Statement or Misstep: Slave Tetris

​Statement or Misstep is the series where we examine pieces of media with plots or messages that could be either considered interesting insights into controversial topics or idiotic attempts at being deep.

In these times when questions are being asked around America about the visibility of the black American population, one game company took it upon themselves to educate on the dark history of the Atlantic slave trade.

By making a game that features slave tetris.

Playing History 2- Slave Trade, had players control a slave serving a European slaver who is on a voyage to Africa to exchange money, goods, and weapons to aquire African slaves.

There was also a talking mouse, a collection of terrible mini games, magical time goggles, a Chinese dragon who is very happy to witness the crimes against humanity, immensely cartoon like voice acting, and slave tetris.

History 2 was made by a Danish game developer team, Serious Games as a part of their Playing History series. Their other games to date being Playing History: Vikings and Playing History: Plague. The games have the goal to make harsh moments in history understood by children. 

Even the Viking game kinda gets harsh…

By having you play slave tetris.

It’s an admirable goal for children to learn about moments in time that they might not hear about due to the history not being their country’s own or for being excluded from their school’s course work.

But…

There has to be better way to do it! This to me is a misstep that comes off fully well intentioned. I do not believe that they wanted to exploit a dark part of history for profit or offend anyone. After the slave puzzle portion of the game became well known they removed it and didn’t celebrate the controversy they drew like many other companies have before.

Why is the Chinese sea serpent so happy that these slaves are being loaded into this ship under the guidance of a talking mouse?

Moving forward I hope that they recognize that moments in history, even far gone, still hold emotional weight for a lot of people. Assassins Creed did a amazing job both educating and utilizing  the harsh and sad narrative of the Atlantic slave trade. Maybe next time they will think ahead about how certain pains never fade.

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