PS3 Attitude

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PS3 Attitude

Friday, 9 May 2008

Racism in Resident Evil 5? We think not...

This website is called PS3 Attitude for a reason - I guess it's about time we exhibited the 'attitude' part of the title...

Cast your mind back to E3 2007. The Resident Evil 5 trailer was shown for the first time to the masses.

I have a question for you.

What did you see when you watched the trailer?

I will answer that question myself before this article is finished, but let's just put this trailer in the correct frame to begin with.

This is Resident Evil 5. The clue is in the name. It's not actually the fifth game in the series (there are more than that, of course) but it is a continuation of a well-known franchise.

The location is E3 2007. It's a gaming show. It's all about the games.

So this trailer doesn't need to fill us in with reams of back-story detail about 'good vs. evil' or 'humans vs. zombies'. We don't need to know that a virus is killing humans off only to bring them back as the undead, because we gamers already know this. And the location of the premiere of this trailer put the message out loud and clear to the correct target audience.

But in the 21st Century, such trailers don't stay local for long. The Internet made the trailer, and the subsequent 'extended version' available to the masses.

What did 'Black Looks'1, a blog devoted to African women, see when they watched the trailer back in July 2007?

“The new Resident Evil video game depicts a white man in what appears to be Africa killing Black people."

"This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of Black people as inhuman savages, the killing of Black people by a white man in military clothing, and the fact that this video game is marketed to children and young adults. Start them young… fearing, hating, and destroying Black people."


This view of the trailer is, in my opinion, a racist view. I'll explain why later.

Of course, the view of the Black Looks blog writer is inaccurate in any case. The story of RE5 is set in Haiti, not Africa. The game is going to be 18-rated and 'M for Mature', so it is not marketed to children or young adults.

What did Ragnhild Mogren, a teacher at Stockholm University and being interviewed by kezins.com2, see when she watched the trailer?



"Question: What does a person with no understanding of the Resident Evil franchise, as a game series, think about this piece of film?"

"Answer: If I should interpret this trailer from a hermeneutic perspective, that my previous understanding and knowledge plays a huge part in what I actually see here, then this piece of film is very racist."

Hermeneutics is an ancient term and was originally the development/study of theories around the interpretation and understanding of writings. The word is being used in a broader sense here, but the view of Ms. Mogren is still a racist view. Again, I'll explain why later.

What did N’Gai Croal3, Newsweek's gaming journalist, see when he watched the trailer?



"I looked at the Resident Evil 5 trailer and I was like, 'Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game'. The point isn’t that you can’t have black zombies. There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery. What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?"

"This trailer says to me that the black people here are portrayed as Neanderthals, quite frankly. This white figure, on the other hand, is very good looking in terms of the norms and rules of what a good looking man is supposed to look like in our society, even if it’s completely unrealistic. The trailer shows political power in that it presents a sense of historical colonial suppression."

Of course, N'Gai is wrong and, I have to report, this is a racist view also. I'll explain why in just a moment.

In terms of his specific points, it worries me that he believes certain characters in the game are portrayed as Neanderthals. They happen to be Haitians who have contracted a deadly virus and are, to all intents and purposes, 'dead men/women/children walking'.

I've seen people look worse than this when all they have is the 'flu.

Their race is not the reason they don't look so good - the fact that they're infected and zombified are the reasons they look a bit 'peaky'.

And yes - the imagery does have history. A terrible, horrific history perpetrated by truly evil people. But perpetuating the mistakes of the past and attributing images to times gone by are the not the way forward for society. Let me explain by telling you...

What did I see when I watched the trailer?

I'm a gamer. I understand the RE series. I know the story. The location of the trailer's premiere targeted me personally.

But even despite all the back-story knowledge and the targeted advertising, there is one thing that makes my view of the trailer different to all the people mentioned above.

I truly didn't see the colour of any character's skin.

I saw 'good vs. evil'.

I saw a man trying to stop the onslaught of a deadly virus that could wipe out humanity.

I saw a character with the drive and heroism to attempt to save us all from evil.

I didn't see black. I didn't see white. I didn't see slavery or oppression.

So I ask, who, out of all the people who have discussed the trailer (including myself), are the racists?

Comments please.

[Sources]
1.
Black Looks blog
2.
Part 1 of an interview at kezins.com
3.
MTV multiplayer interview with N'Gai Croal

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Codemasters take chequered flag for F1 licence

There has been much speculation regarding where the official Formula 1 racing game licence would end up after Sony decided not to take up the renewal.

We can now reveal that Codemasters have taken the licence on in a worldwide deal that will see the next F1 game appear on all major platforms, including consoles, PCs and handhelds.

“As a world-leading creator of driving games, this alliance with Formula One is the jewel in Codemasters’ racing crown and creates an undisputed segment champion. Formula One has gone with the best, the segment leader. It has gone to the home of the EGO Engine for quality; it has gone to the company that can host Formula 1 Online, to the company that is streaking away from the pack.” - Rod Cousens, CEO at Codemasters



The first new F1 title should appear in 2009 and will feature all Grand Prix circuits, Formula One teams, cars, and driver likenesses.

