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Firaxis stereotyping Orientals

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by gettingfat, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. gettingfat

    gettingfat Emperor

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    Up to now, I don't really see people really responding to my points.

    For those who keep attacking me on using a "racist term"? First, I already explained a thousand times oriental is not a derogatory term from where I come from. Second, by proving me to be an insensitive person my arguments are still not refuted.

    I keep saying every leader has only TWO traits out of so many. These two traits should therefore be most accurately reflective of his personality, policy, achievement and role in history.

    Wang Kon, according to some Korean posters here, appears to be a good candidate for getting the protective trait. Anyway I don't know much about their history.

    A case may be made on Tokugawa because of his isolationist policy adopted when he's old. However he has been given merchantilism as his favorite civic. So in comparison organized is a better trait than protective. Edo period, a period started by Tokugawa, was characterized by a highly organized and inflexible 4-tier class system. It allowed Japan to be in relatively stable state for about 250 years. Traces of this class system can still be seen in Japan even today. So my question is, why remove the organized trait?

    I don't see why Qin should be made protective. People repeat thousand times he built the Great Wall so he's protective. He is given the industrious trait already. So in the game he will build the Great Wall with double speed. More important, he is never recognized by any Chinese to be a protector. He is remembered as a conqueror, an empire builider, a super control freak. The imperialistic, aggressive, organized traits are all more relevant than the protective.

    People claim that because Chinese and Britain have good archers and riflemen, respectively, so they should be given the protective trait. Chinese have the CKN already. The extra first strike and collateral have already told this part of the story. In MP game you parked a few CKN plus a couple of spear/spike in a city and this city is a very hard nutshell to crack. Churchill is given the protective because he IS the protector of UK. According to this logic Victoria and Eliz should both get protective. So this is a false argument.

    Mao was known by Chinese to be the man who essentially turned China upside down and created something he called "New China". He started the Great Leap and the 10-year cultural revolution based on his insane ideals. Philosophical and organized fit these very well. He also matches the description of charismatic trait perfectly (people followed him, were in a mood like being drugged and still cherished him even after he practically starved millions to death; Mao was also known for his warfare). What did he protect? In WW2 the main force fighting Japanese was from the Nationalist Party, not the CCP.

    So does protective should be the one of the top two traits of these leaders?

    Counter my points or just ignore. Don't give me all these word picking things

    P.S. To that Aareavd guy, please do your homework. The "tank and student" thing you mentioned happened more than 10 years after Mao's death. And nothing in my posts were about political things. Marrying to a Chinese wife and teaching ESL does not necessarily make you know more about Chinese history.
     
  2. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Civilization is not a historically accurate simulation, nor is it a model for political perceptions of foreign cultures. It is a fairly abstract, entertaining strategy game. If you can't get over that fact, you shouldn't be playing it.

    If you don't like the choices that the game designers made, you have a perfect right to express your opinion, but there's a big difference between saying "I don't like Warlords" and "Firaxis are racists." You have repeatedly said the latter, so if you don't like my taking exception to your language, maybe you shouldn't use that language. Inaccurate historical details in an abstract strategy game does not represent racism.
     
  3. gettingfat

    gettingfat Emperor

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    I have not said Firaxis are racist (in most people's definition). I said Firaxis apply a stereotype, which is not a crime to me but annoying and historically untrue. Although it may have some racist implication but I don't want to get that far. The only time I mentioned the word racism was in response to your post. Stop putting words into my mouth. Once again. PLEASE!
     
  4. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    I apologize for my mistake, it was not you who introduced the word "racism" into this discussion, but rather others following your lead. However, by asserting that the assignation of the Protective attribute to all four Asian cultures represents some sort of deliberate cultural stereotyping by the developer (your words being: "When is Firaxis going to stop this crap?"), you have certainly implied that Firaxis had deliberate racist intentions, and others have followed your lead with more explicit language about the usage of the word "Oriental" and other such nonsense. Sorry for singling you out for the wrong reasons.

