July 21, 2008

Colonization the video game

A review of Sid Meier's Colonization: Create a New Nation, a video game in which you reenact the conquest of the Americas:

Colonization:  Fun n’ GamesThe Civilization series has been repeatedly criticized for its elitist nature. Historian and anthropologist Matthew Kappell published an essay entitled “Civilization and its Discontents: American Monomythic Structure as Historical Simulacrum” that spearheads this issue. In the essay, Kappel explains how the series uses American myths concerning colonization and domination of the Americas (such as the conquering of the frontier) as a foundation for its premise. Other critics have pointed out how Colonization in particular skirts the issues of slavery, particularly the Spanish hacienda system which forced many native tribes into slavery. Removing these aspects of the colonists further paints them with a monochrome coat of goodness and innocence.

It is reprehensible that colonists are so often portrayed as brave heroes earning what land is rightfully theirs–games such as Colonization only perpetuate this myth so common among Americans and Europeans. How about a game about colonization from the natives’ perspective? Battle against an army of white folk claiming the land you’ve lived on for centuries to be theirs–now that’s a game I’d play.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Video Games Featuring Indians.


dmarks said...

Shades of "Seven Cities of Gold"

Come on now, where is the "Pastwatch" game?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd like to see someone put out the "Resistance" game.