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Technical issues

A quick apology for the lack of news yesterday - we had a rare technical issue, but all now seems right with the world again...

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Thursday, 8 May 2008

Mirror's Edge dazzles; gameplay video

I can imagine the pitch for Mirror's Edge:

"We take all the best bits of Trinity running along, leaping around with guns and shooting whilst falling backwards off buildings in The Matrix trilogy, but do it first person and make it all happen in 'the real world'..."

That's basically what the game says to me. And it is a good thing because of that.

A mixture of parkour, puzzle solving (how to get from A to B via 100 obstacles) and gun-toting action, this video of Mirror's Edge shows the promise this game holds.

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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

GTA IV; Niko Bellic is the 6 million unit man

Let's just pause for a moment and think about this.

According to Take Two, GTA IV has sold 6 million copies worldwide in one week. That's around $500 million in sales (£255m). We know from Chart Track that the UK alone accounted for close to 1 million units. We also know that around 50% (give or take 5%) of the total worldwide sales were for the PS3 version.

Here are some 'entertainment market' comparisons for you:

  • 'Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End' took $404 million at the Box Office in its first week.
  • The combined Top Ten US movies took $438 million this weekend - if it weren't for Iron Man that total would have been $336 million.
  • The iPhone sold only 70,000 units in the UK in the first week; around 500,000 were sold in the US during launch week.
Can we really compare the iPhone launch and GTA: IV? Well yes - and we just did. If you can imagine that a good percentage of GTA: IV sales involved a hardware bundle that retailed for around the same price, I think the comparison is fair!

Like I said - just think about all of this for a moment and put it in perspective.

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Details of our April Competition winner

Thanks again to everyone that entered our April Competition to win 2Kg of prime gaming swag.

Our winner is Paul Nichol from South Shields, United Kingdom. Well done Paul - the prize is all yours and will be with you soon.

Don't forget - if you stay subscribed to our email updates you will automatically be entered for every single 2008 competition... which also means that if you unsubscribe, I'm afraid you'll rule yourself out for the rest of the year.

And our next competition is a real peach - whatever you do, don't miss it.

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

PlayStation Day 2008; European PS Store update for 6th May

As we revealed earlier today, there was going to be an additional update to celebrate the PlayStation Day event in London.

We knew about some of the items on the list, but were surprised to see the likes of High Velocity Bowling finally appear in Europe.

Here's the full list of items you can download today:

Games

Blast Factor Advanced (£4.99)
High Velocity Bowling (£4.99)
Street Skater - PS1 game for PSP/PS3 (£3.49)

Demos (all free)

Haze
Condemned 2

Add-ons

High Velocity Bowling - Mike (£0.69)

Videos (all free)

Buzz! Quiz TV
Secret Agent Clank
Siren: Blood Curse
Motorstorm: Pacific Rift
PS Day Showcase

Amongst all these updates you'll have noticed two name changes; one we knew about a few days ago, the other was announced today. Yes, Motorstorm 2 is officially subtitled Pacific Rift, and Siren: New Translation has been, erm, translated to Siren: Blood Curse.

Look out for another date as usual this Thursday.

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PlayStation Day 2008; PlayTV launches in September

David Reeves has confirmed an official launch window and price for PlayTV (finally).

Once again, this is a product we expected would be released soon with SCEE stating 'Spring' launch windows last year. In fact, we did hear PlayTV was priced and dated for a March release not so long ago, but that turned out to be false.

However, it is nice to finally get the definite word from SCEE, and that word is 'September'.

PlayTV will retail for €99, which is about £75.

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PlayStation Day 2008; Killzone 2 will be out in February 2009

At the PlayStation Day event today, SCEE showed in-game video of Killzone 2.

Not only does it look amazing with incredible graphical detail, but the big announcement is that Killzone 2 will now hit the streets next year in February.

Some time ago, we had thought that Killzone 2 might make it before Christmas, but it looks like the much-anticipated title will actually become 2009's lead game.

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Haze demo and Motorstorm 2 on the PS Store today

To coincide with the PlayStation Day event in London, there will be an additional update to the PlayStation Store today.

Look out for an update later on this afternoon that includes a new Motorstorm 2 trailer and, most importantly, a Haze demo.

The Haze demo will take you through the opening level of our new favourite FPS.

We'll have more news from the PlayStation Day event as it unfolds.

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Monday, 5 May 2008

Our winner has been chosen...

Thank you to everyone who signed up to our email updates in order to enter our competition.

This month's giveaway is now officially done and dusted, and a winner has been chosen.

We'll be revealing the lucky recipient of 2Kg of prime gaming swag soon, but in the meantime here's a quick reminder that if you stay subscribed to our email summary, you will automatically gain entry into the rest of our competitions throughout 2008.

That means if you choose to unsubscribe, you will forfeit your place in our competitions, even if you re-subscribe later.

Come back over the next two days for full details of our lucky winner. Is it you?

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