Over on Wired News there is an interesting post that really got me thinking, especially since in almost ever game I have ever played, I always try to chose the race that is the underdog. I want to see them do better, and I think that if I can put some time and effort into playing, I will come out on top.
The article takes a look at race selection and leaves you wondering about your choices in race selection, and not only what it says about yourself, but the world in general.
That’s when it suddenly hits me that this is a really weird, yet central part of online gaming: obsessing about your racial identity and appearance.
I don’t mean “weird” in that it’s unusual. Indeed, every online game begins with you carefully poring over a bouquet of races and picking your favorite. It’s completely normal. No, what’s weird is that this is crazily, dementedly out of step with how I act in my everyday world. In the real world, defining someone by his or her race is considered a classically illiberal act. But in games, racism — making snap judgments about someone based solely on their skin and ethnic identity — is absolutely central to gameplay.
Is this almost like a digital form of racism, or is it innocent of such prejudices? Something to think about for sure. Read the full Wired News article for all the details.