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.