GameSkinny

The Straight White Guy Industry

If you aren't straight, white, and a guy, you don't matter to game publishers.

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I am ridiculously privileged. Look at me. I'm a straight white guy. Nearly the entire game industry is built to appeal to me. Sure, there are games for a more general audience, such as Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Portal 2, but most of what goes into video games is tailored to get me, or someone else like me, to buy games. Everything from the idolized, macho men who always get the job done being on the game box’s cover, to the objectified, skimpily-dressed female side characters whose only role is their cleavage is meant for me.

Women, LGBTQ+ players, and players of color are often an afterthought, an asterisk, or a footnote.

These people don’t matter until the “core” gamer crowd is addressed. Oh, but don’t worry. Female gamers get Cooking Mama and pet games that end in the letter Z. At least LGBTQ+ players get BioWare games. At least players of color get side characters who get emotional deaths. That Assassin’s Creed spinoff had a person of color as the protagonist, right? Publishers don't owe them (or anyone, for that matter) anything, so why bother? A great portion of people, particularly the more vocal users of the internet who would probably choose a false interpretation of a fedora over any other kind of headwear, complacently believe we live in this mythical post-discrimination society, which simply isn’t the case, and the video game industry is a perfect example of this imbalance.

The problem isn't that there are tropes in gaming, it's which tropes the video game industry has chosen to fixate upon for the past twenty years.

The first popular games with anything resembling stories, such as Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, followed the typical tropes of “hero rescues princess” and “man saves the day” because that’s how many stories have always been for thousands of years. Tropes such as these are sometimes unavoidable because everything is a trope. A buff macho hero is a trope, a defenseless princess is a trope, and a flamboyant gay man who can't defend himself is a trope, but so is a lead who is a strong lesbian woman who will shoot all opposition in the face while making immature jokes. The problem isn't that there are tropes in gaming—that's unavoidable—it's which tropes the video game industry has chosen to fixate upon and which tropes it has chosen to avoid for the past twenty years.

In a world where movies about Disney princesses who aren’t white make headlines for the character’s ethnicity, it isn’t too surprising that video games that don’t follow the unofficial rules of this straight, white, teenage boy industry are either panned, unsuccessful, or never even made.

Developers had to fight to get the protagonist to even stay a woman–they were directly told that the game would not succeed without a male lead despite nearly half of gamers being women.

Released in early 2013, Remember Me is a dystopian, futuristic third-person action/adventure game with combat similar to the Batman: Arkham series with dashes of Tomb Raider, among other things. The game stars Nilin, a female protagonist who is mixed race. Her race is somewhat unclear, but her name bears Indian origin, but considering a voodoo priest in voodoo-hell was the first black protagonist in a game, Remember Me is a huge step in the name of any sort of diversity in the video game industry.

Sure, there have been characters like Sheva from Resident Evil 5, Isabela in Dragon Age II, Daisy from Bioshock Infinite, and Sgt. Avery "Hold Me" Johnson from Halo, but people of color who are protagonists simply don’t appear  in mainstream video games very often. As it turns out, Dont Nod Entertainment actually had to fight Capcom to get the protagonist to even stay a woman–they were directly told that the game would not succeed without a male lead. This is odd reasoning, of course, considering nearly half of gamers are women, and there are more adult women playing games than there are boys under the age of eighteen playing games.

Another example is the recent Call of Duty: Ghosts. In the entirety of the six-hour campaign, three people aren't grizzled white men: a female astronaut who dies within ten minutes of her introduction, a black soldier who dies within ten minutes of his introduction, and a female pilot whose helicopter presumably gets blown up off-screen after the only level in which she appears. In a game that supposedly involves the United States being crippled by their own weapons, leaving a ragtag group of soldiers, you’d think the resistance would be more diverse than White Guy #1, White Guy #2, White Guy #3, and Stephen Lang.

Bioware received great deal of flak and free press in 2011 for letting players make their characters gay, despite having a history of gay, lesbian, bi, and trans* characters.

Somewhat similarly, when BioWare released Dragon Age II in 2011, they received a great deal of flak (and free press) for allowing players to have their characters be gay, despite same-sex relationships being possible in Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect, and even Knights of the Old Republic (though Mass Effect didn’t allow male same-sex romances until the third game). BioWare stuck by this decision and made same-sex relationships possible in all future titles since, such as Mass Effect 3 (and presumably Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is due for release late 2014). BioWare even revealed characters who were previously thought to be straight as having fluid sexuality, with same-sex relationships now possible for some, such as in Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3, though some can only be romanced by protagonists of a specific sex despite their orientation.

There’s nothing wrong with BioWare doing this.

Representing gay, lesbian, bi, and trans* characters in a positive light is rather progressive, especially for the video game industry, but only BioWare seems to be doing this. If you were to ask the common gamer to name five games with possible LGBTQ+ protagonists, it would be next to impossible for them to not mention a few BioWare games. Yet another frustrating part of the matter is that nearly every depiction of members of the LGBTQ+ community in games, even in BioWare games, is a caricature of some stereotype inserted for the purpose of comic relief (particularly with the depiction of trans* characters), such as Wade, Haren, and Serendipity.

The most frequently targeted demographic—straight, white guys—don’t even notice any of these issues or tropes.

Possibly one the most unfortunate and easily remedied aspects of this entire situation is that those in the most frequently targeted demographic—straight, white guys—don’t even notice any of these issues or tropes. I recently played Resident Evil: Revelations, a delightful, stupidly convoluted horror game from Capcom. The game mostly stars Jill Valentine, who has been in the series since the first game. Jill wasn’t nearly as sexualized as she could have been, with the biggest issues for her being the unnecessarily low-cut wetsuit and how she wears a wetsuit as opposed to more tactical clothing (though it suits the setting, since the game takes place on a ghost ship) while her male counterparts wears more loose-fitting clothing. She remains as strong a character as always, and is more than capable of killing zombies as effectively as her male counterparts.

Players are used to the hyper-sexualization, objectification, and dehumanization of women in games.

While Jill is slightly excusable, Revelations also features Jessica and Rachel, two hyper-sexualized characters who barely have any depth beyond legs and breasts. Jessica’s wetsuit features a missing pant-leg, all in the name of showing more skin (and high fashion, I guess), while Rachel’s wetsuit is arbitrarily unzipped down to below her bellybutton, revealing cleavage that's more akin to games aimed at teenage boys who are just entering puberty, like Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. At first, I thought, “Well, it’s just Capcom. They’re a bit weird,” but that reaction shows just how used players are to the hyper-sexualization, objectification, and dehumanization of women in games—it's industry standard.

Women are also objectified in games after the developer has already finished them.

A great number of mods for popular titles feature obvious changes to female characters, such as mods that give female characters skimpier armor in Skyrim and Alyx more pronounced features in Half-Life 2, just to name a few. Players also take it upon themselves to change promotion art to make female characters bustier. For the plot, of course.

"But men are objectified all the time. Look at their muscles!"—a somewhat reasonable assessment, though fundamentally flawed. Male characters are generally seen as muscular and resilient, which not all men are. The female characters are sexualized and objectified while male characters are idealized. Gamers are meant to want to be like Master Chief, Adam Jensen, Silent American Soldier #5, and Ezio Auditore. Gamers are meant to want Jill Valentine, Lara Croft, Miranda Lawson, and Chun-Li. Male characters are generally ideals for the gamer while female characters are generally rewards for the gamer.

It's understandable why video games are made this way.

Appealing to the demographic of straight, white, teenage boys is a low-risk way to make easy money. Just look at Call of Duty and Halo—they star macho men who kick the crap out of opposition all in the name of honor, heroics, and badassery, and the games sell unbelievably well. Same with Killzone and Assassin’s Creed. Being a badass sells—nobody is saying it doesn’t (or at least I’m not).

What is perhaps more frustrating, is the gaming community's vitriolic reaction to anyone who addresses this obvious imbalance.
Unfortunately, addressing this inequality is difficult, at best.

Take the release of Grand Theft Auto V, for example. GameSpot reviewer Carolyn Petit criticized GTA V for misogyny throughout the game. She still gave the game a 9/10, stating almost everything positive everyone else has said about it. Despite giving a near perfect score to Grand Theft Auto V and only using three sentences in the nine-minute review to make the point about the female characters, the army of the internet decided that her reasoning was flawed because Grand Theft Auto is obviously infallible, and proceeded to post hateful messages demanding that Petit both be fired for her review and be ignored because she's trans* (both of which are still showing up today). When a community reacts this violently against any sort of dialogue about imbalance, it's no wonder why game publishers are scared to publish anything but the norm.

"But that's the way things are. They won't change."

"But that's the way things are. They won't change." It's an easy conclusion to make, and it's even a justifiable one. If a publisher has the choice between a macho man shooter and an emotional story starring a woman doing anything that doesn't involve her cleavage, it's obvious what will happen. The publisher will spend years working on the shooter and its multimillion dollar ad campaign as it's sold by the millions, and the other game will maybe be a downloadable title, if it ever exists. It's clear which one is more profitable.

If the internet loses its mind over people criticizing Grand Theft Auto or a new MOBA, is it really a wonder why publishers don't experiment with new ideas and stories? They're scared. Considering game critics get as much backlash as they do, publishers and developers would only get more (and they do). The only way gamers can get the games they want, games for the entire gaming community (especially for those not in the straight, white dude demographic) is for publishers to take the financial risk of allowing developers to do something different.

As mentioned above, the recent Call of Duty: Ghosts was about what you'd expect. Women barely show up in the single-player campaign, and it stars a bunch of white dudes fighting against people who clearly hate America. In multiplayer, however, players can actually play as women. The female characters have just as much protection as the men, their hitboxes are the same size as the men, and they are just as tall as the men. The change is purely cosmetic.

Those who play multiplayer will notice a decent number of players sporting female soldiers—not a lot, but some—not because of some strategic advantage, but because they can. If players of what is arguably the most popular video game franchise in history don't bat an eye and actually want to customize their female characters' appearance, it makes one wonder why other franchises don't follow suit.

