Diversity in Gaming!

@Giuvito is awesome <3

Yeah, I’m looking at her now. My first guess is that my dad is half-black and he’s still darker than her, so I just didn’t make the connection. My second thought is I’ve seen people say that her brother is black before she was released, but he’s just always seemed like he just had a Pandoran tan, but I can’t say the same about her. My third thought is maybe I just don’t care what someone’s skin tone is because it doesn’t matter apart from what sh*tty disease we’re more susceptible to (sickle cell for blacks, skin cancer for whites (if I remember the second correctly)).

Hammerlock is black as canon

that’s set by Burch and the other writers

the thing is that when you say that it’s not being blind to skin color, it’s being blind to what poc face and the fact that skin color is a daily issue they deal with

also I looked further and this article is so so freaking cool, I respect all these people

I know that’s a thing. I’m actively trying to break what society tries to instill in my thoughts and so should everyone else. I know it won’t because humans always need to have something wrong or something to blame or something to be mad/prejudiced/whatever about. Trust me, I know that skin tone is still a factor when it shouldn’t be. When it comes to real life social issues, I’m liberal like you are, believe it or not. But when it comes to games, I’m just not uptight about it being enforced (for the lack of a better word).

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Funny. I was thinking about Mass Effect back when I made the “I don’t want to play as myself” comment. I have made plenty of…umm… ok fine… diverse characters in it; black, white, hispanic, attempted asian but failed, straight, lesbian, was in the process of a gay male but stopped because I was sick of playing the game so much by that point. I played the trilogy more than I should have…

And yes, I’m fully aware that I might be beginning to contradict myself at this point…

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That really wasn’t necessary but okay. Although I am more upset that she isn’t really well written, to creepy levels even. It feels like she does more harm than good.
Didn’t stop me from shipping her with Athena in TftB! It does highlight the problem I mentioned in that post with Athena’s sexuality however…

True, I don’t speak for everybody and neither do you speak for us.

That’s where I’ll stop talking as it would quickly become a disaster.

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I don’t understand why people make such a big deal in gaming. Take Borderlands: most of the characters are supposed to be caricatures. Over the top is what the game is all about. I think a lot of the time if you are worried about diversity in general then you will often see things that just aren’t there.

I will choose any character to play in BL2 purely on what skills they bring to the table, not whether they are black, white, transgender or gay/lesbian. I mean, who really identifies with any character in the game? I don’t have to be a woman to play Maya and I don’t have to be black to play Roland in BL1. Having characters with over the top personalities, like Moxxi, Marcus etc adds to the colour (no pun intended) of the game. I don’t play it to feel inclusive and I don’t see why anybody should feel they have to “connect” to a particular character. If there were no characters with my ethnic background or sexuality it wouldn’t make the slightest difference as to whether I played the game. Sometimes I feel people just want to go looking for something to be affronted by.

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Some good discussion here folks.

I’ve read so many articles on Barrett ranging from;

“But I thought that is how black people spoke.”

"To, ‘SEPHIROTH IS WHITE AND THEREFORE THIS GAME ISN’T RACIST’’

FFVII was way ahead of its time in so many categories, it touched and spoke on topics that no one had anywhere near the daring to do in 1997. In doing so, often times you stumble over your own good intentions and end up making a bit of a tit of yourself.

Barrett is so clearly a foreigners attempt at emulating black culture, and it comes off as contrived and offensive.

Which as an Italian… trust me, I know that feeling;

Even the localization of FFVII was heavily affected by the original Japanese producers. This was almost wholly a lack of knowledge by the staff that lead to a comically bad representation of a positive black character.

I would like to note although that it pretty much ends with his idiotic speaking patterns. Barrett is arguably (on morals) the best of the entire team. He is by far the bravest, most stalwart, most morally sound character. A stark contrast from Cloud’s whiny behavior, Cid’s abuse, or Vincent’s emo fits. Even his big “reveal” is one that shows him to be an even greater man than you thought. I don’t think they were in any way malign, they tried to do something positive and ended up lacking the acumen.

The Witcher does have a lot of commentary on racial discrimination and the dangers of it. It does use fantasy races in order to do so, and I think they were well aware of how white washed they were. There is only so much they could’ve done with the world Andrzej Sapkowski provided them with. As a young Polish man growing up behind the iron curtain, I can hardly blame him for having a poor knowledge of cultural diversities. The background and 90% of the characters are already provided for you.

They could’ve taken the liberty of asking Sapkowski to add in a further extension to the existing map, to allow for ethnic diversity that we may be more used to. But the message in the Witcher of accepting people regardless of their creed is incredibly strong throughout.

