Civilization IV: Colonization Called 'Morally Disturbing'

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Godheval:

You, sir, are a douchebag - if you honestly believe the hogwash you wrote. The PURPOSE of citing racism against "white people" is to trivialize or at least dilute every other instance of racism, to "demonstrate" that it is not in any way uniquely felt by minorities. As if to say that white people also understand what minorities are "going through". And on that I call bullshit. NO white person understands the particulars of a non-white person's experience of discrimination, because there simply is no parallel. This is not to say that "white people" don't suffer, don't experience all sorts of injustices - I wouldn't dare make such a claim - but there is still a certain experience that they can and probably never will be able to internalize.

All of what you say may be true. Still doesn't mean you're not an obstacle, though.

Do you really think you're doing any good by telling every white person who thinks he or she "understands the particulars of a non-white person's experience of discrimination" that their "purpose" is to "trivialize or at least dilute every other instance of racism"?

All you are doing is confirming their suspicions that your only interest is in getting white people to feel guilty, and not about really changing the world for the better. Maybe that's not your true intent, but just like someone who thinks they look really cool in that Members Only jacket, that's the reality.

Do you want to win some impotent intellectual battle about the exact subjective experience of the different flavors of racism, or do you want to get people to think racism is bad?

Why are you trying to catch flies with vinegar?

My criticism was of those who dismiss out of hand what Fritz had to say, as if it had no merit, or worse tried to justify colonialism in terms of "net gains". That is a far cry from what you're accusing me of...

In what way did Archon do either of those things? Like Geoffery42 pointed out, you're beating up a strawman here, just like Fritz did when he talked about the game of _Colonization_ as if it were a game about the phenomenon of colonization, and not what it's really about: the events leading to the American Revolution.

Maybe you should try actually reading the comments you are criticizing first--just like he should try playing the games he's criticizing first--if you don't want to be lumped in with "those who cry racism or injustice at every turn."

For fuck sake, get over it.

As if every popular game in the last decade wasn't morally questionable?

Dr. Evil:

electric discordian:
Having said all that its just a game, come back to me when they come up with virtual concentration camp.

I'd go for that. Sim Dachau would be a kick ass game. Political correctness is for pussies and neocons.

/signed

Completely ridiculous, but at least he's calling a game "morally disturbing" for something new instead of relying on the old standby's of chainsawing people, sex scenes, etc.

Oh shit guys, I played a lot of the Total War series, and ransacking and exterminated cities (when I had to) didn't make me feel bad at all...

I'M MORALLY DISTURBED! ;_;

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Oh shit guys, I played a lot of the Total War series, and ransacking and exterminated cities (when I had to) didn't make me feel bad at all...

I'M MORALLY DISTURBED! ;_;

Man don't beat yourself up over that, it could be worse--you might have played "Railroad Tycoon" and endorsed all the racism directed at the Irish and Chinese who labored on those projects during the 19th century.

Maybe the only ethical game left to play is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Title VII Racial Discriminatory Impact Class Action Suit

Well it looks like the whole issue might be moot: a GameSpy preview indicates that you've got the opportunity to reject slavery when you declare independence.

Right after you hit the big bell-shaped button that causes your colony to revolt, you'll have some big decisions to make. A series of either/or questions pop up immediately after you declare independence, the collective results of which will comprise your nation's constitution. Will you support slavery? Enforce the separation of church and state? Model yourself after your monarchist rulers, or opt for a representative democracy? Each of these elements will bestow certain global properties on your colony. If your state is against slavery, for instance, you'll enjoy a bonus to the population of each of your settlements.

Now it doesn't look like the author is the most qualified to write this preview, as he writes about how "the furrier trade, for instance, can only be taught by the Inca Empire" which I assume was only true of his game and the Native Settlement/Expert Skill will change with every game, but, can't imagine any reviewer blowing something as big as questions popping up after independence.

