Before I actually get around to posting up Rocket Fox Chapter Nine (I will, I promise) I’ve had a few things on my mind lately.
Video games and cultural representation
I often hear the cry of how people can’t relate if there’s a person of a different colour on screen than the same old white dude (and yes, it’s almost always a white dude) in a video game. Often, if there is a black/brown/red/yellow person on the screen, they aren’t made as a playable character, and they often have huge stereotypes. Insulting stereotypes as a matter of fact. I don’t include MMOs into this, because in an MMO, you have a costume creator, and you can make your character look however you want. I’m talking single player games, for the most part. But I guess there is that cultural aspect in video games that we don’t get to see different cultures and explore those realms. For instance, any video game I pick up is most likely to take place in the United States. As a Canadian, there is a very rare number of games that have a Canadian city that I know of off hand. Deus Ex Human Revolution does have a futuristic version of Montreal in it, and Champions Online does have a Canadian zone, but that zone happens to be “The Great White North” (in it’s own a stereotype) and even the “native tribes” have been replaced with Sasquatches. And the lone “Native American” in the Champions Online Canadian Zone happens to have a real white name. It goes further than that, mind you, to other cultures. For instance, we see a lot of representation from Asia, but bottom line those nations and culture include only China and Japan. Maybe Korea. There’s quite a few other nations in Asia and include Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam, India and to an extent Pakistan. Go further west, and you find lots of games represented in Europe, from fantasy right up to a plethora of World War II games. But how many are in Africa that doesn’t star a white archaeologist from the United States or a white archaeologist adventurer from England? Not many. By my count, one. Guild Wars: Nightfall was the only game that I know of that created an African style setting in their own world. Even the NPCs were all people of colour. I’d really like to see more of that, but sadly, I’m in the minority on that mark. Maybe that’ll happen more in the future where we get to see video games taking place in a setting with the main hero/heroine being a person from that setting not just a white guy there to save the day.
Na Na Na Na Na Na – COMICS!
There’s been a lot of talk lately (some good, some bad) about the actions and reactions of some of the writers of DC Comics titles. One of whom was Scott Lobdell. I’m not gonna repeat it here, but he said a few rather unflattering things, especially about Native Americans, relating to the back story of Roy Harper/Speedy who is one of the characters in the book Red Hood and the Outlaws. Now, I read RHatO when it first came out, and I found it to be a complete pile of trash. The book didn’t appeal to me, the characters were all one dimensional, Jason Todd’s a douchebag, Starfire has none of the appeal from the old Teen Titans (sort of like they wiped her backstory and replaced it with something that was incredibly misogynistic) and Roy Harper is a dick. Red Hood and the Outlaws is a complete waste of time, but it seems to sell and sell well because the lowest common denominator in readership keeps picking it up. That book, along with Hawkman, Green Arrow and a couple of other titles were reasons why I was very close to just giving DC Comics a big “fuck you” and move on. However, I realized that a personal boycott of DC would be detrimental to other, better books. Don’t get me wrong, me on my own wouldn’t crush DC and make them see the error of their ways, but if there were enough then books like Batwoman, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Animal Man and Demon Knights would all suffer as well. Those books are good books. So my suggestion, keep buying those books. They have really good stories (except for Wonder Woman supposedly now dating Superman -giving you the side eye, DC) with writers who really are good at their craft. The others, not so much. And don’t just wait for collected editions in trade paper back. Buy the single issues, give them to friends and then buy the collections. I did that recently with my Mike Grell and Chuck Dixon Green Arrow books as well as the Kevin Smith run. Same with Spider-Girl from the M2 line and Vampi. All those books are now being enjoyed by someone else, and I have a nifty trade sitting on my bookshelf. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is boycotts don’t always work, because the good stuff has a tendency to suffer more than the crap. Buy the stuff you like, avoid the stuff you hate, and pass on the stuff you like to others.
The leaves, they are a fallin’
With apologies to Bob Dylan for ripping off his song Times They Are A-Changin’, we are officially now into autumn. I, however, have no intention of letting go of summer without a fight. Autumn is wonderful and colourful, but it’s also a stark reminder of just what’s coming; winter. Around here, winter is a harsh mistress. Only the hardiest of people can survive this province with summers that scorch and winters that freeze. Granted, autumn does mean that Halloween is not far away, and I shall hold onto that hope with bated breath. I enjoy Halloween, because it’s filled with mystery and stories. I shouldn’t complain too much about autumn, it is after all, when my writing bug gets bigger and bigger and happens to be the most productive for me, right on up into winter. Which hopefully means that the end of book one of Rocket Fox and most of book two of Rocket Fox should be completed this autumn and winter. Which may mean that sometime in the next year, both book one and book two will be ready for publication.
That’s it, that’s all, ’til next time…
…keep ’em flyin’!