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When have you created a game character of a different race?

When Have You Created a Game Character of a Different Race?

Over the past week or so, it seems like the issue of race in gaming has been picking up steam. I've come across two great posts on the subject, one from Paul Tassi and a sardonic take over at the Play Like a Girl blog. More pertinently, an illuminating study from the USC Annenberg School of Communication revealed that minorities—and particularly Latinos—are woefully underrepresented among protagonists and other characters in leading video games.

Irresponsible Marketing

Irresponsible Marketing - Tekken 6

The world of video games is no stranger to inconceivable, bizarre, and at times downright irresponsible marketing.  Most recently, gamers were shocked by Electronic Arts' reprehensible "Sin to Win" promotion for Dante's Inferno. Now, Namco has decided to unleash a series of odd and, quite frankly, dangerous "viral" advertisements for the upcoming game Tekken 6.

The Kairos of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

The Kairos of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Screenshot)

As would be expected of any comic-to-game adaptation, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 does not entirely replicate the storyline, but it does a surprisingly good job of recreating the key allegorical events: the attack on New York City, the atom bomb-like explosion in Stamford, and the escalating violence between the two factions of superheroes. While the game changes much of the end of the storyline, opting to have the two sides unite against a sentient virus and removing Captain America's poignant surrender and subsequent death-by-assassination, it still conveys important truths about what it means to surrender freedom for the sake of fear, and why even the seemingly powerful are so eager to give up their rights.

Linking the past, present, and future: The Atari Jaguar as console artifact

Linking the past, present, and future: The Atari Jaguar as console artifact

It's no secret that the Atari Jaguar was a terrible failure—one of gaming's worst. The last dud in the sordid history of Atari's Tramiel family ownership, the Jaguar followed the Lynx's underrated hardware debut in the late 1980s with an early '90s abomination of poorly designed hardware and software that barely competed against its 16-bit forebears, much less the higher-tech Neo Geo, 3DO, CD-I, Sega 32X, and Sega Saturn technologies against which the system was supposedly targeted.

So why bring up this sore spot in 2009, roughly 16 years after the Jaguar's ill-fated launch? Because as an artifact of video game history, the Jaguar speaks volumes about where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.

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