And can I just say how freaking AWESOME that sounds, that they're going to put something along the lines of the Civics system from other Sid Meier games into this so you can choose to be anything from some abolitionist Jeffersonian nation to something along the lines of the Jesuits and the "Brief Relation" incident? Also makes it sound like a lot more of the game is going to be about your revolutionary war which is also freaking AWESOME. It even sounds like they might bring the religion mechanic over from Civ4 from that talk of church/state separation.

So glad they didn't just throw things like slavery in there just because people were complaining without making that addition meaningful with real gameplay consequences.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

All of what you say may be true. Still doesn't mean you're not an obstacle, though.

Do you really think you're doing any good by telling every white person who thinks he or she "understands the particulars of a non-white person's experience of discrimination" that their "purpose" is to "trivialize or at least dilute every other instance of racism"?

Well now you're misquoting or misunderstanding me. I don't tell anyone their purpose in doing anything. Their actions and their arguments demonstrate their purpose quite clearly. And nowhere did I say that this was true in all cases. You, on the other hand, seemed to imply that THE reason (as in all instances) that people cite racism against whites was to "test" the nobility of a person's cause - i.e. whether they're just crying foul or pursuing true justice. And I'd say that most people aren't that clever. Most instances of mentioning "racism against whites" are responses to complaints about racism by non-whites - thus my feeling that it is an attempt to dilute or deflect accusations of racism through a false claim to understanding it.

All you are doing is confirming their suspicions that your only interest is in getting white people to feel guilty, and not about really changing the world for the better. Maybe that's not your true intent, but just like someone who thinks they look really cool in that Members Only jacket, that's the reality.

Actually, no. MOST people in the world are non-white, and since exclusive clubs are usually, you know, exclusive, they wouldn't have a majority membership. "Members Only" isn't a characteristic of non-white clubs, but rather....well, need I state the obvious?

My goal is not to make white people feel guilty, but to make them acknowledge the reality of racial dynamics (mostly in America, since I can't speak with any real knowledge on any other country), since most of them - like many of the people on this board - seem ready to just dismiss out of hand all complaints of racism as people being "hyper-sensitive" or just needing to "get over it". It is not the place of any person or group that has not experienced a pronounced and prolonged history of racism, subjugation, or discrimination to tell the people who HAVE that they are being hyper-sensitive or that they need to get over it. It's simply not right.

Do you want to win some impotent intellectual battle about the exact subjective experience of the different flavors of racism, or do you want to get people to think racism is bad?

It was a singular point within a larger battle. One that still needs to be acknowledged before progress can be made.

In what way did Archon do either of those things? Like Geoffery42 pointed out, you're beating up a strawman here, just like Fritz did when he talked about the game of _Colonization_ as if it were a game about the phenomenon of colonization, and not what it's really about: the events leading to the American Revolution.

Maybe you should try actually reading the comments you are criticizing first--just like he should try playing the games he's criticizing first--if you don't want to be lumped in with "those who cry racism or injustice at every turn."

Um...maybe YOU should read what he wrote. He definitely did speak of colonialism in terms of "net gains", as if to dilute (hm, there's that word again) the significance of the atrocities that took place with all the benefits that were reaped in the aftermath. It is important to note WHO those benefits served, too. You can't talk about "net gains" for all of humanity, when all of the people involved in any colonization event weren't included in both the atrocities and the benefits.

If they really want morally disturbing, they should try the Europa Universalis games. I established a trading post in western Africa, and my primary export: SLAVES! The games get "Teen" ratings for tobacco and alcohol references (tobacco and wine are trade products) but no one seems to bat an eye over the fact that the game includes the slave trade.

Godheval:
It is not the place of any person or group that has not experienced a pronounced and prolonged history of racism, subjugation, or discrimination to tell the people who HAVE that they are being hyper-sensitive or that they need to get over it. It's simply not right.

The problem is you're complaining about a game based on fictional events... it's a game that in no way perpetuates racism of any kind and trying to make it up as 'morally disturbing' when in fact it is nothing of the sort. It's a game, which makes you a little hypersensitive, you're not arguing over some real atrocity, you're making a big deal out of literally nothing.

