Monday, February 21, 2011

Mexican state legislature moves to ban barely announced video game

Mexico state congress asks ban of video game

On Sunday, Mexican state legislators of Chihuahua unanimously past a request to the federal Interior Department to ban the game. The announcement is not a sursprising one: Call of Juarez The Cartel is seen as a controversial game by The Escapist, El Paso Times and the El Paso Police Chief.

While others, do not feel the game merits any controversy, in fact, others forms of entertainment media have dealt with the border war violence.

Officials speaking to the Wasington Post are not so pleased, state congressman Ricardo Boone Salmon said, "we should not expose children to this kind of scenarios so that they are going to grow up with this kind of image and lack of values."

Ubisoft's video game is barely new to gamers with a scatter of screenshots teased on their promotional website, is it too early to jump on the banning-bandwagon?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Call of Juarez: Cartel controversy

THQ's open-world western series takes the drama of the 1800s to the modernized world of Mexican drug cartels. Numerous websites balked on the idea of basing a game on a perhaps too relevant the Mexican drug cartels. But the issue of playing as an organized crime member is not unique to gamers as other video game titles, Scarface, Mafia, and the Godfather dealt with modern day organized crime.

As with the controversy with EA's Medal of Honor portrayal of the War in Afghanistan is it synomous with the even closer drug cartel wars of Mexico? Should video game creators shy away from the violence when other mediums dabble in? Music, movies and literature do not shy away from the violence in Mexico, with each medium having multiple expositions on the subject. Would a video game trivialized the events when blood is spilt each day be insensitive for consumers?

In Mexican music, the rise and fall of narcorridos (think of a modern day Johnny Cash) is an example of mainstream consumers to be accepting of. In later years, mainstream audiences have rejected it, while radio stations adhering to a self-ban of narcorridos as the bloodshed grew. While the demand of narcorridos may have dropped the songs still remain hugely popular with young adults.

Movies have been critical on the drug cartels, Steve Soderbergh's Traffic stands above the rest, as it portrayed the level of violence and corruption Mexico faces. Certain characters in Traffic are straight from the headlines while the Roberto Rodriguez films, El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and the lowbrow Machete all have dealt with cartels and their violence. Perhaps, THQ greenlit the project based on the popularity of Machete.

In regards to literature, Roberto Bolaño's cryptic 2666 deals with the horrors of 21st century. The multiple murders of woman or femicides commited in the city of Juarez still remain unsolved and were part of the plot of Hollywood movies starring Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas.

Does the video game publisher THQ and developer Technoland have no right to take on the subject? The answer becomes diffcult to answer as the cartel violence continues and as the Mexican government struggles to bring the war to an end. If the uproar of a video game in 2011 is a big deal, why no uproar in 2010 when Machete came out?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Minorities are rarely featured video game characters

A year ago I wrote tongue in cheek list on black secondary video game characters who deserve their own game. The list got a lot of traction on the net, especially when kotaku posted the article in a their weekly Top Lists post.

A year later minorities are rarely featured in video games. A shake really, but understandable when games are tailored two the same cultural audience that movies, and television cater to.

Are there any solutions? Not really, unless the customers demand more diversity in video games.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Sunday, February 6, 2011

El Crítico

The issue with critical game reviews, is the approach of attaching a numerical rating, because with the passing of time the game itself changes, and our contemporary critique becomes detached.     

 How does a videogame itself change over time?   Let take for example the Mario series, started out as 2-D sprite, side scrolling platformer with its' contemporary being a 3-d adventure played on a sphere.  Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy are two great games, based on a 3-D engine that scored roughly the same, with Edge Magazine giving a 10/10 and Gamespot placing a 9.4 and 9.5, respectively, scores.  If I were to replay Super Mario 64, I would recognize the charm, and the great joy that I experience in September 1996.  I fearfully cringe at the though of missing Super Mario 64, only to return to it in 2009, coming away from the experience as being a stepping stone or an innovator for 3-D platformers.  

 Both games are very similar in nature, 3-D, Mario controls the same, ice levels are slippery and boo shy ghosts chase when not seen.  These two games are, undoubtedly, favorites of gamers, but they are unfinished, as to say, another Mario will build upon the familiar and loved gameplay themes.  We are playing unfinished copies of our favorite games.  If the reader agrees, then placing a numerical value to a critique is pointlesss.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Follow me On Twitter