But gamers can help.
People like me—straight, white guys—don't understand the difficulties of not being appealed to in nearly every medium, platform, business, institution, and community. We probably never will.

It is possible to drown out the furious, men's-rights-screaming cries of the players who get mad when they feel uncomfortable because a male character is hitting on them, when the protagonist isn't a grizzled space marine, or when a female character just refuses to sleep with their own character. In truth, people like me—straight, white guys—may not be the best people to be making these changes—at least not alone. As much as members of privileged groups might like to understand the difficulties of not being the most powerful and appealed-to demographic in nearly every medium, platform, business, institution, and community, they don't, and they probably never will.

Straight, white male players are constantly validated and catered to with the constant flow of white macho men starring in games.

Players of color, female players, and LGBTQ+ players, on the other hand, hardly ever receive anything close to this level of validation, if they even receive it at all, which can be emotionally devastating. When people use the term "privilege," this lack of devastation is what they mean: the privilege to not need to understand because it doesn't disadvantage you. That does not mean that those with privilege should feel guilty for their privilege, but they should be aware of the obvious advantages of being privileged, particularly with their influence in the eyes of game publishers.

This influence is why players who are members of the straight, white guy demographic need to voice that they too want video games to be welcoming to players of every demographic, while players of color, female players, and LGBTQ+ players continue to enter the industry and sound their voices. With this lies the responsibility of privileged gamers to understand that there is a considerable difference between speaking out for the sake of a group and speaking over a group—gamers must work to not unintentionally silence their peers. Silence is simply no longer an option for every member of the gaming community. Gamers of every demographic need to work together with publishers and developers by saying that they want games for a more diverse audience—an audience that wishes to maybe be a mature adult someday instead of a blithering racist on Xbox Live.

An awareness of other demographics and a willingness to not instantly repel those demographics are both necessary to make gaming appealing for all players.
Does this mean that game developers and publishers should have a checklist so each demographic is depicted?

Of course not—no medium should. Making sure that each demographic is represented is well-intended, but also easy to do wrong. This can frequently lead to one-dimensional characters and not address the core of the problem: a lack of effort. Publishers need to develop an awareness of the massive pool of character traits and personalities they can pull from to create diverse casts of interesting, believable characters and actually create these characters. This starts with remotely diverse groups writing the games, so there are less unwittingly creepy, offensive plots that developers almost miss, and more plots that don't outright disgust and repel gamers.

Not every story has a place for a gay character, a woman, a white man, or a soldier, and the subject of diversity is not always relevent to criticism of a game, but a willingness to see what other characters are possible in a given situation is necessary for interesting stories, and this willingness will open up new story possibilities that haven't been explored in games. Today, it is more possible than ever for gamers to get the games they want made—developers will listen and publishers are too scared to go against the gaming community.

It can happen.
The privileged need to actually listen and learn from those who are affected by this discrimination.

But before any rational discussion can happen, those who are privileged need to learn to actually listen to those who aren't privileged. The privileged don't understand what those who are discriminated against go through on a daily basis. They can sympathize to a point, but they probably don't understand and probably won't ever have to. The only way they might ever understand is to actively listen and realize that arguments that attack ideas—ideas that have been reinforced their entire lives—are attacking just that: their ideas, not them as a person. Ask questions. Pay attention. Learn. I consider myself somewhat informed, but admittedly, I'm ignorant and uninformed about many things. I constantly try to learn and understand, and by doing so, I (shockingly) begin to learn and understand, at least to a point. Both sides of the conversation need to actively try to allow an environment of learning and progress to exist. Only then can a productive discussion ever occur.

It’s encouraging to see games emerge that depict women and people of color as strong protagonists, such as Gone Home, Tomb Raider, and Telltale's The Walking Dead, and games with characters of the LGBTQ+ community who aren't obvious caricatures, such as Mass Effect 3, but these games should not be notable for these reasons or be just emerging—they should be standard. Change is coming to the gaming industry. Slowly, but it's happening.

There are obvious differences among everyone in this community—there are men, women, people of color, people who are straight, people who aren't, people who are in between, people who don't care, people who are grandparents, people who are in high school, people who are religious, people who aren't sure, people who only play shooters, people who only play indie games, people who overlap on several different identifiers, and many, many more that I couldn't possibly name. What unites us all, however, is that we are gamers—all of us. Maybe players will eventually live in a world where a character who isn't a white guy starring in a game won’t turn heads or make stock holders panic.

Until that day, you owe it to your fellow gamer to fight for it.

 

* Author’s Note: Some people use different terms for different groups, all of which I couldn’t possibly name. Inevitably, it’s possible that I used incorrect terms or omitted other terms to classify some groups, orientations, races, or identities, for which I apologize if I offended members of these groups. I know that I'm obviously not the ideal candidate for this subject considering my race, orientation, sex, and gender identity. The purpose of this article is to ignite a discussion about the obvious inequalities that exist surrounding the demographics depicted and targeted by video games. If you would like to take part in a thoughtful discussion, please comment below and bring others into the discussion to keep the conversation going.

I'd also like to extend a special thank you to Milo Price, Tracy Sherwin, Amy White, Amy and everyone else from Tumblr, anyone else I'm missing, and especially Chan Benicki for helping me complete this feature. This would not be the work that it is without you. Thanks.

Originally Published Dec. 9th 2013
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  • Bob _7501
    How about.... if black people want to have a game, they can make one. How about... if gay people want a game, they can make one. Companies are making games the way they want to and they sell. Who are you to demand that they do something else?? Oh the plight of the poor Asian engineers who can't program their own game if they want one? Are you serious?
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Who are you to demand they /don't/ do something other than the norm? Why do you care? Does it take away representation of your own demographics as a result? And yes, I /am/ serious.
  • Cortalia
    Contributor
    Dude... that's exactly what Brian was getting at.. people like you.

    The main takeaway I got was that, we as the consumer have to say that its not ok to keep stereotyping people, and making games to appease the"Straight white guy" mentality..

    Why...
    A) we have this thing called equality
    B) the largest growing community of video games are females over the age of 25
    C) developers and gamers alike are tired of mainstream media blaming every poor event on video games "timmy threatend to bring a gun to school because he plays too much Call of Duty" ... no... Timmy was abused, bullied or what have you theirs hundreds of reasons why Timmy said that... anyways back to the point the industry want's to be perceived on a better ground but doesn't want to do anything to earn it. Time to grow up and be more mature, then maybe your local political retard wont blame video games the next time Timmy says something stupid.
  • Exhuminator
    According to this information:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MonicaMcGill/20130604/193603/Examining_the_Pipeline_Demographics_of_Undergraduate_Students_Studying_Games.php

    Most of the people studying to make video games are actually white heterosexual males. If that is true, perhaps that's why the lead role in games they create is often a white heterosexual male...
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    You're right, but I think the same could be said about STEM courses--it's perpetuated that men do it, so men continue doing it and women don't. It's a bit of a vicious cycle.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I found this article very interesting and it was a great read. I "hear" what you're saying here. It would be nice to see games have more diversity in their protagonists. The game industry is lacking in that department and yes the games you mentioned here should be acknowledged for more than just having that difference. It's a double edged sword so to speak. We want and need games to be different, yet we have people complain and scream when things are different. Even in today's society with what "progress" is being made, we still have those that argue against it. I hope through gaming we can change that.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Thanks!

    I think a lot of that double-edged sword you mentioned has to do with old IPs more than it does with new ones. Other than the execs at Capcom, people didn't really care one way or the other about Remember Me staring a woman of color (I'd argue a lack of good advertising played into its downfall mostly) probably because it's a new IP. It's like how people got upset when Donald Glover expressed interesting in the role of Spider-Man when people suggested it. They got upset because Peter Parker was originally written as white, but Donald Glover isn't white, so they saw it as "hurting" their beloved character.

    I think a combination of gradually more realistically diverse casts of characters (for those older IPs that "need" a white dude as the protagonist) and more new IPs (which the industry is /terrified/ of doing) are the solid ways better representation can happen. Obviously, making the workers themselves more accepting of women would help, or making the community a bit less bigoted, but that's significantly more difficult problem to solve.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Amazon Eliza Steel
    Contributor
    It's not the companies only customer base are white males in a certain age range, they're just the easiest to market to. The statis quo from past few decades.

    Why change that model? Why take risks?

    That's what the suits are thinking. They've still got the gamer so stereotyped in their heads as a teen or 20-something, socially damaged, or a couch-potato unemployed loser white guy. Look at the commercials where they show people playing. It's either the perfect family around the Wii or two bros on a couch.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Of course that's why. Same reason Nintendo does so many Mario games while ignoring old IPs like Star Fox: it's safer. Games cost a lot to make and if they bomb, they bomb hard.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    If an author sets out to write a particular story, and that story requires certain types of characters, fine.

    If someone sets out to create something for the express purpose of dropping in characters with "alternative lifestyles" (or whatever), that's an insult to all art.

    That's really all I have to say on this matter.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    If you were to look above where I say "It can happen" about two-thirds of the way down, you'll see that I say that creating characters just to meet a quota is harmful. You get flat, boring characters that not only insult the possibilities for the character, but also insult the player.

    And "alternative lifestyles?" I think that kind of mentality is harmful because suggesting that being a woman, or gay, or bi, or trans*, or a poc, or anything that isn't a straight white dude is a deviation from a misinterpretation of "the norm"--"the norm" being a straight white dude--demeans the groups mentioned as being lesser than the groups in power.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    It's not just to meet a quota I'd have a problem with, it's to meet an agenda. I agree with the rest of it, though.

    The latter implies that "normal" is always subjective and as a consequence, anything is "normal" when viewed in a certain light. That is a slippery slope that ends in the forfeiture of all values and morality because if the first is entirely subjective, everything else is entirely subjective, and I do not hold to the belief that all of life is a gray area.

