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  1. David White
    David White April 19, 2014 at 10:24 pm |

    This article is about the game Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and how its author Chris Sullenthorp, feels that, despite covering still fresh ground by having a black playable heroine in a video game during a slave trade, the game still lacks potential to be groundbreaking. Sullenthorp even goes on to state that the last installment, Black Flag, had opportunity to break new ground in the video game medium by including a slave trade (in the Caribbean) and including an African American character that was playable in the expansion. The article goes on to say that with more polish this PS Vita game could’ve had more potential to be influential and generate discussions about what it means have a black protagonist in the video game medium and what those affects mean for the industry at large.

    I feel that the article shows that we can expand on what it means for a character to be racial or experiment with what it means to have a narrative in the medium. The two companion articles are “Come On Video games Let’s See Some Black People I’m Not Embarrassed By” by Evan Narcisse and “What If The Next Generation Thinks Video Games Are Stupid” by Stephen Totilo.

    T he first article discusses how black characters have either been negligible or if black characters are featured, they usually fit some sort of stereotype (gruff man, tough man, screamer or some combination of both). The article goes onto how films have 12 Years A Slave or Comic Books have author Dwayne McDuffie for their audiences to find good black characters to identify with. Video games have come close with Half Life 2 and GTA San Andreas but not close enough, or diverse as other mediums have. For video games to mature, and bring in audiences as other mediums have McClarisse argues that players need a good multitude of racial characters to identify with.
    The second article goes on the first as well. However it talks about how trends in the main industry may turn away it’s main audience unless mainstream video games start breaking trends and proving risks indie games take are more beneficial for the industry as a whole. This article is shocking because you’d think anyone who’d get into the industry would be happy, but a lot of developers aren’t.
    Regardless, all of these articles were very enlightening and interesting. I believe that it will take a long time for video games to change their
    mantra, as it took years for comic books and films to evolve. I do agree that we need to find some way to let mainstream developers develop what they want, and let the audience see that Dear Ester is as good as COD to help break these trends. We need to see experimental games in the mainstream. There may be a crash for a while and those may not be profitable but it’s still worth it to take the risk rather than not to.

  2. EddieMas
    EddieMas April 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm |

    This article is about the game Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and the author’s, Chris Sullenthorp opinion. He feels that despite covering still fresh ground by having a black playable hero in a video game during a slave trade, the game still lacks potential to be groundbreaking. Sullenthorp even goes on to state that the last installment, Black Flag, had opportunity to break new ground in the video game medium by including a slave trade in the Caribbean and including an African American character that was playable in the expansion. The article goes on to said that this PlayStation Vita game could have had more potential to be influential and generate discussions about what it means have a black protagonist in the video game medium and what those affects mean for the industry at large.

    I feel that the article shows that we can expand on what it means for a character to be racial or experiment with what it means to have a narrative in the medium. In the article of Video Games Make People Violent—Well, Maybe Not That Game: Effects of Content and Person Abstraction on Perceptions of Violent Video Games’ Effects and Support of Censorship, the authors explain that in several video games are still being stereotyped. Since the youth play these kinds of games, they will become desensitized to racism. For example, Middle Easterners are over-represented as terrorists in first person shooter video games like Call of Duty. Also male African American video game characters are stereotyped as athletes and “gangsters” or “thugs” who are more likely to use guns than characters of other races. It projects, in Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row; the African American “gangsters” like to have “turf wars”, stealing, hijacking, and other criminal acts. Furthermore, most Asian men characters are shown using martial arts, and a perfect example of this is the character Ryu from Capcom’s Street Fighter.

    Citation

    Ivory, J. D., & Kalyanaraman, S. (2009). Video Games Make People
    Violent—Well, Maybe Not That Game: Effects of Content and Person
    Abstraction on Perceptions of Violent Video Games’ Effects and Support of
    Censorship. Communication Reports, 22(1), 1-12. doi:10.1080/
    08934210902798536

  3. dvanduyn
    dvanduyn April 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

    I agree that video games often play on stereotypes of ethnic groups when developing its characters. Often they use these cultural assumptions as ways of fitting cookie-cutter plot points into the story. Very rarely do we see different takes on these roles played by an ethnicity you “wouldn’t expect. I honestly feel that it is all about context. I agree that stereotypes shouldn’t be relied on to drive a story, but I do feel there is a time and place for the argument. If the game was trying to be a groundbreaking art piece, then more thought should have been put into the character development. But when a game is made purely just for entertainment and to cash in on a franchise, there are bound to be corners that are cut.

