I’d like to highlight four articles related to Resident Evil 5 that I read recently at Crispy Gamer.
The first is an interview with Resident Evil 5‘s Director, Jun Takeuchi, in which the interviewers discussed the cultural and racial issues raised by the game’s content and asked Takeuchi what his goals were for the game.
The second is a really excellent follow-up to the interview, written by Evan Narcisse, which talks about the importance of discussing social and cultural issues in videogames:
Resident Evil 5 is so close to the edge that it’s fair to read it both ways — so dismissing any concerns about racism on the basis of the game’s interactive nature feels shallow. Every game stands as a cultural artifact filled with meaning by the people who make them and play them.
That’s worth discussing.
Narcisse further states:
Videogames strive to make you feel something, but the things you feel aren’t always what they intend. The outright dismissals and non-debates surrounding RE5 don’t help defend this form of entertainment against people who would demonize and scapegoat it. They don’t make other people’s responses go away
Videogames aren’t just about technology and game play. Videogames are cultural products that convey meaning, whether intended or not, and to dismiss and suppress these kinds of discussions, will stunt the development of the medium. The full article is a good read.
The last two articles are in-depth reviews of Resident Evil 5, the first of which discusses the race issue, and the second of which focuses on game play (also worth noting is that the second writer, Tom Chick, has touched upon the race issues in RE5 before). In the case of the first review, by Scott Jones, I’m glad that some games journalists are actually discussing their thoughts on the themes and imagery in RE5 rather than ignoring it outright. I’m sure that Jones faced a lot of criticism and backlash from some readers, who may not feel it’s important to mention anything about the race issue, so to have an opinion that deviates from the majority of gamers and to discuss it in an upfront, mature, and serious manner is notable. In the case of the second review, Chick writes that regardless of how you feel about RE5 and race, the game is fun if you’re down with certain aspects of its game design.
Together with the previous two articles, I think that Crispy Gamer has done a decently well-rounded and thoughtful job of covering Resident Evil 5 and the surrounding controversy thus far. I’d like to see more of this kind of coverage from gaming news outlets.