The recently released Resident Evil 5 trailer is currently causing a storm of debate across the internet after one critic - a single, solitary person writing on a blog - fingered the game as being racist in its depiction of black people as "inhuman savages" and for the fact that a white man in military clothing is employed to destroy them. It's an interesting opinion, certainly, but one that we happen to think is wrong.
While a cursory glance at Resident Evil 5 may give the impression that it's based around a white versus black premise, within the context of the game's - and indeed the overarching Resident Evil series's - storyline, any argument that Resident Evil 5 is bigoted comes undone. The black people in the trailer are only the latest in a long line of "inhuman savages," with Caucasian flesh munchers and infected European peasants having already preceded them.
Furthermore, if elements of the game are perceived by some as racist (and we're sure if you look hard enough you'll find a whole manner of underlying social commentaries in most videogames) we firmly believe that they are wholly unintentional. However, as you'll see from the following examples of alleged racism in videogames, it's this notion of intent that crops up time and again. Is it really an acceptable enough defense to say that a game was never meant to offend? Should publishers and developers exercise a little more sensitivity? Or should offended parties simply "lighten up?"
It's a prickly subject and probably one that will never be resolved with unanimous satisfaction.
Here we pull out six other games that have been accused of racism in recent years. Read through, follow the links to get a better picture of the overall argument (not just the "gaming" side of the debate) and decide whether there's any vindication in the accusations aimed at them. When you're done, why not express yourself in the forums.