Mystery And Controversy Surround Slavery The Game

Jarlaxl

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I hope that someone makes this game. Gaming is actually a great medium for something like this, where "something like this" is a confrontation of the human element of slave traders.

If you believe that this video is racist, I implore you to move past that for a moment. We cannot have a serious discussion about this as a possible game if you are hung up on that point.

First off, sit down and try to think about why this is racist and/or why you find it offensive. If you can find a line of reasoning, I'd be interested to hear it.

If not, try this logic on for size: THIS IS NOT (inherently) RACIST. Nobody is saying "those stupid [offensive racial epithet] deserved to be victimized by slavery! I'm GLAD they were, and modern-day [plural offensive racial epithet] are sub-human!" or something along those lines.

And if you are like that...stop it. Seriously, you just look silly.

This video does not imply "slavery is good" or "black people deserve to be enslaved." It says "this was a thing that happened historically." The colonial slave trade was a historical reality. Sorry if that's unsettling for you, but it deserves to be confronted as such.

Oh, quick aside for a friend: if you do participate in modern-day human trafficking, STOP IT AND REPORT YOUR ASS TO THE AUTHORITIES. If you know of people who participate in modern-day human trafficking, REPORT THEIR ASSES TO THE AUTHORITIES. That's some messed up stuff.

Anyways.

As stated, gaming is actually a great medium for something like this, where "something like this" is a confrontation of the human element of slave traders.

Consider: I don't think that it would be too far to say that we, as inhabitants of contemporary industrialized societies, view the enslavement of other humans as an abhorrent act. I don't think it would be too far to also say that the subjugation and destruction of a race, ethnic group, society, etc. is pretty awful.

The colonial slave trade wrapped these two terrible practices into one atrocious package.

It also required a large number of people to actively contribute their time, energy, and resources to maintain it.

The question, then: How did so many people not see the inherent wrongness of the colonial slave trade, and why did they participate in it?

The answer won't come in a book or movie. In either of those mediums, we, as contemporary media consumers, will see a morally abhorrent man participating in bad acts against other men. Even if there isn't a slave in the story, you still judge the slave trader. Even if he's portrayed as an otherwise morally righteous man, it will be difficult to craft a situation where the slave trade isn't the lesser of two evils for him - for instance, "I hate the slave trade, but I love my family and want to support them..."

In short, we'd judge the character before he had a chance to prove us wrong.

However, given our values, therein possibly lies one answer: morals and values were different at the time. Sure - back then, slaves weren't people, so they could be treated like that and no one felt bad!

While a valid level of analysis, this is roughly the historical equivalent of a chemist saying that evaporation happens because a wizard did it. You can't stop at values and morals; where do they come from? I can say that contemporary society likes reality TV because of its values, but where did those values come from?

That, then, is the relevant question - where did the values which made the slave trade possible come from?

The answer is massive profits. Fact is, slavery was part of a HUGE financial windfall for a whole lot of people (remember learning about mercantilism in grade school?). Maybe people thought that slavery was wrong, maybe they didn't. In the face of huge profits, though, who cares?

So, then, here comes a game - a game, mind you, here being a system wherein performing actions carries consequences, and external goals exist which can be reached with certain actions, and players are encouraged to aspire towards these goals (God of War, for example, rewards players for pressing the right buttons which kill their enemies at the right time) - where the objective is exactly why any business exists: profits. A player is told to maximize profits.

You say you wouldn't?

Well, you'd play a game to maximize your points.

You'd play a game to maximize your character's damage output.

You'd play a game to maximize your efficiency at a race.

So, yes, I do believe that you'd play a game where, according to the game universe's internal logic, maximizing profits is a goal.

And how do you do it? Traffic slaves. You are a slave trader, because that is where the money is, or someone rich is paying you to do this, or you need to provide for your family somehow.

Maximize profits with bigger ships, to carry more slaves.

Maximize profits with the right tools, to threaten your slaves with force if they don't do as you say.

Maximize profits by drowning an entire ship full of slaves in the middle of the Atlantic, because the authorities are inspecting your ship, and you'll lose more money in fines than you will by dumping your "cargo."

And then, when you're purchasing another fleet of ships because your margins are fat and Africa has more slaves for you to maximize your profits, you stop and think. My God, you realize, these are people you're shipping across the Atlantic! Not sugar or barley, but humans.