    We've reached a point, I think, where everything is a "choice" and as such, everything is "okay." If that's the case, there are no lines in the sand any longer. My end point is that if you want to marry a goat and worship a lamppost, no skin of my back. Just don't expect me to say it's normal. Common sense needs to come back.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    I just wanted to say probably the best example of absolutely doing this correctly is Gone Home... if you guys haven't played it yet, pick it up on the next Steam sale.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I've put off actually responding to this for a while because I honestly didn't really know how to respond. Do you define "representing a group of people as diverse as real life" as "an agenda?" You seem to hold the two as synonymous.

    The problem with your mindset of finding diversity to be an agenda is that you're trying to define a certain very specific demographic of person as "normal" when that's not really how the world works. Sure, there's a set of statistically likely scenarios for a given region, like how being straight is statistically more likely, or how being a man is slightly more likely, but not by much, but you can't try to classify human nature and "normalcy" in a similar way to the way you'd talk about scientific theories and statistics. Humans are insanely varied, and "normal" isn't really a thing in most cases. For example, over half of the world is in Asia. Does that mean that being American isn't "normal?"

    And the "slippery slope" argument is old, annoying, petty, and ignorant, for lack of a better term. I mean, did you seriously just compare homosexuality to bestiality? One is between two consenting adults and the other is between a person and an animal with a vastly inferior intellect that is incapable of reasoning little more than basic survival.

    As far as you saying "everything is a choice," actually, the point with a lot of these arguments is that it ...isn't a choice, just like how preferring a specific food, or liking a specific band isn't a choice. Sure, you may stick to one thing because you've never know otherwise, but people tend to individually prefer certain things simply based on how they are, not some choice or their upbringing. A lot of things are a spectrum and that's not right or wrong or in between, it's just the way things are.

    And "common sense" is entirely subjective. For example, common sense might suggest I ignore discrimination because I benefit from it since I'm a white dude, so I should shouldn't care. It's a logical train of thought, but incredibly selfish.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    A few things, Brian.

    First, you seem like a young guy. Chances are, you're either in - or freshly out of - the educational system, perhaps college. Maybe I'm wrong but what you've written and the "nothing is black-and-white" mantra is indicative of what they're drilling into people's heads in schools today.

    Secondly, no, I did not compare homosexuality to bestiality. No, I don't see them as the same. But there's something very telling about your interpretation of that.

    Thirdly, I know the definition of equality. It involves giving no one side preferential treatment. To me, your entire article is about preferential treatment, not about equality or tolerance. The very title implies that the "straight white guy" is at fault. Perhaps that's not what you honestly believe, but that's how it comes across. And that's because you just spent a very long time explaining to people how and why this industry - essentially - isn't "fair."

    Fourthly and lastly, there is no logic to the idea that there are no definitions, that everything is a gray area. Philosophically speaking, that's not even possible. No, common sense is not subjective. There's a definition for that. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not is certainly a choice; doesn't change that there are indeed things in this world called definitions, rules, guidelines, etc.

    Brian, you seem like an intelligent dude. But I'm going to tell you right now that you're going to be very unhappy if you keep seeing the world in this fashion. That's because you'll never find any answers and you won't ever able to say, "this is right" or "that is wrong." Believing there is no "right" or wrong" doesn't get us anywhere, my friend.

    So, take a stance and go with it. What this is here...it's not a stance. It's just saying everything all intelligent, reasonable people already know. We get it. Shouldn't there be something else to say? Think for yourself, in other words. That's not an insult, by the way.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    As much as I appreciate the condescension, you're misinterpreting facts. I'm not saying nothing is black and white, but you're desperately trying to simplify human beings into a binary system of ones and zeroes when that's not really how we function. OF COURSE there's a general set of morals and ideals, like not killing, raping, or cheating others, but when it comes to things of the mind, like sexual preference, gender identity, or whatever other things where there's literally no victim except some people's perception of "normal," who cares? It's like religion. If it's not for you, it's not for you. Whatever.

    Really? If saying "if you want to marry a goat" isn't implying bestiality, then please, tell me what it's meant to convey.

    "Preferential treatment?" Where do I say "no white dudes in games" or anything to that effect? I'm simply stating that the industry seriously balanced in favor of the straight white dude and against anybody who isn't one. If you actually read the article, you'll know that the article is calling the industry what it is: an industry that's for straight white dudes more than anybody else. It's not necessarily the fault of that target audience by default, but they--we (I assume you too)--do play a large role in it, and finding a game that's not specifically for the straight white dude demographic to be "preferential" is seriously misinterpreting what products are. It's possible to have good intentions, or what a person understands as good intentions, and still be part of the problem. There are books geared towards women, there are books geared towards men. Games could easily be the same.

    And if you mean to imply that I'm not thinking for myself, you clearly didn't read the article, or at least understand it, unlike the other few thousand people who did.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    As you didn't respond to my first set of comments, I'll assume I'm correct in my assumption of your age. Maybe you think that's meaningless, but it isn't. We all need a steady dose of life before we have the necessary wisdom to form our own opinions. These cannot be formed on education and books alone (although that's always a good foundation).

    You speak of misinterpreting facts, but you're doing even worse. You're putting words in my mouth that were never there. I'm not "desperately" trying to sort people out. You're doing this because, as it appears, it's in your nature to find ignorance in others. You don't have to lecture me. Nothing you're saying is news to me. Nothing you've got is enlightening.

    If you wish to enlighten me, make a stand. Saying there should be more women or homosexuals or whatever in games is not a stance. You are not thinking for yourself, Brian. You're merely regurgitating what the world is telling you. You've taken that information, presented in a hundred different ways across all forms, venues and mediums, and come to the logical - yes, logical - conclusion that gaming has a lot of "straight white guys" in it.

    That doesn't mean anything. You don't question if this has any bearing on the quality of the products, and if it does, why. You don't question the reasons behind the storytelling efforts, or the backgrounds and inspirations behind those telling the stories. Basically, you just say they should include people who aren't stereotypically "normal."

    There's no special message there. Personally, I believe in the pursuit of truth, quality, intellect and wisdom. There is nothing even remotely new in your piece, Brian. That's my only point.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    You can ask questions as frivolous as ones about my age (when I could also unnecessarily point out that as a probably 30-40 year old, you're almost definitely set in your ways and will never change your viewpoint), you can pretentiously tell me to make a stand when I’ve clearly stated several opinions I formed myself (that others also happen to share), you can repeatedly ignore my relevant questions, you can ignore the entire article because it's apparently not new (though the discrimination is apparently okay, because you already know about it), you can write essays about how ignoring discrimination will help make it easier, and you can say that I'm regurgitating what the world tells me all you want, but despite you clearly thinking otherwise, you don't know me. You don't know how I think, how I came to these conclusions, or anything of the sort, and your continued, pompous assumptions about me, your self-proclaimed pursuit of truth, quality, intellect, and wisdom and the like, and your general continued contrary nature in both this thread and /several/ other threads where people have the apparent audacity to call you out on things and question you is making it clear that any continued discussion with you is impossible. If you find yourself forced to defend what you say on a regular basis, maybe it's less that other people are easily offended than it is that maybe your thoughts and ideals are actually offensive.

    You'll continue to go through life thinking "man, that kid who wrote that article thinks he knows what's what, but /I/ know better," and continue to patronize people by using their name and calling them "friend," and that's okay--that's something I'll very easily live with, but you're going to live a long, sorry, lonely life if you continue to throw out generalizations about the kind of life somebody will live if you continue to extrapolate based off someone's opinions on a single, very complex subject. I have no time for people as willfully ignorant and contrary as you are able to be, and I cannot and will not allow myself continue to communicate with that kind of a person.

    I have no doubt that you'll write a somewhat articulate, consistently contrary, and hilariously argumentative response that brings up how much of an intellectual you are and how I'm not thinking for myself, and that's okay. I hope you consider the things I brought up in both the article and my comments, but I don't expect you to.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Don't be upset because I correctly guessed your age. Either that means something, or I'm just clairvoyant. ...and I promise, I'm not.

    I did not provide you with any of my "thoughts or ideals;" hence, you have no idea if they're offensive or not. You're just upset that I said your article wasn't enlightening, that it didn't tell us anything new. It didn't. There wasn't a single original thought in the entire piece.

    I never claimed to know everything based on my age. You, on the other hand, exhibit the classic "I know everything right now and nothing I believe will ever change" behavior. That was obvious in the piece. Hence, I estimated your age and I was correct. You're upset that you were so transparent, but it's unnecessary.

    I never said I know "exactly how you think." Your interpretation of my response is grossly exaggerated based on your anger. You want to see something that wasn't there. Read it again, Brian (I'm using your name to be civil, if that's all right with you). You might find that nowhere, outside of my estimation of your age, did I make any judgment about you that goes beyond this piece you wrote. That's all.

    You wrote an editorial and posted it for public consumption. You are now open to the opinions of said public. I can deduce things based on what you wrote. Thus far, you've only proven me right. So, instead of just getting mad and making outlandish, inaccurate claims (as if you have any clue who I am or what I stand for), I beg you again: Make a stand.

    Provide me with an original thought. Take what everyone with a functioning brain already knows (essentially, your article here) and do something with it. Use your own brain to come up with a single, unique thought. That's all. Don't go off on another rant about me, don't waste time insulting me at every turn, don't hide behind the "oh, you're just older and you'll never change so I won't respond" mentality. Just think...for...yourself.

    No, it is not a complex subject. You just want it to be because you've been taught it has to be. If you did any thinking on your own, you might come to the conclusion that in fact, it's ridiculously simple. You're welcome to read my piece on the issue, if you like. If not, that's fine, too.

    I'm sure, however, as you've apparently never been wrong a day in your life, you'll have something derogatory to say about it.

    http://www.gameskinny.com/rcv3e/harassment-and-under-representation-in-gaming-how-to-fix-it
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm flattered as always that you decided to use the "I'm older, so I understand better" claim as you continue to try to indirectly insult me by challenging me to come up with just one unique thought (because regurgitating Ayn Rand is unique). I'm always eager to learn new things and change my opinions, and somebody suggesting that I would never change my viewpoint is quite insulting. I don't know everything, and I make that clear at several points in the article--I know everything from the perspective of a straight white guy in the United States (aka one of the most privileged people in the world). To suggest that I presume to know everything is horribly misinformed and insulting.

