Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why Do We Do These Things: To Auction From Building Blocks?!

by Da CogNegro

The picture above is a screenshot of a  good ol' fashion game of "Slave Tetris"...I repeat, A GAME  THAT USES SLAVES AS TETRIS PIECES!

Created by the  Danish developers at Serious  Games, this "Tetris" like mini-game  is  actually a portion of the "educational" Playing History series. This particular entry is entitled Slave Trade. In the game, you play as a young slave lad by the name of Tim. Your mission, if you choose to accept it....yea right, you're a slave remember you have no choices in life, is to help your captain  purchase 300 slaves and transport them to the Americas! You also are commissioned with steering the slave ship as well. If you go off course, you lose. If you even think of taking the ship back to Africa, guess what, you lose!

Things get a bit sticky though when you find out that your sister is also aboard the boat. With this revelation, you would figure that perhaps some type of mutiny will occur. Thus educating  the young player that slaves were not just mindless drones being transported from one region of the world to the other.Um, not quite! Instead, you simply stuff your sibling into another boat that is headed to the Atlantic while  you continue to aid your captain in purchasing and transporting slaves!

Fun For The Whole Family
According to the developers, the purpose of the game is to educate children to the horrors of the slave trade first hand!  Yes, because nothing screams "horror" more than an animated mouse donning a cowboy hat and a  ambiguous, smiling sea creature who looks like a rejected extra from a failed Pixar movie. There are countless of other egregious depictions and actions within the game, but I will allow you to conduct your own research to discover what they are. (Hint: an African character does steal a line from Mr.T that rhymes with "I City the Pool")

Due to public outrage, the"Tertis" portion has been removed from Slave Trade. However, the remainder of the game is still available on gaming outlets such as STEAM.Ironically, there was just as much outrage for the mini game's removal as there was for its' inclusion. Obviously, we have some upstanding folk who wish to act on their unbridled desires to be  slave handlers! Well, it could be worst, it's not like they are planning on remaking ROOTS!

Our recent fascination with slave culture is  problematic. This game's intentions was not to educate but rather trivialize the atrocities of slavery and profit of the controversy it would create. This same argument can be used in our constant revisiting of the subject. I, in no way, am saying that we should forget  about what occurred, especially since its' ramifications are still being felt today! However, we have enough depictions, both historical and fictional, in pop culture to hold us off until the next three Tarantino movies  rationalizes the rampant use of the N-Word! Would it have been difficult for Serious Games to produce a something about African Kings and Queens? Or how about the expeditions of Matthew Henson? Or tinkering with inventions through the FPS perspective of Garrett Morgan?  On second thought, let's hold off on the whole inventing idea! Nowadays, if you are  a person of color and you decide to build , I don't know... a clock, you may be arrested at your school. 

- CgN


  1. I can only think of a line from an old Skittles commercial, "Are they for real?"

  2. I can only think of a line from an old Skittles commercial, "Are they for real?"

  3. Wow! Why would someone even think to make a game like this and feel it was ok.

  4. Wow! Why would someone even think to make a game like this and feel it was ok.