But the profit potential is there.

But it's wrong.

Now then...what do you do?

You learn why people, even well-meaning ones, could get dragged into the slave trade, that's what you do.

EDIT:
TrilbyWill said:
i just realised what it is:

its a statement about how any game that brings up a controversial topic can and inevitably will be defended as 'art'.

because you just know that someone is going to say 'nononono it doesnt SUPPORT slavery, its showing the dark and gritty lifestyle of the slave trade FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE! we hear about how it was for the slaves but this is how the SLAVERS lived and why they did this. its ART! you wouldnt UNDERSTAND!'
Heh. I can't say that I wasn't called out in advance.
 

Stall

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Why is this newsworthy? It's a stupid, random, fake trailer that would have faded into obscurity if no one had reported on it. I mean, it can't stir up a "firestorm of controversy" if no one knows it exists. The only possible reason to report on this is to garner that controversy for easy hits. Is this website seriously THIS starved for hits?
 

Jarlaxl

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Stall said:
Why is this newsworthy? It's a stupid, random, fake trailer that would have faded into obscurity if no one had reported on it. I mean, it can't stir up a "firestorm of controversy" if no one knows it exists. The only possible reason to report on this is to garner that controversy for easy hits. Is this website seriously THIS starved for hits?
1. It's the job of a gaming news website to report gaming news. This is gaming news. Ergo, it is reported. You don't pass up on things it is possible your readership will find interesting, even if it might cause "controversy." Should the news not report things like the lives of politicians because it might be controversial?

2. When your business model revolves around page views, you're damn right they'll post news stories that will garner page hits. It reminds me of a line I heard many moons ago: "WOW! A BUSINESS ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!! It blew my mind! I mean, I know Donald Trump got into business to make friends..."
 

Stall

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Jarlaxl said:
1. It's the job of a gaming news website to report gaming news. This is gaming news. Ergo, it is reported. You don't pass up on things it is possible your readership will find interesting, even if it might cause "controversy." Should the news not report things like the lives of politicians because it might be controversial?

2. When your business model revolves around page rules, you're damn right they'll post news stories that will garner page hits. It reminds me of a line I heard many moons ago: "WOW! A BUSINESS ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!! It blew my mind! I mean, I know Donald Trump got into business to make friends..."
This isn't gaming news. It's some random moron with a video editor who made a fake trailer so he could get some views on his youtube account. You know what this article has done? Fed into that moron's desires. Great job. Instead of just letting the moronic little prank die in obscurity, they give it views. There is literally NOTHING news worthy on this. The only reason to report on this is to exploit the controversy for cheap views. Nothing more... nothing less. It's nothing new on this website: the overall quality of the journalism on this site ranges from several questionable to barely passing.

Even further, most evidence suggests this ISN'T EVEN A GAME. You said that gaming news websites report on gaming news. If this isn't a game, then why are they even reporting on this?

The simple fact is that The Escapist is exploiting the same controversy they are referring to in the article for their own game: to get page viewed. It's underhanded and totally lacks of journalistic integrity. Instead of reporting on something important, non-trivial, and REAL, they instead just exploit some controversy for easy page views... real classy.

Stop white knighting poor journalism, would you? The author could have let this stupid video die in obscurity to be forgotten by the internet, but instead decided to exploit someone's silly little prank for views.
 

Dorian6

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Apr 3, 2009
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Idk...it looks fake, and it doesn't sound like something that any sensible company would greenlight.
 

Adzma

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The "OMG THIS IS TEH HORRIBLEZ, LET FAUX NEWZ RIP IT A NEW ONE" responses are highly amusing, kudos to you all. I love how murder and drugs is acceptable for all of you, yet slavery goes too far!

I think some people may need a reality check and look up the definition of video game once more.
 

Sylocat

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Nov 13, 2007
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Susan Arendt said:
EHKOS said:
It's totally fake. When he said "buy slaves" I knew it.
Right. We know that. But if it's PR stunt or ARG, what's it for? That's what we're trying to determine.
I wonder if it might be a big Joey Skaggs-style [http://www.snopes.com/critters/edibles/dogsoup.asp] prank, just to bait the anti-gaming media douchebags into putting their feet in their mouths.
 

