Special Investigative Report with Ray Charlston
If you are like many people 30 and under you may have grown up on video games. Perhaps your family had a Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, or a Nintendo 64. Perhaps you or your children own a Nintendo Wii. You may think video games are a harmless hobby or an enjoyable form of recreation, but think again! Video games can promote racism, sexism and anti-democratic attitudes!
Nintendo Co. Ltd, headquartered in Kyoto Japan was literally founded on sexism, racism and Japanese Imperialism. Founded in 1889, its hateful legacy continues on to the present. Video games have spread around the world, poisoning the globe with hate. For this special report I will be interviewing Dr. Norman Frederickson of the Campaign for Justice, Equality and Peace. His organization is dedicated to fighting hatred and exposing bigotry and intolerance.
RC: Dr. Frederickson, thank you for agreeing to accept this interview.
NF: Of course. I was happy to accept your invitation this is a very important issue. One that I might add, I am deeply concerned about.
RC: I understand that you have done extensive research into video games, Nintendo games specifically and what you’ve found has been, more than a little troubling?
NF: Yes, indeed. Our children are being taught racism, sexism, colonialism, and even feudalism in these so-called Nintendo video games. What most people don’t realize is that the Nintendo company has been around for some time, well before video games were invented. They used to make playing cards and other things. During the World War II era Nintendo like the rest of Japan was infused with Japanese Imperialism. This attitude actually persists to the present day and is expressed rather systematically in Nintendo’s so-called games.
Some critics of my theories on video games and even the Nintendo company itself has pointed out that Nintendo of America, the US subsidiary is headed by a black woman. Incidentally their first black and first woman. That is simply the most obvious and shallow attempt to hide their racism possible. Nintendo is saying, in effect, look at us we have a black president in the US, therefore we cannot be racist. It’s as transparently false as when the Republicans elected Michael Steel, that obvious Oreo cookie as party Chairman in an attempt to hide their racism by confusing the public. Nintendo is fundamentally racist and sexist. Superficial manoeuvring of this kind shouldn’t fool anyone!
RC: Could you elaborate on Nintendo’s racism and sexism, and give us some specific examples please Dr. Frederickson?
NF: Absolutely, it would be my pleasure. Well, everyone who knows of Nintendo has heard of Mario and the popular Mario series of video games. Many adults mistakenly think of the Mario games as rather benign and harmless. Now, interestingly Mario is actually a blue-eyed white man, despite his creator being Japanese. Mario is an Italian, in a subtle nod to Mussolini’s Italian Fascism. Mario rescues Princess Toadstool in typical chauvinist fashion. This princess represents the Nordic racial ideal. Blue eyes, blonde hair, light skin etc. She is presented as a symbol of Aryan racial purity.
Someone created a parody anti-racist poster involving Mario, actually perpetuating dangerous and ugly racial stereotypes. I have e-mailed you a picture, perhaps you can include it with your final article.
RC: I will do that, Thank you. So, Mario and the Princess represent some sort of nod by their Japanese Imperialist creator to Aryan – Nordic supremacist theories?
NF: Yes, precisely. That would be bad enough but it gets much worse, much, much worse unfortunately. Invariably in virtually all of these Mario games Mario rescues the princess. In other words the old sexist staple tale plays out. The weak, docile, insecure woman is captured and kidnapped. Unable to defend herself or rescue herself, she invariably waits for a man, in this case Mario. This is nothing but sexist gender-stereotyping for children.
My life-partner is a very resourceful woman. I would like to think that if she were ever kidnapped she could even rescue herself. She wouldn’t have to wait around for some man to do it! That’s not her style, she’s a strong, intelligent and independent woman! I would never try to demean the woman I love by attempting to rescue her. Nor would I dishonour her by asking violent racially-profiling reactionaries like the police to go out and try to find her! Women do not need male rescuing, period.
