The Moment I Realized Just How Bad Video Games Are

March 31, 2008

(Alternate title: The real reason I haven’t been writing much on race in this blog for a while now.)

So I watched two of the Grand Theft Auto IV trailers a few days ago – “Move up, ladies”, and then this final trailer that was just release. And I was morbidly fascinated – while I have very little interest in playing any of the GTA series from a gaming standpoint – it’s not really my type – it seemed like there would be plenty of interesting racial subtext. The “Move up, ladies” trailer in particular seems to rip off Scarface in the twist of the American Dream for gangsters, pimps, mark-ass-tricks, trick-ass-marks, punk bitches and skanks, skeezers, skip-skap skanks and scallywags. (Side note: I will never understand the appeal of Scarface or Tony Montana as a gangster icon. He just seems so unhappy.) So I thought, maybe it’d be worth my time to play through a few of the GTA games for a bit and see if I come up with anything interesting. For you guys, you know? For the blog.

Then I remembered that I really can’t bring myself to play most of these games – True Crime, Saints Row, etc. – for more than an hour or two before getting bored. Just not my thing, I guess.

Then I realized that the reason I haven’t found a whole lot of interesting stuff to write about race and games is precisely because I DON’T play these kinds of games. Which is to say, people of color generally only show up in games about the “real world”, and most of those games these days center around an urban gangster fantasy. Other than the potential subtext in FFCC: Rings of Fate about “heathen moon-worshippers”, I haven’t come across anything particularly interesting because I’ve mostly been playing fighting games, or DS games, the former has almost no character development and the latter isn’t used as a vehicle for “realism” or “mature” games.


On the plus side, I reinstalled Urban Terror. Been craving a little multiplayer action lately. Back to the classics for me.

pat m.



  1. That’s surprising to hear. I mean, I shouldn’t say “surprising”, I know several people that are into gaming and just aren’t impressed with the GTA-inspired genre. But damn man, how can you not want to at least give GTA IV a try? I mean … just LOOK AT IT!

    Understandable that the true crimes and saint’s rows don’t float your boat, but GTA is in an entirely different league all together.

  2. I think you would find interesting this article


    It explains how GTA San Andreas is not just a “game about criminals” but rather an intelligent satire of the US society. I had never been attracted to the GTA franchise before, but after reading this article I decided to give it a try I was surprised of what I found.

    By the way, great blog. I have to admit that I don’t agree with some of your ideas, but it is very thought-provoking and I really like it.

  3. thanks for the link!

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