Pokemon a token character?
Was Barrett in FF7?
Anthy in RGU?

I don't think anyone is asking for a token character. People are asking that there just be some diversity. It seems that many here think that "darker skin" inherently means "token character," which itself should kind of show some of the problem of having so many white-washed characters, no? An entire group of gamers on this board seem to struggle to conceive a way Nintendo could create a darker skinned character that isn't a token.
Everyone gets that Japan is almost exclusively Japanese, but Nintendo games aren't exclusively sold in Japan, and the whole "we're reflecting our own culture, solely" excuse doesn't fly very well in 2014. It may for a small company that doesn't know any other culture, but, again, Nintendo is one of the largest, broadest companies in this industry.

They can do better. We should expect our companies to do better. But, for whatever reason, while this board is very quick to make all kinds of demands that corporations do everything better, those same people are equally quick to defend them whenever it turns to race, gender or sexuality.
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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45. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 18:41 PropheT
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 13:23:
Just ask yourselves if something is an improvement. You don't need to be defensive. Just ask yourself if things can be improved. If yes, why do you get so angry when people suggest these improvements?

I'd argue that it's not necessarily an improvement. Having token characters in order to meet a demographic is fairly ridiculous in TV shows, movies, books, or wherever. There doesn't -have- to be a gay, black, asian, or whatever character to improve a story if their character isn't fleshed out and written in a believable and honest way rather than just including them to have more diversity. Diversity for the sake of diversity is dishonest and isn't an improvement on the material it's forced into.

That doesn't mean I'm against more diversity in characters, but do it because it's right for the character, story, and material rather than because it appeals to a broader demographic.

For what it's worth I just disagree with you, not that I don't care what you're saying.
 
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44. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 18:34 Scottish Martial Arts
 
A lot of talking past each other in this thread. Here's my contribution to two ships passing in the night.

Because race is something you are born with and does not change, no one can really have the experience of seeing things through the eyes of a different race. Without the ability to compare and contrast in that way, it becomes easy to convince yourself that something like institutional racial bias isn't real: if you have no way to experience the alternative, it's hard to conceive that there even is an alternative. Even if you can envision such an alternative, the fact that our culture looks down upon unearned advantage provides a compelling emotional reason for, say, a straight, white, male to try to rationalize why being straight, white, and male accrues no advantage. To be honest, it's almost unfair to expect anything else: to accept that you may have advantages over others that you didn't earn requires well above average empathy -- we can't "try out" being another race; we can only look at another person's experience and imagine ourselves in it -- and it requires us to denigrate our own achievement. Both of those are hard things.

I don't want to get into too many personal details, but at age 24 I had something happen to me which caused society to stop viewing me as straight, white, healthy, American male. Had you asked me at age 23 what advantages being straight, white, etc. had gotten me, I would have been hard pressed to come up with any. I wouldn't have been the sort to say that minorities have an advantage over whites because of "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!!!" but I definitely would not have said that being straight, white, etc. gave me any special advantage. If you asked me why I got my job at the time, I would have said because I write a good resume, have strong interview skills, had demonstrated competence in the job I was applying for, and am generally a smart and effective employee. After life changed for me, I started seeing things differently because my experience of how people treated me, and the degree of competence they estimated me to have, changed so dramatically. I was still the same person -- I was still just as smart, with just as much education, with just as strong interpersonal skills, just as hard working, etc. -- but my outcomes in being able to find work, housing, etc. were very different. That isn't to say things became impossible, because my life is pretty good these days, and I'm proud of how far I've come, but it does mean I had some very hard years, came very close to giving up in despair on numerous occasions, and had age 24 played out differently, I surely would be much farther ahead in my career, finances, and family formation.

Someone made an analogy a couple months ago that the fixed aspects of the social role you are born into -- i.e. your race, sex, etc. -- are a lot like the difficulty level of a video game. No matter what difficulty level you're on, you can still lose the game, you still experience challenge and adversity, you can still have a bad go of it and get yourself in a position where you can't win and your don't have a save to revert to, etc. Likewise, even if you're on a really hard difficulty, in most games it's still possible to win -- it just takes a lot longer and requires a lot more persistence. Every so often there's a game with a difficulty that is just flat out impossible and no one can win at it. Now if we imagine that we merely click New Game and the game randomly assigns us a difficulty, never showing us a difficulty select screen, just like we never get to choose who are parents were and the circumstances we are born into, it would be easy to assume that there are no difficulty levels. It would take either restarting the game, which we can't do, or watching another player of the game REALLY closely, or getting access to the game's code and carefully studying it, for us to ever realize that there really are difficulty levels: we just don't get to pick them. And if you're a competitive player of the game, you may be inclined to ignore evidence that there are difficulty levels, because that would imply your success at the game is partly down to the random difficulty level you were assigned when clicking new game and not entirely to your personal skill.

