While on one of my many internet searches, I stumbled across a trailer for a video game entitled Slave: The Game. Immediately, I was intrigued because the thought that initially crossed my mind was “now who would make a game like this in 2011.” With anticipation and slight trepidation, I watched the trailer and in the beginning was mortified and ready to hurt something.
The trailer basically ask the gamer to go back to the 18th century when Europe ruled the world and just about enslaved everyone. You are given various torture devices to torture your slave and keep them in line, as well as a globe where you go to the new worlds and conquer new lands. It’s slated to be released in Spring of 2012.
This was an extremely audacious move for a few reason. Black and Latinos in this country don’t want to be reminded of the horrors of slavery and white people in this country of Anglo descent hate to be reminded of what they’re ancestors took part in. So not only would it not work emotionally but economically as well.
I began to dig a little more and apparently, the video is fiction. It’s not American made but created by a Dutch broadcasting company, NTR. It’s in conjunction with an explicit show entitled ‘De Slavernij’ (slave in the Dutch language) which chronicles European involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. It also touches on present day forms of slavery that still exist. In fact, over 27 million people worldwide are still exploited as slaves today in countries like The Netherlands and Thailand.
Surprisingly, modern day Dutch don’t know their involvement in the slave trade nor are they familiar with the way the world view the topic of slavery. They do not celebrate their colonial past nor is it featured prominently in their schoolbooks. But the Dutch Empire was very powerful at one time and rivaled Great Britain and France during the 17th and 18th centuries.
NTR wants Europe to wake up and become aware of their past. Whether or not that is necessary makes no different to them. This can also be good for American audiences as well. You do not have to be in chains to be a victim of slavery. There are many forms of “massahs” out there. Perhaps the Dutch can be the people to bring it to the forefront; perhaps not. However, I am intrigued to see how this play out and what sort of discussions and debates this show will undoubtedly provoke.