Preferability of "non gender segregation" world in CoG


#32

This is definitely an interesting topic, and one that I’ve tried to consider a great deal. I’m definitely curious to know how more people feel about this.

I should disclaim that, being male and cis, I’m not personally disadvantaged by most of the factors people have been talking about in this thread. I am gay, though, so I can explain how prejudice in games personally affects me. I hope that these themes are important and applicable to the question of whether or not to include prejudice.

My inclination would be that there is value in having both stories/games that deal with themes of discrimination, and ones in which it isn’t a factor at all. Discrimination can be very powerful and very moving to read about, and is such an important part of experience that it is worth writing about and worth reading about. At the same time, it can get very tiring when that’s all there is to read. It’s incredibly affirming when I can read or play a gay character in a story that isn’t about being gay, doing all the things straight characters always do. I don’t know if people who aren’t marginalized always understand how confining it can feel to look around stories and constantly feel like you don’t belong, and that when you do, it’s only for a moral about prejudice.

So basically what I’m saying is that they both have a place. Being such a major part of experience, I wouldn’t want to see prejudice being always ignored, and I really value it when works of media can explore it deeply. But I also want to see works that aren’t about it, and still give the characters the same opportunities. That doesn’t mean a story can’t still be gritty, if desired. And prejudice themes require that the author give them full respect, and not merely exploit them, or throw them in without consideration.

It also really depends a lot on the story and setting. (And tone, for that matter.) I’ll just give a couple examples from two of my favorite CoGs, in which, despite how much I enjoy and esteem them, I would rather they handled things differently. Here I’m just talking about gay characters, because that was where I personally felt an impact.

In one direction was Hollywood Visionary, which takes place in the 1950s. For the most part, the characters around seem like people who would reasonably make sense as more tolerant than typical, and the romantic stuff is not too public, anyway. However, there is a very bigoted man. If you look at the code, you’ll see a short bit of writing in which he would have been homophobic to a main character involved in a gay romance, and another character would immediately thereafter comfort the main character. But this bit of writing is hidden by the *comment command, and would never be visible when actually playing the game. I found it very touching; the inclusion of such a strongly supportive character in the face of adversity felt more valuable to me than the version we got, which papers over this. There is also a character who, if they are the same gender as the main character, may express having once been married to someone also of the same gender, which also feels like it doesn’t acknowledge the dynamics of the '50s. (I mean, sure, one of them could’ve been trans, or it could’ve been a marriage that wasn’t done by law, but they considered it marriage nonetheless… but it’s still an example of one of the places where some acknowledgement of being gay would’ve been nice.) In general, despite the wonderful inclusiveness of the game, and its versatile gender-related options, it feels like something is missing from the experience of a gay person in the '50s.

Now, on the completely opposite side of the fence, there’s just a single little discrepancy in Sixth Grade Detective, which otherwise reads pretty much the same no matter the sexual orientation.
At one point, when the main character meets Darren, the uncle of a potential romance, A.J. (whose gender the player can select), this uncle can tease them by asking if the main character is A.J.'s boyfriend/girlfriend, which gets A.J. all embarrassed. But this only happens if the main character and A.J. are girl/boy or boy/girl.
When I saw this in the code, I felt like a little bit of cuteness had been stolen from me. Sure, I can see a justification, that Darren would make the same heteronormative assumption that many people make, but I don’t care. It’s a fluffy story, there’s no exploration of discrimination, which would be jarring with the story’s tone in any case, I get a chance to have a gay kid in a story that has absolutely nothing to do with him being gay, but allows him to express it in as natural a fashion as heterosexual characters usually get to… and I want my gay kid to get an affectionate tease just the same as any straight kid.

So my point from these two examples is that context, setting, and tone are key, and the way the author handles it makes a big difference. There is a place and a time to address prejudicial themes, and there is a place and a time to let characters experience the same stories without being weighed down by the same baggage they have to deal with in life.

(We also shouldn’t assume that our history’s prejudices are the only way these prejudices could’ve developed, and that discrimination in games would work the same way we’re used to. It could be interesting indeed to explore a setting that developed in a distinct and different way.)


#33

I did find myself arguing for homophobia in at least one WIP thread… (That is, in-story, because continuing the family line would have been far more important than being accepting.)

For the genders, the most I’ve ever changed is a little flavour text (and an occasional potential romance). I just feel that unless you’re going to put quite a bit of effort into exploring these various different prejudices, then you do the minorities no favours by including them.


#34

Everything is a matter of perspective. One man’s villain is another man’s hero.

One’s gender (physical and psychological) and sexual preferences should be just as earth shattering a revelation as one’s preference of chocolate. The sooner the world grows to this point the better imo.