  4. ratajczn
    ratajczn April 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm |

    This article talks about the new Assassins Creed game and how the game has a nonwhite protagonist. It’s really interesting to see newer games coming out to teach gamers about black slavery. I have not played any Assassins Creed before but this version of it sounds like an interesting game. Also the article talked about the newer movie called “12 Years a Slave” which ties into the game when the protagonist is a slave. In the game the little girl seems like she is a rebel who incites other plantations to fight with her. It is pretty cool how they add into the game having her be a girl pirate like in Pirates of the Caribbean. This article might make me think about possibly renting this cool game. It is awesome to have game designers creating games that have people that are not white to be the protagonist especially since it’s such a high selling game like Assassins Creed.

  5. hunleys
    hunleys April 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm |

    This article is about Assassin’s Creed: Liberation and how the author of the article feel about the game. He says that the game is lacking some of the thing that the other Assassin’s Creed games had such as interesting story missions and the overall look of the game. I think that he fails to realize is that this is originally a PS vita game. So one can’t expect it to look like an Assassin’s Creed game on a PS3 which is more powerful. He also says that he does not like the setting which is 18th century New Orleans because it is not as “beautiful”. I have played the game and to be on a handheld device the game look great. What I like about the game is the fact that it touches on slavery and have a African American protagonist. My reason for this is because you never see games that touch on things such as slavery and you never see a African American protagonist.

  6. alexis rivera
    alexis rivera May 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm |

    This article was about the release of a new Assassin’s Creed game, this one called Assassin’s Creed Liberation and available for a multitude of platforms unlike its first release which was only available on the Sony Vita. The article goes into detail about the game, including information on where it is set, who is the main character, the story-line, as well as other aspects of the game. The author o the article goes on to state his dismay with the game itself but his appreciation of the unique heroine as well as the interesting storyline that affords the heroine with many different unusual roles throughout the game. Slavery is a main focus of the article with the author showing how Assassin’s Creed Liberation is different from others of its series with its acknowledgment and portrayal of slavery being very accurate and fascinating.

    I agree with Chris Suellentrop that Assassin’s Creed: Liberation seemed to be a bit subversive with its focus on the cruelness of slavery, but also very interesting with its source of a protagonist being a creole woman. As noted in Jonathon Clauson’s article The State of Black Video Game Characters, Aveline de Grandpre is an interesting character because of her mixed heritage, tie with slavery, and the fact that she is a female. Also unlike many female leads in video games she is not exploited or portrayed as a sex object throughout the game, but more as a serious character. Never realized until I read Suellentrop’s article on Assassin’s Creed:Liberation and then Clauson’s article as a follow up, how scarce black protagonists, especially black female protagonists are to find in video games. Now equipped with this knowledge I will definitely be paying more attention in the future to see how often I see protagonists in video games that stray from the typical white male, as is the most popular protagonist in video games in my experience.

    Sources: http://www.inquisitr.com/1102184/the-state-of-black-video-game-characters/

  7. kestersp
    kestersp May 5, 2014 at 12:23 am |

    This article starts out as a way of praising Liberation becomes a rant on Black Flag. Black Flag, if you have played it, has slavery all throughout it, to a disturbing level. When the player is on islands with plantations and farms, every single worker is black, with white overseers standing watch over them. Slave auctions are found in the market places, and slaves can be found walking through the streets. At one point when captured, Adewale, the black first mate the article mentioned, an important main character, is actually sold into slavery by his captors. The point of the game is fighting for freedom against those that oppress, whether it be Britain, Spain, or others. The author was definitely not looking for it as they were playing or even cared to notice, and if they only started talking about it when Liberation came out on consoles which is months after the release of Black Flag then it is obvious that it was not until after. Aveline even had a part in Black Flag, with her own storyline where she had to help save an escaped slave in a great moment of having a heroine not need or even have a love intrest of any kind there, where it was simply her saving someone else. Assassin’s Creed has never wavered when it came to the depiction of slavery, and certainly did not in Black Flag, contrary to what this author says.

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