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Critique, News

Bioshock Infinite Boxart and 32 Other Games Featuring an Armed White Man on the Cover

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So this is the newly released Bioshock Infinite cover:

Ken Levine justified the decision for the unimaginative, unoriginal, unsatisfying cover in an interview with WIRED magazine.

“We went and did a tour… around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that. People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And [we] said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock? not a single one of them had heard of it.”

“I wanted the uninformed, the person who doesn’t read IGN… to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it.”

“I understand that our fan says, that’s great Ken, what’s in it for me? One, we need to be successful to make these types of games, and I think it’s important, and I think the cover is a small price for the hardcore gamer to pay. I think also when we do something for the hardcore gamer, there’s something we’re talking about and something we’re sure about. The thing we’re sure about is that we’re going to be releasing a whole set of alternate covers that you can download and print. We’re going to be working with the community to see what they’re interested in.”

I have multiple problems with this statement. First of all, your market does not consist solely of white frat boys, alright?

Now I will explain my reasoning. This is why is it bad to portray only armed white men on video game covers. First of all, it marginalizes everyone who is not of that demographic. Meaning it normalizes the exclusion of alternate sexes, races, and ages. Which permits the epidemic of online harassment targeting sex and race to take place. This says video games are for and by white men.

ALSO the fact that all of these games regardless of the time and effort that goes into the exploratory aspect or the narrative just look like you get to be a buff white guy and kill things promotes a violent culture! That is a little scary.

Bioshock is a great game and has sooo many diverse interesting facets, and creative director, man, you can do better. Just to prove how unoriginal and ridiculous this concept is, here are 32 other covers featuring armed white men. Is this artistic idea really “proven to sell” or is it just ALL WE SEE EVER.

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About the author / 

SarahBeck

Currently works as a software developer for Bioware. She has a BSc in Computing Science and enjoys JRPGS, anime, and Ruby on Rails. You can find her on Twitter at @essefbeck. All opinions expressed on this blog are her own, and do not represent Bioware or EA.

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