Godheval:

Well now you're misquoting or misunderstanding me. I don't tell anyone their purpose in doing anything. Their actions and their arguments demonstrate their purpose quite clearly.

Umm, no--unless someone comes out and explicitly tells you their purpose, you're telling them their purpose no matter how "clearly" their "arguments demonstrate" anything. An act of interpretation is an act of interpretation no matter how clear the interpretation is.

And nowhere did I say that this was true in all cases.

So why do you think it is true in this case? Why do you believe it is true of every person that will read your words here?

You, on the other hand, seemed to imply that THE reason (as in all instances) that people cite racism against whites was to "test" the nobility of a person's cause - i.e. whether they're just crying foul or pursuing true justice. And I'd say that most people aren't that clever.

This has nothing to do with being clever. It's far more emotional and a matter of intuition than it is about being clever.

Most instances of mentioning "racism against whites" are responses to complaints about racism by non-whites - thus my feeling that it is an attempt to dilute or deflect accusations of racism through a false claim to understanding it.

So the instances of people mentioning "racism against whites" that are NOT "responses to complaints about racism by non-whites" strike you as just fine and dandy? Really?

Actually, no. MOST people in the world are non-white, and since exclusive clubs are usually, you know, exclusive, they wouldn't have a majority membership. "Members Only" isn't a characteristic of non-white clubs, but rather....well, need I state the obvious?

No, but it seems I must: http://www.liketotally80s.com/members-only-jackets.html

My goal is not to make white people feel guilty, but to make them acknowledge the reality of racial dynamics (mostly in America, since I can't speak with any real knowledge on any other country), since most of them - like many of the people on this board - seem ready to just dismiss out of hand all complaints of racism as people being "hyper-sensitive" or just needing to "get over it". It is not the place of any person or group that has not experienced a pronounced and prolonged history of racism, subjugation, or discrimination to tell the people who HAVE that they are being hyper-sensitive or that they need to get over it. It's simply not right.

And you think the best way to do that is to act like you are acting? Like I said, why are you trying to catch flies with vinegar?

Also, are you sure no white people have not "experienced a pronounced and prolonged history of racism, subjugation, or discrimination"? Aren't you forgetting one of the earliest of Europe's 'colonies' where the natives were exploited?

Do you want to win some impotent intellectual battle about the exact subjective experience of the different flavors of racism, or do you want to get people to think racism is bad?

It was a singular point within a larger battle. One that still needs to be acknowledged before progress can be made.

The way you fight your battles is losing me my war.

Maybe you should try actually reading the comments you are criticizing first--just like he should try playing the games he's criticizing first--if you don't want to be lumped in with "those who cry racism or injustice at every turn."

Um...maybe YOU should read what he wrote. He definitely did speak of colonialism in terms of "net gains"

No, he said--in a parenthetical, no less--"If I were a utilitarian I could probably even make the argument that it led to a net positive in human welfare, but I won't."

A sentence starting with an 'if' like that is called a conditional, for when the speaker wants to say something that is not the case. I'm sorry some eurocentric utilitarian has not yet shown up for you to have your argument with, but that's no excuse to distort what people have said to have arguments with eurocentric utilitarian strawmen.

Didn't you even read to the end of the sentence where he said "but I won't"?

Finally, may I ask what group YOU are a part of?

I'm guessing that he has never heard of any Civ game before. They all involve colonisation - it is difficult to play the game without colonising something at some point.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I think it'll be very interesting if one of a few possible endings happen:

1) The Native Americans take over.
2) The Americas decide to accept English/French/Dutch/Spanish rule. (It was a real possibility back in the day)
3) Islam, Buddhism or any of the other religions that were around take hold.

Now that would take a step away from "morally disturbing" and into "morally interesting".

And at least in Colo, you don't have nerve-stapling.

What? Those drones get unruly you know!

As for the article, I don't really have the intelligence to make an argument, but, I don't agree with this guy. As has been said, it's just a game. Sure, they can be used to explore ideas, some even controversial, but it's still just a game.

