You make a good point, but I also think that it depends on the person. I’m not a rape survivor, but I have been in a situation where I’ve been extremely traumatized by a particular event in my life, to the point of having PTSD. Shortly after the event, I saw a movie in which the exact same event is reenacted to a horribly similar degree. I decided that I wasn’t going to let myself get upset by it, because I knew I was always going to come across things that reminded me of that event, and if I let myself get upset over something that happened in a movie, then things like that would continue to affect me for the rest of my life.
Well, speaking for me, i voted for “I would prefer if the game included some of the struggles and issues that trans and non-binary people have to deal with in everyday life” and i am non-binary. Yes, it does suck to have that kind of thing happen with me in real life, and i am absolutely disgusted by people who refuse to accept my identity because they just have a warped vision of the world. But that is how my reality is, how people are. The fact that in CoG games people just know to use “they” instantly is something i got used to, but i admit is a minor annoyance because people wouldn’t instantly know that. I voted for that because i think it is a good addition to my immersion factor, and it is a simple way to make me hate a villain. Not that i want every author to do this kind of thing, i am perfectly fine with our identity affecting only pronouns, but if someone wants to do it, i would support them. But i can’t speak for the majority… Considering all i read in this forum, i feel like you would get more negative repercussion than what’s worth it, i think this very own tread is representative of how people feel(at least the people who had something to write about it, and they probably are the ones who care more)
And maybe that works for you, and that’s great. But not every single person is the same. As writers, we have a responsibility to avoid attacking our readers in ways that could hurt them personally or further their discrimination. In the example I gave of 14 wrong pronouns incidents, many people would turn away from your game simply because they are tired of having their pronouns challenged/gotten wrong.
And again, in your specific story, there’s no reason to have transphobia.
Lots, lots more to read, but it’s nearly 3 in the morning over here and I need sleep. Will be back tomorrow.
Like with any creative decision, you’ll find some who appreciate it - assuming it’s done well - and others who will hate it no matter how well it’s executed.
Generally, there are two questions that serve as a good guide to help determine whether something belongs in a story: Does this advance the plot? Does this enhance characterization? If the answer to both is “no” - then it probably doesn’t belong. If your idea can achieve one of those goals, then it’s a worthy element to consider including.
I don’t have the energy to gather my thoughts about the gender discussion and lay them out in a way that makes sense, but what I think has basically been already said (there are other ways to make it clear someone’s bad and other ways to make gender matter without hurting real life people for the sake of a story that you admitted yourself doesn’t need it) and also I didn’t vote (as an NB boy) because I didn’t feel like any of the options presented really fit what I’m thinking.
But I did feel the need to say (and this is all I’ll say because I don’t want to go off-topic)
As a CSA survivor, I don’t “let” myself get “upset” over something. I can’t control the memories, I can’t control what triggers the memories, and I can’t control how I feel when I remember. That’s kind of the whole point of trauma. I don’t choose to have panic attacks and if a fictional character threatened to rape my character, whatever the gender of the character and the gender of my character, it would be extremely upsetting if I was given no prior warning that that could happen. Even if given warning, it could still be upsetting but I would more likely be upset with how it’s done than the fact it’s there.
You’re speaking for yourself and if that works for you, that’s great, I’m glad. But please don’t imply I’m only traumatized because I “let” myself be traumatized.
i’m apart of the LGBT+ community but not the Trans or Non binary part so I only really have the authority to talk from my own corner(and even then I don’t represent everyone from that corner.) but from my own point of view and from what I seen on LGBT+ places on YouTube, Reddit and Tumblr. A lot people want realistic views and reactions about LGBTQ+ from characters in movies, tv shows and other forms of media, which unfortunately if you want realistic point of views that includes discrimination and the other negative stuff. In my personal opinion if you think it adds to the story then I believe you have every right to write it. After all you can’t please everyone and that goes for everything.
I know those posts too AND I know the “transmisic tropes that need to leave” hashtags, and the picture it paints to me is this:
Realism is not equal to ‘misery or inspiration p0rn’.
When people talk about realism they talk about how 'yeah this sh*t happens, but ffs where are all the happy Queers?"
