The Equal Opportunity PC


#1

As this is going to be discussed and brought up, this seems to need it’s own thread, if just to give a slightly more neutral tone to the conversation.

Discussion point: Realism vs Inclusiveness in terms of PC gender choice, racial heritage and socioeconomic background.

There are obviously a lot of schools of thought, and a good bit of tension to be had in such a discussion, so keep it civil. I don’t want to create a thread like this only to have to immediately turn around and lock it because we can’t respect each other.


#2

Personally it doesn’t bother me if a game makes me be a man, woman of any race as long as its part of the story.

The big issue I have with having male and female choice is because the majority of the time it makes absolutely no difference apart from flipping genders. It gives me no reason to replay it as the opposite gender.

In my game ‘Unnatural’ I offer the choice to be both male or female and at the moment its just flipped genders exact same story apart from flipping the genders of two characters. However I want to tailor the story so there a variations depending on whether you are male or female not to discriminate but to offer people a reason to play as the opposite gender.

Of course this is just my opinion.

(for the record I’m male)


#3

My opinion is that if it’s feasible to include a gender switch, do it. It will broaden the appeal of your game and more people will play it. For realists who object, they don’t HAVE to play as a woman/man/whichever gender they object to.


#4

I think you underestimate how gender choice can make a game better for some of us. Being male, you have the privilege of seeing yourself everywhere. From young, you’ve been told that you can be anything and do anything and you even have heroes who look like you to affirm that. But for those of us who do not identify with the male identity, and maybe even those of us who do but are assigned female at birth, being able to play as a character who reflect our gender identity is a luxury which is all to scarce.

The genre and setting may influence how this is presented. Ideally, we would prefer not to play a game where we are discriminated against. If fighting discrimination is a core theme, however, then it would be able to serve as carthasis. In addition, fighting discrimination can tie in with the archetypical “rise from lowly station” narrative. Don’t tell us that it’s not realistic for us to achieve power enough to oppose the hegemony. History has proven you wrong many times so don’t keep citing that. Instead, let us be the hero who defy the rules of a shitty society and thrive.

Or, simply have a setting where we don’t need to do that. Those are great too, and my personal preference. Sometimes we just want to get away from all this crap.


#5

I like the idea of having no gender, like Marine Raiders, but then I also like the sexual tension and exploration of some stories like Choice of Romance/Intrigues. Basically, my rule going forward is to include gender when it is part of plot.

Personally, I am only making games about people with disabilities from now on, because no one writes games from our perspective. Then again, fighting zombies in a wheelchair…


#6

@ScarletGeisha

I think you misread my post or I didn’t explain myself well. I never said games should not have the choice. I said personally I have no problem who I play as long as the story interests me.

I was never brought up to think I am better than others because I was born male and I never have. Neither did I tell you it was not realistic. So history hasn’t proven me wrong.

My game has got a gender choice. Choice of the Vampire is a prime example of what I prefer as the story differs slightly if you play as a woman without giving a lesser experience.

Hopefully this doesn’t come across sharply as it is not my intention so I apologise if it does.


#7

More disabled representation is also something to work towards too. @JimD If you don’t mind, I would like to hear your opinion on how to properly present disabled people. Too often, people either emphasize the disability too much and make it seem as if they can’t take care of themselves, or they give them superpowers which effectively negate the disability. How do you propose a balance be found?


#8

ScarletGeisha as a child I was beaten for being a male in my family so don’t make out growing up as a male is a walk in the park.


#9

@ScarletGeisha it is somewhat similar to any other underrepresented group – make attempts to include them or simply minimize the need to define the parameters of the player, much like not defining gender or race.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do see including someone with a disability or challenge may present extra effort in certain games. Playing as myself in Zombie Exodus would be a short game, as once the elevator is out in chapter 2, I’d be stuck on the 5th floor in my wheelchair. But in morality-based or puzzle-based games, it may be no trouble at all to be inclusive of all races, genders, disabilities, etc.

One game I thought of creating is one in which the main character awakens with a disability and experiences the challenges it presents. Allowing someone to live through another person’s experience can help increase understanding.

I do often hate when disabled people are given super powers or made into androids or some other overcompensation, but including us at all is better than not.


#10

@JimD

if you had the player in zombie exodus in a wheelchair they could start on a lower floor would definitely be more difficult with different challenges.


#11

From my point of view, there is no need to even start to argue that “in this game we need a possibility to play as a woman/man…” or something in these lines. For example when I start playing any of the games (CoG created or user created), I see myself as the character in the game thus “forgetting” who I really am. For me it wouldnt be a problem to play as a woman or play as a disabled/otherwise challenged character (or as a black, asian, caucasian, african, you name it).

Other point to take into consideration is that it is (and always will be) the writers choice to decide who the main character is. When we start to question the writer why there isnt a choice to play as other gender/race, we forget the effort the writer has put in to create the story and the game. Sometimes in order to create as realistic scene/game as possible it is required to not include the choice to play as the other gender/race as this is/was the case in the story (or in real life).