Also...that site also has one of Yahtzee's vids a few pages back hehe.
http://weblogs.variety.com/the_cut_scene/2008/04/yahtzee-on-supe.html

Godwin's Law is here. Argument over.

How does this Civ differ from any of the others in moral terms? All the others were about was building up your society to be the best and grind everyone else under your heel. This has been the theme that has made the games so fun and successful. The only thing that differs in this new installment is the setting. While the events that occurred in history do not display wholly ethical dealings, historical events are by no means the only path open to the player. While the goal is the same(survival and domination) brutal means are not necessarily encouraged. If there is any moral issue, it is caused by the player and not the game itself.

On colonialism, I find that while it has some pretty nasty elements in it (plutocracy is never appreciated), it has some advantages that cannot be overlooked. In many historical cases, it allowed for the exploitation of resources on a larger scale. It brought together the political structure and technology of the colonists with the resources of the natives. While one group generally was able subjugate the other during the lifetime of a colony, you cannot ignore the fact that it also brought Western Civilization into new lands. It has helped correct over-population, served as a penal system, and in the long run, given the indigenous peoples chances they may never have had.

With all due respect towards Native American culture, I think we can all agree that the quality of life in the New World is far higher than it was a couple centuries ago. Yes, colonialism does have a terrible, ghastly downside to it, but, we cannot simply condemn it as evil based only on short-term consequences. To get a better grasp of a situation, we should look at it in terms of centuries and statistics, not just the events of one particular era.

John Galt:

With all due respect towards Native American culture, I think we can all agree that the quality of life in the New World is far higher than it was a couple centuries ago. Yes, colonialism does have a terrible, ghastly downside to it, but, we cannot simply condemn it as evil based only on short-term consequences. To get a better grasp of a situation, we should look at it in terms of centuries and statistics, not just the events of one particular era.

Some might say that the surviving Native Americans disagree. Mount Rushmore for instance.

John Galt:

With all due respect towards Native American culture, I think we can all agree that the quality of life in the New World is far higher than it was a couple centuries ago.

Quality of life everywhere is far higher than it was a couple of centuries ago, though. There's no reason any non-European country had to be colonized, e.g. Thailand was never under any European power and it enjoys a quality of life better than most countries with a history of colonization.

Yes, colonialism does have a terrible, ghastly downside to it, but, we cannot simply condemn it as evil based only on short-term consequences. To get a better grasp of a situation, we should look at it in terms of centuries and statistics, not just the events of one particular era.

Well actually, we can, just like if I make someone my slave and take their money, it wouldn't matter if I then used that leisure and those resources to do something as noble as say, cure cancer--I would still be condemned as evil, right? So why should the equation change when it comes to colonization? Why look at it in terms of either "centuries and statistics" OR "just the events of one particular era" and instead look on it the same way we would if someone showed up on our doorstep today and wanted to take our land and enslave us?

People in the past didn't know they were living in the past--they thought they were living in the present just like we do now, right? So why shouldn't we assess the acts in the past according to the same moral standard we would in the present (adjusted for cultural relativism and such)?

Now that's not to say that the aftermath--as opposed to the act--of colonization can be so easily characterized. To float a rather vulgar analogy, maybe we should think of the aftermath of colonization the same way we think of a baby that results from rape. A family can still love the aftermath of an event that they condemn as evil, so why not look at colonialism the same way?

Hawaiigm:
Godwin's Law is here. Argument over.

Can we please put "Godwin's Law" in the same cultural dustbin as "bling bling" and "def" and other completely overused phrases?

It does way more harm than good at this point. I've had people call it on me in every inappropriate context from me referencing Nazi U-Boat wolf pack tactics, to a certain childish member of these boards thinking Fascism is another word for Nazism.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Hawaiigm:
Godwin's Law is here. Argument over.

Can we please put "Godwin's Law" in the same cultural dustbin as "bling bling" and "def" and other completely overused phrases?