As to the matter of realism: I don’t play games for realism. If I want realism I open the front door and step out.


#35

I agree (male, male, and milk, in case you’re wondering). My point in the WIP thread was more that if family bloodlines were paramount (and they seemed to be so), then people would likely see a non-procreating relationship as lesser. I did realise what I was saying halfway through, though, and was chided by @Lizzy… (Checking the replies, it seems that one family did force straight relationships on their heirs, so I resolved to “convert” one of their sons… ;P)

As I’ve said before, if my MC is a laser-shooting superhero, or a magical dragonrider, I see no reason why he can’t be dating another guy. The same should be true for female, and transgender characters, too.


#36

That certainly sounds like something I would do…but I don’t remember doing it :thinking:


#37

The WIP was Legends: the Battlemage, and the post in question was this:

Your post contained the following:

Damn it @ParrotWatcher did you forget which side of this argument we’re on! :laughing:


#38

Oooooooooh! I remember that one lol No more trying to get our rights taken away :wink:


#39

Oh god, so true. Especially given that one of the main npc is introduced right there in jail. For a first time programer an unisex world is indeed much easier. That was one of the main reasons that led me to put the question to the community.

Honestly? I am a first time writer, I don’t know if I have the capability to deal with those issues in the way they deserve. That, and the fact that the PC is already facing issues with such an emotional potential, leds me to believe increasingly more in creating a world without any kind of segregation or discrimination in sexual and gender issues.

That would indeed be the perfect attitude. I get really mad and sad when I see people of my generation (early 90’s), and even younger ones, discriminating others because of things that should indeed be taken as just another manifestation of our individual differences. We aren’t ants, we have individuality, ergo why should anyone be discriminated due to their own individuality? Crazy world.


#40

So I’m a cis-woman. I personally don’t believe that men and women are all that different in any important way, but obviously society treats us very differently. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that I’m discriminated against every day based solely on my gender, but it definitely happens often enough that I’m aware of it everyday.

So a fictional world with no gender discrimination feels false to me. I don’t want to be beat over the head with it, but a little bit makes the world feel real. The same way it’s a character’s flaws that make her feel real to me.

“Slammed,” a game I never thought I’d like, did this perfectly. For the most part there was no gender discrimination at all. My character was never objectified the way women seem to be in real professional wrestling. But there was that once scene with one of the villains toward the end where he’s very dismissive towards you because you’re a woman.

For me that moment really helped drive home my character’s motivation for the last act of that story. I wasn’t just trying to win for the sake of winning. I was trying to beat this jerk and discredit his bigoted beliefs.


#41

I was going to stay out of this thread but I feel this points to the crux of the matter and provides the answer that @ruhenri is looking for.

The discrimination experienced in the story need not happen every waking moment, only enough to make the reader aware that it happens everyday.

In the jail, one sub-scene showing such reinforced by “rumors, stories heard and read” could drive home the motivation that discrimination provides for the peak moments or the big “choice” moments.


#42

You prefer milk chocolate? :scream: We can’t be friends anymore. heretic :rage:

Well, it makes as much sense as other kinds of discrimination :rolling_eyes:
:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#43

No, Ben! Don’t make me choose between you! :cry:

Agreed. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#44

Dark chocolate, pride of my heart
All who favor milk chocolate we must tear apar
Favor cocoa, we will have the most
Those who add milk, we shall roast
:triumph:


Well, this does raise the point that it’s perfectly viable in writing to deal with prejudices that aren’t based in our own history, assuming the implications are worked out and fit with the setting. And as long it’s not just a sloppy analogy. Patriarchy+homophobia isn’t the only possible dynamic.


#45

@Eiwynn thanks for your input into the discussion at hand. You seem to make a good point. I love sub-scenes in CoG. To me, those little “low intensity and apparently no point” moments are what increases the proximity between the reader, his character, the npc, and the world itself. So I was planning on adding quite of those kind of moments in the story.

You gave such a good suggestion that I have to ask to clarify your input in the jail issue, should it be unisex or a jail with gender segregation? And do you even believe that it is possible to create a unisex jail (meaning a world with no sex or gender segregation and no kind of sexual violence) and still give some clues about and insert some issues concerning women discrimination?

As I said, for now I’m moving forward with the story adopting the unisex jail (it seems to be a good way to avoid hurting people with non binary gender identity and women that don’t want to face discrimination in a game just like they face it in everyday life), but I appreciate every single opinion. My decisions are never final. Also, I’m only introducing one npc in jail that will have future influence in the story/relationships of the PC. Coding wise, that gives me the freedom to change my mind on the issue without having to go back and change too many things.