When it comes to race issues I dont even want to start to explain my view (but I will :slight_smile: ). Now we live in a world where everyone is equal (as it should be). I was quite shocked when someone (not naming names) pointed out that there is racism in one of the newer games being developed (again, not naming names), as I didnt even consider that it might be racist. If I may say so (do not be offended anyone please as this is only my view), racism exists only as long as people see racism. If a game has a character that is described as “black with these facial features” portrait as an evil person, I dont see that as racist as in biblical and in other sources as well black (ONLY AS A COLOUR) is evil and white (again ONLY AS A COLOUR) is purity (goodness). This classification is old, I admit, but it will exist, and in no way should it be included in racial questions.

I’m personally waiting for the day when this arguing will end, but I also realize that these things are always only opinions and mine is no better than any other.

@JimD on an unrelated note, that game with someone awakening with a disability would actually be quite nice way for people without disabilities to see what its really like. But do take the time to finish Zombie Exodus first :slight_smile:

whew, this homily is now over finally :slight_smile:

Edit: typo


#12

Personally, it matters little to me as long as the protagonist is interesting or likeable. Or at least blank enough for me to put myself into with little consequence.


#13

@imf151 Yes, but when you apply that view to skin color, it becomes one of the main basis’ of racism. That specific thing is literally one of the main reasons for racist thought.


#14

In fact, in Rwanda for example, the Dutch took actively searched for lighter skinned Rwandans and segregated them from the rest of the population, raising them up to an exalted (but still inferior to true whites) status within the country and putting this new tribe in charge as substitute white people. Then the Dutch packed up and left, abandoning their chosen servants to the very pissed off oppressed majority they’d created, which predictably resulted in genocide.


I guess I’ll just start by trying to explain my own personal views on the subject. Personally, I don’t really care what sex a game has me playing. I prefer to play men in general because I’m more comfortable with it, and depending on my mood, may not play a game where female is the only choice, but that says nothing about my thoughts on the game. Just how I’m feeling at the time.

I have even less problem with playing another race. Sure it bugs me slightly that asians are even less represented than black people, but then it bugs me that Polynesians, Micronesians and Melanesians are practically non-existent, and I’m not any of those ethnicities. Hell, when you do get to play a black person, it’s pretty much always an african american, maybe african british if you’re lucky. Never an African though. So yeah… Tons of ethnicities are not just under-represented, but are in fact unrepresented. If you aren’t going to make a big deal about all of them it’s pretty hypocritical to make a big deal about just one of them while claiming you support racial equality.

Continuing that specific discussion we were having before(and this goes for all games, not just the one the discussion was about): Where do you draw the line? If you’re making a supposedly historical game in a real historical setting but intentionally change it so that women and men are identical not just on a personal level but to the society as a whole, then that presents some obvious problems.

The first is true for any game that goes this route of representing the sexes regardless of setting, which is, why even bother making a choice in the first place? It serves no purpose. In a world where sex isn’t a difference, there’s no reason to differentiate sex. It becomes nothing more than an artifact of our own real world prejudices that makes no sense within the context of the game, and thus, damages the experience.

Secondly, and more specifically, if you’re going making the sexes identical because you “don’t want to offend anyone” but then go ahead and keep all the racial prejudices that were historically accurate for the time and place, (since it’s a real world time and place) you’ve just failed at your primary reason for equalizing the sexes. What makes white women so much better than black men that they are allowed to ignore reality while black men and women are still historically accurately considered subhuman?

Third thing, and the most important. If you fix all the things mentioned above, why bother setting it in a real historical setting at all? I mean, hell, all you really have to do to solve all of these problems is just set the game in a fictional world with real world similarities and all your problems are solved.

Finally, why do people keep assuming I’m angry because I don’t agree with them? It’s the one thing that actually is making me angry.


#15

Here is a question is it gender discrimination if you have the gender choice but offer variations on the story depending on that choice? Such as gender exclusive parts(ie male does A, female does B, both same length but different scenes)?


#16

I’d say it’s discrimination in that you are no longer being indiscriminate, but whether it’s a negative or positive can’t really be determined with such a vague description.


#17

Well in my game the PC deals with supernatural cases. would it be discrimination if people who choose to be male get a case unique to them where as females get a different case unique to them? The purpose is to add replayability and encourage players to play as both sexes


#18

That would most likely be considered discrimination. How offensive it would be though depends on the details, as well as the player.


#19

Thanks for answering. discrimination is not what I want.


#20

Well to put it in perspective, we’re discriminating when we let women have maternity leave, but it’s acceptable because women are not identical to men. They can get pregnant. Men on the other hand have no physical obligation to their child, only a moral and legal one, and hopefully a mental/emotional one if they have what is generally considered a healthy outlook.