Dango

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Earnest Cavalli said:
We even went so far as to plug "Javelin Reds" into an internet anagram generator, but as you can plainly see [http://wordsmith.org/anagram/anagram.cgi?anagram=javelin+reds&t=1000&a=n], the results offer little in the way of illumination.

"Javelin Reds Gaming" offers more vocabulary options [http://wordsmith.org/anagram/anagram.cgi?anagram=javelin+reds+gaming&t=1000&a=n], but unless this is a clever smokescreen for something called "Vandal Jigger Mines," we're still at a loss.
According to a Youtube comment, Red Javelin is an anagram for "De Slavernij", which is Dutch for "The Slavery".

EDIT: Ah, looks like someone beat me to it.
 

Jarlaxl

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Oct 14, 2010
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Stall said:
Jarlaxl said:
1. It's the job of a gaming news website to report gaming news. This is gaming news. Ergo, it is reported. You don't pass up on things it is possible your readership will find interesting, even if it might cause "controversy." Should the news not report things like the lives of politicians because it might be controversial?

2. When your business model revolves around page rules, you're damn right they'll post news stories that will garner page hits. It reminds me of a line I heard many moons ago: "WOW! A BUSINESS ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!! It blew my mind! I mean, I know Donald Trump got into business to make friends..."
This isn't gaming news. It's some random moron with a video editor who made a fake trailer so he could get some views on his youtube account. You know what this article has done? Fed into that moron's desires. Great job. Instead of just letting the moronic little prank die in obscurity, they give it views. There is literally NOTHING news worthy on this. The only reason to report on this is to exploit the controversy for cheap views. Nothing more... nothing less. It's nothing new on this website: the overall quality of the journalism on this site ranges from several questionable to barely passing.

Even further, most evidence suggests this ISN'T EVEN A GAME. You said that gaming news websites report on gaming news. If this isn't a game, then why are they even reporting on this?

The simple fact is that The Escapist is exploiting the same controversy they are referring to in the article for their own game: to get page viewed. It's underhanded and totally lacks of journalistic integrity.

Stop white knighting bad journalism, would you?
White knighting bad journalism. Hm. That's a bit loaded right there...

But let's step back and think for a moment.

Now, I could just say, well, we're talking about it, so it's obviously of some interest to the community. I feel that you'd just reply that it would never have impacted the community if we had never known about it.

Perhaps you'd be right in that regard. That said, let's get at the core of what you're saying.

Essentially, I read that this is not gaming news, by virtue of the fact that it isn't a game; it's a home-made video. This is a gaming-interest website, therefore, it should not be here.

If I'm wrong in that conclusion, please let me know.

While evidence suggests that this is, in fact, not a real game, we at the moment have no hard-and-fast conclusion to that point.

But that's okay, because whether or not it's a real game is not the point. The fact of the matter is, this video, whether or not it's for a real game, has the ability to influence the gaming community.

Key word: ability.

Just look at this thread. We have very strong reactions to this video, to the idea that this could be a game - and we're gamers, well-versed in our chosen field of media. Imagine how people who don't know about gaming will react. If a news outlet got a hold of this, it could be very over-blown, especially given that our eyes are far more discerning for inconsistencies in game trailers than others. Someone might see this and run it, on a slow news day - even if they were unsure as to the source material.

In short, this video does have the potential to get outside of the gaming community and portray gaming in a...particular light, which could lead to important discussions for the gaming community-at-large.

So, we have possibilities which lead to a 2x2 grid of outcomes: The Escapist runs the story vs. The Escapist doesn't run the story, AND The news blows up vs. the news doesn't blow up.

If The Escapist runs the story and it blows up, then The Escapist acts as a reliable, up-to-date gaming news service.
If The Escapist runs the story and it doesn't blow up, then who cares? Nobody's better or worse for it, some people argue over the internet for a bit, the website gets some hits, and the world keeps spinning.
If The Escapist doesn't run the story and it blows up, then The Escapist was late to that show, and that looks bad for The Escapist.
If The Escapist doesn't run the story and it doesn't blow up, then, again, who cares? (Other than less page views for the Escapist.)

