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The mind-twisting puzzle game Echochrome made its way to Play.com Live, available on the same unit as Hot Shots Golf 5. Recently released in Japan, I was able to get my hands on some of the latter levels in the game.

As the difficulty ramped up, a mini crowd built around me. With them in awe of my genius (read; luck) I wasn’t quite expecting the opinion I overheard.

A young gentlemen expressed his feelings to a nearby Sony representative, saying that Echochrome was “a bit racist.”  Alright (???) His reasoning behind this was that “you’re a little white guy trying to get rid of the black ones.”

You see, in Echochrome, you’re a mannequin that has to make its way to the end of the level by following shadowy black figures.  In reality, the mannequin is a see-through character on a white background, and the shadowy figures are your guides to the end of the level.

For a black and white game, it’s difficult to conclude that Echochrome’s Japanese developers had subconsciously input their (non-existent) pro-white racist opinions into the game…

Echochrome is the latest videogame to be short-listed as racist, from Resisdent Evil 5 to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (though this latter example was a joke from Yahtzee in his Zero Punctuation review.)  Awareness of the attitudes presented in videogames is of course very important, but the uninformed labelling of a little puzzle game should only be ignored.

Naturally this was one mans opinion after seeing the game for a few minutes.   The game hasn’t been labelled by anyone else, but this man’s words both saddened and amused me. Perhaps Echochrome could offer a black background (making the colourless mannequin appear to be black) as an option, in the vein of the original design for the PSP version.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hmm, obviously made in the tradition of a long line of racist games, Chess, Draughts (Checkers), Go etc. Backgammon is obviously some hideous allegory towards replacing the “red man” with the “black man” in sort kind of hideously diabolical genocide/slavery kind of way.

    Maybe that’s ok though as black can win, whereas in Echocrome he is condemned to a life of merely showing the white man the way.

    These are the kind of people that would complain about people associating fluffy white clouds with “good” weather and dark thunderous clouds with “bad” weather as some kind of conspiracy. Weather reporting is racist!

    Good to see idiocy is alive and well.

    Also, played a demo and it’s an excellent game which I can see becoming incredibly frustrating at harder levels.

  2. You obviously just can’t see the oppression because you are looking at the game through white man eyes.

    Seriously, though… The only people that can see racism in simple things like this are generally racists themselves. They only see the color correlation because color is important to them.

  3. As a black man, I usually laugh at stupid stuff like that, because in ALL of the cases, they ask an “expert” to represent an entire group of people, which is impossible, wrong, and dumb to do.

    I guess the only thing everyone has to realize is that if you’re offended by the games, don’t put money in their pockets, even it it means getting another console; because as a PS3 owner I would give The Halo series the highest props for being the most level-headed in all of gaming to make a story where there are no stereotypical elements in regards to race. Cliches’ and rip-offs abound if you’re a well-read sci-fi nerd *hangs head in shame of nerdiness*. but as far as knocking a person/people down in a racially systematic way, Halo 3 NEVER did that. The Halo series alone would spur me to recommend a 360 purchase for using intelligent writing in place of “tried and tested” to quickly convey and exploit innate social foibles and perceptions in multicultural societies. Killzone on the other hand, did several questionable things contrary to Halo 3 which, although I am a PS3 owner, will examine the game in great length prior to a purchase… if at all. It is my personal theory that is why The Halo series took off (on top of being a true AAA title) and the Killzone series is in limbo regardless of it’s stunning trailers (not including the fact that Killzone was a AA title to begin with, but the PSP game is at AAA status). I would say make the echochrome guys grey, but I think Aliens may complain, which is what we want… because all of their photos are blurry anyways; Nathan Hale remains unoffended.

    Given the history of some of Sony’s advertisements alone warrants a closer look at their perception of people who they market to. If you look back, there has been at least three questionable commercials linked to Sony, and the Playstation to be exact. Some may argue that the advertisements in question were made outside of Sony Corporation, therby making them not liable for what was advertised. This is flawed thinking, as ANY advertisement still has to be approved before finalization, which puts the blame strictly back into Sony’s lap.

    Another tip I would give is to everyone who sees the bull and are capable, make your own video games… that way, YOU control what happens and again not someone who will try to speak for you.

    gg

  4. Blah…..seeing race in every issue must be very tiring. It’s like playing Crysis and crying race because the North Korean military was filled with only Asians.

  5. Why do black people act like they have been the only humans on this earth to be enslaved and killed. What about us native americans. We were enslaved and killed by the spanish.

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