People don’t seem to have it hushed up, pretending nothing bad EVER happened, but people are sick of queer chars suffering so that non-queer people can feel inspired (same goes for the equivalents with disabled people, Black and Latinx etc folks and so forth)
And if a story’s setting has no need for transmisia etc writing it in because “realism” turns it unrealistic.
Well I will ask a question I have for my project . I don’t include a choice to be not binary as I don’t feel myself prepared to include in a positive way erotica with nb I added a choice where 99% time is pure aesthetics of being identified as born as male or female. As I say 99% is aesthetics and general world is inclusive.
But there is a group that is not that is racist and bigotry filled. You could choose be raised there and fighting against their bigotry so in that few scenes i make your character make a statement that they could go to hell and stop calling you sinner and deviant . You could also make one of those characters change views.
I think in that only option is needed to portrayal the difference normal society and religious fanatics in my setting
Every good character - especially a protagonist - has to suffer and struggle throughout the story.
A story about a protagonist who isn’t hurt, broken, or damaged in some significant way as the plot unfolds will end with the reader setting the story aside and reading something else. The reader feeds off the highs and lows of the favorite characters. When the writer finally gives the protagonist a break, the writer must send the protagonist crashing back into the chasm of defeat in the coming scenes. Of course, torture, depravity, and extremism - merely for the sake of having any of them being there - have no place in any story. Everything in the story must serve a purpose: every character, every scene, every plot point, every sentence. The trick is to punish the protagonist in a way that adds to the value of the story, which hinges on the skill and creativity of the writer. The only other limitations are the requirements of the publisher. In other words, a seeker of children’s stories will pass on well written material that a horror magazine will take.
I think Stephen King put it marvelously - even if he was quoting Faulkner on repeat.
"[K]ill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ~ Stephen King
@MeltingPenguins I understand what you mean but I feel that a story that doesn’t have a form of discrimination tend to be unrealistic even in settings that don’t call for it. Of course if an author doesn’t put an discrimination for many reason(It’s fantasy, it makes them uncomfortable etc) then it’s okay and i’ll still play the game anyway’s but it is refreshing to see people take people take a real life situation and add it to their game definitely if the author is LGBT+ themselves. I also wouldn’t say that poc and LBGT+ people are tired of seeing people of their race/Gender/Sexuality suffer after all Love, Simon(and the book version of it), 12 years a slave(movie and book), To Kill a Mockingbird(book) all did well with the POC and LGBT+ community and they all feature POC or lgbt+ people suffuring(and rising).
I mean, i’m just going by what many of the people it concerns say time and time again, but what do they know, right?
And waaaay to twist my words, nate. Waaaay to twist my words.
You know there’s a major difference between what I said and what you made of it?
What I said:
“Going by the people in these groups they are tired of being inspirational material for those not in the group”
What you read:
“People don’t want to be respresented at all”
How exactly did you get there?
I think it can be argued that beating down an already marginalized group for the sake of “punishing” your protangist is in poor taste and, pardon my French, a shitty way to go about it.
I know that Dragon Age was used an example but here’s the thing. Dragon Age’s racism and bigotry is detached from our world by virtue of using elves and dwarves and mages instead of skin tone. Dragon Age Inquisition doesn’t pull the gender card very often and it treats characters like Krem, a Trans man, really well and like, you know, a man, and when it does address issues that hit closer to home like homophobia with Dorian it’s done tastefully and it puts the homophobe, his father, squarely in the wrong as it should.
My question is… why treat your NB and trans players worse than your cis players.
Well, speaking as another person who’s part of LGBT (gay here) but not trans, I personally like seeing a variety of depictions in my media. Some stuff that, yeah, deals with “gay issues” and discrimination and all that, which are important and valid topics to write about, but also some stuff that involves gay characters in stories that don’t revolve around being gay, where the gay people just get to have a story like everyone else does. I want both.
Interactive fiction has different needs than a linear novel or movie, though. You have to bear in mind the experience of someone playing it. And the big thing is that if you’re making it so that someone’s overall penalized for playing a member of a certain group, then that is giving them a worse experience.
