The other day I was over at a buddy's house and he has a 9 year old son who was playing a video game called "Guacamelee" and it looked like it was a lot of fun. It was an older-style game but on a newer system and it reminded me of my youth back when I had time for video games and all that you really did was jump around a punch and kick stuff, but while I was watching him play I was thinking to myself "I bet someone out there in the crazy everything is racist world has a problem with this game."
The game definitely had a Mexican theme to it as a there were those masked wrestlers in it that I believe are called luchadors and there were also a bunch of people wearing sombreros. There were characters with traditionally Spanish or Mexican names and even silly names like Tostata. The main character's surname is Aguacate which means "Avocado" in Spanish.
There are also a bunch of chickens all over the place, which, well I don't want to sound racist but Mexicans, even here in North Carolina, tend to keep chickens. There's nothing wrong with that unless you live next door I would imagine.
The game looked like a lot of fun so I asked John (the son) if I could play as well. Turns out that a 2nd player can join in any time and John got tired of me playing rather quickly because I just kept falling in lava and slime or something and was seriously impeding his ability to carry on forward. Laughter turned to frustration on his part so I left the game and just watched him play instead. It looked like a really nicely made and fun game.... but I couldn't help but think that I'm sure someone out there is going to find a reason to call this racist.
When I got home after a few beers with John's Dad, I went and did a simple internet search for "Guacamelee racist" and sure enough, there was plenty of reading to be done.
Here is the title of the first article: Guacamelee and Race in Games, White Male Privilege, It’s So Great to Have!
If you want your eyes to bleed you can read the article here
In the article, the author details about how it is NOT OK for Mexican culture to be presented in a comical way and goes on about a 2000 word rant about how it is borderline criminal that the small, award-winning studio that made the game is based out of Canada and none of their employees are Hispanic. In fact, they have the audacity to have an entirely white and male staff... They only have 10 people working there and around 75% of the overall population of the entire country is white. Do you, Samantha, think that the production of this game would have been different if the team wasn't all white?
I dug in a bit deeper and thankfully the author, whose name is Samantha, has a treasure trove of articles that unless it is a game about a cartoon dragon or something, she has some sort of social justice issue with it. I didn't read any of her other articles but they include things like "Lack of lesbian and gay characters in game" as well as well as discussing how transgenderism is almost always presented in a negative light in games.
It's a f**king video game and a lot of people like it Samantha! Why do you have to go out of your way to ruin that? I certainly hope she never plays Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas because she is in for a real shock how the African American hood isn't presented as being a law-abiding wonderful place and it is actually your objective to break the law.
I have a few Mexican Americans on my job sites and I asked them if they had heard of the game and one of them actually owns it and said that he loves that game. I asked him if he thought it was racist and he said "oh, GTFOH with that BS! That's Gringo S**T to complain about."
I totally agree with him.
It reminds me about how Cartoon Network cancelled Speedy Gonzales after 50 years because it was deemed racist and the Hispanic community was outraged about this. Let me clarify: The Hispanic community in USA and Mexico were outraged that Speedy Gonzales was cancelled, not that the character existed. I also remember how when Native Americans were surveyed about whether or not the Washington Redskins was a racist name and an overwhelming amount of them said "no."
So what is driving all of this? What is the endgame here? Are we just searching for reasons to be pissed off at just anything these days? It certainly seems to be the objective of a lot of internet warriors these days.
In the meantime I hope that DrinkBox Studios continues to make more games like Guacamelee because John was having a great time with it and I'm sure a lot of other people did as well. Most video games are far too complicated for me but I think that if it wasn't for John's frustration with my lack of skills I probably would have enjoyed it.