4Gekisha Boy (1992)
In Gekisha Boy, a young man, still reeling from the deaths of his parents, finds himself failing photography school. The dean offers him a last-ditch test where his academic career hinges upon the quality of the unusual snapshots he takes.
According to Gekisha Boy, this includes: flying saucers, wind gusting up a decades-deceased Marilyn Monroe's dress and all sorts of African-Americans.
Maybe you could forgive the idea of photographing blacks as if they are exotic creatures to be glimpsed in the wild, but you'd still have to deal with the fact that in the world of Gekisha Boy, African-Americans only come in three varieties: street pimp, prostitute and Michael Jackson.
Almost As Bad...
A word of advice to all future game designers: If one of your characters has even a passing resemblance to Mickey Rooney from Breakfast at Tiffany's, you have a problem. Witness this cutscene:
If you're thinking the graphics there are a little too good to be from the "They Didn't Know Any Better" era of old school gaming, you're right. This is 2003's Kung-Fu Chaos, for the Xbox. And we can't blame Japan for this one, since it's from Cambridge-based developer Ninja Theory.
Thankfully, their attempt to use technology to break new ground in cringingly awkward character interaction mercifully cuts off soon after the "tiny sausage" jokes begin.
3Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
While we're on the subject of western developers, Haitian and Cuban communities both protested the content in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, especially in missions such as "Dirty Lickin's."
The mission features a Haitian gang leader, Auntie Poulet, who uses her Voodoo powers and some hallucinogenic drugs to force protagonist Tommy Vercetti to slaughter all the Cubans on the street outside.
As upsetting as it usually is to hear someone advocate small-scale genocide, by this point in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City you've already performed a drive-by in a golf cart and chased an obese man down a public street while wielding a chainsaw. So to be fair, we're not even sure the word "genocide" means anything in a game where you accidentally kill two people every time you back up your car.
Almost As Bad...
Twelve years earlier, Kaneko released DJ Boy for the Sega Mega Drive (the Japanese Genesis) and gave us a first level boss who was a large woman with exaggerated facial features named Big Mama. She had a different kind of Voodoo, and by that we mean a fireball would shoot out of her anus on command.
Holy shit! It's one thing just to perpetuate your grandfather's decades-old stereotypes, but it's another thing to make up a new one. This is one area where we really don't need innovation, Japan.