Most disturbingly, it is children who are the biggest fans of the Mario series of games. Little boys are learning at a young age that women want to be rescued or that they are somehow lesser and require male protection to survive in the world. They are made to seem as though they cannot take care of themselves. Little girls come away thinking, I need a man someday to be complete as a person. This causes immense psychological harm to our children.
My life-partner and I made a concerted effort to raise our sons in a very progressive atmosphere. We never allowed video games in our home. In fact we encouraged our sons to choose their gender on their own, not to accept someone else’s label. Until my oldest son was 16 we continued to buy him both traditionally male and female gifts for birthdays and holidays along with clothes for both sexes. I think he resented us for being so progressive. I told him, be grateful you have the luxury today of being able to choose your gender. Of course my life-partner and I were a little disappointed when he chose to be male, the gender imposed upon him from birth by state of California.
RC: Are there other examples of Nintendo’s sexism Dr. Frederickson and you could elaborate on?
NF: Indeed there are. This is not an isolated pattern by any means. The Zelda series of games another popular Nintendo franchise is equally sexist. In this case, Link the young hero rescues princess Zelda who in various incarnations of the game is always kidnapped by the dark skinned Ganon or Ganondorf. It’s also interesting to note that Mario’s chief nemesis King Koopa or Bowser has brown skin. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so. Nintendo is teaching children to associate dark skin with violence, terror, or kidnappings.
Zelda and Link are depicted as Nordic Aryans, albeit with dwarf like ears, reminiscent of something out of old Nordic Viking mythology. If Richard Wagner, that old Anti-Semitic Nordic supremacist had been alive today he would probably be creating video games like Zelda. In fact the latest Zelda game features music recorded from an actual orchestra. How many people of colour do you think there are in a typical orchestra? The conductors are invariably old white men, it never fails! Haven’t we had enough of this tired old white man music? Why can’t Nintendo adopt vibrant African or Rastafarian music? Maybe some Bob Marley?
The smoking gun, in the case of the Zelda series involves a swastika. In the very first Legend of Zelda game, the third dungeon is shaped like a giant swastika, made up of individual rooms! You can easily verify this online if you don’t have the game yourself. There is a picture of it, and anyone can see it online, simply by a quick search. Of course, some will argue the swastika was also a symbol used by ancient Japan and by many cultures and religions. The obvious retort to that argument, is that The Legend of Zelda was created after WWII.
Since its adoption by the National Socialists, the swastika has become a universal symbol of racial hatred and evil worldwide. Anyone who uses the swastika, anywhere, and at any time, is a racist and an Anti-Semite. Responsible Buddhists, Hindus and Jains as well as responsible Koreans, Chinese, Tibetans, Japanese, Europeans and Native Americans now abhor and reject that once sacred cultural-religious symbol. It’s like Adolf Hitler’s moustache, some things are just off limits now.
My organization is actually circulating a petition right now to sand blast a swastika off of an 800 year old Tibetan Buddha statue. Amazingly some objected to this. The fact that we found a way to let the statue survive at all, already represents an incredible compromise. We still have a lot more work to do to eradicate that ugly symbol forever. The Legend of Zelda came out in 1986, yet to this day Nintendo has not released a revised form of the game with the filthy swastika removed!
In the earliest Mario games, Mario rescued a woman known as Pauline who had been kidnapped by “Donkey Kong” an angry and menacing gorilla. What is Nintendo trying to tell us exactly? Who do gorillas represent, what is the symbolism of Mario rescuing a white woman from a dark King Kong style gorilla? I think it is quite obvious. The entire game was an allegorical story against miscegenation. Anyway, this Pauline is lily white of course, Mario also rescues a Princess Daisy but mainly Princess Toadstool.
Apparently just one girlfriend isn’t enough for the insatiable and sexist Mario. All of these women are white and attractive, affluent and at last two are aristocratic. Would it kill Mario to date or help a woman of colour or just a normal poor or middle class woman? Not only is Mario racist and sexist but he is also classist. Working class women and women of colour simply do not exist in “Super Mario World.”