    I don't really care about proving to you that I "make a stand," if you even know what that means. Original thought is next to impossible in this day and age (which is apparent from you quoting Ayn Rand and... your grandmother?), and just because YOU believe that there's no original thought in a piece doesn't mean it's not worth it for people who aren't you. So regurgitate Ayn Rand and whichever other authors and philosophers tickle your fancy and claim it's original, unique thought. It's no skin off my back, but don't try to tell me it's original.

    On the subject of you saying that I don't present anything new, to a certain point, you're right, but there's a reason for that: this article isn't for you. It may be somewhat puzzling at first, but you are not the target audience of this article. Actually, the people mentioned in the article--women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community--aren't even the target audience of the article. They already know all this stuff, and more informed people already know this information too. They know about the imbalance and discrimination, and this article does little to benefit them other than maybe list a few more sources.

    It's not directed at them.

    The article is more of a direct message to the ignorant player--the one who doesn't know any better because they have no reason to need to. That's who it's for. I thought that was pretty obvious. I'm sorry that's probably not an adequate answer for you, but to frank, I don't really care.

    And I did read your piece, and it fails to address that your ideal world is impossible given the way the world works now, so it's irrelevant. It's not a matter of "I don't want to believe that because I hate that the writer disagreed with me that one time," it's a matter of "it would be great if it could happen, but it's not how the world works." It's more practical to try to fix the current system instead of talking about this utopic society that can't, and won't exist. But I really, really, don't want to discuss this topic anymore.

    Look, you seem decently intelligent, and we clearly disagree, and that probably has a lot to do with upbringing, current place in the world, education levels, etc., which neither of us can really help or know, but I hope you can understand that it seems that neither of us will ever change our opinions on this matter (at least given the way the conversation has gone), so it's not worth discussing or debating. We obviously disagree on a lot, and I just can't be bothered to talk to you again about any of these particular issues. We simply won't come to ANY consensus, and it's a waste of time and effort. Really, just don't do it. I am telling you--asking you. Don't. Do it. Perhaps we'll discuss something else eventually, but this one discussion just needs to just end with "we won't agree, so okay."
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah, you don't have the authority to tell me what I can and can't do. Saying "don't," as if I have to face some sort of consequence for replying doesn't fly with me.

    You don't have to reply if you don't like. You can keep making assumptions about me, as you've done from the start. I disagree with Rand on several things, so I don't "regurgitate" anything. I learn things, I add my own thinking to it, and come to some sort of conclusion. You learn, but you don't think for yourself.

    The target audience you speak of won't read your article and if they did, they won't care. How you're missing that, I don't know.

    As for my piece, either your reading comprehension is lacking or - as I predicted before - you had to find something derogatory to say about it. I don't say it's impossible. I claim it's impossible because WE make it impossible. Namely, people like you. It's perfectly practical and plausible to live the way we're supposed to live; if you wish to take the Band-Aid approach, that's your business.

    The mere fact that you believe "original thought is impossible" tells me all I need to know about you. Well, that, and your insistence on putting the concept of "I'm so privileged" in every single thing you write. So, just wake up in the morning, punch yourself in the nose for being white and straight (and as such, the bearer of the world's problems), propose no original solution, and imagine that you've done something.

    All you needed to do from the beginning is come up with a single original thought pertaining this subject. Just one. Instead, because you can't, you came up with the excuse that you don't need one, that it's impossible to have one, and then just decided to insult me because of all this.

    That's where it all comes out in the wash, Brian. It's okay, though. As you haven't done anything offensive (besides not thinking for yourself, which is a widespread plague, anyway), I don't mind you at all. In fact, I find all this interesting. Don't you? :)
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Fine. You want a debate? Let's have a debate. I have the exact same authority that you have to demand I present an original thought. Namely, none at all.

    I never said YOU say it's impossible, I'm saying that /I/ say it's impossible. You know, an original thought? Oh dear. You can't change the mindset of the entire planet with wishful thinking. Sorry, but that's how it works. No doubt you'll say "well x person said that before, so you're not original" to which I say "I don't care." I am regurgitating the thoughts of others just like how you regurgitate Ayn Rand. I cited sources, and presented arguments, just like you did. You can be a pseudo-intellectual all you like, but it won't change that neither of us are the best sources of information for these topics.

    You needlessly waste time discussing "original thought" instead of discussing the issue at hand, wasting time with pseudo-intellectualism and philosophy all for what? To appear superior? To show this self-proclaimed "original thought?" /All thought/ is built on the framework of the thoughts of others. Philosophers did it and do it all the time. Oh no. Plato learned from Socrates. There goes original thought. Guess we'd better ignore /him/.

    Would naming philosophers that have helped me illustrate the point that I'm building on the thoughts of others, just like literally every other person who's ever written anything has done? Or is that just regurgitating?

    And I don't punch myself in the morning for being white--I'm aware that I am, and am aware that I have a ridiculous set of privileges that come with that. Sorry, but if you're a white dude, you're privileged. It really doesn't matter how informed you are. As a side note, thank you for devolving into the personal insults. I was really hoping you'd throw another cat lady insult like you did in that other thread, but oh well. The world isn't perfect.


    But if you can put aside the definitions of original thought, regurgitation, and other tangents and get back to your original statement and discussion, what do you define as "common sense" and why bring up marrying goats if you didn't mean to liken homosexuality to bestiality? I am genuinely asking, because I really can't see any other reason to bring up worshiping a lamppost and marrying a goat.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Ah, no. We can't have a debate if you just keep ignoring what I write.

    I said I didn't "regurgitate" anything. I said I added my own views those of another individual. I already said that. Besides, sounds to me like you know nothing of Rand or the theories and philosophies in question, and instead of trying to understand them, you dismissed them.

    There is no debate. I never asked for one. I said, quite simply, that you didn't present anything new in that article. I correctly guessed your age (which unsurprisingly ticked you off), but never once did I claim that that was the reason you think the way you do. You think the way you do because the educational system has indoctrinated you with a set of beliefs, "guilt" being foremost among them.

    All I've been trying to see, this whole time, is if you have any pride whatsoever. That's all. Not pride in surface trivialities like your race or religion; pride in being you. Do you take responsibility for living this life? What if everyone did? You say you wrote this piece for people who are ignorant, which doesn't make any sense. The vast majority of people are WILLFULLY ignorant, Brian. Hence, they will never bother with your article.

    What if everyone chose to be an individual? What if everyone said, "this is what I can do, this is what I love to do, and this is what I will do, because it will benefit everyone around me?" What if, instead of just telling us what's wrong (as is the case here), you took a step back. You say you and I are "privileged," which in turn means the onus is on us to fix the situation, correct?

    That doesn't work and never has. The people, the ignorant people of whom you speak, can choose on a daily basis to learn and better themselves. They choose not to; us giving them special treatment and every possible form of assistance, from government programs to ceaseless educational and financial aid, has not helped the issue one whit. In fact, it has only worsened it, because we are giving those ignorant individuals the motivation and the incentive to continue being ignorant...because they know we, the "privileged," will always be there to save them.

    Do you believe it's our responsibility to save them? Or, as individuals who must take responsibility for their own existences, is it upon them all to assume that responsibility? Because, after all, it is their life. Pride. They have none. But we can't give it to them. Pride and self-esteem is not bestowed; it's earned. We obviously disagree there and if we do, there really is nothing else to talk about.

    It's not up to you. It's not up to me. It's up to each and every one of us to live, and respect the life we've been given. The rest? Excuses and nothing more. What I wrote is not an impossible ideal; it's a realistic ideal if sentiment and need didn't rule our every waking minute. A society cannot and will not last when "need" is the #1 priority.

    If you're not even willing to think about that for two seconds, I'm not willing to continue.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    How about you answer my original question of why you brought up marrying a goat and worshiping a lamp post instead of trying to distract with more tangents?
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Because it's my prerogative if I wish to say that marrying a goat and worshiping a lamppost isn't normal. I'm allowed to do that.

    You can desperately avoid all the rest, if you like. Here's what I know- this entire piece was written by someone who believes it's their responsibility to help those who supposedly can't help themselves. The more people who think the way you do, the more there will be people who choose not to try. It's a battle you won't win, Brian. None of us will.

    It's not your fault. It's not mine. Want to use your "privilege" in a way that's actually productive? Get up every day with a goal that involves YOU. This is really all I have to say on the matter. It's up to you to ponder or not...the irony is that education today is about helping everyone else on earth but yourself.

    One day, if we continue to follow this path, there will be a world where everyone stands in a massive line. Each person stands completely still; only looks to the person on his or her left, expecting assistance. Then, the last person in the line will look to the left...and nobody will be there. Result: Worldwide paralysis. Melodramatic? Perhaps. But I see people who are slowing to a crawl; slow to move, think, respond, act.

    I choose not to assist in the downward spiral. That is all.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    It's that the "marry animals" and "slippery slope" arguments are very often used in extreme cases for why people think gay marriage shouldn't happen, and it seemed to be that you wanted to imply that without saying it. You know the "what's next, marrying your dishwasher?" argument. If you're just saying that to say it to say it's not normal, then I could say it's not normal for people to think they can read minds. It's kinda irrelevant and unnecessary. And you still didn't answer my question about common sense.

    But as for your sort of questions about privilege, why not? Why not try to use privilege to actually inform those who have that same privilege who don't know the benefits they have? It's not as much a question of "why bother" as it is a question of "why /not/ do it?" I have very little to lose, so why not? There are some people who are both ignorant /and/ willing to learn, but they don't know any better. If they wanna learn, I can at least, you know, help.

    And you're right, to an extent. There's no responsibility, exactly, but I know I benefited from people explaining things like these to me, so if I can get at least one person to go, "huh, I'd never noticed that," and perhaps at least maybe change an opinion, then the article is a success. I don't lose anything, and if people will be ignored for saying the same thing as somebody who is less privileged, then is it wrong to say what they're trying to say in the hope that somebody will notice? If I can be useful toward something that might benefit others, what's the harm in trying? It may not be the way you go about it, but does it matter if the end goal of teaching people is still met?

