Opinion: Is Shadow of the Tomb Raider's Mesoamerica an Homage or an Exploitation?

Opinion: Is Shadow of the Tomb Raider's Mesoamerica an Homage or an Exploitation?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider's lavishly South American setting misses the mark in key areas.

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While it does have a good point about representation of cultures in game, one should remember that this is not a thing exclusive non western cultures. Case in point, vikings are often presented in media with horned helmets which is inaccurate and a common missconception. Now I am not saying that all games should be realistic, but rather that cultural missconceptions are a normal thing for good or bad.

The Escapist Staff:
Opinion: Is Shadow of the Tomb Raider's Mesoamerica an Homage or an Exploitation?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider's lavishly South American setting misses the mark in key areas.

Read Full Article

It's neither homage or exploitation. It is clumsy and misinformed. I think this article serves its purpose. Explains where game creators failed and how (so maybe, just maybe, they could pay attention next time). But the tone/title is too pompous. Creators made few face-palm worthy blunders and should be laughed at for them but overall the game is well made. I doubt any of creators meant any spite to any SA tribes nor playing the game will cause any harm to anyone at all. Both 'homage' and 'exploitation' are out of place big words.
If anything mistakes and media buzz explaining/laughing at the mistakes can coax few people to get interested and research the subject in detail. Always a good thing in my book.

Is Shadow of the Tomb Raider's Mesoamerica an Homage or an Exploitation?

Neither. It'a work in the adventure genre that uses well-established tropes of said genre. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's definitely not an "either/or" scenario.

Oh, and while we're at it, why did nobody ask about Rise of the Tomb Raider's Siberia?
Let me tell you, that was definitely not an homage or representation.

It's a good question to ask, especially when Mayincatec is a thing. There's another game floating around called This Land is My Land that seems to be doing the same thing to Native Americans. Just using them as a gimmick without paying proper homage to them.

I'll have to see when I get around to it, after I eventually, possibly, never finish the previous one.

Most commercial entertainment about civilizations of any kind has some degree of exploitation. I mean, no percentage of the money made is going to be destined for the conservation of such civilizations (such thing is expected only from the most altruistic corporations, museums and non-profit organizations).

Now that I'm off my soapbox, I've to say that at this point I'm a little too used to entertainment media missing the mark in representation of Mesoamerican cultures that I'm genuinely surprised when they get it right.

Elfgore:
It's a good question to ask, especially when Mayincatec is a thing.

Oh, I still remember how many times I saw images of the Aztec calendar all along the year 2012.

While I agree that we should aim to get the historicity of a given real-world people/culture correct (barring historical fiction, obviously), I'm not quite sure what the point of the article is.

ebalosus:
While I agree that we should aim to get the historicity of a given real-world people/culture correct (barring historical fiction, obviously), I'm not quite sure what the point of the article is.

The point is that the conflation of different cultures into one clumsy amalgamation is something that specifically happens in to non-European cultures. Tropes aside, if someone created a game set in Europe where Berlin was just across the Seine from Rome, and they narratively combined the English and the French into one ambiguous culture, players would say "WTF?" I mean, you stick a few women generals in a war game set in the Roman Empire and everyone is like, "YOU WILL RESPECK MAH HISTORICAL AUTHENTICIEH!"

Someone defended the game saying it was all just tropes, but we have to keep in mind that tropes are not necessarily value neutral, and acknowledging this is part of being a good fan. Good fans care enough about their fandoms to actively engage with them. If you inhale everything without question, I would argue you aren't a fan, you are just a consumer. (Yes, that is SUPER judgemental of me, it's my opinion. I definitely acknowledge arguments to the contrary.)

 

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