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Racism in video games

Abstract

The paper takes into account the problem or racism as being depicted in video games
to get a more accurate historical aspect on the story. Mafia 3 has been made in order to
display the harsh realities of the 1960s from the view of a black individual. The issues
encountered are then debated along historical references to prove if this type of racism
depicted in this form of media is getting as close as possible to the historical value that the
authors had in mind and the difference between then and how today racism is still an issue in
the American society.

Provisional Questions

1. Is racism worth being represented in video games?


2. How is racism taken by the authors?
3. Why is racism necessary to tell a complete story here?
4. Did racism have a huge impact in a historical way as it does in the video game?
5. How did black individuals cope with this kind of abuse?
6. How did the game approach the issue of racism in terms of telling a story?
7. What is the impact it can have on the player as he is the target of the racism in the
game?
CONTENTS

Table of Contents

1. Abstract ..................................................................................................................3
2. Introduction……………………………………………………………………….4
3. Chapter 1: Racism…………………………………………………………………5
4. Chapter 2:Historical accuracy…………………………………………………….28
5. Chapter 3:The presence of Racial elements in video games………………...……46
6. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………..58
One page of a Chapter

The game takes an interesting turn on the subject of racism, as the entire game you notice it,
as it is pointed towards you. As you play in the shoes of a black man, Lincoln Clay, in the
1960s, in the South, in the fictional city of New Orleans, New Bordeaux. The first thing that
tells you and puts you on your guard regarding what to expect in terms of racism, is a message
from the developers, Hangar 13.

"Mafia 3 takes place in a fictionalized version of the American South in 1968. We sought to
create an authentic and immersive experience that captures this very turbulent time and place,
including depictions of racism.”

As Philip Kollar states, journalist in the videogames industry, working for the well-known
website Polygon, that “While the previous games focused on the traditional vision of a mid-
20th century Italian mob in settings based on urban hubs like Chicago and New York
City, Mafia 3 takes the series south to a locale inspired by New Orleans.” This marks a shift
in focus regarding how the mafia was represented. From the gritty 1940s from Mafia 2, a
Sicilian coming to America to make a living, only to end up serving in the war and to later on
become a gangster, by being offered a job, through a friend.

In Mafia 3, after the first message regarding racism, we get a comment on the depiction of
racism in their game from the developers: "Most importantly, we felt that to not include this
very real and shameful part of our past would have been offensive to the millions who faced
— and still face — bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism in all its forms." It is clear
they do not accept this kind of behavior, but they do acknowledge it as part of the American
history. It is a necessary evil that must be depicted; in honor of those who suffered an even
lost their lives due to it. During the 1960s, racism was not just treating others with social
inferiority, but also by considering them less than human, having their basic human rights
denied from them.
Sources:

George M. Fredrickson - Racism: A Short History – 2002 publication

Racism in videogames and how it affects the discourse -


https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/03/how-videogame-depictions-of-racism-
distract-from-r.html

How 'Mafia III' Intends to Make Players Confront Racism-


https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/we-talked-race-and-politics-with-the-senior-writer-of-
mafia-iii

Mafia 3 is how Videogames should portray racism - https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/we-


talked-race-and-politics-with-the-senior-writer-of-mafia-iii

Mafia 3 is just a game but it shines a light on the reality of Racism -


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/20/mafia-iii-videogame-racism

Mafia 3 and the portrayal of racism - https://www.inverse.com/article/22287-mafia-3-racism-


systemic-implicit-explicity

Videogames and racism - http://www.newsweek.com/2016/10/21/video-games-race-black-


protagonists-509328.html

Watchdogs 2 and Racism - http://www.polygon.com/2016/12/22/14046204/watch-dogs-2-


race

The Watchdogs 2 protagonist is met with Racism - https://blavity.com/watch-dogs-2-black-


main-character-met-with-racist-reactions

Racism in Online Video Games - https://newsone.com/488682/racism-is-a-big-player-in-


online-video-games/
Universitatea Transilvania, Brasov
Facultatea de Litere Brasov,
Sectia- Studii Americane

Lucrare De Licenta

Coordonator

Lect. Univ. Dr. Cristian Pralea

Sustinator

Anghelescu Danut

Brasov

2017
University of Transilvania
Faculty of Letters
Specialty – American Studies

B.A. Project
Racism in Video Games

Coordonator

Lect. Univ. Dr. Cristian Pralea

Sustainer

Anghelescu Danut

Brasov

2017