Oh hey, while I was typing this up, @Mewsly summarized the point way more succinctly:
I’m not saying you can’t write an interactive fiction that deals with issues of discrimination, but I’d suggest that that be something where it really one of the main themes, and probably means that the main character would have to belong to whichever group is being focused on here, rather than have it be a choice. For example, if someone wanted to write something in which dealing with homophobia was a major theme, I’d say that the protagonist of the game probably needs to be gay always. I’d expect this could apply similarly for transgender characters as well.
Well, yes. But that is in no way equivalent to having to suffer as a result of being trans (or any other group that’s discriminated against). A cis protagonist would need to suffer and struggle too—so, even speaking from a purely literary standpoint, there’s no need for additional suffering and struggling to be piled on.
How is it unrealistic if the setting doesn’t call for it? If the setting doesn’t call for it then by definition it doesn’t need to be there… this doesn’t make sense… not every setting inherently has to be discriminatory; it’s possible for it not really to be there… I don’t understand what you’re saying because this seems like a complete contradiction in terms.
Honestly threads like these are always train wrecks, the best thing you can probably do as a writer is just ignore what everyone said (Except for this post of of course) and just do what you want to do. Lol.
The trials a protagonist must go through depend on the plot, the setting, and the character itself. I wouldn’t even suggest giving a character so much as a paper-cut unless it served a greater purpose in the story. Punishing a character for no reason is lazy writing.
and when it does address issues that hit closer to home like homophobia with Dorian it’s done tastefully and it puts the homophobe, his father, squarely in the wrong as it should.
I just want to further double down on exactly why this was so fucking successful. In a really emotional scene, Dorian (alongside the MC) meets with Dorian’s father, and depending on the player’s choices, you can get Dorian to confront his father about the time he used magic to try and make Dorian straight. The reason this was successful is because
1.) It mirrors a real-life situation (conversion therapy) BUT
2.) it presents it in a way that lets us detach from it (magical conversion)
If I was going to give any writer advice on dealing with discrimination, it would be to follow those two steps. I haven’t been through conversion therapy but have read a lot about it and it horrifies me, but I was able to enjoy this scene without feeling threatened because it was detached from enough reality.
That would defeat the entire purpose of such things as feedback, workshops, editors, and just asking for opinions when someone is unsure what to do. That, and learning from the experiences of people who are more familiar with a topic than the author is, which is also pertinent here. It is also useful to gauge others’ reactions and see how in line they are with what an author meant to do.
Author intent is important, yes, and a good author knows when to set feedback aside, but a good author also knows when to seek advice and when to listen.
My grandma that was illiterate due born in Spanish civil war was the wise woman on Earth give me one advice If you aren’t writing about sewers you don’t need the readers feel the stench of poo and litter.
Think goes well with the theme of racism abuse etc… If your game is not about denouncing it you are only punishing player for the sake of it
Doesn’t Bioware get flak for their imaginary races? Especially in Inquisition and Andromeda. With the former making the Elves, a.k.a the Jew expies responsible for their own problems and the latter having mighty whitey tones? Plus they did put the autistic person in the machine in ME2.
Anyway speaking as a general minority instead I’m usually ok with a different experience targeted with bigotry. I like it better than just swapping or inserting one word around and get annoyed when only part of the experience is acknowledged, though I’m speaking from different groups. (Actually in one case I would say it might as well not be there if you just swapped/inserted a word)
Plus I don’t really believe the goodness of mankind to say it’s not realistic. The realism argument to me… is the same as any other argument. It’s there, realism has been used in games even if they hindered people. RD2’s fast travel and hunting systems come to mind. If you want to argue realism don’t just do it for that issue. More on topic, bigotry is more readily excused if your forced to be x group. All that matters is that you know that if you do this even if you please people in x group there’ll be people who feel alienated, if you’re willing to accept it go ahead. People are also more willing to accept it if you are part of x group, though some may call you a traitor (never mind people not knowing and assuming), bottom line you’ll probably alienate people like this, but if you can accept it, fine. Plus you’ll have to gauge if it’s the silent majority on your part anyway.