Like a moth drawn to a flame, I return to address social issues in gaming. I’ve been trying my best to avoid articles relating to outrage, I really have, but the recent tantrum about “Aug Lives Matter” is so indescribably stupid, that I can’t avoid it. The outrage is palpable, to the point it turned one Mass Effect: Andromeda dev into a sentient salt mine that twitter spats with an Eidos Montreal employee.Or maybe he was always an oblivious, attention seeking racist.
After the Mechanical Apartheid pissing and moaning, we now get to sit through complaints about “Augs Lives Matter” after the slogan was seen on a protest sign in some promotional material for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Of course people are taking issue with it, because we live in an age of monetized attention. More often than not, those that scream outrage the loudest earn the most attention capital, whether it be social or financial, and nobody screams louder than well practiced, professional victims.
It’s ridiculous how quickly the far left, and the media it’s in bed with, ricochets between how games aren’t art and need to mature to be taken seriously. and decrying games for depicting mature subject matter and sensitive social issues. If these people actually cared about raising awareness of racism and the oppression of an entire group of people, they would be excited for “Augs Lives Matter.” It puts those issues front and center in a far reaching AAA series that has received universal acclaim for its games dealing with that very same subject matter, long before these impotent “activists” were on the scene.
But no, the Black Lives Matter supporters seem to believe the “movement” possesses exclusive ownership or rights in regard to the concept of lives being valuable, and if you claim (Insert Non-Black Qualifier Here) Lives Matter, then you’re a racist engaging in “appropriation.” Even if you’re talking about imaginary people in fantasy land, or allegedly came up with the term first. How dare Eidos Montreal try to get a free lunch on the BLM meal ticket, they have to work hard begging for those reparations!
Now before you go crying racism because I’m not a fan of the BLM movement’s actions or demands, or say that, as a white male, I have no right to speak on how minorities are treated by the police or society at large, please note that I hail from an interracial family in the South. “The only thing worse than a n*gger is a n*gger lover” are words I’ve actually heard from people’s mouths as they talked about my family.
My family has been discriminated against, and has a strained relationship with the police.
As a child, my father instructed me to never tell the police my last name was Wynne, because they would “drag [me] into the ditch and beat [my] ass.” It was to the point that when the D.A.R.E. officer came to my school, I told him my name was James Adam, and had a panic attack when the teacher told him my full name was James Adam Wynne. I have a fairly intimate understanding of minority issues, especially apprehension when dealing with the police, despite being pigmentally challenged.
Which is part of the reason I can’t grasp why people feel the need to be upset about the line in the first place: How could anyone that supports the furthering of social commentary on the grievances of minorities not be excited at the prospect of these issues receiving more exposure, especially in a manner that’s highly relatable to the target audience (white people) of their alleged message?
We know games are already art, and nothing should be off limits in art. We’ve probably all seen Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With.” Movies, like American History X, have approached and depicted visceral images of racial clashes for decades. Hell, literature has featured and fought racism since before our word for the concept even existed. Video games have continue that tradition, so why are people getting their jimmies thoroughly rustled over “Augs Lives Matter”?
Trigger Warning: Offensive to the stupid.
Chalk it up to stupidity, ignorance, greed, the usual suspects when dealing with those that “earn” their bread and butter off of outrage: The game is being released by a multi-million dollar corporate entity, which obviously makes it evil. Clearly the people actually making the game, the artists and developers that aren’t millionaires, have no right to tell the story they set out to make. Don’t they know they aren’t black enough to do that? Eidos Montreal is clearly racist, and then they have the gall to advertise their game by highlighting the subject matter held within. I can’t believe how triggered I am!
Games are an interactive medium that can let people experience things they otherwise wouldn’t encounter in their daily lives, and form their own opinions. When trying to convince people change needs to be made, the messengers have to be understood and relatable. Pop culture mediums picking up the message and facilitating its spread should be a goal of any rational social movement, yet these buzzwordian imbeciles cling to their claims of “appropriation” at cost to their own message.
Arthur Gies weighed in on the Deus Ex issues with a sentiment that I feel represents a lot of the problems people have been complaining about. Given my propensity for zeroing in on opinions I feel are less than intelligent, I’ve taken the liberty of addressing his claim here.
The Reverse Ouroboros. If you don’t know what that is, ask about it in the comments.
For Gies and those who think like him: Games where developers don’t feel the need to push your rhetoric are a litmus test. If you feel a developer has to “take a position” on something as basic as human rights, then you’re a poor facsimile of a decent human being, because you need the developer to outright tell you how to feel about the horrible or unjust things in their game(s).
Eidos doesn’t have to take a stand to tell people racism and discrimination are bad, apartheid is horrible, or that Aug lives do, in fact, matter. People should already know that, and by not cramming a stance down the audience’s throats, and allowing them to experiment with and experience prejudice in a safe, imaginary setting, they offer people a chance to grasp true understanding as opposed to a ready made opinion.
Now, the argument could be made that Eidos may fail to accurately portray these social issues, with the sci-fi shenanigans being made to work within pre-established lore, and some flat stories in their history. It’s a valid concern. Well, the most valid concern put forth by detractors, but at least the people at Eidos Montreal even tried. Which is more than you can say for most people.