    I highly recommend you look up Jane Elliot's Blue Eyes Experiment, particularly one of the more recent experiments. She's a white woman, and has no reason to do it, but chooses to /because she can/.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Brian, I just don't care about any of that (concerning the marrying this or worshiping that). The only people who say that and mean it are the people who don't consider it an issue.

    As for that very important question concerning using privilege- "Why not?" I understand the premise. There can be no harm in trying, right? Can't hurt anyone. There's no reason NOT to do it. I thought that once, too.

    But I don't have to answer that, because you really answered your own question. It's right there; the last sentence in the second paragraph: "If they wanna learn, I can at least, you know, help."

    It's a sensible thing to say, until you really start to look at it. The key is the first word: "IF." You're operating under the assumption that all ignorant people want to learn. But...they don't. If they did, they would've. How much help does a person really need if they're actually, truly determined to learn? And would such people even be willing to accept your help? Wouldn't those people (the only ones who would succeed in learning, by the way) realize that only the individual can earn, and subsequently learn, pride? Your help will not give them what they most seek.

    What you're trying to do with this piece isn't "bad," per se. Your intentions are good. There's nothing wrong with that. Think, though, about the core of the issue, not the twisted screw-up that we've made it. Think about a world where, as I said in my other piece, a person's ability and motivation is all that mattered. Think of a world where everyone, from the janitors to the CEOs, goes to work every day with a desire to do a great job, and with the firm belief that that great job will be rewarded.

    How do we achieve that? By giving? How will that help? When we accept the unfortunate fact that the majority of people are ignorant by their own choice, we see that giving is, in fact, the Great Enabler. We create a society of rampant entitlement, where all the "downtrodden" are noble, kind, self-sacrificing, moral creatures, and all the rich are seen as corrupt, greedy, and cold. That's quite possibly the most dangerous viewpoint a civilization can hold, and that's what we're holding.

    Those who choose to help themselves will be an asset to society. Those who don't never will, and giving them things will only drain the energy of those who try, who achieve. In "Atlus Shrugged," the "men of the mind" went on strike because they didn't feel like being slaves anymore.

    When you understand what they meant by "slaves," you'll understand my entire premise. As for the book you recommended, you might guess that based on what I've written here, I'd despise it. I love fine literature, however, so maybe I'll try it one day.

    Thank you, by the way, for being more civil. Like I said, this is interesting... ;)
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    It just seemed a bit irrelevant and seemed like a jab at the legitimacy of orientations that aren't straight. I understand the train of thought, it just always strikes me as a bit... shortsighted and ignorant. But if you don't find it relevant, alright then.

    I guess where we mainly differ is giving people the benefit of the doubt. I didn't "want" to learn because I thought I was an essentially good person. And, based on what I knew at the time (mainly not knowing how privileged I was/am), I /was/ a good person. But then once I knew that things weren't so great for others, I started wanting to learn about it and maybe make the world a less awful place for people who can't really voice that opinion. Sure, there are always going to be people who would rather ignore it either so they don't have to worry about it or because they genuinely don't care, but it seems worth it to try.

    I think of it like telling people about a favorite game (incidentally, this is how I combat people criticizing preparing for tone arguments). If they aren't gonna like it, they aren't gonna like it, but it's worth it to make the best possible case for your claim in the nicest way imaginable. There's always a point where people are a lost cause, but if you can help, then go for it.

    I guess the only thing I can tell you about entitlement is nurture until there's a breaking point then give up? It's hard to form any sort of routine course of action for something as complex as this. There are always people who are lost causes, but there are always people who will listen, but don't know any better.

    Oh, and that Blue Eyes Experiment is a video. She's run it several times, and if you've got an hour of your time available, it's really worth watching. It's more on the terms of racism and the inability of people to "leave the room" and avoid racism (which I believe you commented on before in that other thread where you said I had white guilt), but it's relevant. The UK one that was made within the last few years is rather interesting, since it provides context for the original experiment she performed in the 19...60s, I believe. Also, she's harsh with people because they agreed to be part of the experiment, and if they intentionally throw off the experiment, it ruins the entire point.

    And I get a little... annoyed when people get what I see as off-topic, as I think I may have made clear, somewhat unintentionally. I like civil discussion, as odd as it may seem.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I wasn't taking a jab at people who aren't straight. That was your interpretation...you see how these issues can seem to exist everywhere when we're so obsessed with them?

    As for giving people the benefit of the doubt, I wish I could still do that. I really do. But I look at the state of things now and logically, I can't. We're wasting our best minds, our time, and our resources, continually obsessed with fighting a losing battle. I'm a laid-back, relatively cheerful individual, but I see the situation as desperate; I see it as a battlefield medic sees triage. If we don't cut the dead weight, and cut it soon, we'll all be pulled under.

    You talk of a breaking point; I say we reached it years ago. Now we're just following the downward spiral, sending the very clear message that if you don't do it, don't worry, because someone else will. It's crippling us. It HAS crippled us. The current healthcare issue is a perfect example; WHY are we paying for people who couldn't put the fork down? That is not my responsibility. The poor kid born with leukemia? Sure, take my tax money to help combat that. By the way, this is a great example of what I meant by "common sense."

    Thing is, when you keep saying "help," I keep hearing the moaning of a cold wind, blowing through an empty cave in the middle of winter. That's not an insult, by the way; just how I picture it. The ones who need it don't care or won't listen, because they know they're being helped in another way...the way that lets them sit at home and steal everyone else's money. Those who apply themselves don't need our help and in fact, if they're worth a salt, they'd refuse it, anyway.

    Racism...sexuality...it all goes away if we prioritized ability and personal drive. It would all melt away because THEN, and only then, would all that stuff be a complete non-issue. Good at what you do? An asset to the rest of society? Great, end of conversation. Sure, it may seem impossible. But think how you'd build a civilization from scratch...what would you prioritize? The dude who brings a pot pie to every door at dinnertime? Or the dude who bakes his own excellent pot pie and sells it?

    Guess which man is actually, truly helping the rest of his new colony...
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I mean, I'm not trying to be offended for the sake of people, but that train of thought almost always leads to "gay marriage is as ridiculous as marrying an animal, so we should stop it now." Like, I'm really trying to see how else to interpret that, but it's just a point that I've seen so often that I can't see any alternative.

    I mean, you literally say "We've reached a point, I think, where everything is a "choice" and as such, everything is "okay." If that's the case, there are no lines in the sand any longer. My end point is that if you want to marry a goat and worship a lamppost, no skin of my back. Just don't expect me to say it's normal. Common sense needs to come back."

    To be honest that quote is why I got so angry. It seems rather willfully ignorant.

    I just don't know what else it could mean.

    And again, it comes down to the level of disillusionment and probably also political views, which, as I imagine based on the ages mentioned before, are not too similar. We're talking about a reformation of society (or brand new society completely) that we both seem to want, but we each have different ideas of how to attain that reform/new society. I'm not sure a discussion in a gaming thread of an article that says "yo, this is messed up here" is gonna accomplish too much.

    But I'm glad discussion managed to happen.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    You spend way too much time trying to find people that need "enlightening," which is why you get so angry. The only "willfully ignorant" people are, ironically, the people you're trying to help with this piece. I call it a waste of your time and potential.

    And it's not really disillusionment. For the record, I'm completely apolitical; I'm independent. That's the key word, of course. I do find it ironic that the regime in place now, that of the liberal regime, is supposed to be all about humanitarianism, when in fact, they're only succeeding in turning humans into barely functioning beggars.

    I only care about the deeper truths concerning humanity. I know that in my previous example, of the man with the pot pie, that in any walk of life, in any era of human history, there is only one right answer to the question. Hence, there is indeed a correct way to live and it's unambiguous and not at all complex. We just choose not to acknowledge it because doing so would be realizing that not everyone on earth is the same, not everyone can be saved, and it's just plain insane to enslave the producers in order to care for the non-producers.

