Author Archives: dukethib

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dukethib
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Don’t Be An Elf: Racism in Video Games

Poor elves. They just prance around with their flower-crowns and wooden bows and do dances among the wild animals of the forest. They have pointy ears and usually live for quite a long time. Elves are wise, and even magical. Yet, for some reason, everyone hates them. Well, everyone who might ever be hanging out with elves, that is. Even I liked Gimli more than Legolas, but we can skip that conversation.

As of recently, video games have been including in-game racism for all sorts of different fantasy races. From Elves and Dwarves to Turians and Krogans, equal rights for Middle Earth and future-space minorities probably won’t be seen too soon. Developers today are looking for every angle they can think of to have you posting and talking about that one new controversial aspect of the storyline. From mass genocide and race wars to just general prejudice, game racists are the new hook.

Fez: A Game Within A Game

As far as Inception analogies go, Fez is the closest thing games have to offer up in comparison to the Christopher Nolan film. At surface level, Fez is just a decent looking 2D platformer with some flashy “rotate-the-screen” mechanics thrown in. You jump around and collect cubes and eventually reach your end goal, which is basically just someone popping up and saying, “Alright, it’s all cool now, you’ve collected a bunch of cubes, GAME OVER!”

Fez

Doesn't look very complex, huh? Think again.

However, this little XBLA release is much, much more. Fez players have discovered hidden, unexplained puzzles within the game. From your basic secret door, to an entirely new alphabet that has to be found and applied in game to unlock new content. Yeah, an alphabet. No, not our alphabet, Fez’ own, special alphabet the that developers fabricated all on their lonesome. There is no tutorial explaining it, and there is no warning whatsoever of a secret alphabet to unlock another half of the game. Fez just throws these secrets out at random, with blatant disregard for a learning curve or any sense of flow. It is determined to create its own meta-game, and has undoubtedly done so.