Godwin's law is a specific example of a more general principle that also appears to be true.

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of any comparison of any given group to another approaches one."

The Economist's extension is that "a good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument."

Neither stops if a comparison to the NASI party or ideology is achieved.

Godwin's actual law is

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

The_root_of_all_evil:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Can we please put "Godwin's Law" in the same cultural dustbin as "bling bling" and "def" and other completely overused phrases?

Godwin's actual law is

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Oh, I know--it's just that it's never used in that way anymore. I doubt 99% of the people who say it even know what Usenet is. As for the Economist's extension, that would be fine but like I said, people think Godwin's Law means you yell 'Godwin!' if someone else says 'Nazi' like it's the Secret Word on Pee-Wee's Playhouse or something, or when people run in from other rooms just to sing that one part, "five Gold RINGS!!!"

Dr. Evil:

electric discordian:
Having said all that its just a game, come back to me when they come up with virtual concentration camp.

I'd go for that. Sim Dachau would be a kick ass game. Political correctness is for pussies and neocons.

I keep thinking to myself "Satire, sarcasm, satire, sarcasm". But somehow I'm not sure.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Godheval:

White people suffer from racism too! White people have been subjugated, too! Well no shit, and no one suggests otherwise, but looking at things from a global perspective, those instances are few and far between, and their lasting effects are mostly trivial if not altogether negligible (obviously not in the case of the Zimbabwean farmers).

This kind of statement is exactly what makes it so hard for we liberals interested in truth and justice to get our point across. When people bring up "White people suffer from racism too! White people have been subjugated, too!" they're not testing whether you are aware of those facts--they are testing whether your arguments are based on something noble and just.

And you just failed that test.

You are a 'liberal' who 'tests' people like that? Hmm, I see - maybe its an American thing - but Mr Godheval has a valid point: White people are quick to point out racism against us (and yes, I am white and British) but our ascentors were involved in some of the most repressive colonization efforts. However, I do feel that taking issue with game over this is taking it too far.

To be honest, Colonization does brush over the issues of slavery in the new world - although you can befriend and/or slaughter the native Americans. But if you were to take issue with that, you'd need to ban the whole Total War series (Shotgun, maybe not, but Rome:TW didn't make a big thing of the Roman cultural extermination of the Gauls, amongst others, and Medieval brushed over both christian crusader atrocities, and the other crimes of the era, not exclusively christian by any means).

Virtually every single subject is, somehow, connected to some horrible act from our past (lets face it - humans as a species aren't particularly nice to each other, or our environments). By the same token that he complained about colonization, Civilzation (the game) didn't really include the horrors of slavery (or at least, only Civilization 4 included it as a goverment opinion).

Eygpts, Greeks, Mongels, Romans, the Islamic empires, Europeans in general (Brittain and France especially), Africans - all have been involved in slavery at some point, and many more besides. The fact of the matter is slavery is what was used before the advent of engines. Its an appauling thing and should be stamped out as throughly as possible whenever encountered, but I don't think any culture can claim true innocence from this crime.

But anyway, I've probably gone off topic - basically, we all have different view points, and whilst history shouldn't be sugar coated, does that have to invade every area of our gaming? Who's up for a WW2 shooter in which you're allies are pretty likely to accidently shoot you, you have liberate a consentration camp, and your commardes will occasionally butch surrendering enemies to loot?

I hate people like this Fritz with every bone in my body. What's more evil than colonization? Ignorance.

Fritz it's just a game, if u are worried, send a notification, or a consumers report so parents are aware of the issue, for most who play the original game in 1994, like myself, let me tell u that most of us are over 18 so we can decide for ourselves what's "morally disturbing" or not, so just chill out men.

Doug:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

This kind of statement is exactly what makes it so hard for we liberals interested in truth and justice to get our point across. When people bring up "White people suffer from racism too! White people have been subjugated, too!" they're not testing whether you are aware of those facts--they are testing whether your arguments are based on something noble and just.

And you just failed that test.

You are a 'liberal' who 'tests' people like that?