Another interesting but less well known series are the Kid Icarus games. They incorporate an ancient Greek mythological theme. Evidently, it would kill Nintendo to celebrate an African or Native-American culture. The protagonist is of course, a young white male. Who is his nemesis? Medussa, a female monster figure right out of Greek mythology. In other words, a young angry white boy kills an evil woman of another race. This sounds like something that horrible racist political party in Greece, the “Golden Dawn” might enjoy! Maybe Nintendo was collaborating with them on the project?!
Games like the Samurai Warrior’s series on Nintendo Wii glamorize Feudal Japan’s proto-fascist warrior culture. This culture was needless to say, patriarchal, sexist, and fundamentally racist, and imbued with Japanese supremacist ideology. It set the foundation for Japanese militaristic imperialism before and during WWII. Here’s Nintendo saying, that ugly past is worth honouring and celebrating in the form of not just one but three video games!
Evidently Japan and especially its video game programmers long for the good old days when it sought to conquer other lands and when deadly sword fights were a daily occurrence. A time when women did nothing but stayed home, popped out children, and were chained by their ankles to the kitchen stove! Of the three part series, I have only played Samurai Warrior’s Katana, the first game, but I had to stop after several minutes as the violent carnage of the game was just too upsetting. You can imagine the irreparable psychological trauma that these games inflict on our children!
We live in a civilized society, the last thing we need are children who are raised with the mentality that they need to somehow defend themselves or arm themselves against some sort of unknown or imagined threat. A threat they will most likely never encounter. Guns simply have no place in our society, unless maybe you are fighting overseas to help spread democracy under President Obama’s leadership. That might be the only exception. We need to trust our government to keep us safe and these video games send a deadly and wrong message to children.
I truly worry about the children of the video game culture as they grow up. If someone is breaking into your house with a gun or threatening, to kill you, or rape you, you need to put your gun or knife down. Call the police and wait for them to come and help you. In most areas, unless you are in a huge city or a very rural place, the police will arrive in under an hour, and they will usually come out after most calls. The average rape lasts just under ten minutes, if you kill an intruder their life is gone forever. Not to mention the fact that rapists are disproportionately urban youths of colour, forced into their position by society!
If you have a gun you are more likely to injure yourself with it than you are to successfully thwart a criminal or an intruder, as one Harvard Professor noted. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to defend themselves as they do in video games! That is not the real world but many people cannot tell the difference, because they have grown up playing countless hours of video games! I can say without exaggeration that video games have changed the chemical balances in their mind and induced a kind of mass insanity.
I know of a case where one child was a big fan of the Mario games. After a few years, the child became afraid that the mushrooms in his salad would come alive and attack him. He suffered from schizophrenia and paranoid delusions, however these dangerous and deadly video games trigged and exacerbated his condition. The child’s parents are currently seeking damages in court from Nintendo for the amount of 4.5 million dollars. I think they are being very conservative, I think they should have asked for twice as much! Companies like Nintendo need to be a taught a lesson, the only thing that they understand is their bottom line – money!
Obviously the only way to protect children like the young man I mentioned would be to ban video games entirely for everyone. Some may say that is extreme, however I don’t think so. It’s like the kid who picked up a chicken finger and said bang at school to a classmate. He had to be expelled. First, it is just a chicken finger, but tomorrow it could be a deadly weapon. He could have shot and killed his friends later by accident, just fooling around. He might have killed his entire class. First a person makes a disparaging remark about a member of a racial group then a little bit later, he organizes a mob to exterminate them. We have to have zero tolerance for these things.
RC: It does seem clear that several racist and sexist patterns exist in these Nintendo games. There is even more to this sinister story though isn’t there?
NF: Yes there is, tragically. Let’s talk about the monarchical aspect of the games too. Zelda is what? A princess. Princess Toadstool is what? A princess. Princess Toadstool’s father is even eluded to, the King of the Mushroom Kingdom in some of the games. Why can’t Mario encounter a strong woman leader? Why does Nintendo keep creating monarchical and unequal settings for its games? To my knowledge Nintendo has never created a popular series in which the game’s citizens enjoyed democratic rights. The citizens in the world of Nintendo are invariably trapped under some form of monarchy! In the Mario Bros. film Mario and Luigi actually defeat Koopa so that monarchy can be restored in the Mushroom Kingdom!
