I understand that the new Resident Evil raised a stink for alleged racism because it takes place in Africa and black zombies get killed. I would like to state for the record that I oppose zombie discrimination.
But I also wanted to point out that there is another game on the horizon that probably deserves the attention more than Resident Evil.
I'm talking about Far Cry 2.
In this game you play a mercenary in Africa. You can accept work from two different warlords in exchange for blood diamonds.
Unlike zombies, there are actually mercenaries in Africa. There are also blood diamonds. And warlords who pay mercenaries to kill lots and lots of people.
I'm not going to assign blame to the game. That kind of formulation is ridiculous. But as videogames become more of a cultural phenomenon, I wonder how they might be used as a way of tracking the general emotional state of the nation.
What I'm trying to say is that our diversions don't make us, but they can say something about us.
Consider a game like NARC. The game structure is reflective of the time - technology, game mechanics, arcade sensibilities. The content is a perfect distillation of loud 80s ultraviolence and anti-drug reactionary politics in a garish, unregulated package.
That's not to say that we don't have loud, garish ultraviolent games today. We just have different reasons for them.
The glut of modern war shooters doesn't seem outstanding considering that war shooters are practically the bedrock of videogaming. But in tone and content they can offer small reflections of current events and attitudes.
And seriously, there are just a ton of modern/future military shooters coming out. This reminds me of the analysis that the return of the torture porn slasher subgenre was due to the Iraq Invasion and subsequent horrifying images as well as the disgusting admission that torture is now standard in CIA questioning.
I won't comment too much on my extended absence except to say that it happens. A lot. Lately I've hit some strange writing brick wall, which hasn't happened to me before. I can usually work on something. Now it all comes out a mess and I feel like I've completely forgotten how to make an English sentence.
Maybe I'll try nanowrimo this year.