I’m engaging as hell!

In fairness. One of my favorite videogames (Saga Frontier) has me play as a 17 year old bisexual girl. And I still got wrapped up in the plotline of it. I love having characters I can relate with, but some times I’d much rather see the world as a homonculus behind the eyes of some one else. Viewing creation in a brand new scope. I’d be bored playing nothing but alcoholic Italians.

I’m not saying this is the case with Janey, but I do want to say;

Adding in a gay character whose sole characteristic is how super gay they are, assists no one. I’ve said it once, and again. Gay should have about as much value in a description as “brunette”. If it weren’t for the hatred people have had for it in the past, people would be able to list their sexuality as easily as they do their height.

I love that Hammerlock is gay and Tina is a lesbian, and you it is such a minute aspect of both of their characters. People aren’t their sexuality, and it often takes the viewpoint of a homosexual person to remind us of that. It reminds me of the gaudy way they made the film Alexander. Had him battling against his own sexuality in a day and age when no one could care what you were.

That is the best way to go about reviewing details. I am always skeptical of everything I read. Even if I completely agree with it originally, I reread it attempting to find every fault I can with it.

Any man who believes he knows the reality of every view point he holds, is a man who will cease growing, and therefore one not worth talking to.

I have a checkered history, and I drink enough to take down the great White Whale. You’re a mensch for being so kind to me, but I wouldn’t make it past my local primaries. :slight_smile: At least I know I’ve got your vote.

Aww shucks.

You’re concentrating on personal evolution as opposed to concentrating on a ripple effect. I feel as though that is a perfectly reasonable and lovely way to deal with this. I feel that it not only speaks to your ability to assess the situation, but your humble realization that any change or contemplation occurs within the self before it occurs without.

@BlackheartV I would compel you to express your opinions on the matter, as your opinion is valid and should be heard. I will assure you that I will do anything I have at my disposal to ensure that it remains civil on every side.

I have to ask, why would you preclude gaming as something that one can “make a big deal of” in this regard. Well made games are as much an art form as well made movies and books. If either one of those industries so heavily favored a particular subset of society, I feel as though there would be an equal amount of issue.

The game is over the top. Many of the complaints people have leveled against Borderlands (the Miss Moxxi one as I highlighted) and a few others, are nothing more than a horrible misunderstanding of the concept of satire. I suggest they’d spent more time watching Mel Brooks films.

Who really identifies with a character in a book? Or movie? Or play? If you don’t, bless you for it, but plenty of people do.

I’m sorry, but I feel like this paragraph is much like a Halloween costume pitchfork. 3 prongs, but no point. It may very well be that I do not understand it, and I will give way to that. I must although question it’s flow.

Again, if you don’t play it for that, bless you for it, but plenty of people do. It isn’t the fact that A-B-C game doesn’t have diversity in it, it is noting a trend in gaming all together.

Your very last sentence, may I suggest a divergent opinion from that? There are plenty of people who are genuinely bothered by the fact that gamers are represented by this caricature;

More often than not. People still assume gaming is something done by 12-30 year old white males with a Pan complex. As such, much of the game industry’s AAA titles are catered to this. I don’t know of your ethnicity or your background, but even if you are a minority, you may be more resistant to the effects of the feeling of marginalization than others. Plenty of people feel beset by constant abuse or marginalization and see that it may be quietly prevalent in “the great new art form”. Art has always been (ideally) something unassailable, which anyone has the ability to make their presence felt in.

May I suggest a possible third option? There are those who are genuinely bothered, and rightfully so, by the feeling that they’re being swept aside as a matter of numbers. Perhaps there are also those who see the ability to gain from these good-natured people by reflecting their fury, without necessarily feeling it? If there are those who are “looking to be affronted” they will be the ones standing on the soapboxes, and you may be viewing the group through that scope alone.

To be fair, the industry wouldn’t keep making these if people weren’t buying them. If CoD and Battlefield didn’t sells millions on release, no one would make them.

A very fair point, mate.

I think though a lot of it has to do with how it is retrofit.

Chicken and the egg question.

Is gaming run by that because of the demand, or does the flood of supply gear the demand? It is like fashion. Did anyone really ever want to wear silk spatterdashes, or was it (no pun intended) tailor made as such?

I really don’t want to talk too much about it as I’ve said a bit in my post here already (which I edited) and in the one that ACNAero linked. Never really wanted to post here either but I was mentioned and talked about and I didn’t want to leave that unanswered.

