Video games: eternally controversial

In class, we discussed how gender roles have been portrayed in video games through time. There were some worrying discoveries we looked at, something which really isn’t explored or acknowledged among the general gaming population. In the year that is 2018, I think these are crucial topics to explore in order to progress towards a more neutral gaming culture. If something available to everyone, advertising anyone’s possibility to take part, how is it that certain groups are oppressed in gaming? With gender stereotyping being one of the major controversies associated with video games; I was contemplating how another category, Race, fares in the world of video games? Similar to gender, race is a prime example of a topic that is often covered in a controversial manner in society. What are some examples of games where this is the case?

The first I would think of exploring is the GTA-series. I remember playing Vice City where we have the present gang war between Cuban and Haitian refugees, wherein the missions were largely based on crime; killing, robbing, fighting and so forth. Being a young gamer at the time, it was not a storyline which caused worry to me as I was not aware of its deep-lying racial implication. This is the real problem here, when gamers indulge in the activity without paying particular attention to the implications of their actions. The fact that a game with a story surrounding mass-killing could’ve grown so popular is easily labelled as outrageous in hindsight! I am also not the first person to label it as such; the game was in fact highly controversial and sparked outrage from the aforementioned Cuban and Haitian communities in Florida. Nonetheless, we still saw the mission “kill the cholos” as part of the storyline in Vice City‘s successor GTA: San Andreas

The fact that this game was released in 2002 is what seems most shocking to me when assessing it in hindsight. “We have some bad hombres and we’re gonna get them out” was stated by Trump as late as October 2016, 14 years after release, and this just goes to show that the mentality(?) used by Rockstar Games developers when creating their Vice City is still present (even among the world’s most powerful people), something which is very worrying in the worldwide strive for racial equality. This goes to show the danger of developers attempting to maintain accuracy in their game production, as they are willing to spread quite extreme ideas which they often blame at “attempts to make the storyline as accurate and applicable to real life as possible.” 


Gurdus, Elizabeth. “Trump: ‘We Have Some Bad Hombres and We’re Going to Get Them Out’.” CNBC. October 20, 2016. Accessed November 26, 2018.