Is Lovecraft too racist for gaming?

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Eurogamer with a screaming hot take on H.P. Lovecraft’s racism. The foundation of the piece, that Lovecraft had some extremely racist opinions even for his time, is not new. What is new is that Eurogamer’s contributor, Sam Greer, proposes that his racism so tainted his work that it should not be used in any context in gaming. In Sam Greer’s view, games recreate the xenophobia and racism inherent in Lovecraft’s writing, but through the sanitization of gameplay, and making it appeal to a general audience, offers no criticism or self-reflection. Additionally, Greer accuses the Mythos of being boring and overused.

It’s time to let go of Lovecraft. No more tentacled multi-eyed monstrosities, no foggy fishing towns or ancient aliens posing as gods. These are jokes and the remnants of a poisonous world view. Let’s move on.

SOMA, Greer writes, is a good example of a game that trades on themes of existential terror and loneliness without invoking Lovecraft. Clanking around the deserted science fiction facility while being chased by mechanical terrors offered a fresh take on cosmic horror, according to Greer. Lovecraft not needed at all.

Where does that put coming titles like Cyanide Studio’s Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game or Frogwares’ The Sinking City? Are players cleared to separate the art from the artist, or is the act of gaming in Lovecraft’s universe an implicit approval of his xenophobia?

Is gaming ready for its version of Lovecraft Country?

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