COMING THURSDAY: "Gilded Rails," NEW AUTHOR INTERVIEW, TRAILER, and DEMO

author-interview
nonbinary-inclusive
choice-of-games
#106

I cannot speak for everyone, but i personally liked the option that playing as a black mc has a effect in this, and i’m saying this as a black person, not from EUA, i cannot say about the use of the word negro since from where i’m from negro means black and is not a insult since well yo’re black, the reason that i liked is because many cgs seem like they where written with a white protag in mind, not intentionally, but still, it does seem odd sexuality being not noted while your skin color is, but i do remember a cg where being LGBTQ didn’t matter and the mc had friends who had a darker skin color and it was noted and comented, but the mc was just fine, sorry if this makes no sense, i was just happy to see the option to be black, like in Tin star playing as a native gives you different dialogue, but you still can romance people rtegardless of gender, and as far as i remember your sexuallity is not frowed upoon too, soo this is not the 1st cg to do this

11 Likes
#107

To begin, let me point out that there is an essay in the stats file of the game about the setting. It does not address race, but it does address both queer marriage and the role of women in society.

My point being, I assert that this claim is false:

An entire alternate universe was created, yes, but it’s not one-sided between its treatment of women, queerness, and race. The perception in this thread of a significant privileging (“modernization”) of gender and queerness in the game over race is, I would argue, erroneous. I understand that it may seem like gay marriage or a woman being the head of a railroad might be a big deal, but the rewriting of history to allow a black person to not only show up at white society’s social events and walk through the front door, but also to marry a white person, is a much bigger change. (Even the orthography of “Negro” instead of “negro” is an example of this stretching; that didn’t start happening until the 1910s and 20s.)

Despite these changes, there are still power imbalances in this game. Women, blacks, Irish, and queer folks are all at different levels of power in this society. In my opinion, the game does an admirable job of balancing power fantasy—and the stretching of history to make that inclusionary—with the acknowledgement of those systemic power differentials.

As for the specific use of the word “Negro,” it appears seven times in the game. Two of them in a parallel moment of the first chapter when dealing with the player’s education. Two of them occur in the context of Lessing and the discussion of the discrimination they’ve faced in being/becoming a journalist. The other three are the player calling out racist subtext in other characters’ statements. It’s not used casually, and it’s certainly never used against the player.

Now, I’m sensitive to the argument that those first two instances—regarding the player’s education—are the closest thing to the term being used against the player. This is an expression of the power differentials of the world: only a certain segment of the world, the Radical Republicans, would embrace the education of blacks. But in this context, the Radical Republicans are calling the black folks what they wanted to be called. If anything, the difficulty in these two instances is thus not in the use of the term—because it’s the term that is being used to respect the subject—but instead what it tells us about the world: that there is a significant portion of the world that would not consent to equal education for blacks. So, in conclusion, I don’t think the use of the word here is inappropriate in the context of it being used against the player.

Lastly, there is the question of whether a modern black reader would take offense at the use of the term. And, to be perfectly frank, I think all us white folks should shut up about it and let some black folks talk.

(And, since I’ve started this post, @flocktrops has been kind enough to offer their opinion, which I read as broadly positive.)

19 Likes
#113

I’m going to say this very clearly:

If you’re not a black North American, I’m not interested in hearing your opinion on this. I will delete any further comments on this thread.

7 Likes
#114

I am a Black, 34 year old male, who was born and raised in the United States. Obviously I have no license to speak for an entire group of people. Personally, within the context of this game, I do not find the use of term “Negro” to be offensive. I enjoyed the demo very much, and look forward to purchasing the game.

18 Likes
#117

As a white academic who has done a lot of work on race I thought this article might be useful for anyone interested in the topic.

Tl;dr
Gene Demby explains pejoration–the process by which words become negative over time–and how it affects the way we talk about race in America.

Glad to see that games like this are sparking discussions about race, and I’m interested to see how these discussions will evolve once the game is out in full.

2 Likes
split this topic #119

A post was split to a new topic: Speed Dating in COGs & HC

#126

Hi, I’m the author. First off, thank you for trying my game. I hope you like it.

A quick thing about the concerns around how race is treated in the game: to get the setting that allowed queer relationships and a non-male protag with the same agency as a male one, I changed one thing. And it still took a whole essay to explain how the world got that way, and that while you can play the game as if these issues have been resolved, technically the world you’re playing in doesn’t see those relationships and situations the way we do. It’s a lampshade done to make the game more fun for more people. We’re all pretty clear on the fact that same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized in the US until very recently, and that female business leaders were exceptionally rare (though not non-existent) and encountered many obstacles. There’s not a lot of harm in glibly handwaving that away and running with it.