    There is nothing in your points to respond to. Your accusations that the leaders in Civ IV are not historically accurate are certainly true. That can be said of all leaders from all cultures in the game, not just the Asian ones. Civilization is an abstract strategy game, and to expect to be able to describe real historical leaders in a historically accurate manner using only two game attributes is utterly absurd. There is no way to please all critics with such a system. Thus far on this board I have had heard bitter complaining about every single new or changed leader attribute in this expansion from one person or another, regardless of racial origin. So for you to insinuate that the treatment of the Asian leaders somehow represents some sinister agenda on the part of Firaxis (which you clearly have) is completely preposterous. There is no way such a thing can be disproved, but you certainly haven't said anything that suggest anything other than that Firaxis are not proper Asian history scholars.... which is not their job.
     
  5. gettingfat

    gettingfat Emperor

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    First, this is indeed an abstract strategy game, but what makes this game so successful and engaging is the abstraction has been based on civ development (this game is called Civ, right?), or in other words, history. So whenever the gameplay is not being jeopardized, players still naturally expect this game to match the historical aspects, or they may just go to play Alpha Centauri (which is a great game, IMHO even better than civ in many aspects). I bet most players will still play the leader(s) of their own nationality a bit more often because they can relate to them better. Whenever a game maker uses history as a drawing card, they should also pay for the price of using this card -- In this case the limitation of the game by the historical aspects and the work needed to do on the relevant research.

    And true, Firaxis is not proper Asian history scholars. However, after making this historically-based abstract strategy game for four generations, with so many expansions fall in between, I don't think it's too much to expect them to have some decent knowledge of the civs they picked by now (or at least have consulted with somebody who know more). And I'm definitely not the first one who raises this issue, and won't be the last one.
     
  6. dc82

    dc82 Prince

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    No one's debating that the word is fine where you're from - but at the end, the internet does trascend all boundaries and when you speak, you aren't speaking just to people from your local community, but to people around the world. As I mentioned early, there are plenty of words in the English language, that can be acceptable in, England, for example, but be considered considered completely unacceptable in the United States, or vice versa.

    Again, you are more than free to use whatever language you want (as long as it follows the guidelines of the forums), but I think as the numerous replies to this thread has shown, the term is offensive, again not to you, but to several people on this forum. You can maintain your position, but ignoring the apparently response that is right before you hurts your argument that you've tried presenting in the first place.

    Either way though, when it comes to the traits (going back to your point in the first place) - I agree that Firaxis can do many things to make things more historically accurate, but I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with how the game is now. I think Civ is the type of game that has to balance that bit of history but leave things open ended for people to make their own history. Can you make an argument that the civ traits aren't fitting for their respective civs - probably. But one can make an argument for it as well - again, with some civ's with histories lasting thousands of years, one can only take a snapshot of civ to represent it in the game - the U.S. has waned from expansive to isolationist and back to expansive within its own 200 year history. So what's the best way to represent it? You just have to pick one and move on.
     
  7. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    NONE of the previous Civilization games has EVER been historically accurate to the degree which you seem to demand. By what reasoning do you suddenly equate the inevitable historical inaccuracy of an abstract strategic game to deliberate racial stereotyping?

    If you imagine for one second that Sid Meier (or any of the programmers on Civ I) coded even a single line of the Warlords expansion, then I must say that your naivete impresses even me. The teams that made each of the four Civilization games were composed of completely different people. The company which originated Civilization (Microprose) doesn't even exist any more. Firaxis was founded in 1996, AFTER Civ II was released. And yet you expect the Civilization franchise to have a will of its own, to magically posses qualities that will please every critic, both in terms of gameplay and historical accuracy? These are not standards that any real-world commercial product can meet.

    Look, there's no problem with complaining that Civ is historically inaccurate. Everyone does it. I do it. Historical authenticity is a holy grail to be sought for, if perhaps never achieved. But to suggest that this historical inaccuracy is due to racism on the part of the Firaxis developers... this is going over the line. Don't dissemble or mince words about this... that's exactly what you have alleged here.

    Indeed you will not be the first or last to complain about the lack of historical accuracy in Civilization, but you have not demonstrated any shred of a compelling argument that this inaccuracy is due to a deliberate racial bias against Asians which you have alleged.
     
  8. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    It doesn't matter if there are actually people who find the word 'oriental' offensive any more than it matters if people find the word 'word' offensive. If you find a word offensive when it is used solely to convey meaning then you are the one with the problem. It's not a question of whether I'm wise enough to avoid causing you offence. I'm not giving you any offense; you're just choosing to take it anyway.