[quote=“Giuvito, post:28, topic:692899, full:true”]
I have to ask, why would you preclude gaming as something that one can “make a big deal of” in this regard. Well made games are as much an art form as well made movies and books. If either one of those industries so heavily favored a particular subset of society, I feel as though there would be an equal amount of issue. [/quote]
Because the topic is gaming, nothing more. Games are pure fantasy and I don’t see why characters within need to conform to any societal stereotype or quota.

I grew up playing Super Mario World. Not once did I consider myself to be a fat plumber and I’m afraid I struggle to understand people who need to identify so closely with the character they are playing.

[quote=“Giuvito, post:28, topic:692899”]
Who really identifies with a character in a book? Or movie? Or play? If you don’t, bless you for it, but plenty of people do. [/quote]
I’m not suggesting you can’t, but I don’t see why it should be necessary.

[quote=“Giuvito, post:28, topic:692899”]
I’m sorry, but I feel like this paragraph is much like a Halloween costume pitchfork. 3 prongs, but no point. It may very well be that I do not understand it, and I will give way to that. I must although question it’s flow.

Again, if you don’t play it for that, bless you for it, but plenty of people do. It isn’t the fact that A-B-C game doesn’t have diversity in it, it is noting a trend in gaming all together.[/quote]
I don’t really know how else to explain it. Once again, if people wish to identify then I don’t see the harm, but I fail to see why they need to and why if there is not a character for a specific pigeon-hole why that should be an issue

I think game makers are far more savvy than you give them credit for. While it may be true that the caricature you have described may fit the pre-conception of many members of the public, gaming is far too massive an industry for those behind it to have ignored basic research. I think they are fully aware of who their customer base is and make their games accordingly.

Not every audience need be catered for all the time. What would be the point behind having a gay character in the Call of Duty franchise, for example? By that I mean simply why bring a character’s sexuality into a game where none is needed? Who cares whether they are gay or straight? It’s not really about the individual and they rarely have any kind of back story. Borderlands is different: the characters, and their skills, are very much central to the gaming experience. Both men and women are catered for with strong characters. Why should it have to go deeper than that? None of the playable characters have any kind of sexual connection with anybody in the games (not sure about TPS as I’ve never played it) so what does it matter what their preference is? Storm in a teacup.

This may be a little controversial but why “rightfully so?” Does a man have the right to feel affronted because the main character in Tomb Raider is a woman? And do woman have the right to feel bothered that Batman is male? If so, why?

There are plenty of things to get bothered about in the real world and I’m not pretending that diversity issues don’t exist. But when people start calling for diversity in gaming I fear that we have lost the plot a little. If it’s not central to the plot, I fail to see why a person’s sexuality need even be mentioned, far less made a central theme. Just because there might be a gay character that doesn’t mean we have to insert a lesbian one in there, too, “just for balance.” And if I didn’t play Ninja Gaiden on the basis that I wasn’t oriental that would say a lot more about me than the makers of the game.

The game industry is centered on copying one another. Gears of War had grizzled space marines with chest high walls, so will everyone else because Gears sold well.

And this as well. Target audience plays a big part in it. In Japan the general market likes angsty teenage protagonists, in America the general market likes grizzled macho protagonists. The industry makes what their general audience likes. And here, that just happens to be grizzled white men.

Again, I feel as though you’re missing a major aspect of this, not out of bad intent on your behalf, but simply out of the inability to see it from a different paradigm. Which is fair, so allow me to offer a different method.

You grew up during the first phase of plot driven gaming. Which is to say the time after we didn’t need to know the reason behind why the two long pixel-boards needed to fire that pixel back at each other.

In Hollywood this would’ve been the Silent Film era, and in the written medium we can either divide it to the “original epics” or use novels as the base and go to the era of the euro-centric novels.

At the time, the sphere of influence was small. You wouldn’t have concern for such things as depth and radius when it comes to how it affects others, nor should you. You’re trying to create an industry from the ground up.

I was a first generation Italian immigrant growing up, so while you may find Mario to be wholly innocuous, every time I mentioned Italy as a kid I either heard; “spaghetti-o” or “Mario!” as the response, which lead me to plumber punch several of these people right in the gnocchi out of frustration. As I grew up, it did persist some what which was annoying, but bearable when you realize they’re not doing out of malice, just a desire to understand.

Games may be pure fantasy to you, but if you see some of the better plot driven titles, you’ll see that some pack an incredibly powerful messages. These messages may not have an affect on you in your mind, but you’d be surprised if you’d known how much they’ve geared your understanding of the world.

