Tomb Raider, Racist Games, and GaymerCon (but not in that order)

For those of you unfamiliar with my weekly roundups, this is the feature where I round up recent articles dealing with race, gender, sexuality, disabilities, identity groups etc. all in one place for your reading pleasure! Some weeks the articles may make you want to go on a violent rampage, other weeks might inspire you e-hug troll fighters. Your response is up to you, although I would suggest that violent rampages typically lead to negative consequences. No stories this week have really made me react strongly in either direction, but many were interesting all the same.

First up: Aliens Colonial Marines will have a female character!

She looks a bit scrawny to me….

And here she is, , Pvt. Jennifer Redding Quintaro (her brother is on the right)! The Alien movies have always produced some strong female characters, (and the beginnings of the Vasquez always dies trope) and this news from Gearbox is definitely a welcome announcement. Gamers and Aliens fans across the internet have been petitioning for the inclusion of female characters in the new game, and it looks like all the hullaballoo paid off. According to Gearbox, the plan all along was to include a female character. Whether it was the plan or not, she better live up to the likes of Ripley, Newt, and Vasquez or else…..or else…I’ll write scathing reviews! That’ll show ’em.

2.) Next up from Kotaku, Steam pulled a Sex game from its Greenlight service. There’s been some buzz on the internet in the last few months about sex games, like the game Polymorphously Perverse, but it general it doesn’t appear as if this game was quite as offensive as some. The pulling of this game makes it appear as if Steam’s Greenlight service will keep erotic content out of its listings. I’m torn on this because I think that there can potentially be well-made erotic games (if they allow a person to play as whatever gender they want, take into account multiple sexualities, race…etc) and I wonder if the banning of erotic games from Steam will hinder the potential development of well-made sex games. On the other hand, Polymorphously Perverse was horrendous and if Steam banning erotic games can keep the terribly heterosexist games from a large audience, then power to them. Any other opinions out there about sex games?

3.) 3-D Ms. Pac-Man at Baby Castle’s Summit.  Here’s the video:

Clearly this is just super cool. I wish I had the time/money to create such awesome experiences! I’ve always loved Ms. Pac-Man because she is one of the few female characters (if you consider a yellow circle with lipstick female) to be treated equally as her male counterpart. Ms. Pac-Man does exactly what Pac-Man does, eats ghosts, and her lipstick doesn’t seem to get in the way of that. Of course, that might have just been a side-effect of technological limitations, but hey, three cheers for Ms. Pac-Man! May women everywhere some day have the same equality that she does.

4.)  Race Wars.Com: Extreme Racism as an Innoculation against racism?

According to this article, the game Race Wars, which is a hacked version of an old nintendo games, asks the player to answer a few questions, and based on those questions assigns a race to the player, and puts them in a specific Race War. This could be Whites against Blacks, Asians against Hispanics, or a variety of different combinations of race wars based on the questionnaire. According to Nate Hill, the game’s maker:

Race Warriors is a racist, hacked Nintendo video game. It offers 16 different race war video games between Whites, Blacks, Asians, or Hispanics. As mentioned before, traditional vaccines expose the immune system to a dead or weakened germ. In this case, the racist germ is weakened. Here’s how: Before killing another race, the young player must answer 10 questions that supposedly decode their racial prejudice, and from this, the game creates an appropriate race war scenario to be played. The problem is that these questions, for example, “Do you like candles?”, have nothing to do with race at all. Regardless of your answers, you’re directed to a completely random game. You may even have to kill your own race, or fight for the race you hate the most. This all makes for an absurd, racist experience. The strength of the game is that within its world, racism is absurd.

I think this is an intriguing idea, but it hinges on one thing: players being able to recognize the absurdity. The Race Wars website says “The game is racist. The game is absurd. Therefore, racism is absurd”.  The problem I feel, comes with step number two: will players be able to understand that the game is absurd? Vaccinations typically give you a tiny bit of a virus so that your immune system can learn how to fight against it. Unfortunately, occasionally vaccinations can lead to a full on infection. Ultimately I’m afraid that this particular inoculation may lead to more infections than strengthened immune systems.

6.) GaymerCon is fully funded! Yay!

7.) Gaming Accessibility project hopes to make games more accessible for the handicapable. According to this article, almost 20% of the casual game playing database have some sort of disability. By making games more accessible, this could potentially increase profits for gaming companies, and more importantly make games accessible to people with disabilities. It’s definitely an interesting project, and I hope game companies take the guideline’s to heart.

8.) New Lara Croft video is completely uncontroversial! Hopefully you’re still interested in the new Lara Croft game, even after all that rape/not rape commotion. The newest video from PAX shows a lot more gameplay footage than we’ve previously had, and absolutely nothing that could even potentially be construed as rape. So check out the video (it’s like 14 minutes long….fyi).


  1. I could never watch the Aliens movies because they creep me out, but I’m glad to hear that more gamers are vocalizing a need to add more female characters you can play as in video games. I hope this trend continues!

    • Aw, after the first Alien movie they become a lot more action than horror! Although I may have watched them so many times that I’ve been inoculated against the creepy.

      I definitely hope the trend continues too! It’s about time huh

  2. 1) Glad to see a female character, and one that, from the one piece of concept art at least, doesn’t appear to be overly sexualized. I mean, her armor looks like the guys armor. Now if only we could get more than one body type.

    2) I have mixed feelings about sex games. On the one hand, I’d love to see more erotic games done well (I really enjoyed Katawa Shoujo). On the other hand, even the ones that are well done are still really really limiting in terms of how they deal with sexuality. Plus, I’m not sure how good erotica could even make headway in a gamer culture saturated in chauvinism/misogyny.

    4) [logic pedant] Invalid Syllogism. “A is B, A is C, therefore B is C” does not logically follow, and that pretty much reveals every problem with what they are trying to do,[/logic pedant] I don’t have much faith in people having the self-awareness to think “This game is absurd. *GASP* So is my RACISM!”

Chat me up!