    Slang words, such as the ones that get deleted on this forum, are a different matter because there are plenty of alternatives (although they're generally entirely unnecessary), and their use automatically implies that the user wants to give offense.

    OED:
    B. n. Freq. with capital initial.
    [2.]b. A native or inhabitant of the Orient, esp. East Asia.

    That sounds like a descriptive term to me, not an insulting one. Unless, of course, you find it insulting to be thought of as from East Asia. In that case you might be the one with the prejudices.

    Someone else mentioned that the word protective is just a word, like the word oriental. The difference here is that the OP took offence at the meaning of 'protective', in that he found it inappropriate and assumed some sort of racial prejudice on Firaxis' part. People who object to the term 'Oriental' do not usually, despite my previous comment, actually object to being described as from East Asia. They have simply chosen to find the word itself offensive, no matter its use.

    There is a difference between finding a description offensive because of the words used in it and finding a description offensive because of what the description is.
     
  9. dc82

    dc82 Prince

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    That's my point - in his home, "oriental' can be totally acceptable and as far as I know, he has ever right to use it - but there's a wisdom in choosing to use the right words, especially on an international forum. It's no different than the wisdom on whether or not to use the word "negro" or "colored" when refering to people - it may be fine in certain countries, but one has to be prepared to deal with the consequences of using that word. At the end, he may have every legal right to say what he said... it's just a matter of whether or not you want to be considerate of others. But that's his decision to make.

    Your argument reminds me of the Simpsons episode when Bart and Lisa decide to start punching and kicking the air. If you get hit, it's your own fault.
     
  10. StarWorms

    StarWorms Deity

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    Most of the traits don't come from the leader - Queen Victoria wasn't especially financial, it's just the industrial revolution took place during her reign and lots of inventions. Britain itself isn't especially defensive either - it's just we're on an island which obviously gives a lot of protection.

    Also using "oriental" is only offensive if the person who uses it intends it to be.

    A word is never offensive, it's the qualitations attached to it and whoever uses the word decides how they intend it to mean, not the person reading it.
     
  11. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    OK to try and simplify

    1. in answer to the initial title, yes the game stereotypes east Asians, It also stereotypes west Asians, Europeans, Americans, and Africans (It even stereotype Australians with the stereotype that they are unimportant in world events)

    2. This is a GOOD thing, a stereotype is a Simplification, usually based on a degree of truth. While it might be possible to create a Civ like game that does not stereotype the different groups within it, that would require

    All to be Identical (not equal but the Same ala Civ 1... even then the AI was different)
    OR
    present a total and complete picture of their culture in all its complexity... not possible in our lifetimes



    The question is whether Firaxis' stereotypes are based in some degree of fact, and one could say they are. In the period when the world was first "globalizing" The East Asian (Oriental is a Far better term than Asian here) powers were isolating themselves, and only opened up at gunpoint.

    and on the Oriental v. Asian, the poster really had to use Oriental because

    4 of 6 Oriental leaders are protective (2 non-Oriental leaders are)
    but
    5 of 11 Asian Leaders are protective (1 non-Asian is)

    so he really couldn't say Firaxis was stereotyping Asians as protective, because what Firaxis doing is stereotyping EAST Asians as "Protective"

    The question is if there is a kernel of truth in that and there is. Just like stereotyping the English as "Financial", the Mongols as "Aggressive" the Vikings as being good seafarers, the Romans as having good swordsmen, and Europeans as Secular, [only 2 of the 15 European Leaders have Spiritual].

    It may not be the best stereotype, but it is a valid one, and useful in gameplay terms for the Chinese leaders. Indeed in gameplay terms, Protective goes againt the East Asian Isolationist Stereotype by allowing easier Trade Routes (Cheap Castles)
     
  12. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    It's more like if I decide to drive my car and you jump out in front of me on the motorway.
    If you get hurt when I'm engaged in harmless activity then it's your fault.

    Kicking and punching the air is more like using 'bad language'. Bad language has no purpose except to be offensive, even if it's not actually specifically aimed at anyone. This is similar to punching the air.

    As Starworms says, Oriental is only offensive if I intend it to be.
     