    The rest is all fluff. One of these days, maybe people will figure it out, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • WordbearerLegion
    I'm afraid to get involved.
    Of course, the issue in this conversation seems to be that the two of you are not simply ignoring each other. No, the issue here seems one of speaking in two completely different language sets and definitions.
    Fathoms, you seem to be a "hardcore" follower of objectivism, which plainly based on the absolute value of the individual.
    Brian, you seem to operate within several different structures, each of which values the group or community.
    Now, the argument the argument of the article is not that the individual is wrong-- it seems to me that the article is attempting to demonstrate that the individual with no ethical regard for any other, specifically relating to race/gender identity, has lost something very important, namely, access to reality.
    When I use the word reality here it is not in reference to the process by which one's own perception can be construed as correct or incorrect. I reference reality in the physical sense of the word. The United States is extremely diverse. Some of the largest cities in the country contain people from all over the world with access to numerous experiences, cultures, religions, moral views and codes of ethics. This article is calling to action a rational discourse about the issue while trying to frame an acutely difficult problem to talk about.
  • WordbearerLegion
    There are flaws in the consistency of the author's logic at certain points, but what is overwhelmingly clear is this: Brian is acting out of the interest of the group-- an ignored voice may as well not exist-- and out of interest in video games which have more developed, interesting and believable characters. The assertion that this article was written to purposefully insult the vast and vague arena called art comes across as presumptuous and ridiculous.
    "If someone sets out to create something for the express purpose of dropping in characters with "alternate lifestlyes (or whatever), that's an insult to all art." is an absolute statement. This dramatic polarization is not what the article is arguing, in fact, this article is a, admittedly impassioned, plea for rational steps to be taken for a lifelike representation of many diverse groups. Furthermore, ending a comment with "That's really all I have to say on this matter." really prevents any sort of conversation to be had. The author several times repeated that the gaming industry shouldn't be required to insert a checklist of characters, backgrounds or identities-- Brian instead asserts that there are more ideas than the same tropes which are used over and over again.
    The idea of "normal" must, from a perspective of the historical development of all of human civilization, be subjective. Objective normal would be concrete, identifiable characteristics-- such as the normal state of the sun, solid matter, etc. Humanity is rarely so precise and each culture or group has it's own definition of normal. A crowded marketplace in Connecticut would most likely deviate from a barren Inuit village's definition of normal. The investiture in the statement, " that "normal" is always subjective and as a consequence, anything is "normal" when viewed in a certain light. That is a slippery slope that ends in the forfeiture of all values and morality because if the first is entirely subjective, everything else is entirely subjective, and I do not hold to the belief that all of life is a gray area." draws the conclusion that all morality, and ethics systems, are lost in the face of a subjective narrative. There is a failure here to define what it means to have a "forfeiture of all values and morality." Morality, as defined by the practice of a code of ethics, is a differentiation of decisions, intentions and actions between what is "right" (or good) and what is "wrong" (or evil). A forfeiture of morals, then, would mean reductions to an amoral state, that is, a state of unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. Further defined by the final statement that you do not believe that "all of life is a gray area," I am led to believe that your personal moral code is governed by strict areas which you define as "right" and other areas which you define as "wrong." Most of humanity, throughout the course of our known history, would probably have the same black-and-white view of morality. This would then lead me to begin to construct the idea that your moral code allows you to polarize many, if not all, events. Those which do not already coincide with your moral dichotomy are, then, immediately "wrong." Thus, if you do not believe that all of life is a gray area, there is not any part of life which is.
  • WordbearerLegion
    The theory of objectivism is an extremely comfortable moral framework from which to launch yourself then. In the above article, the notion of the game industry allowing, or giving diverse or minor groups either representation or acknowledgement must fall into one of two categories. Rand holds the position that it is immoral to give, or to receive aid to another of any kind. Allowing the game industry to even be perceived as giving any kind of aid would then follow as "wrong." Then, you represent this idea of "everything is a "choice" and as such, everything is "okay." Honestly, this just seems logically flawed. A choice is most commonly defined as the mental process of weighing multiple options and selecting one or more of them. If making anything a choice allows for all outcomes to be "okay," then the idea of a choice becomes absurd. Choices are the basis for every moral, and eventually how each and every code of ethics is defined. If, by this logic, every code of ethics is "okay," which then renders the argument absurd, which then logically invalidates everything both you and Brian are trying to say. Of course we as humans gravitate towards general moral values and decisions, but not all of these can possibly be considered okay. This doesn't mean that binary options and the elimination of any gray areas constitutes a "right" or good action. Thoreau's "voluntary poverty" concept was one such binary moral system. The idea was that giving up, in his case, money reduced your options to as few as two choices. This makes like more simple. The central problem with the idea of "voluntary poverty," in this case giving up the options of diversity or identity/culture, is that it denies the participant from experience. In the video game industry's case, this means they are losing out, not just in market, but in the ability to recognize other identities.
    This recognition is what seems to be completely unimportant to you, fathoms, and what seems to be almost all important to you, Brian.
  • WordbearerLegion
    Philosophically speaking, anything can be defined from a subjective standpoint and anything can be defined from an objective view. The word chair, when written or spoken is merely a sound or a grouping of lines that translates, somewhere in our mind, into a finite and graspable concept. These sounds or lines are alien to someone who does not understand us but all languages can eventually be translated to embody the same idea. The word for chair in English is different than the word for chair in Chinese, but the ultimate concept is the same. Right? Sort of. Without getting into a full on lecture mode, the idea is that each word or symbol conjures the idea of chair-ness. A metachair which is represented by each permutation of our language. But, this chairness is not the same for every single individual. In fact, each individual can be said to have similar if varied ideas of chairness. Each chairness occupies similar traits and experiences but differs vastly in the process by which the idea was arrived upon. In the same way that words represent an idea of -ness, the argument that a single given thought can be "right" or "wrong," or occupy right-ness or wrong-ness is individual. Any given moral choice, then, is based solely upon an individual's experience of that choice. Yes, a wider cultural experience, such as the Bible or the Constitution, affects how each moral choice is chosen or arrived upon, but those choices are group-driven but arrived at uniquely. No individual can have the entirely the same experience as another. This would then mean that the idea of a common narrative should valued as an individual exercise within a group framework. Thus, a diverse set of ideas and concepts can be united via similar, but disparate, processes. Finally, these moral systems, since they cannot be exact copies, must all occupy a vast area within the moral choice, even if many people share the same moral codes, their experience and operation on that codes is different. Which means, that if a "right" and "wrong" exist, they are obligated to represent vast gray areas of numerous unique concepts of right-ness and wrong-ness. So, "Fourthly and lastly, there is no logic to the idea that there are no definitions, that everything is a gray area. Philosophically speaking, that's not even possible. No, common sense is not subjective. There's a definition for that. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not is certainly a choice; doesn't change that there are indeed things in this world called definitions, rules, guidelines, etc." operates outside of definite parameters. The definition of common sense is a conglomerate of any number of individual experience and diverse processes and thus, by definition, subjective. The notion of "Objectivism" derives from the idea that human knowledge and values are objective: they exist and are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by one's mind, and are not created by the thoughts one has, then, is not defined by what reality has created, but how even the language by which it is attempted to be defined by fails completely to provide an objective definition.
  • WordbearerLegion
    "Personally, I believe in the pursuit of truth, quality, intellect and wisdom." comes across as highly condescending. Brian, you make several intellectual leaps which fathom does not make. As an outsider, this seems to boil down to a "I said this and you said that" argument. And, as a deeply political person, fathom, you make many points which are extremely political-- from the use of the word "regime" to the concept which you introduced involving the concept of the ignorant masses whom could better themselves but choose not to on a daily basis. These topics are rooted in the idea of government and the philosophy of those in power/not in power. Several times you mention, "Thats all I have to say." or similar ways of ending a post or tell Brian he could just choose to not respond. Then, in a different post you address Brian as someone with a much younger mindset who is just not going to respond. To me, this seems like a form of intellectual imperialism. Both you and Brian subscribe to automatic assumptions at different points but, despite the ambitions of which you claim, you appear to much about in the idea of your own, inherent superiority. Brian, at least, seems to accept that there are areas he does not understand and does his level best to defend the concepts he finds important.
    Originality is what seems to get your argument rolling. Many times you repeat the assertion that Brian's article and contained ideas are not original, are not unique, are not his own. Interestingly, the processes by which each individual arrives at any given conclusion must be unique as quantum dynamics and neurochemistry would make any human brains nearly impossible to be arranged in precisely the same manner. The concept that one's opinions or ideas matter only if original is mired in Kantian thoughts stemming from the age of enlightenment, and it's extremely imperial intellectual tones. While Brian changes topics often and sometimes presents poor arguments, you seem to participate only for the idea that your participation somehow validates the absolute insult you commit against Brian: that is to say, that Brian's opinions are invalid and worthy only of being referenced to in the shadow of your own intellectual achievement/aspirations.
  • WordbearerLegion
    Shame on you. Brian creates an article in order to contribute his own thoughts on an established, yet growing dialogue. His ideas may have been talked about before; his call to action may seem tired to those of us with more years and more experiences with these conversations; his dedication to a cause which you seem conceptually unable to understand are all attempts at useful, sustainable dialogue. Reducing conversations to what appear to be pretentious calls for Brian to "think for himself" or "be unique" are an age old employ of those who do not wish to engage.
    "You're operating under the assumption that all ignorant people want to learn. But...they don't. If they did, they would've. How much help does a person really need if they're actually, truly determined to learn? And would such people even be willing to accept your help? Wouldn't those people (the only ones who would succeed in learning, by the way) realize that only the individual can earn, and subsequently learn, pride? Your help will not give them what they most seek." Fathom, if this what you are most truly believe, then there is no place for you in any group or organization. If any other person is beyond any help you feel you can give, then there is not help that you can give worth receiving. The basic tact of civilization leads back to the idea that the group is worth as much as the individual. Equality is not giving no preference to any group, it is allowing a system to exist within which each individual has the same chance to succeed in the group. Racism is not dead. Jim Crow style laws still exist. Abuses of power continue to exist and will continue to exist as long as those who do not wish to help because they believe all others are beyond helping believe what they do. I sincerely believe that all people deserve the opportunity to provide the furthering of the human race and my actions reflect that. If I did not try to help, then I would be worth being allowed to interact in the group; in society; in civilization.
    "And it's not really disillusionment. For the record, I'm completely apolitical; I'm independent. That's the key word, of course. I do find it ironic that the regime in place now, that of the liberal regime, is supposed to be all about humanitarianism, when in fact, they're only succeeding in turning humans into barely functioning beggars.
    I only care about the deeper truths concerning humanity. I know that in my previous example, of the man with the pot pie, that in any walk of life, in any era of human history, there is only one right answer to the question. Hence, there is indeed a correct way to live and it's unambiguous and not at all complex. We just choose not to acknowledge it because doing so would be realizing that not everyone on earth is the same, not everyone can be saved, and it's just plain insane to enslave the producers in order to care for the non-producers.
    The rest is all fluff. One of these days, maybe people will figure it out, but I'm not holding my breath."
    This statement, by common held defintion, falls into the category of disillusionment. I do not know, nor wish to know, what acts, events or tragedies that led to your profound distaste of ideas and people that are not you, but I hope you find whatever peace it is you are looking for with comments and depravements such as these. The idea of seeking the deeper truths of humanity is a complex and worthwhile goal so it seems very sad that you have arrived at such simple, inhuman answers.
  • WordbearerLegion
    I must admit several counts of hypocrisy as it concerns the use of 'concrete' definitions and I do reduce myself at a few points to the same intellectual imperialism I used in opposition to your comments.

    Apologies.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I really, really don't have time for that.

    All of it operates on the premise of the "group" being more important than the individual, and there's no real contention. You don't explain why I'm wrong. You just say I am because of the current problems we face, ignoring the part where I only say that if we had lived the correct way in the first place, none of these problems would've existed (or been as impossibly big as they are now, at the very least). Also, never once did I say Brian's opinions were invalid.

