PBS Game/Show Tackles the Racist Pitfalls That Can Go Along With NPCs of Color in Video Games

Yeah, I have always been a little side-eye about the Gerudo.

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Jamin Warren brings up a lot of good points about how the player agency which lies at the heart of most games often results in dehumanized NPCs, which become doubly problematic when PCs are majority white and/if NPCs are predominantly brown. He also tackles the common sci-fi/fantasy trope of using inter-species conflict as a metaphor for inter-racial conflict, one that I’ve been mulling over myself for a while now.

I believe it’s important to tie racial understanding to our visions of human advancement, but at what point does pretending that future humanity has sorted out racism just become a crutch for writers who are nervous or unwilling to tackle those issues? Inter-species conflict can be a powerful metaphor for racial tension, but when does it become so accepted as a trope that it loses that metatextual punch? Can we build escapist adventure stories about fighting “usually neutral evil” orcs and kobolds while at the same time acknowledging that imagining a group of sentient beings to be universally evil with some exceptions is one of the worst aspects of human nature and history?

They’re big questions, but, after all, big questions are what good stories are for.

(via Laughing Squid)

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