Fear And Hatred: A Multi-Platform Experience

I recently played Atlus’s Summon Night: Twin Age for the Nintendo DS, and while it was neither breathtaking nor abysmal, it did manage to ignite a tiny flame inside the dark, cavernous recesses of my mind. It got me thinking about themes common to video games, movies, literature, and the real world; specifically “tension between races, propagated by fear and manifested in hatred.”

Even if we were all some freaky, multi-armed Spore creations, it’d be impossible to count the number of video games that address this theme on some level. According to my calculations, nearly every RPG since the dawn of time has been an interracial affair, and if not, there have at least been multiple tribes, nations, or townships involved. Without even branching into other genres, instances of interracial tensions in video games easily number in the many-dozens, and are often revealed to be rooted only in ignorance and fear by the resolution of the story arc.

One group is usually so frightened by the mere thought of another, either because of ancient history, dubious folklore, or differences from what they know to be the norm, that they develop a primitive and irrational hatred for them. Then, of course, the other group echoes that sentiment tenfold.

It is a fire fueled by the misguided will of the masses, whose innocent trepidation leads them to vehemently defend their stance, and at the same time prevents them from ever questioning, “why?” It is only the eldest and wisest who seem to understand the truth of this grand misapprehension; knowledge that they inevitably impart to the protagonists and the players somewhere along the way. The error of the characters’ ways is always painfully obvious to the audience. Why, then, should it be different when these themes occur in real life?

Few would oppose the assertion that an individual’s creative endeavors are often reflections of his or her life experiences, or at least have roots therein, so one could easily say that many of these tales are at least partially allegorical. They relate either to what the artist has taken part in directly or witnessed at a distance, including historical and current events on a global scale.

Just like the fictional personalities in our beloved electronic entertainment, the world seems to repeatedly fall victim to the reciprocal “fear-and-hate” policy described above. From international governing bodies all the way down to the individual, this sad cycle affects everyone to some degree. This leads me to wonder if the lessons to be learned from these tales are indeed universally evident, because it has become abundantly clear, especially in recent years, that not everyone can extrapolate those same lessons from that which is “real.”

Maybe the reality is in some way less tangible than the fiction, due to the objective, third-party perspective we assume in the latter. Or maybe the complete, unobscured picture is only visible in retrospect, upon finishing the story.

To be continued?


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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