Thanks for not staying out of this thread :grin:


#46

Ahahahah. I guess that we, fans of dark chocolate, really need to stick together against all others.

I guess that the Infinity Series (sabres and guns of infinity, I can’t quite remember the official name of that fantastic world) found a good way to introduce xenophobia and racism in its world without recurring to “real world” racism, that could hurt and hanger many potential readers. Those elves really feel superior to everyone else :stuck_out_tongue:.

Irony mode: That being said, we really need a game that tackles the obvious biological differences between people who like dark chocolate and those who prefer milk chocolate. People who like dark chocolate are definitely superior to everyone else in all aspects :imp:


#47

So on reflection, I think part of what happens to me with prejudice in these sorts of games is that I mind the little things far more than the big things. If there’s something big, it feels like it’s something to overcome, a major part of the work. Little things feel more like they’re grinding me down, and that’s not what I come to these works for. I think that’s where I was coming from with the examples I mentioned above.

Do other people feel similarly?


#48

When there is discriminaton, it should only exist to be overcome or proven wrong, whether by the player, characters, narrative, or world-building.

Otherwise the writer is advocating the existence of discrimination as realistic or natural or god forbid, deserved. The player, nor minority characters, can thusly prove bigots - readers and NPCs - wrong, and while majorities may not bat an eye it can wear down some minorities quite easily to read this relentless assault.

Creating a world where characters exist and are strong despite discrimination is important; has so much more an impact than no discrimination.

But if your game is not going to handle depicting discrimination with grace, it is better not to at all. If you include discrimination, and are not going to go out of your way to prove discrimination wrong as a writer, you are only contributing to the discomfort of readers and validation of bigots.


#49

Just as discrimination should only be used in a minimal manner for a purpose, the world-building you are doing should be done for a purpose. Does it matter in your story if a jail is unisex? If so, why is this important in your world-building?

If not, would it be better to leave to the imagination of the reader?

What about avoiding the issue all-together and starting the MC-prisoner off in solitary confinement?

If you take historical examples of mobsters in jail in the US, then the solitary confinement is more likely; you can be writing about a world where the mobster in question is running his/her enterprise from jail and invites the MC in a visit to their “cell” which is more like a room in a four-star hotel …

Or you can take the Narco-prison that a South American Narco built as his “home” which was just like a normal mob-den but with an outside core of a prison

My point here is - for everything you show in your world-building there should be a purpose.

To illustrate my point: concerning the discrimination @Laguz presents two very solid and valid reasons:

and

Discrimination is not attached to gender segregation in the world or its lack of. There might be a link but its not causational. In other words, discrimination exists outside of this.


#50

White chocolate is better.


#51

@Eiwynn, I’m so glad that you decided to join the discussion. Your questions and observations are quite useful.

Matter of fact, if I had to choose between unisex or jail segregation, purely thinking about the story I wanted to tell, unisex jail seems the best fit. For one point not having jail segregation lets me not having to swap the gender of characters (something that I’m really not fond of). For another, it reinforced the reader’s feeling that this is not United States of America, it is the Federal States.

Also, it helps me in introducing to the reader an world where sex discrimination, if any, isn’t as it is in our reality. The PC’s mobster family has “made women” as much as it has “made men”, hell the PC (which can be a woman or whatever gender he desires) starts the game already in a position of privilege and not that few power in the family itself. That right there is quite a plus for an unisex jail. And also, there is the everlasting wish to include all people of this community, and it seems that to quite a number of them a non discrimination by gender world would be less hurtful or less offensive.

Unfortunately, I’m not that big on leaving a whole lot to imagination when it comes to particular aspects of the setting/plot.

That, my forum comrade, is indeed a great idea. It gives me the opportunity to slowly introduce the setting, the past of the MC, the history of his mobster organization, his childhood and teenage years, etc.

Just one problem. I don’t know if american jails (for those pending trial) have solitary. In my country there isn’t a big distinction (if any) between jail and prison to start off. And there is no solitary. I believe that not even in the only maximum security prison that we have has one. Well, maybe I don’t even need to stick to the american reality. I am already changing things, why not change a few more? :smiley:

Well, this is an entirely different question altogether. I’m quite interested to know other people’s thoughts on this topic, if any of you are interested. My initial take on it is that you are in fact right, no gender segregation doesn’t mean no gender discrimination. Or else there wouldn’t be (some) unisex bathrooms and such in a world such as ours. A good point indeed.

Thanks for your detailed input. It gave me a lot to think about and, with some luck, it also answered some questions from fellow aspiring authors that might visit this little corner of the forum :grin: