Google+

Want to groan at casual racism? Play Mr. Chin's Gourmet Paradise!

When you are small, there are games that simply appear on your shelf. They come to you by way of a well-intentioned, if out-of-touch, grandmother, or a negligent father, or, I don't know, your idiot brother stole them from one of his idiot friends. Typically, these games aren't ones you'd have chosen for yourself, but they're all you have, so you play them obsessively.

Oh, and because it's the early '90s, there's a good chance these games are racist, misogynistic, or in some other way wildly inappropriate. But don't worry, you won't realize it until much later--or at least, well after your small, plastic mind has internalized all the dubious stereotypes, fears, and anxieties of whoever the hell made that found-object of a game you're sinking hours of your life into.

For me, this game took the form of Mr. Chin's Gourmet Paradise. From that title, you can probably see where I'm going here. Created by Romstar (defunct, shocker), MCGP involved a squat, rotund Asian man with a Manchu haircut. He loved him some peaches, and using what amounts to an electric tripwire, he'd transmogrify what can only be described as furry little whatsits into sumptuous fruit. Each devoured whatsit-cum-peach yielded Kcal, a point system I now believe to be referencing some sort of calorie system? Because he's kinda fat? Anyway, Chin also had the power of flight (!), which he'd acquire by smashing his skull into blocks to uncover some manner of illicit substance.

So yes, eight stages and four bonus stages (those you'll love--peaches fall from the top of the screen like mana from Heaven, straight into Chin's unhinged-jaw of a mouth). For whatever reason, Romstar opted to loop the game back on itself rather than put on a proper ending, a particularly foul decision for those among us who simply could not accept that a game simply could not end.

Well, that's not entirely true. Apparently, Johnny Law is not keen on Chin's gluttonous adventure, and if the adorable, occasionally RayBan-wearing whatsits touch him too many times, he's hauled off to the clink. Seriously, the Game Over screen is just Chin in prison stripes, crying his slanted little eyes out.

Obviously, this game's characterization of Asians is comically offense. And I've got to wonder, how did this impact my 9-year-old psyche? It's an age where all you can really do is internalize, internalize, internalize. Surely something would have stuck? I don't really have an answer here, but what I can say is it's comforting to me that my reaction to this game now is, "Wow, that's pretty fucked up," and not, "The thing about Asians is... they really like to murder cute animals."

All that said, I'm really not recommending that you all go track down Mr. Chin's Gourmet Paradise, based on some notion of engaging gameplay or deep, emotional storyline. (Plus, it's on the Game Boy, so good luck with that.) Rather, social mores are a fascinating thing, and it's interesting to me to go back and look at what was at one point acceptable, or at least acceptable enough to get certification and placement on store shelves. Sure, the game industry still has its fair share of issues, but we've at least made a bit of progress.

Want to bludgeon your friends with a golf club on a huge boat? Play The Ship!

Looking for stuff to play outside of the stuff we already tell you to play on a daily basis? You're in luck! Every Saturday we'll recommend an older game for you to check out, complete with a story on how we found the game and why we recommend you play it. 

17 comments

  • Frieza - May 5, 2013 7:24 a.m.

    You know what's funny? It's people who point out racism and fight to abolish racism who keep racism alive.
  • supergiraffe - May 5, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    Yeah Gamesradar you should know that talking about someone else doing something is exactly the same as doing something wrong yourself. Except this guy is talking about you doing something wrong, so does that mean he's doing something wrong? Upon further examination I have come to the conclusion that this argument is awful and makes no sense.
  • avantguardian - May 6, 2013 1:46 a.m.

    his wording is obviously vague, but i think his point is the idea that, for example, if everyone of african descent chose to not be insulted or offended by the 'n' word, or homosexuals ignored the 'f' word, that their power would diminish to the point of irrelevancy. those who fight to erase these words and ideas are actually giving them power by saying that they can be effective tools of hate. this perpetuates the shared notion that these words or ideas carry actual weight, when really, action is what you're worried about. i can't tell someone what to think, no matter how fucked up i might perceive their thoughts to be. it's not my place. i can, however, call them a piece of shit that the world would honestly be better off without if they act on those thoughts. honestly, it's a pretty progressive concept, and it could be that the only way (not holding my breath) hateful words or ideas will be eradicated from our societies is if their power is disarmed. a lofty, if not impossible goal, but we have to hold out hope that one day, 'human' will just mean 'human'. by the way, my views on racism aren't what i'm trying to point out here, just trying to clarify for frieza (feel free to tell me how off i am:).
  • winner2 - May 5, 2013 6:07 a.m.

    Oooohohoho, we're sure going into dark territory here, everyone brace your moral fiber. Stay strong Tom, wade through the bitching with your head held high knowing that you made people laugh, I enjoyed it.
  • groovex - May 5, 2013 4:09 a.m.

    They should have made the main character a small, fat Italian plumber with a highly exaggerated accent - then everything would've been fine. My point is that there are loads of stereotypes in games but I think most gamers are intelligent enough to realise that these are just game characters. Does everyone think that all American males are like Duke Nukem? Or all Brits are like Birdie the punk from (I think) the first Street Fighter game. And how can you make a cartoon character (especially one made from a few pixels) look like they're from their native country without exaggerating some parts - that's the nature of a cartoon character. I think it comes down to the developers intentions (which we will probably never know). I doubt if they were out to offend asian people seeing as it was on the Gameboy - the most popular handheld over there at the time. If it didn't sell well I imagine it would've been because it was just a terrible game not because it's deeply racist.
  • kyle-mcguire - May 13, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    AMEN.
  • RadgarLaser2 - May 4, 2013 10:30 p.m.

    All my years trolling around the interwebs, if you want to play the racist game and it ain't about black people, people tend not to care. I bet if you change some of the game around like the person just having dark skin eating Watermelon instead of peaches and that was the only thing wrong about the game, everyone and their momma would still call you very nasty things as well as a homosexual. It would even go so far as them pressuring your superiors to fire you and forcing you to apologize to everyone.
  • garnsr - May 4, 2013 8:23 p.m.

    My girlfriend is Japanese, and after watching lots of PETA videos of Chinese people skinning foxes alive she believes that they like to murder cute animals. Her eyes are smaller than my white eyes, and definitely slant a bit. Everything that has to do with people being different from each other is now considered racist. We now know more about other people than we used to, but not all of the things we used to think are wrong, or need to be considered offensive. Some things are just observations of the way things are. How would you show a Chinese person on the Gameboy other than how he is? Should all characters just be boring white people, wearing jeans and T-shirts and having reasonable length hair?
  • Redeater - May 4, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    "crying his slanted little eyes out." Holy Christ Mr. Magrino. You might want to take some of your own advice. I see a couple of cartoon DOT pixels with eyebrows above them. In the other gameplay picture I see dots for eyes once again. If you are seeing "slanted eyes" I think you may have bigger problems than pointing out racism on a game no one has heard of. As for the picture up top, I see a cartoon Asian with possibly slight stereotypes. His eyes aren't "slanty", he doesn't have buck teeth or glasses (or many other qualities from America's racist days of Asian depiction). We are subjected to worse stereotypes daily. (At least if you watch an episode a day of The Simpsons, Family Guy.....actually anything Seth Macfarlane does)
  • Redeater - May 4, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    If I wanted these type of ridiculous articles I would click on Kotaku. At least there they get it right.
  • bko - May 4, 2013 6:38 p.m.

    Kotaku's articles about casual racism are windy, self-serious and 2,000 words long. This is an amusing article about a Game Boy game nobody probably played and very few remember. Lighten up, Redeater.
  • Redeater - May 4, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    The article wasn't funny or accurate and I'm tired of the long line of people looking for racism when it probably isn't there. So.......no? :)
  • kyle-mcguire - May 13, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    or BuzzFeed/Gawker/Jezebel. Take your pick
  • GlitchedQuest - May 4, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    Matt Groening does the simpsons Seth Macfarlane just copies the winning formula and adds more contriversal material. Something he acknowleges on the episode where peter "breaks" Television.
  • GR_TomMagrino - May 4, 2013 5:33 p.m.

    I guess you missed the image at the very top of the article?
  • Redeater - May 4, 2013 7:52 p.m.

    I've seen countless Asian anime/manga using characters with "slanty" eyes that put this one to shame. Also, a cursory look shows that Romstar was responsible for importing JAPANESE games so more than likely this game was created in Japan. I just want to know if it was your choice to include the word "slanty" in your derogatory description of the jail photo. It's pretty clear that he has pixel dots for eyes and the only thing slanted is your ability to look at a picture without attaching your own racial bias.
  • Pooka - May 6, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    The very top picture princess. You know, the cover of the game?

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000