The average member of the Mushroom Kingdom and the average citizen of Hyrule are simply paupers living under despotism. Princess Toadstool and her family or Princess Zelda and her family simply hoard all the wealth, all the commodities and almost all the means of production. It’s a disgustingly inequitable system and it sickens me to contemplate it.
Perhaps the Mushroom Kingdom and Hyrule should rejoice when their respective princesses are kidnapped? In fact, this might signal some eventual end to the dynastic oppression which they would otherwise daily toil under before ultimately dying in poverty? In some of the Zelda games, Hyrule’s citizens are forced to resort to petty theft in order to survive, yet these thieves are portrayed unsympathetically. The inherent inequalities of the system are never explored.
RC: I understand that there is also speciesism in these games?
NF: Yes, in some games Mario rides upon Yoshi, a green dinosaur, as if he were a horse or another enslaved beast of burden. I think in one of the Zelda games Link rides a huge bird of some kind as well. Animals in Nintendo games are invariably seen as mere tools for human use and never as equals. Yoshi despite his high intelligence and ability to use simplistic forms of communication is treated like a pet and not an equal by Mario. Mario uses Yoshi as a slave to literally trample upon and even devour his enemies! Mario comes across as a sadist, a brutal and cruel man, who thinks nothing of literally trampling to death hundreds of perceived enemies. The game even keeps count and you get more points for killing more!
Why is the Koopa troop Mario’s enemy? Why can’t Mario try to dialogue with the Koopas instead of immediately resorting to violence in his quest to free the princess? Mario is a classic reactionary, he doesn’t try to understand why Bowser kidnaps the princess. He doesn’t care what his background or experiences are. This is never alluded to. He doesn’t care how many Koopas and other life forms he has to kill to get to Bowser. How many had to die, so that Princess Toadstool could be freed?
In the simplistic world of good vs. evil which dominates the Nintendo universe we are left to believe that Bowser is simply a bad person. Was he a victim of poverty, discrimination or speciesism? Wouldn’t it be nice to know, and to put the whole matter of the kidnapping into perspective? Violent criminals are not born that way. So-called criminals are made violent and abusive through systematic oppression and ill treatment. Needless to say, you wouldn’t know that from playing these Nintendo games! Nintendo’s games are in full colour but their morality is black and white with no gray!
RC: I understand that women are also sexually humiliated in these games?
Yes. Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the Mario series is the ending of the typical Mario game. Mario has rescued the princess the princess walks toward him and kisses him. In other words the princess is expected to provide Mario with sexual favours for his trouble in rescuing her. She isn’t a person in her own right, she’s not Mario’s equal. Mario didn’t rescue the princess out of an act of selfless altruism. He was motivated by lust, he wanted a kiss from the princess!
RC: Some people who object to your theories point out that Samus Aran the female protagonist in the Metroid series of games defends and fights for herself, she is not rescued by a male figure…
NF: Indeed this is true. But we must not allow the exception to invalidate the rule. In any case, Metroid is just as sexist as the other games, if not more so. Who is Samus Aran? Her last name sounds like Aryan, and she is also a good looking blonde Nordic woman. Of course in most of the Metroid games you would never know she was female because she is covered in a robotic suit, sort of like a technological machine-burqa. Why is this exactly?
In the first Metroid game you didn’t even find out Samus was female until you completed the entire game! In the game’s manual it never even refers to Samus in feminine terms, in order to keep her gender a surprise for the end. Of course when she’s not in the “powered armor suit” she is dressed in very tight or very skimpy clothes, objectifying her.
