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Old 10th Apr 2008, 04:41 PM   #1
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Gears of War: Stereotyping?

The MTV Multiplayer column talks with Morgan Gray, Senior Producer at Crystal Dynamics about stereotypes and diversity in games. Gray cites Gears of War as a major example of stereotyping:

Quote:

"Here's the thing: Cole Train on his own, no harm no foul. But what is Cole Train? Cole Train is basically like every other effin' black character in a video game. Like here comes the urban stereotype. Where is this 1990's -- not even 2000 -- black slang, where does this fit in this futuristic world that doesn't even take place on Earth? They go really far to do a lot of fictional justifications for this culture that they've built, and they go right back to this urban stereotype for the black character.

I'm not knocking Epic; the game was fun and gorgeous. But it's just a lack of thought, right? All it does is reinforce dumb stereotypes and it sort of reinforces casual racism."
To be fair, I think you can cite just about any game, movie, or television show as relying heavily on stereotypes. What do you think?

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Old 10th Apr 2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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It's not just Cole, or even just their black characters... all the characters in both Gears and UT3 talk like 1980-1990s urban African American stereotypes.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
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To be fair, I think you can cite just about any game, movie, or television show as relying heavily on stereotypes.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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Its true there is no doubt about it and it shows the cultural mindset of our society here is America. For example look at a game like Crysis which also has a couple of major black characters. Neither of them speak the stereotypical black american slang way and that is one of the things as a black man I really appreciate about that game. I don't know who Epic was talking to but they took a really bad turn on this and while it is cool that they even chose to have black characters in their games I think that it was totally unnecessary how they made the characters hip hop stereotypes. It used to be different with Epic that much is also a fact.

The black character in Unreal II did not conform to any stereotypes and again this was why I really liked that game ... it was great to see a solid black lead heroic intelligent acting and speaking black man in a game. Valve had already done this as well having Eli Vance and Alex as great role models in games for black gamers. And even earlier versions of Malcolm and indeed Othello and even Jakob never spoke in the manner Epic decided to go with in UT3 and in Gears with Cole. I am really hoping after this kind of discussion that Epic tones this stuff down in the future and remembers that not all intelligent black people speak in that hip hop slang manner and actually it is insulting to suggest that we do when the other characters appear much more intelligent and less like any unpleasant stereotypical image we have been fed (and continue to be fed I might add).

I wonder what the handful of black men ( I believe there are only three black devs in the entire company) who work for Epic and who worked on these two games thought/think of Cole and Malcolm? It would be interesting to get an opinion from any of them in a developer blog.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:32 PM   #5
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"I'm not knocking Epic; the game was fun and gorgeous. But it's just a lack of thought, right? All it does is reinforce dumb stereotypes and it sort of reinforces casual racism."

And all from the people who bring the world Laura Croft. Pure Awesome.

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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
To be fair, I think you can cite just about any game, movie, or television show as relying heavily on stereotypes. What do you think?
There's a lot that get it right though, it really isn't that difficult. I think you have to actively go out of your way to screw it up.

Wack aliens be stepping to our crew.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:41 PM   #7
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And all from the people who bring the world Laura Croft. Pure Awesome.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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it's an ongoing cycle - you see a black character and you expect them to talk like a rapper. why do you expect them to talk like one? because you've been confronted with black characters in games/tv shows and the like that talk like rappers since you were a child but at the same time you continue to expect a black character to talk like a rapper and only a few games/tv shows and the like dare to show a different picture.

you use stereotypes and clichés pretty much all the time in these forms of entertainment. imo this is just a means of creating/supporting a certain setting. as long as it's not disrespectful i think it's ok.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 06:38 PM   #9
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Cole Train was pretty much just Terrible Terry Tate through and through, and I'll be damned if he isn't just absolutely fascinating.

The guy's a football(ish) player and even though the game takes place in the kinda sorta distant future everything still has parallels. He's a big ass, aggressive hardcore popular athlete and he's gonna act like such.