  13. dc82

    dc82 Prince

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    Your analogy is pretty off I'd still say - we're not talking about random words that people are randomly taking offense from - whether you do your research or look at the response from this forum, it's clear that a good number of people do find these words offensive. Either way, if you were hit someone with a car, even if it's not your fault - to drive off and say "well it was his fault anyways" - you'd still get in trouble for the hit and run.

    This whole "only if I intend it to be" in my personal opinion is just a way to wipe off personal responsibility from one's own action. Whether it was his intent or not, the fact of the matter is, some people on this thread have taken offense to his words. To disregard it and say "not my problem," is in own's own right, I won't disagree, but it can also be seen as inconsiderate. At the end, it's not always about being technical and forcing my own personal rights, but it's understanding that, whether its in your town or on this forum, there is a community of people where we should at least respect, just as you would want to be respected yourself. Can I go around saying "Shaka is coloured person or a Negro," without having an offensive intent? Yes. Is it the wisest thing to do? Prob. not.
     
  14. boazman

    boazman Chieftain

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    As someone had already pointed out, by giving each civilization special attributes, Firaxis has to invoke some kind of existing stereotypes. Stereotypes and not necessarily negative (e.g. Swedish are tall and blonde, that’s stereotype but not negative;) ), but they are very often inaccurate generalization of the people they are describing. Because stereotypes do not imply negative connotation, it is not the same as racism (which by definition involves discrimination).

    Firaxis obviously don’t want to offend anyone, and all stereotypes used in the game mostly positive/harmless really. Not a single civilization is unfairly disadvantaged by the unique attributes given to them - may be the Celts because of the useless UU, but I haven’t tried them yet:) . It can’t be bad to be creative, organize, or protective (some may say aggressive is perceived as a bad character in some culture though).

    I would say the unique attributes are given primarily to create more varied gameplay experiences and strategies, with a secondary purpose of giving a sense of realism to each civilization. The problem is how to balance these goals. Giving too much ‘realism’ will not only risk wrongly characterize a particular civilization and therefore invoking even more stereotypes, but also severely limit gaming options (for instances, they may make Mongols or Celts unable to build cities).

    And that leads to my point. Firaxis attempts to inject more realism in the game and gives protective trait to most East Asian leaders. Not only it leads to disputable stereotyping of East Asian culture, it also limits gameplay possibilities because a gamer who wants to play an East Asian civilizations CANNOT choose a leader with no protective traits. Yes the gamer can use random traits offered in the game, but it is not supposed to be so. The problem here is not lack of realism but an imbalance between gameplay purpose and realism concerns.
     
  15. Genghis Khan II

    Genghis Khan II Chieftain

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    Ok, this is just stupid

    Korea: The nation has always been a defensive nation, because it has been too small to attack and always been attacked. It was probably picked because they had more european based countries than asian.

    China: Qin (cant spell full name) He built a huge wall. Sort of self explanatory. Protective is refering to defensive.

    Mao: I realy dont know, this might be a mistake, or mabey refering to chinas whole history.

    Japan: japan was a very protective nation, and very icolated.

    Mongols: not in original post but I will bring it up anyways. They destroyed and conquered EVERYTHING IN THEIR WAY. The Agressive trait had nothing to do with europe.

    Racisiam: This is a stupid argument. Show me something in the civilopedia that says something racist. Oriental isnt racist. Oriental is a term refering to furniture, things, and an area on the map. "Oreintals" is an uneducated term.
     
  16. gettingfat

    gettingfat Emperor

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    You said it better than I can regarding the gameplay.

    What made me start the OP was when I first looked at the faces I felt a bit more related to, almost all of them are tagged with the protective trait. I must admit that is rather strange, and disappointing.

    And I don't even find it help the realism, either. For example, by giving both Chinese leaders the protective trait, the imperialistic, organized, philosophical and financial aspects of ancient Chinese, which are main features of this civilization, are not demonstrated at all. Part of the "protective" properties, e.g. good archery and proficiency to build the Great Wall, have already been demonstrated by making CKN its UU and giving Qin the industrious trait. So why so much emphasis on the "protective"?

    Be honest, put ancient Rome right beside Qin empire instead of thousand miles away separated by deserts and mountains, I bet $100 Qin would most likely take Rome out with his "protective" army and technology advantage.

    P.S. sorry for the error.
     
  17. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Saladin DOES have Protective, unless they changed that?

