Monday, July 21, 2008

a game of 'what if?'

good, sweet lord.

i wonder when games are going to get progressive? (remember the disaster that was Ghettopoly? ugh.)

i mean, when are they going to make some attempt to stop reinforcing the current/past power structure and start doing some subversive work by offering a different narrative? from the Racialicious post:

'It is reprehensible that colonists are so often portrayed as brave heroes earning what land is rightfully theirs–games such as Colonization only perpetuate this myth so common among Americans and Europeans. How about a game about colonization from the natives’ perspective? Battle against an army of white folk claiming the land you’ve lived on for centuries to be theirs–now that’s a game I’d play.'

sure, some folks could say that reversing the script is only a way for 'victimologists' to achieve useless emotional catharsis and that it's a pointless, PC gesture. i partially agree; playing a game of 'beat the colonizer' won't reverse the centuries of cultural hegemony begun when those ships came over with their guns, germs and steel.

but i think playing a game that uses indigenous resistance as its premise would at least be a valid (and fun!) critique of the popular myth that colonization was a win-win. i've often imagined what could have been if those ships had been turned away or if some event had intervened that changed the colonizing trajectory.

(to read jared diamond's book, though, such an intervening step would have meant finding a way to prevent east-west migration, stop the development of western literacy and killing horses. that's a lot for just one indigenous population to handle all at once. and, yes, that's a gross reduction of his book's premise.)

neither do i buy the argument that basing a game on the POV of the colonized is problematic, or just a game of 'kill whitey'; wanting to be the one who fights being colonized is just as valid as wanting to assume the role of the colonizer (which, to me, is plain old disturbing.)

i mean, wouldn't we call that person who resists enslavement a Freedom Fighter?

or would we, because it runs counter to our approved national and racial narratives, call that person a terrorist?

No comments: