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UCB Presents: Controller FreaksUCB Presents: Controller Freaks

UCB PRESENTS: CONTROLLER FREAKS – Racism in Video Games

Welcome to the first episode of Controller Freaks, presented by the Upright Citizens Brigade!

This week, the freaks find the secret code for racism in games (hint: you’ll have to make it past Soda Popinksi to see the bonus extra racist level). Seriously, though, some of the tropes that defined early games used broad stereotypes to quickly communicate nationality and identity – often relying on outdated or downright offensive depictions that probably flew right over our 7-year-old heads back in the NES era.

Directors Alex Berg and Mel Cowan have rounded up a collection of actors and comedians like Sandeep Parikh (@sandeepparikh), Mano Agapion (@manoagapion), and Emily V Gordon (@thegynomite) to recall some of their great gaming racism memories from Street Fighter to more progressive representations such as The Walking Dead protagonist Lee.

UCB Presents: Controller Freaks airs Thursday mornings right here on Nerdist. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to the Nerdist Channel and follow UCB on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Are we going to define anything that contains ethnic stereotypes as racist? Certainly something can play to a stereotype and not be offensive. Take speedy gonzales: at one time banned from American T.V. for being racist. However he is one of the most popular WB characters in Mexico. Its he smart fast Mexican mouse beating up the big dumb American cat, who wouldn’t love that.

    • bastien says:

      Who wouldn’t love that? Probably Mexicans who don’t run around in giant sombreros and speak in over the top fake accents. Or do you think Speedy’s lazy cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez is another good example? Or how about Pepe Le Pew, the French skunk?

      Did you even watch the video? Characters of color and other nationalities in those games were portrayed as drunks and savages. They were used as cannon fodder and outlets for violence and torture.

      Do you not realize that the entire existence of ethnic stereotypes is based on racism and racial & cultural ignorance? You’ve basically just asked if we’re going to define all racist things as being racist. The answer is yes, of course we are.