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Race (Not Racism) in Resident Evil 5 – 2

Posted by Nick Dinicola on March 25, 2009

Stephan Totilo from MTV Multiplayer wrote about how his opinion about race in Resident Evil 5 changed after playing the game. One of the reasons he gives as:

By the time I was playing the game, I was controlling a white guy who was shooting enemies alongside a black woman. We were in the world of cliche. She, as player ally, was, of course, hot and in tight-fitting clothes. Her and Chris’ enemies were, of course, poor villagers, then angry guys on motorcycles, then guys who hung out near huts with shields and spears, then guys who worked in a factory, then military guys, etc. All of them infected. All of them from the Official Rogues Gallery of Video Games. And not all of these guys were black. What they had in common, instead, was their behaviors of crowd-swarming and sniping and never-ending anger that read clearly as: prototypical video game enemy actions. They were as under-developed a set of characters as any other class of video game bad guys. They were fun to fight and hard to take seriously.

I think most people who play Resident Evil 5 will share Totilo’s view on the game. However, on the 3/20/09 episode of Listen UP N’Gai Croal made an interesting point that defending the game by pointing out how cliche it is, is essentially the same as saying “it’s just a game,” which I said was a disservice to gaming as a whole. But Totilo is right. Resident Evil 5 is “just a game.” That’s all it strives to be, and that’s all it really is. Just a good, fun action game. But what Totilo said wasn’t a disservice to gaming because he didn’t use that as an excuse to not talk about the race issue; doing that would have been a disservice. So I agree that is it “just a game,” what’s so interesting about RE5 is that that doesn’t really matter, no matter how true it is. So I still think calling RE5 “just a game” in order to  side-step the entire discussion is a disservice to the gaming community, but I agree that RE5 is “just a game.”

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