Danish developer Serious Interactive Games is not your typical game company. They describe their approach to gaming as being “research based”, and in fact a large portion of their products are training programs commissioned by large companies, such as Siemens, who received from SIG a full virtual training program for their wind energy program in order to educate their workers in complicated work situations and tasks. When SIG isn’t making intense training programs, they are making educational games, often aimed at informing young people about history, politics and the (sometimes awful) ways of the world. This is where Playing History 2 – Slave Trade comes in.

In Slave Trade you play as a young slave named Tim who must accompany his master on the voyage to Africa to retrieve more slaves. But this point-and-click adventure only gets more complicated when Tim finds that his sister, from which he was separated when he himself was taken away years earlier, is now marked to be enslaved and taken back with them to England. What’s a boy to do under such pressure and risk?

Though the company professes a desire to portray the horrors of slave trade in this educational game, I can’t help but feel that there is a high amount of levity incorporated into the experience, what with the cartoony characters and the Tetris aspect. I understand the game is for kids and thus can’t be too dark, and granted I haven’t actually played it, but I’m not so sure how many of these horrors will be conveyed to players of Slave Trade when they are partaking in slapstick slave Tetris.

Slave Trade has been out for a while through the developer’s website, but is coming to Steam on September 13th. Here’s the Steam page.

  • vibe runner

    I was hoping – perhaps hopelessly – that this would be a progressive game revealing the horrors of history and enlightening new generations.

    Then I looked at the eyes. Oh my god the eyes.

  • Brian Hamby

    I can confirm that the white captain has the same eyes, but man, they do look really questionable on the native people.

    This might in turn be racist of me, but perhaps we can’t rely on the people of Denmark (the developers) to know much about racial sensitivity. Even if the game was truly made with good intentions.

  • vibe runner

    It’s not racist of you, there’s a long history of black “golliwog” caricaturing and a great deal has been written on it.

    Also, this is the preview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKaGtjb4TIE

    Go to 45 seconds in: I PITY THE FOOL WHO MESSES WITH CHIEF JANTO.

    Yes, they’re actually using Mr T lines for the black people. I dread the immortal words “whatchoo talkin bout, Willis” will in the final game.

  • Brian Hamby

    Sheesh. I had a friend who studied in Sweden for a year as an exchange student, and one of his fellow exchange students from the US was a 6’4” black man. My friend said whenever they went into a bar together you could practically hear the record scratch as everyone stared at them.

    In conclusion, ignorance naturally seems to form out of cultural unfamiliarity, so it’s really best that people don’t try this kind of “educational” business unless they really know what they’re doing. And probably having some black people on staff wouldn’t have hurt.

  • Greg Cee

    I wonder if this company will make a ‘game’ where you pack Jews into Auschwitz ovens? How educational and funny would that be?

  • Alafia

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. I just can’t get behind the rationale of trying to create this kind of thing.

  • なし名(Meido)

    If you haven’t played it then don’t join into the dogpile like an idiot.

  • IGUESS2013

    If this is the definition of progressive…

  • Greg Cee

    So! I get home today to find a notice from the company. They’re removing the ‘Tetris’ part.
    That makes everything much better. :~(

  • vibe runner
  • Brian Hamby

    Look everyone, Meido is here to charm the pants off us all!

    Considering I wrote this article days before the game was released, I doubt there was much of a dogpile to join at that point. If anything I started it, and that’s fine with me.

    Secondly, I don’t need to play a game to write my opinion about how it presents itself in its trailer. If I think a game looks amazing before I play it, I’ll say it. If it looks ignorant as shit I’ll say that too. I think I actually went easy on this ridiculous game.

  • なし名(Meido)

    ??? Oh, you’re ignoring the entire greenlight campaign and thinking that being able to blather out an opinion as soon as there’s a spark of anger from others means you’re not a simple follower and a trend setter. Okay, no.
    Let’s try with a different word.
    Secondly, I don’t need to watch a movie to write my opinion about how it presents itself in its trailer. If I think a movie looks amazing before I play it, I’ll say it. If it looks ignorant as shit I’ll say that too. I think I actually went easy on this ridiculous movie.

    Nah, you still look like an idiot jumping on the dogpile trying to look cool in front of a bunch of pretend angry people. I still feel bad you consider yourself a journalist, sorry, but no. Can’t retract my last opinion of you.

  • Brian Hamby

    I think that paragraph about the movie works fine. Not always, mind you, but if it were a case of a movie trailer featuring googly-eyed black people quoting Mr. T and being packed into a slave ship like Tetris, then I could absolutely state my opinion of distaste for the theme.

    Perhaps this game has amazing gameplay. I didn’t make any claims one way or the other about that, just like I couldn’t for a movie’s entertainment value from its trailer. But I can certainly comment on how the material strikes me.

    You can have your opinion Meido. I’m not the one trying to take it from you.

  • gothesam

    I noticed the eyes right away as well. Anyone who is taking it upon themself to educate the public on racism ought to do some research first. Look at any racist (black) cartoon. They always depict black people with huge eyes, lips, and ears,protruded foreheads and wide noses. I have to think the developers of this game are either trying to spread racial elitism or painfully disconnected from reality (and usually game developers are smart people).

  • Rikaya Melika Partlow

    The bullshit never ends….. Smfh. This is so uncool.

  • Rikaya Melika Partlow

    They would shut down production of that game IMMEDIATELY. Smh… My thing is: with this shit circulating, they really can’t tell us to “get over slavery” because it’s being blatantly thrown in our faces.