From the perspective of a gaming journalism site, who, whether we assume they are driven primarily by delivering relevant gaming news or by getting page views to get money, will benefit overall by running the news.

Now, let's suppose that the news only blows up because they ran it here. I find that tough to believe, but, okay, let's run with that.

In which case, different question: do you feel that this video triggers an important discussion for the gaming community? Because I certainly think so.

And, an honest question: if you feel that this website is of poor quality, why do you continue to post here? Not trying to be confrontational, just wondering.
 

Jodan

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hay kids lets learn about the seemy underbelly columbian exchange THE HARD WAY!!!
this kinda reminded me of the vr from the simpson with gengis khan, you eat who i eat.

seriously the 17 century was so full of blatant human rights violations for money or king and country ... bla bla bla just go read about it its some nasty stuff
 

Dalek Caan

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Feb 12, 2011
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Well that was certainly interesting. I thought this would be a rebellion thing. I think this might just be a joke. Doubt Mircosoft or Sony would this be on the 360 or PS3.
 

Marohen

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Get a grip, people, this is as fake as they come, you're all smarter than this!

Look at any of the "Game footage", It's just complicated enough to fool the eye, but if you -really- look at it, it's way too simplified to be playable.

Also, look at the ending, at the end of a trailer there's a selection of platforms it'll be on in addition to it's developer's and publishers, see how there's no publisher in the list (And, oddly enough, the developer logo is white instead of red like it was at the beginning)?

So, assuming this is an indy developer, they'll sell it through the PSN Store and XBox Marketplace, name me ONE game on there that's rated Adults Only--I mean, think about it, how many Adults Only games do you actually see in the market? It'd be like giving your movie an X rating--they'll never show it at the theaters!
 

Agent Larkin

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While it is fake (although if it was real I would give it a go) I have to wonder what it's really for.

Does anyone know of any games being set in that time period coming out in the next while?

-edit-

Possible Viral for AssCreed Revelations?
 

Uber Evil

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Held by Domains by Proxy,inc. If WhoIs [http://whois.domaintools.com/slaverythegame.com] is to be believed. Imma call bullshit at this point. This just gives me a weird feeling in my stomach if it is real.
 

Marohen

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Agent Larkin said:
While it is fake (although if it was real I would give it a go) I have to wonder what it's really for.

Does anyone know of any games being set in that time period coming out in the next while?

-edit-

Possible Viral for AssCreed Revelations?
I doubt it, making adverts deliberately to piss people off is more up EA's alley than Ubisoft, I wager.
 

Mr. 47

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May 25, 2011
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This is probably a distasteful joke. The announcer strikes me as too generic, and, well, slave tycoon? Really? If you controlled a slave trying to bring an uprising, great, if the game takes place in Colonial times, and happens to have some slavery in it, fine; but making a game where you can BEAT and MURDER slaves is over the line. It isn't there for historical accuracy, it is the very point of the game. It is one of the cruelist acts in history, it is like making a game about rape (ignoring Japan here) it is wrong.
 

Rutskarn

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It claims to be ESRB rated, but the ESRB hasn't heard of it. It's fake. Case closed.
 
Jun 23, 2008
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Yeah, the thing that made me doubt this was a real trade management game was the lack of molasses and rum circuits. In fact, between the slave disciplining subgame (featuring a wide selection of implements) and the AO rating lead me to believe this is, if not a mock-up, a BDSM sex-fantasy game.

You only need to discipline your slaves if they're working for you, not if they're livestock cargo. And in a plantation management sim, you'd have a foreman to do that for you; no implements selection necessary.

On the presumption that this was a real game (which I suspect it isn't), the dark themes indicate it is fully aware that this is an antiheroic game. It's clear the game devs believe the player is doing evil (and they're enabling him or her). Otherwise, we'd see a more sepia-toned design with charts on parchment and wood, brass and leather trim.

So yeah, if it is a real game, it's a BDSM domination/submission play sex game, not a human trafficking sim.

238U.
 

Amondren

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Oct 15, 2009
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...wat...

When I saw this I was thinking. "Ya know it might be interesting playing a game where your a slave and you have your life taken from you that could make a interesting yet horrifying game showing the tortures of slavery." no...no its nothing like I wished it would be just...no this game will go through hell to be released people are gonna rip it apart.