Nintendo can’t decide if they want to cover Samus up from head to toe like an oppressed Afghani or trot her out as an object for male attention. They go back and forth. Make no mistake however, when Samus is covered fully in her armor she is oppressed, when she is shown without it, she is being objectified! Nintendo cleverly devised a way to degrade a woman using two different extremes!
Metroid is also a supremely speciesist game as Samus does battle with strange parasitic alien life forms. Nintendo portrays extra terrestrials not as friendly or benevolent beings but as dangerous, violent, strange and hideously ugly. Take one look at the aliens in Metroid and it is clear at first glance that they are not friendly. I wonder what the hidden message is, especially in light of the restrictive immigration policies recently advocated by some on the radical racist right?
In Metroid, we cannot seek to dialogue with aliens or understand them, but we have to destroy them, or they will destroy us! Shades of imperialism and fascism reach their zenith in Metroid. It seems that Samus is at war with whole worlds of evil extra-terrestrial beings. What kind of lesson is that for a child or a teenager? Those out there whom you do not know and who are not like you are dangerous, you probably will inevitably have to fight them? How sick is that message?!
I have noticed that several of these video-game females have voluptuous shapes, thin waist lines and long lustrous and silk like hair. These images are carefully designed to appeal to a perverse male mind which sees women as objects. You never see a woman with closely cropped hair or a masculine demeanour, or hear women with deep voices in these games. I can assure you, there is no stubble on the perfectly smooth legs of these video game vixens! Nintendo portrays women as universally having soft low voices and worst of all, as being subservient to male authority. It’s really disgusting and it simply turns my stomach as a progressive man.
Did you ever notice that not a single Nintendo protagonist is ever homosexual, male or female? In the regressive and radical traditionalist Nintendo universe men are simply men and women are women and there is no room for anything in between! Why can’t Mario and Luigi be gay partners instead of brothers? Instead of Mario being her romantic interest, why can’t Princess Toadstool experiment with bi sexuality, perhaps forming a relationship with Princess Daisy? In this age of unprecedented persecution, LGBT youth could use more role models and heroes. They won’t find any help from Nintendo however!
In the Nintendo world you virtually never see a female protagonist. That is chiefly taboo, but in the rare cases you do so it she’s either hidden somehow or barely seen for the most part. In F-Zero some of the race car drivers were allegedly female, but who would know since the game never shows you their faces! Just like the Samus example that I mentioned earlier.
RC: What about the other video game consoles and systems are they any better?
NF: Unfortunately they are also sexist and racist. It is my understanding that some games on other consoles even feature graphic scenes of prostitution, strippers and similar things exploiting women. Of course Nintendo is the worst, with its messages of traditional values and gender roles. It doesn’t matter that women Nintendo creates are mere pixels and not real women, it is sexist exploitation and degradation. The point is to degrade, objectify and dehumanise women!
Throughout all the video game consoles one persistent theme seems to be that villains are generally black, Hispanic or dark skinned. These video games simply leave players out of touch with the real world, they encouraged stereotyping and racial profiling. Socio-economic causes for crime are ignored, the legacy of slavery and racism which continues up to the present day is ignored. To this day many in Japan refuse to acknowledge the full extent of the crimes of their ancestors, and to take responsibility for them.
The idea of the victorious hero defeating the forces of evil is simply an out-dated Fascist form of story-telling. It is entirely unsuitable for society today. Reality is much more complicated, individuals with definite opinions as to what is right or wrong, or good or evil represent a very real threat and danger to society. That kind of moral certitude is a very frightening thing, and these disturbing video games all too often are peddling it. This is the kind of mentality that I believe in part motivated George Zimmerman when he attacked Trayvon Martin. Did George Zimmerman grow up playing video games? I don’t know, but he may have, it seems perfectly plausible.
RC: These games also promote violence and aggression? That’s another very disturbing aspect of them. Wouldn’t you agree?