Let’s say there is a young black girl out there who is unfortunately bed-ridden. Much of her understanding of interaction may boil down to games. White males make up roughly 30% of the US, yet are some how the focal point of the vast majority of games. Growing up and constantly seeing the same color, creed, and gender portrayed in a positive light alone, will begin to affect how people view the world.

Again, I am not saying in anyway that “Kill Kill Die Die 6: The Re-killing.” with “John Whiteman” as the protagonist is in any way a BAD thing that must be stopped and protested. I am 100% for full artistic expression, and if people wish to make that the focus of their game, then they have full right to do so without being pestered. What others have equal right to do is note the trend, and attempt to create alternatives to them as well as create a topical focus as to why this trend continues. It may just have an effect, and games like Borderlands may create alternatives to this.

Humans create two things; Tools, or art. And entertainment doesn’t serve a function (otherwise novels and paintings would be considered tools). Hence, games are art, and art affects. Every work of fiction is fantasy, but they are very important in expressing the world around us.

It isn’t necessary, but for those who wish to, it seems to be unfairly geared towards a certain subset. Expression isn’t a necessity, but it a damn good thing to have.

I think you’re taking the logical route a step farther than need be.

Few people (with the exception of a few lunatics who are about as attached to reality as Crazy Earl) would argue that every game must have a cast that resembles ‘Rent’. What they’re noting is the trend to focus on a particular group, they don’t want to take away, simply add.

No body is suggesting every game become painted with the colors of the rainbow. That is not the point being made here. I don’t know if you read the article that the OP put up. While I think it was poorly written in it’s form (for a major publication), he did bring up good points. Primarily that this is a “everyone gets their cake” situation. Games like Dead or Alive are absurd in my opinion, but I’d fight tooth and nail for people to have the right to produce them, just as I’d fight tooth and nail for a game where men are dressed in bikinis and congratulate each other for a good fight with a grease down.

The issue is not what exists more so that what DOESN’T EXIST in any genuine way. Which is the alternative. It isn’t that Call of Duty exists, but that viable alternatives to that on a major skill do not really exist.

I feel like I am going to repeat myself again.

The “token character” is worse than nothing at all. I can’t stress that enough.

This is much like women’s athletics, and allow me to create a parallel. For years women’s athletic endeavors were always stymied by us because of two specific phrases in many countries; “Men are simply more interested in it, and we are catering to our audience.” (When the argument wasn’t; “Men are better at it, and therefore it should pretty much be exclusive.”)

Every country that put an effort in women’s athletics saw a huge increase in the desire of the local female population to participate. It was an issue of; “If you build it, they will come.” Look at the effect some one like Billie Jean King had on women’s tennis throughout the world.

These savvy producers are churning crap out on a daily basis, hoping they’ll strike gold in the darkness of the mine they’ve dug themselves in to. These companies have boards, and projects must be given the go ahead. They’re taking the safe bet, not the right one.

PLEASE NOTE:

I appreciate the points you brought up, and the time you took to articulate them. I fully understand your concern. There are a lot of more pressing issues, even with the field of discrimination themselves.

I just checked up a few Youtube snippets of some complaints people have with certain games (to better educate myself on who everyone was referencing), and while some are completely viable, others are grasping at straws to the finest. So I can see why you may be fed up with it on account.

These people are showmen and women, which, since we are slowly becoming a tawdry culture, will naturally get the majority of the concentration in any debate. I would suggest you look at the finer aspects of it, and ignore those yelping on either side.


I already mentioned my opinion on that in this post, but I’d like to add one more aspect.

Hayao Miyazaki, and the genius that he is, has shown the depth and scope of what the Japanese population is willing to absorb. A pig pilot, an aviation engineer fighting for expression, a little girl caught in the world we’re creating, a shape-shifting goldfish.

The only reason we sell grizzled marines and angsty teenagers who look like they fell into the bin outside of an S&M shop, is because it is easy. Many of these people lack the imagination to create scope, excitement, and nuance when it hasn’t been laid out for them already. It is easy to recreate “white sarcastic charmer” for the 28th time or “17 year old whose gone through more than most WWII vets”. But nuance? That is difficult.

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Well, that too. That’s basically all CoD does is just crank one out in a few months and have it ready for next years Christmas release…

I don’t pretend to. Your opinion is valid but my point in saying that is how ACN used you a prop.

to be entirely fair, it makes a difference who the accusation of a character being token comes from.

I’ve certainly posted articles in which it mattered.

A lot of that is brand name recognition. They’ve started selling less, notably. It’s part of the reason Counter Strike games are so popular, honestly. Big name means it ‘must’ be good. so more sales.

that only says you haven’t read the articles I posted.