If Epic went totally out of their way to create imaginary cultures to be more future proper, then the game would be cheesy and corny as opposed to that great frat boy "WOOOH BABY YEAAAAAAH, CHAINSAW TO YOUR FACE!!11" feeling we (or at least I) get overcome with. Kinda why people just imagine the future as the same old **** with retarded twists such as Sharper Images selling futuristic pens for 40 dollars because they have an LCD, MP3 player and a fruit juicer built in.

It's a pen! Really!
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 06:44 PM   #10
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I think any character in a video game where the player model is all pumped up physically and going around kicking alien ass who talked less than tough; who did not use expletives; or who did not show their environmental or cultural history in order to back up that ass-kicking, would not come across anywhere near realistic.

You can get away with less-than-over-the-top dialogue in a war simulation (COD4), or in a sci-fi game that relies more on intellect (ie: HalfLife).

Now, just picture Malcolm talking like siome nerdy white guy.... how would you have reacted to that fictional character? Honestly...

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Old 10th Apr 2008, 06:54 PM   #11
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There's better ways to go about it though. Imagine Malcolm as Doakes from Dexter. imo that would be a more realistic portrayal than what was shown in UT3.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 07:04 PM   #12
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I always imagined Malcom as like a Morgan Freeman type of guy. I was kinda disappointed, needless to say.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 07:14 PM   #13
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Something like this.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 07:47 PM   #14
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Hey this reminds me when I watched training day, I was actually alittle shocked to hear Denzel use that type of language. I hadnt really seen him bust out like that and he's usually so well spoken, him and morgan freeman. Or hows about james earl jones
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 07:52 PM   #15
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Jeez everything has to be turned into a racism, stereotyping, or descrimition case to some people. Heaven help us if they make a game where the black guy dies first.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 08:10 PM   #16
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I thought Malcom and Cole were dumb, but then, everything about these games is overthetopstereotypicalactionshootemupblaster with typical hero figures, so looking for answers to serious issues there is a waste of time. It's just for fun.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 09:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv_Studd View Post
Now, just picture Malcolm talking like siome nerdy white guy.... how would you have reacted to that fictional character? Honestly...
Woulda laughed my ass off.
Personally, I've always thought of Malcolm as a military figure... so you can imagine my confusion when I heard his dialogue in UT3.

I'm also of the opinion that people who go out of their way to find things to classify as "casual racism" are racists themselves.

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Old 10th Apr 2008, 10:01 PM   #18
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Something like this.
That clip made me check out the pilot.

Now I'm gonna have to grab me some DVD's.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 10:34 PM   #19
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Maybe if black rappers stop trying to be movie stars, and regular black movie stars (ie Denzel Washington, etc) would refrain from playing black mobsters ( American Gangster, etc) then maybe these stereotypes would not be propagated so much. Honestly, I don't see the big problem. There are some actors out there that are often playing criminals, mobsters, etc mostly because they have been stereotyped as such ( Deniro, etc) but you don't really hear much outrage from Italians (although there is some).

I think the role of black space marine was pretty much pioneered with Al Matthews' portrayal of Sgt. Apone in Aliens:
Quote:
Apone: All right, sweethearts, you're a team and there's nothin' to worry about. We come here, and we gonna conquer, and we gonna kick some, is that understood? That's what we gonna do, sweethearts, we are going to go and get some. All right, people, on the ready line! Are ya lean?
Marines: Yea!
Apone: Are ya mean?
Marines: Yea!
Apone: WHAT ARE YOU?
Marines: Lean and mean!
Apone: WHAT ARE YOU? HUDSON! Get on the ready line, Marines, get some today! Get on the ready line! Move it out! Move it out, goddammit! Get hot! One, two, three, four! Get out, get out, get out! Move it out, move it out, move it out! Move it out, move it out, move it out! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven! Aaarrrrr, absolutely badassess! Let's pack 'em in! Get in there!
...throw a little contemporary football player in the mix and you get Augustus Cole.
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Old 10th Apr 2008, 10:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Hey this reminds me when I watched training day, I was actually alittle shocked to hear Denzel use that type of language. I hadnt really seen him bust out like that and he's usually so well spoken, him and morgan freeman. Or hows about james earl jones
yes cause black people being well spoken is so out of the ordinary...
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