Yes. They are violent. Remember, video games foster a primitive and simplistic us vs. the other mentality. They encourage you to see yourself as part of an in-group psychologically and for you to see others or outsiders as part of an out-group. It’s supremely unhealthy and dangerous. These games promote aggression and channel it, fostering it and encouraging it. They promote racism, sexism, monarchical oppression, feudalism, slavery and speciesism. It is really not surprising at all that most video-gamers are white males. The violence in the games feeds their natural aggression and their desire to hurt and exploit women and non-whites.
In the popular game series “Street Fighter” players could choose their own fighter, and they could beat up on various ethnic groups or women if they were so inclined. They could attack a Hindu guru, a Green Brazilian mutant fellow, or an attractive young Chinese woman. Of course, to conceal their racism the creators gave you the option of fighting as a woman or a minority, but their real intentions were quite clear and unmistaken. Obviously, if the game wasn’t racist, you would only be fighting as a non-white or a woman against white males!
Even seemingly innocuous games like “Wii Sports” promote male aggression, they include a boxing game and you are able to beat up on people of colour. The games are so sophisticated now that you can actually see your opponents agony as you hit him. In “Wii Sports Resort” you can even fight a young girl with a sword! Nintendo has actually gotten more racist over time and more sexist, but at the same time it has found new clever ways to attempt to mask its racism and sexism. Nintendo frequently takes it racism underground or employs crypto-racism.
RC: What games would you say are most dangerous for children? Do you feel that all responsible parents should ban video gaming consoles?
NF: I think the government should ban video games, ideally. Of course, if you talk about the government doing something like that, the radical- racist right, civil libertarians and a bunch of paranoid lunatics in tin foil hats start trying to scare people! Secondarily, I would favour parents banning all video game consoles from their homes. Yes, the Wii console might provide some exercise value. Yes, it might be useful for boosting eye-hand coordination, but these games and their sexist, racist and patriarchal messages are simply intolerable.
If you let your children play Mario you might as well teach them to jump on people who look different then you and smash them. If you Let them play Zelda you might as well hand your son a sword and tell him to go out and murder people in a forest. Games like Mario, Zelda and even Wii Sports simply have no place in a diverse and tolerant society! They promote racism, sexism, xenophobia, heterosexism and violence!
The reality is that we as a society are going to have to accept that the government needs to ban video games or at least heavily censor them. They ought to be doing the same with television, movies, music and the internet. Why can’t video game manufacturers be made to produce more educational and progressive games? Why can’t Nintendo make a game with Martin Luther King Jr. In it? Why can’t Rosa Parks appear in a video game and talk about her heroic struggle? I think the struggle for homosexual rights and marriage equality would make an excellent video game for young children.
RC: I agree. I am sure Nintendo thinks those kind of inspiring and educational games wouldn’t be very profitable or as profitable. Otherwise they would be creating them, right? Perhaps our young people are so disturbed and so sick emotionally that they would rather slay evil monsters, rescue beautiful princesses and go on disturbing violent, patriarchal, racist, and chauvinistic adventures then learn about the Great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? They would rather play adventure, fantasy and monarchical role play games then learn about the current struggle for immigration reform and LGBT rights? Unfortunately Dr. Frederickson, that’s all the time I have for now. I want to thank you for a very enlightening interview and discussion.
As a side note, I received your latest monthly report. It looks like there are two more skinhead groups in rural Montana! One of them has three members and another already has four! You warned us that one young man was giving out hate literature and organizing meetings in his mother’s garage every third Sunday of each month. I sent a large donation to you, to help stamp out those violent haters! It seems that our work is never done. Racism is growing every day by leaps and bounds, and all across this country!
NF: Thank you Ray. I appreciate that donation very much, and it is true, our work is never done. The problem unfortunately isn’t going to go away. In fact, in closing, I predict that video games are only going to become more racist, more patriarchal, more Fascistic, and of course more violent over time. At least one of those skinheads, you know in my report, was once reportedly spotted at a video game arcade four years ago according to an anonymous tip e-mailed to me!
RC: I am afraid that’s really all the time we have. Thank you again Dr. Frederickson. Good luck with your important work!
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