Umm, no--I think you've misunderstood something.

Rooster Cogburn:
I hate people like this Fritz with every bone in my body. What's more evil than colonization? Ignorance.

Amen to that. A big [citation needed] to him.

Hmm, whilst he does have a point, if we are going to that degree of realism, surely any game even mentioning space travel needs to include the US/USSR use of Nazi scientists after the war (some of whom were positively linked with the use of Jewish slave labour).

Problem is, virtually every human achievement can be linked to some awful event.

...surely any game even mentioning space travel needs to include the US/USSR use of Nazi scientists after the war (some of whom were positively linked with the use of Jewish slave labour).

THIS! (and don't forget the medical researches that were done back then, with horrible methods indeed, yet the knowledge gained was a solid base for further research(and hopefully used with more humane methods.))

Maybe this guy should team up with that funny woman that raged against RE5, they surely make up a formidable team. Don't want to propagandize my personal belief on that, because it surely would lead to being hit by the permaBanhammer.

UnterHund

Both sides have stated some very strong arguments for and against the point. I'm not smart enough, so I'm not going to intervene.

That said, I am going to lay this out here: colonisation benefited a lot people, but it also disadvantaged a lot of people as well. I think that the idea of 'net gains' isn't something that should be endorsed, simply because I don't believe that you cannot justify the suffering of one man by stating advancement for another. Again, I'm not going to get involved; just my ideas.

On topic, I would like to say the guy is over-reacting. He raises a valid concern, but forgets that this is just a video game. People aren't supposed to do this in real life, and most likely, they won't. Ever.

stompy:
People aren't supposed to do this in real life, and most likely, they won't. Ever.

It's more difficult to start colonising and creating an empire than the game makes it seem.

Johnn Johnston:

stompy:
People aren't supposed to do this in real life, and most likely, they won't. Ever.

It's more difficult to start colonising and creating an empire than the game makes it seem.

Reinforcing the fact that people won't suddenly colonising the world after playing the game.

Actually, you reckon this guy would cause such a fuss if this was a movie? Hypocrisy at its best.

the videogames are bad routines that are now so common, remind of that darling little episode in postal(1 or 2 i forget) where there are a group of people protesting outside the videogame company's office going "games are bad, they make you mad" or some such... and then they take out guns and try to take out the CEO, who you have save.... morale of the story, its not the games, oh no, its the bloody people themselves who have complexes....

stompy:
Actually, you reckon this guy would cause such a fuss if this was a movie? Hypocrisy at its best.

How about the movie 'Mongol'? Or, for that matter, any movie that shows colonisation?

2001: A Space Oddessy made me sick. Colonising another planet? What a foul idea.

I'm disapointed. Fritz had some good articles from time to time, but this is pure dogooger rubbish.
Or maybe someone should ban all games featuring, say, the Roman Empire. Did he say anything about Company of Heroes? You can play the Nazi, with the real flag (contrary to Wolfenstein).
Most amusing is... why is this guy's opinion suddenly so important?

Ben Fritz:

Forgive me if this sounds like an obnoxious history lesson, but the lack of outrage over the game does make me feel like I have to explain myself... Throughout history, colonization regularly involved stealing, killing, abuse, deceit, and the exploitation or decimation of native people. Anybody with a shred of a moral concience who studies the history will be appalled. Whether itColonial_dominion_1700_1763_2 was British rule of India or slavery in Africa or Aboriginal children kidnapped and taken to Christian schools in Australia or the dislocation of Native Americans in the U.S., there were no positive colonization experiences.

Why people rarely cite the invasion of Palestine by Israël? Funny thing there.

I'm sorry, I really hate the whole race card that is played in regards to anything these days. Everything is racist. If everybody continues to hold onto old grudges and stereotypes, there will never be any progress. Truth be told, white people have it worse. If there is anything that is even perceived as being racist and a white person is involved, all hell breaks loose. What if the lead character in RE5 were Japanese? How about Pakistani? Would there be as much controversy?

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