    In any case the fact that
    Castles give +1 Trade route
    Drill 1 now allows you to pick Cover, Shock, and Pinch (Like Combat 1)

    Means that you can play the 'Protective traits' however you want

    Imperialistic Warmonger...
    either Toku, for the obvious
    OR
    Qin: cheap forges to build CKNs with Free Drill 1 and Cover to decimate anything but horses
    Mao: cheap Granaries to whip the above
    OR
    Korea's Financial+Castle Trade to help maintain a large Empire

    Peaceful
    Well... I definitely wouldn't use Japan for this
    Qin for a Wonder Rushing Path
    Mao for a Whip/Specialist Path
    WK for a Cottage Spam Path


    I'm sorry you can't get someone that looks like you with the traits you want.

    [Side note: this is why I think we should have 'Skins' where you pick a one of the Existing Combos of Traits+UU+UB, and can then change the Leader Picture, City Name List, and the NAME of the UU+UB... so you could pick

    Napoleon (Charismatic, Organized) and Just Rename him to Qin*, your empire to Middle Kingdom*, put the Kublai Leaderhead on him, use the China city List, and change the Name of the UU to ... whatever a Chinese musketman was called, and the UB to ...whatever a Chinese Observatory/group of Chinese Astronomers was called

    * These you can already do, But I think that would REALLY expand some of civs capability... as well as helping with the 'Why can't I play as Civ X'
     
  18. dc82

    dc82 Prince

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    Yeah it's funny, the way the Custom Game set up is set, it almost looks as if you "should" be able to pick a name, a leader profile, and a nation - even if they don't match. Maybe there'll be a patch or mod to make it so...
     
  19. Randolph

    Randolph Warlord

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    I didn’t read the whole thread, and I imagine someone has already pointed this out, but this is clearly where you’ve gone wrong. Civilization is not a model of reality or history, it is a game inspired by history. The primary goal for leaders is not to “find the best two traits,” but to make a variety of unique and balanced leader options for players. This is impossible under your standard of “the two traits that best describe the leader.” I believe the proper standard should be “is this trait set reasonably inspired by the historical leader.” It would be pretty weird to have a Stalin with the spiritual trait, but organized/ industrious , org/imperial, ind/expansive, etc are all reasonable.

    Is there really a leader in the game that would be better described as protective/industrious then Qin? My guess is the Chinese leaders got protective because they were militarily strong, but weren’t involved in a lot of outside conquest. This seems good enough for a game like civ. If your interested in a game that is more of a historical simulator, I would try the Paradox Entertainment series: Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Victoria, etc. Civ was never intended to be an accurate historical simulator, and people that think that it “should be” are bound to get annoyed.

    On the topic of Racism, I think that Asians, and people of Asian decent, are going to have to start getting use to being in a similar category as us “white people.” High population and economic and political power equals having to bite the bullet when it comes to popular negative stereotypes. You’re not exactly an oppressed minority. It’s ok to “set the record straight” and correct people politely, but if you throw a fit your going to look like all those whinny upper-class white kids complaining that they didn’t get Stanford because of “discriminatory affirmative action.” Go ahead and explain to people that Asian countries aren’t isolationist and xenophobic, but hold off on the hysterical claims of racism. Well, that’s my humble opinion, flame away.
     
  20. turquoiseninja

    turquoiseninja Cylon Centurion

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    The trait is PROTECTIVE, not ISOLATIONIST. Protective means that the LEADER (not the civ as a whole) defended his/her country from foreign threat; even if the leader was openly trading and conversing with foreigners, they still could have been attacked out of no where (Monty!:mischief:) and skillfully defended. Isolationist would mean that they avoided all foreign contact.

    Qin defiantely should not have gotten protective from a historical prospective. He united/conquered China! You must admit though, that the far eastern countries have had lots of isolationism throughout history; especialy during the later times of the Chinese empire, they stopped trade with the "Western Barbarians". I think Protective fits Mao and Toku fairly well, Mao fought a defensive war against Japan and Nationalist China, and Tokugawa in his later years protected Japan from foreign influence.
    And how is "Oriental" rascist? If you say "Asian", that includes the Middle East and even parts of Russia! Its more of a distinction to say Oriental Sure, it's is a word westeners invented, but oh well.
     

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