This comment was edited on May 22, 2014, 18:40.
 
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43. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 18:11 NKD
 
Suppa7 wrote on May 22, 2014, 17:41:

You know you have first world problems when you're focusing on things in videogames instead of you know, real atrocities and real prejudice in the world at large.

Well, when you're in the gaming press, or are a game developer, or simply a gamer, video games are kind of your corner of the sandbox. You say that people commenting on these issues aren't informed enough to comment, but that makes it even more crucial that they stick to the area that they are most informed on and most experienced with.

A lot of "First World Problems" are hand-waved by "Well, there are bigger problems in the world." The problem with that sentiment is that it says only the biggest problems in the world deserve to be discussed or addressed. And posting an article or discussing something does not imply it's someone's first priority in life, or that it occupies any more of their thought than the time it took to write it.

Whether a game has a diverse cast of characters or not is fairly trivial in the grand scheme of things, but so is gaming in general. Does that mean we should just stop discussing gaming entirely? Of course not.

It's no sweat off my balls if an issue I don't care about or I feel isn't important is actually important to someone else.

 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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42. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 17:41 Suppa7
 
NKD wrote on May 22, 2014, 13:02:
But we should ask ourselves why angry white men come out of the wood work any time someone mentions race or encourages diversity.

In general, here at Blue's News any time anything regarding diversity is posted, whether it be race, gender, or sexual preference, a lot of straight white males get very angry and talk about how consideration for these things just isn't necessary and how people should just shut up about it.

They do this for good reason, people always bring their distorted political agenda's to try to fuck up one of the last bastions of entertainment that never was anything other then naked entertainment.

If someone went off about how patriarchal mario and princess in Super mario bros. was I'd punch those people in the face.

People, especially those with distorted understanding of the world (aka race, sex, gender, discrimination) and try to bring it into gaming is disgusting.

People are so stupid and poor at living in reality they fuck up reality by injecting their non reality based bullshit into our entertainment which never was anything but pure escapism.

Does anyone really believe from the NES to PS2 era that developers around the world had some kind of political agenda? Fuck no. Dev's wanted to make good games and publishers wanted to make money. That's it. Anyone who pretends videogames are more than that are morons.

Most people commenting on race,sex, discrimination, etc, are not of high enough intelligence or informed enough to even comment on the matter. Why not focus on real problems instead of first world problems(tm).

You know you have first world problems when you're focusing on things in videogames instead of you know, real atrocities and real prejudice in the world at large.

The reality is most people who complain about their distorted views in gaming don't really give a shit about such said issues or they'd focus their efforts on places and parts of the world that really mattered. Entertainment has to be the most dilletantish and moronic place to focus your energy if you want to pull mankind out of the shitter.
 
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41. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 17:25 PHJF
 
One of my favorites...  
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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40. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 17:25 FloorPie
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2014, 13:23:
I'm going to bow out, as no one really cares what I have to say, I'll just continue to point out how weird I find it that people get so defensive when an improvement is brought up that involves something not exactly what they are.

Just ask yourselves if something is an improvement. You don't need to be defensive. Just ask yourself if things can be improved. If yes, why do you get so angry when people suggest these improvements?

You find it weird that people get defensive when in our modern western culture its become the norm to toss out the race card or victim card for every real or perceived slight? Where a president that has been elected twice still says that people don't like him mostly because of his skin tone? Bavarian please.
 
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39. Re: Op Ed May 22, 2014, 16:52 Simon Says
 
Not a single non-white person in my native village of Colombier... Hmmm, so that means we're all racists, right? RIGHT?

Seriously that's pretty much his argument in a nutshell^^. I bet there's a categorization for this kind of logical fallacy already, I'm just too damn lazy to find it.
 
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