    "Inhuman" is the calling card of those who let sentiment rule their lives. That's your business. Keep at it, and see where it takes you. What you call disillusionment is simply the process of opening one's eyes. I'd ask that you open yours, but you're so wrapped up in a million ways to save the group while ignoring yourself (which will eventually destroy the group), that there's no talking to you.

    We can just agree to disagree, I'm sure.
  • Germaximus
    Correspondent
    I feel like a weirdo because I really do not care what nationality the character I play as in a video game is. I don't even care about my own skin color, or others. I still generalize of course, that's just a bad habit that's hard to drop. If I happen to be going through the "ghetto" I may fear for my useless life. But I don't actually care about race, ever.

    It drives me crazy seeing the big deal people make out of it. Not because I think they're wrong, but because I think it shouldn't be an issue. And that is what's wrong with the world.

    Remember Me is a beautiful game by the way. Really loved that story. Nilin wasn't objectified but she was still sexy which made me laugh.

    I don't pick and play games based on the main characters skin color. I don't understand this world or why game developers find the need to change a characters sex because of how it will look. But again, I think I'm a weirdo.

    I do prefer to play as a female because women are pretty to look at. They don't have to be objectified.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I think your reaction is generally the point of things like this. I don't care that Tomb Raider stars a woman or that I prefer a female Hawke in Dragon Age II. Indifference of what race, sex, and orientation of a character is good in that you judge the merits of the character as a character first, but I try to not ignore it, because then you get the whole "I don't see race" thing, which is kinda harmful too.

    And whether I play as a guy or gal depends on the game, if I have a choice. Like, Dragon Age: Origins provides me with the narrative I want as a guy, but I prefer Dragon Age II's voice actress for Hawke far better than the male version. That and her hair is less ridiculous than the weird hair choices for guys. They all look like plastic.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • JSully_8154
    What a disgusting article. Can we move on past this idea that white males are by default racist and the cause of all the evils in the world? We elected a black president. Racism is dead. Move on and find some other pretend injustice to waste your life whining about. It's clear this article was written by some white beta male who's been brainwashed into feeling guilty about his race and gender and so is trying to win the imaginary approval of minorities, women, or other white males as delusional as himself.

    I know being politically correct, which means parroting "racism sexism bigotry!" over and over, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it's nauseating. This is the last article I will read from gameskinny.
  • Amazon Eliza Steel
    Contributor
    - So, after a few centuries of slavery and only 50 years of Civil Rights after segregation and the Jim Crowe laws - we manage to elect 1 African-American president. A man that is bombarded DAILY NON-STOP by 24/7 hate of a scale we've never seen before in a national leader...

    But, somehow... somehow that balances the books. Okay, folks nothing to see here. All mass murder, kidnappings, beatings, forced labor, removal of cultural identity, etc. etc. It's all good now. We can just forget about all that. One minor politician from Illinois managed to win the White House. We're good now.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Very well stated.
  • jinji_1143
    as a straight white guy who plays games from this industry.. you're all welcome. take care, brush your hair..
  • jinji_1143
    and to all of our blue brothers and sisters, with the super tight scaled butts... we dont want to see fat asses.. (though you wouldnt know it from the cowards afraid to comment in public media, after all.. heavy people watch tv..) please forgive us and our awful way of life, ..one day.. things will equal out... "it's not your fault zuaron.. shut up tylad... ..it's not your fault.. shut up tylad"
  • jinji_1143
    yeah great read, the white guilt is thick with this one.. white peo- ..males bad, everyone else good, lets not rag on the white females, we loves them so, musnt do, do not want. HA! am i getting the memes right, sissies? authority and law bad, white? southern? christian? male? public enemy numero uno cracker. All those dirty cops and all the innocent drug peddelers and whores thats an honest living when you think about it! agh just i give in, so well written, so irreverent, about as edgy as a tennis ball, kudos minorities
  • Johnny Boy Public
    Utter and total bollocks from people looking to find issues; professional malcontents.

    Is there a problem with our culture? Yes, but it aint games. Games have been one of the most progressive forms of media out there. So sorry that Hollywood style games - out for the biggest buck - dont pander to each and every special interest group out there.

    Like many, I am no misanthrope or misognyist. I think most people are tired of the victim industry churning out articles about how terribly sexist the game industry is, when it is reallyt just a reflection of overall culture.

    To wit - you complain when will we see a TG protaganist in a game? Well, we will certainly see one before we see a TG President of the US of A. For that matter, how about a woman president?

    The issue is much larger than games, and the majority of the people kicking up a fuss refuse to acknowledge that. The approaches being advocated have been tried and guess what - abandoned - because? They didnt SELL $$$$$$ which is ALL the publishers care about.

    Truth.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    If by "progressive" you mean "have most games completely ignore a group," then sure.
    It's not a matter of them not all pandering to every group, it's a matter of almost every game pandering to the same group every time with every game. Almost half of gamers are women. 48%. That doesn't strike me as a "special interest group," that strikes me as a huge portion of the gaming community.

    And if you were to check the sources I link to within the article, you'd know that almost all games with female protagonists, for example, get far less funding and advertising than games with male protagonists. It's not really a black and white situation of "well these games don't do as well as Call of Duty BECAUSE of a female/colored/LGBTQ+ protagonist." By that logic, several games that received less-than-stellar reviews only received such low scores because they had a white dude as a protagonist. Look at Tomb Raider, for another example. That was the highest grossing game of the year in the UK until GTA V came out. That's "not selling?"
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Ace_4091
    This is a good article, but I would caution against "tone arguments" because it isn't a case of people attacking "privileged gamers", it's people reacting to others who constantly make gaming unsafe for them. Most people are weary of having to be "informative" when they are just asking to exist and be taken seriously. Usually people who absolutely cannot enjoy a game that doesn't follow the same "straight white macho male" formula know what they're doing and why they feel that way, and "informing them" is just an exercise in futility and repetitive arguments, because they get off on having some "last bastion" of privilege they can keep from the rest of us. If they were really interested in making video games an inclusive industry they wouldn't feel the need to constantly make racist mods, sexist add ons and entitled letters complaining about marginalized people having any part in their favorite hobby. This behavior isn't accidental, and they know they're being catered to by the industry so they don't feel the need to stop. If they had more developers and big name companies telling them to get over themselves and their privilege they wouldn't be so bold about it.

    There's a difference between someone who is used to being over-represented and doesn't quite grasp the situation and someone who gleefully tries to play gate keeper to who does and doesn't "deserve" to be represented in video games. I think that we make the mistake of defending the latter under the assumption that its okay to be like the former.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Thanks for the comment. It looks like you made the account to comment, so thanks, if that's true. I brought up a tone argument because your tone WILL be brought up by those who oppose and/or dismiss diversity in games. It's unfortunate that people need to be calm and collected in order to be taken seriously or even listened to, but the fact remains that yelling and calling somebody names (that they probably don't fully understand) creates a somewhat hostile environment where nobody learns anything. If somebody can find some excuse for not listening to you, they will. I'm simply trying to suggest that gamers eliminate as many excuses as possible. Chances are, if the racist, homophobic, sexist gamer got that far in my article, they probably became at least somewhat self-aware, though I admittedly should add something about how to listen and not create a hostile environment (I will, I just need to run it by people I trust who know the social commentary aspect better than I).

    I can only speak from personal experience for what helped me notice just how messed up things were. In my less-informed (and less-proud) years, yelling at me did nothing and ALWAYS prevented conversation or learning. Nobody likes to be insulted, no matter how right or wrong they are, and passion can often be confused with hatred. I suppose I was simply stating what is more likely to work, at least on me.

    Of course, there's always the chance that somebody will never listen, which is why I spend so much time suggesting that gamers take their fight towards developers and publishers. You're more likely to be able to get a point across to a game dev than some jerk on Reddit who casually makes racist jokes on a regular basis while working on their creepily detailed armor mod in Skyrim.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I think the article is well written and what a great job.

    I do think you're completely focusing on the vocal minority. As I've been apart of numerous communities and played tons of games that exclude no one in any way shape or form. Aside from Ryan's examples, Brothers ATOTS is another to add.

    I also must agree. w all the great games that are available that transcend this tired "white guy" approach to the article. Over the last couple years we've seen a major shift in these things. Mass Effect being a prime example of AAA dev listening.

    Also, wouldn't it be who of you to focus on the positives of games to go find and make public some of the games that already do encourage the change you speak of, Instead of just talking about change. IMO this type of article perpetuates the problem to some degree.
    Just staing a problem everyone's aware of with no viable solution, hasn't seemed to help. Maybe interview someone you feel is underrepresented in this industry.

    Again, great read man, keep up the great work.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I focused on the vocal minority because, honestly, they get stuff done, sadly. They're the whiny people who scare publishers into not changing--the ones who tell people to shut up and stop talking about a non-issue. They're the ones complaining on Reddit about how girls are taking their games, or whatever, and they're the ones who are convinced it's THEIR industry and theirs only.

    I focused on several positive games, but it feels like lying for me to focus on just a few positive games in sea of objectification. Yeah, Tomb Raider 2013 and Mass Effect 3 do a lot of things right, but the most popular games, like GTA V and Call of Duty simply aren't doing enough, if anything. It's like saying "alright, racism is done" because the United States has a black president. Racism is... slightly less awful than it used to be, but it's not saying much. Same thing with discrimination in games. It's better, sure, but if you look at the bigger picture, it's really not that substantial.

    And I think the part where I say "talk to developers and publishers" is the solution you're looking for. A lot of people are aware of the problem, but publishers are convinced there's no money to be had in these games and the vocal minority of gamers just don't care because it doesn't affect them (hence the section about privilege). If more gamers actually talk to publishers and developers, and if more gamers who actually care about diversity are in the industry, the industry has more of a chance of growing up and progressing, rather than being the butt of jokes by Joel McHale laughing about being in your parents' basement.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Those games don't want to do anything more than that, and that's good. It allows for other games that have been listed in the comments to do more than that.