I actually did spend some time trying to work out a similar thing for racial issues. I gave up when I realized that all the changes I’d done to keep French colonial interests out of the Caribbean (which would be required to plausibly argue for a collapse of slavery in the US, given the feedback loop that went on there) meant the French wouldn’t have thrown funds at the revolution, Washington would have lost the war, and slavery might not exist anymore, but neither would the US. You just can’t extract slavery and its consequences from US history and still have anything at all resembling US history. Unless you want to erase it.

I’m a white lady from Virginia. I don’t get to decide to erase that history just for a game. Erasing and rewriting that history, to the detriment of African Americans, is my heritage. “It’s just a game” isn’t an excuse for erasure available to me. If I’m going to play in this sandbox, I’m obligated to do the work of being honest about the makeup of the sand. Other people from other backgrounds might claims on different approaches. I don’t.

I appreciate the feedback. It is absolutely true that people harmed by a thing should not carry the sole burden of expressing that harm. I sought a lot of input and perspectives on how to execute this well from the people it would affect, including ones who weren’t familiar enough with the historical context for it to absolve the experience of current connotations. At this point, all the evidence I have is that black players feel I managed to acknowledge the history without reiterating its harms. (And white players are frequently uncomfortable. shrug) It probably isn’t perfect, but I can assure you that it was written carefully, thoughtfully, and with receptiveness to correction. And that any correction that comes from the feedback now that its out in the world will inform future projects.

Though if I’m smart, I’ll never do historical again. I’m thinking space opera with snarky AI. And pirates?

35 Likes
split this topic #132

A post was split to a new topic: Gilded Rails hints

#133

Woah! This thread has shocked me.

I’m a black (Latina) American and I didn’t bat an eyelash at the mention of the word “Negro”. To me, it made sense in the context of the setting. Obviously, I can’t speak for all black people ever but I wanted to offer my opinion.

Also, a lot of assumptions here were made as to what black people would (and would not) find offensive by non black people. That’s not cool- we can speak for ourselves.

Personally, I was SO excited at the possibility of even playing a black character. It’s made me so excited to try this demo.

29 Likes
#134

I can’t speak for everyone but for me as an African American man I really enjoyed the opportunity to play as my race and have it be acknowledged. Especially considering the time period the game takes place in. The moment I saw the choice that my father’s money was won by gambling with white passengers, I got excited that the game was going to acknowledge race. I also liked that if you marry Diane she brings up how troubling the miscengenation laws would be while traveling. Since I feel in many of the choice of games are written with a white protagonist in mind I enjoyed this one for not ignoring race.

17 Likes
split this topic #135

A post was split to a new topic: Race in COG titles

#136

I read threw the whole thread and because no one asked until now I ask now, why are on Google Play for this game as much positive as negative recencions. Sadly there are no text reviews so I am confused.

#137

As someone from an Irish heritage background I happen to be happy as much as I assume many black players are that a established Irish-American background is an option. Might not mean as much but it’s awesome it was included. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like
#138

There are text reviews, you can read them online, and I assume you can read them on your phone, but maybe not? https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.choiceofgames.gildedrails

As for the variance in people’s reviews: I think it’s kind of a polarizing game. For one thing, like all our games, it’s meant to be replayed. If you don’t want to replay it and romance someone else, or try a different management tactic or try any one of dozens of choices you could do differently, then a game with a 340k word count and a 40k playthrough may be unsatisfying. (Again, 40k is literally average length). People chiefly seem to be saying that they don’t like it because…they don’t like it.

#139

Well on Google Play I found no text reviews so I looked on Steam where whas one posetive and two negative reviews. Both negative said, that the game overloaded and would have either better suited as a Railway Sim or a Dating Sim but not as a CYOA game because there is preset path with no real replaybility and you are not getting to do any meaningfull choices. Oh and why is the game more expensive on Google Play then on Steam. I can buy it on Steam for 1€ less then on Google Play.

1 Like
#140

Because Steam and Google Play charge different taxes and do currency exchanges differently. We are not in control of those prices in terms of currency exchange and taxes.

#141

To view reviews on google playstore you have to set your account’s language to english (i assume you have your google settings on a language that isn’t english)…
Yeah, it makes no sense whatsoever why they have it that way. >_>

1 Like
#142

@MeltingPenguins Oh, that’s very interesting actually. If you leave a review in a non-English language, (let’s say German), can you then only see the German-language review if you have your language set to German?

#143

Interestingly no.
If your language is set to to german and you leave an english review, it will show up when the setting’s on german, but not on english.
Likewise if you have the setting on english and leave a japanese review, it’ll show for everyone with their setting on english, but not japanese.

#144

Ok yeah, so it most probably sorts by language, like you were saying.
In other words, whatever language the user has set will affect the grouping.

So, @Konstantin, if you were not seeing any reviews, it’s probably because no one left any using your language as their “default” language?