Seeing characters in wheelchairs who aren’t defined completely by that characteristic is still rare. See also Wolfenstein: The New Order; Caroline nearly brought me to tears by describing the same pain I first felt in my legs.

Fiction is a space in which you can create whatever world you want. Avalanche deserves praise for creating a world where people with disabilities are not only treated like everyone else, but are leaders
and heroes.

We often hear about games being “power fantasies,” and that usually refers to a narrow demographic: young (able-bodied, white, cis, heterosexual) men. These fantasies present strong men doing strong men things: saving women and the world, holding large guns and sometimes walking in slow-motion. When things explode behind them, they often don’t turn to look. That’s how you know they’re cool.

from Tauriq Moosa

I immediately hit the web, putting my obsessive fan-girl skills once again to use by finding out everything I could on the topic. I was amazed by how straightforward it all was; asexuality simply meant that a person did not feel sexual attraction. On top of this, I was introduced to aromanticism which was an entirely new concept that fit me like a glove—while I could still potentially chalk up my lack of sexual attraction to my health problems, there was no explaining away my lack of romantic attraction—it was just who I was. It was without a doubt one of the most enlightening experiences of my life, and as I read through story after story that could have all been written by me, I felt a weight lifting off my shoulders. I had been wrong—I wasn’t broken—I was just asexual. It quite honestly changed my life.
And I had a freakin’ FPS to thank for it…

From Nico W.

I think it’s amazing to read things like this. I think it’s absolutely wonderful.

[quote=“jianderson, post:36, topic:692899, full:true”]

I’ve certainly posted articles in which it mattered. [/quote]
So because one or two people see something deeper in it game designers should somehow focus on that for the future?

[quote=“jianderson, post:36, topic:692899”]

that only says you haven’t read the articles I posted.[/quote]
No it really doesn’t. It means I don’t see why it should be an issue, like I said. People get meaning from all kind of things. I don’t see why it’s the gaming world’s responsibility to include all demographics in the game unless it actually adds to the game itself. The Mad Max example is a good one: the physical injuries add a grit to the world they inhabit and show how hard and tough things have become. But that doesn’t mean that game makers need to shoehorn people with missing or damaged limbs into every game they make.

It isn’t necessary, but for those who wish to, it seems to be unfairly geared towards a certain subset. Expression isn’t a necessity, but it a damn good thing to have.[/quote]
I can see a case for race, although I think Borderlands has made an effort there anyway, but I still cannot see how a person’s sexuality should ever be an issue in games like this. I think that’s reading much more into a character than the designers ever intended. After all, if someone’s that keen to see e.g. a lesbian character, there’s nothing to stop them imagining Maya as one. It’s not as though she’s officially portrayed as straight, after all

I agree with you on this

I’m not so sure that’s true, though. There are plenty of games to cater for a wide range of audiences. I think the author is creating an issue out of nothing

[quote=“Giuvito, post:34, topic:692899, full:true”]I appreciate the points you brought up, and the time you took to articulate them. I fully understand your concern. There are a lot of more pressing issues, even with the field of discrimination themselves.

I just checked up a few Youtube snippets of some complaints people have with certain games (to better educate myself on who everyone was referencing), and while some are completely viable, others are grasping at straws to the finest. So I can see why you may be fed up with it on account.

These people are showmen and women, which, since we are slowly becoming a tawdry culture, will naturally get the majority of the concentration in any debate. I would suggest you look at the finer aspects of it, and ignore those yelping on either side.[/quote]
I think it’s an interesting debate, but I agree it’s sometimes difficult to see the genuine points through the smokescreen of hysteria and angst that often accompanies topics like this. I just think that sometimes people are guilty of over-complicating issues and are so keen to be seen as “all-inclusive” that they lose sight of whether it’s actually necessary or not.

Maybe it says something about my own ignorance but I struggle to see why an openly gay character is important in a game such as e.g. Call of Duty. I don’t know why it’s important to have a black protagonist in Tomb Raider, or why the absence of a transgender character in Borderlands should be cause for concern. None of the above are relevant to the games themselves

Two basic concepts should make this entire discussion moot:

  1. The Golden Rule.

It doesn’t care what your gender, gender preference, ethnicity, sports teams, etc are. Just be good to each other.

  1. Supply & Demand.

Basic understanding of this principle should make it very obvious that games loved by many will continue to be developed and supported. When there is money to make on a genre, companies will go get it.

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Do you really think ‘one or two people’ are the only ones that find representation important? Trends exist.

If it wasn’t important there wouldn’t be a push for it.

This was just put out by Mikey Neumann, one of the leads at Gearbox Software.