    I do agree there could be a lot better job by 'major publishers' to highlight these games, but don't discount pub.'s like 505 with terreria and brothers. Also a multiplayer only console game payday2.

    There have been some gems to come out of indie fest's all around the globe, so there are games that challenge the norm well beyond anything on Steam, you just have to look.

    Movies are the same way, all or most of our culture is going through the same transition w the issues you've listed. It take time to move something as big as global culture, much less just western culture.

    :)
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    The point is that most AAA games do nothing. It'd be like only being able to find diversity in indie films instead of at least some of the more popular ones. Indie games providing new stories and characters is a good start, especially considering the quality of the games, but it still isn't really enough. I have friend who never felt like games were meant for them because they weren't even remotely represented in games that they knew of. Entry-level games are typically AAA titles, not indie games.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Love where this debate it going... let's use that movie analogy to put things into perspective. You have Hollywood (which is basically the problematic COD, etc games), and then you have the rest of the world making movies as well.

    It isn't as if there are not a slew of wonderful movies that touch on any given gender, race, preference... you just have to look outside of the Hollywood bubble.

    There have been some totally mind blowing games from Indies this year. Last year we saw Journey come out of nowhere and steal many GOTY awards.

    Don't think the industry hasn't taken notice either, especially Ubisoft. If you haven't seen Child of Light yet, that is probably my most anticipated Ubisoft game... even over The Division and Watchdogs. You have the creative director of Farcry 3 (while being an excellent game, is still in that FPS category) developing a beautiful 2D JRPG inspired game with a young female lead. They are also working on Valiant Hearts, another 2d title based on letters from World War I.

    The games industry isn't the problem... it's that "vocal minority" living inside of a bubble.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I concur, the vocal minority is very... Loud. I feel like ignoring the games that do challenge the norm isn't what's happening here.
    The guy who made Minerva's Den made Gone Home... That game sold very well.
    Ubisoft is a great example. Crytech is creating an "indie" team.

    The term indie is changing too. My mom plays only indie games(unknowingly) and she's a casual player. The Cave from DF is her current favorite.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm not entirely sure that indie games are really that relevant to this argument compared to AAA games that barely address the issue. I mean, yes, there are games such as Gone Home, but once again, these aren't entry-level games. For the most part, only people who know the industry are going to play indie games, while the common consumer will only see Call of Duty, GTA, and Barbie games. AAA games constantly reinforce the dichotomy of either "guy games" (Call of Duty, GTA) or ones that are for everyone else.

    Also, the way we're talking is as if we're all just patting ourselves on the back because "Oh, well, Gone Home stars a woman. AC: Liberation stars a woman of color. You can be gay, lesbian, or bi in Mass Effect. Go us." It seems like we're just accepting that a few microscopic steps are enough.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Are you being ironic by discriminating against Indie games the same way the games industry is supposedly discriminating against anyone who isn't a privileged white male?

    An Indie game is still a game, you can play it with the same controller on the same console... it was just made by a smaller team on a smaller budget.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Also "the common consumer" eats at McDonalds and shops at Wal-Mart... this is much more of a cultural issue than an industry issue.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Uh... no? And that parallel is a bit insulting, to say the least. You're comparing apples and oranges. The difference between AAA games and indie games is that one is meant to get as much of an audience/as much money as possible while the other is meant to be a somewhat personal game from a small group that also makes money. One exists to make money, the other exists to exist. The privileged gamer and the under-priveleged gamer are both... people with the same basic purpose. I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

    There's a difference in impact between an indie game saying something or representing a group and a AAA game saying something and representing a group. I'm saying that while indie games are actually showing some element of progress, they don't make nearly as large of an impact as a AAA production. Video games are still viewed as a strictly guy thing by the common consumer, and even some parts of the gaming community itself. Regardless of what you think of the common consumer and their delicious eating habits, they have a huge impact on what is made, marketed, and capitalized upon.

    It's as if we're accepting a few games being slightly less awful as being the end of any sort of situation. I'm not trying to take away the steps those games have made, but in the grand scheme of the industry, they haven't really done too much considering we can have more passionate discussions about the ending of Mass Effect or gun recoil in Call of Duty than we can about representation and objectification in games.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    there is that discussion already.

    And as chizel said, were celebrating and acknowledging those that are making strides. To downplay a slow movement isn't alright.

    I wish it'd change, but what were talking about is a cultural change beyond just games. That's a slow progression, again, those small victories are being praised and devs are listening because they're getting tons of money.

    The same devs making your cod and bioshock are tired of doing it and have been quoted many times saying so. It seems the quite majority is speaking up, why not celebrate that instead.

    I'm glad we all agree games are getting better and doing better at conveying emotion it seems.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    and I'm sure you understand these comments aren't meant to anger you; this is a nice discussion, I appreciate the civility.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    15-20 years ago video games (and comic books) were considered as strictly a "nerd" thing... so what brought about this change in perception that now it is only a guy thing?

    How do you shift an entire cultural perspective?
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I think there's a difference between downplaying progress and calling it for what it is. Ultimately, small indie titles that show some change don't have nearly the impact of a AAA title doing anything substantial. Imagine what would happen if Dragon Age: Inquisiton had a woman on the cover. It wouldn't happen. Just like how BioShock Infinite put Elizabeth on the back cover when the game is basically about her.

    And the devs may be tired of things all they want, but it's the publishers that give them the money, advertising, and distribution. The publishers are where the money is.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    After the video game crash in the 80s, you're right. It was definitely a strictly nerd thing. But this nerd thing was more of a nerdy guy thing. Nothing brought about the change--it was always there. Look at Pac-Man vs. Ms. Pac-Man. That's enough evidence to show what their thoughts were: girls don't like games, so lets make a girl game. The definition of "girl game" existing is just a part of what I'm talking about.

    And to answer your other question... same way you do anything else: by trying. Indie games are good steps, really. But there's a difference between good, productive change and huge change. The indie games are the former. Indie games are one way to shift the perspective, at least with the gaming industry, but this article more touches on the larger social commentary that it's more of a straight white guy world.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I think our views of the industry are just a little different. I believe it's time to agree to disagree good sir.

    Again, great article. High five!
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah I'm out too... animating a 3D sub and capturing footage of Papers, Please to start up a new youtube series to bring more attention to these games.
  • Unepitaphed
    Contributor
    I agreed 100% with you Brian. Not only does the industry need to change, but the mind set of gamers need to change as well. Otherwise we're just going to get the same half-assed "Call of Duty: Meat Head White Guy GO GO AMERICA" game. Gamers need to grow up and learn to be accepting and open minded, and the industry needs to learn how to take chances. We already have a "safety mode" Hollywood with remakes, books-to-movies and comics-to-movies. We dont need an industry filled with "Cliche Military Shooter 75" and "Safe Reboot of Classic Game #9,687"

    I've been thinking about the industry as of lately and why no one is taking chances. (aside from a few indie devs and publishers) and It seems this is one of the many problems. As long as the sheep flock towards "It says Call of Duty so I'll buy it" game. There is not going to be a bright and diverse future for the gaming industry.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    I'd say there's more than a few indie devs out there... this year alone we saw Gone Home, The Stanley Parable, and Papers, Please... when people complain about a lack of innovation or creativity, they are totally turning a blind eye to the real advancements in design and games that are actually redefining "game". Next year looks like we're going to get even more amazing games... you'll just never see a superbowl ad for them or anything.

    I spent many years trying to get people around me into fighting games with no luck. The most common excuse I've heard is "I work a 9-5 job already, I don't want to come home and play a difficult game that feels like a second job". The average person these days just wants a mindless shooter that takes their mind off of things for an hour or so. The same goes towards movies with complicated plots that require a lot of engagement from the viewer.

    You can't really fault people for just wanting to relax, and there will always be options for those of us looking for something a bit more sophisticated.
  • Justanotherloser
    Lmao, at one of the comments though. ' LG is represented'. A few games doesn't mean representation. That's the same thing as saying ' there's one black guy out the 25 other white guys here, People of color are represented!!' Sigh.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Don't worry... Ultimate Gay Fighter will fix everything :D http://youtu.be/WtxVh1D0E1g
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I read about that a week or two ago, and decided to just not touch it. It. The most articulate way I could react was, "Um..."
  • Quietbang_4159
    I think something I would like to point out is that it's relatively easy for the author, as a straight white man, to say that people who object to problematic video games need to educate, rather than just call out. Many of us have tried to educate, only to be rebuffed by an onslaught of violent, homophobic, racist vitriol. Marginalised gamers have every right to be angry, when this is what we face. It's very difficult to be dispassionate about a subject that directly effects you and your family; the attitudes behind problematic video games and gamers who defend them are harmful. They're part of the oppressive structures built into our society; it can be very hard to confront someone calmly when they are vehemently defending their right to dehumanise you.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I can only speak from my personal experience, but just a few years ago, I was not nearly as well-informed as I am now. Having things explained to me was far more effective than being literally yelled at. I suppose there comes a point where a person is a lost cause if discourse doesn't work. Yelling-matches hardly ever result in anything more than both sides being angry and tired, but I suppose they could work in some rare cases.
    Last edited 2 years ago
  • Miranda Kirk
    Featured Columnist
    I agree with you that it is hard to defend yourself when people are not willing to listen or when they are trying to 'dehumanize' you, as you stated above. But the answer is never going to be to stoop to their level and chastise anyone who is at least discussing the issue with you.

    I know change isn't happening fast and it is hard. But we should at least celebrate the small victories along the way, such as representation of LG people in games like mass effect. It's a long road to change what's been ingrained into society since the beginning.
  • Adym_3373
    I enjoyed the ironic ad for Tales of Solaris in this article.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    For several of the videos I linked to, it showed the Battlefield 4 Axe ads.
  • Elloawendy
    Great article! Very well written!
  • Corey Kirk
    Featured Columnist
    Good read. I would even take it a step further and argue that the BTQ+ groups have it even worse as next to nothing is made for them. LG people have games where their group is represented. When have we ever had a Trans Protagonist? Answer: Never. Anyway, I don't want to get on a soap box but I agree with your article. Good work! :)