Earlier this week, a Californian-based blogger pointed an accusatory finger at Sony?s new PSP hope LocoRoco, accusing the game of being blatantly racist due to the inclusion of Golliwog type characters (see picture to the right).
Alejandro Quan-Madrid insisted that the game was guilty of "institutional racism", claiming that the bad guys - Moja ? were far too similar to offensive early 20th Century caricatures of Africans popularised by such things as golliwogs and the Black and White minstrel-type entertainers of the day.
Another Kotaku writer, Florian Eckhardt, offered a counter-point to Quan Madrid?s accusations: "[he] is making himself out to be one of those knee-jerk reactionaries who measures his own importance by his ability to be self-righteously offended. Not only is his argument silly and worthy of derision, but it demeans the struggle against actual racism."
Ryan Bowling, PR manager for SCEA, waded into the frey, offering the comment, "LocoRoco is a fantasy game geared towards a worldwide audience that takes place in a vibrant pastel world with colorful landscapes and characters and is not based on real-life places, people or things."
What do you think? Are Japanese games designers innocently creating wonderful fantasy worlds for us to play in? Or are some of them really guilty of ?institutional racism? as per Quan-Madrid?s comments? Is there really something darker at work here? (Now that's
a poor choice of phrase - Ed).For more on LocoRoco, check out SPOnG's dedicated page here.