I don’t disagree, ofc people have the right to criticize other peoples work. I never said they don’t, if that’s what you’re implying.
You sounds totally saying people have to be FORCED to wording all in a X way as they shouldn’t have freedom of expression. Freedom of SPEECHcan’t be possible if You are coerced to use a Versailles diplomatic language to euphemistically say your opinion for something you feel you hate after wasting like 6 or seven euros. I will never say an author what they have to do. That’s coerce and that’s illegal and immoral. But hell If I will explain exhaustively why in my opinion x idea are bad executed and why I will prefer.
Author has prerogative to don’t do that period. So I don’t know why I should not criticized what I hate from something I pay for lol
The problem is these bad reviews for being genderlocked aren’t constructive criticism a lot of the time. Its somebody who doesn’t like genderlocked games buying genderlocked games because they either didn’t read where it clearly stated it was genderlocked or they didn’t buy it in the first place and are just mad that they can’t play it, and then giving it bad ratings because they couldn’t be bothered to take the time to read where it says you can only play as one gender. Bad ratings decrease authors sales because they have a potential to turn people away from a good story because they bought a story that they should have never bought.
I don’t order pepperoni pizza then give the restaurant bad reviews because I don’t like pepperoni. Just like I wouldn’t buy The Courting of Miss Bennet because I don’t enjoy playing games that make me play as female. I’m not going to give the game bad reviews. I just won’t buy it. If I’m really upset over it I’d figure out a way to suggest to the author that I’d prefer if they had an option to play as male in their next story. But giving a game bad reviews because you made a poor purchasing decision is not the right way to go about things in my opinion. It just seems petty and foolish.
This is why I prefer to bring up this topic and some others such as RO balance and other things when games are still WIP’s on the forum. The author can take or leave my feedback as they please, but at least it is delivered well before publication. Though there is no reason you can’t mention flaws of the game after publication and initial feedback either, even if it might no longer be able to affect the published work the author can always choose to carry some of it forward into new projects. The point is just like with voting, if you don’t comment about the features you don’t like you’re pretty much guaranteed to always lose.
I am all for bringing up things that you want changed and I whole heartedly agree with it. The main problem lies with the fact that by giving it one or two star ratings for this, the book as a whole looks unfavorable in the eyes of potential consumers. This could lead to decreased sales which could lead to the rating not representing the quality of the story. This hurts the author, potential consumers who could have liked the story and were turned away, and potentially the creative freedom of the author. This is where the problem lies I think. One person who leaves a 1 star rating can do a lot more damage than that person simply avoiding a story due to it being genderlocked. And reviews can be a good way to see change or better quality control, but in many cases with regards to this topic, they tend to stray more into the territory of abusing the system than providing valid criticism. But thats just my take on it.
I have already said That and many authors know that I come here to criticize not let ratings. As ratings HARM and doesn’t bring anything positive. But one thing is ratings and other limited the way people express when you go to the market to sell something. In moment something gets public business one has the accept how that market works.
Some of my favourite games are genderlock male one of my favourite wips is genderlock female. And some games I despise are genderlock female or totally open.
We are here too focused in the gender and not enough in the plotting and character personality and player agency to that. I prefer play a genderlock game where I have a said in whole character mindset and origin personalities that one open that is set and Authors are saying each five seconds what i like or not and what I feel.
While the case in question is not considered “good law” by many because of multiple issues, I referred to it because it discusses in depth the concept of free speech and it shows that this concept has dual principles, both of which are equally important (here in the US).
I will never agree with those that claim a corporation has the same rights as a natural person or that a corporation may have the equal breadth of a right as a natural person. That is besides the issue we are discussing here though.
I’m sorry if anything I’ve said has been taken the wrong way and no offense has been intended to anyone. (Still friends with everyone I hope.) Sometimes there are occasions where I get caught off guard by cultural differences and the way things are phrased. There are occasional topics where the way people from my country tend to react, seem quite different to those of others, or perhaps it’s the nature of the internet where everything is text and no one knows each other in person where misunderstandings occur. To preface, nothing said below is intended as an attack on anyone.
I do agree with you @Havenstone that people can comment as they see fit. However, I think I’ve said a few times here that imo you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. That is if you really want something to occur, support what you like, encourage rather than harshly criticize and try not to assume the motives of another person in why they have written something in a particular way as it may end up not being as you think. Some authors with genderlocked games are on this forum, ask them nicely what their reason why for doing so rather than assuming. Of course not everyone has to do that, but IMO one of the reasons for the frequently defensive stance on gender locking relates directly to the way it has been portrayed many times in this thread. I can generally take crit, but way back in this thread I did actually get quite insulted about what was being implied and left it for a while.
“Your game is sh*t”
Ok, probably going to brush that one off. Doesn’t tell me much. Could relate to anything from the subject matter to the paywall.
“I hated the ending.”
Better. That at least tells me where to start looking. I’d probably respond by asking the person why if they were contactable.
“I hate your writing style.”
Ok, well unless everyone else hates it too, it just might be that my stories aren’t for this particular person.
“I found the writing stilted in chapter x and character y seemed completely unrealistic because of their reactions to z.”
Constructive crit. Even though it’s negative, fantastic! I can work with that. I may or may not agree in the end, but I’ll definitely consider what is being said, and I’m not likely to be offended.
But this is what the crit that is coming from this thread is: Writers who genderlock games are doing so because they are sexist, or were too lazy and don’t want to be inclusive, or thought they could make a quick buck out of an audience at their expense instead of having a genuine interest in writing a certain story etc, etc. And if you like those kind of stories, then you must be the same. The crit is personal. It’s no longer about the writing, it’s a character attack on the author. It’s making judgments on people which may not be correct, it’s hurtful and since often untrue, not constructive, and that’s where the defensiveness can start coming in either from the author themselves or their fans. IMO that tends to run in circles that sooner or later shuts down effective communication. Communication is all. It should be encouraged. It’s the way you change people’s minds about things. You need to discuss things without making it a blame game.
I get why this is an emotional topic. Trust me, I know from first hand experience that sexism is far from dead in this world at both low and high levels. It’s super frustrating to be considered “not as good” or “worthwhile” simply because I have a second X chromasone instead of a Y. But I also think it’s worth thinking hard about whether something is intended to be sexist, or simply that it’s a story someone wants to tell. I don’t self insert into games and I think that’s why I haven’t had a problem with gender locking. As long as there are gender choice and some more female locked games in the works to counter the presence of male locked ones for variety, I’m happy. Personally I would like to see more character driven games. I’d like to be Cleopatra in one story, then see things from Tesla’s POV the next rather than each game starting with a blank slate. But that is just me and I get that if you want to play as yourself, such games are not going to be appealing. Sometimes things are not intended to be exclusionist even though they may seem that way to people highly sensitised and reactive to it (which due to what happens in the world is for good reason.)
Reviews keep being brought up, but it’s not the author who’s writing them! The author can’t stop them from writing stuff like that. If someone wants to get on Google and rant about the female/male locked protagonist I think you’ll find most authors on this site are just as upset as readers. It also worries me that there seems to be a reverse standard happening where complaints about genderlocking in female games are bad, while in male one’s it’s justified. My response to hearing that both female locked games were written by men was “Great! That’s fantastic that males writing for HG’s are comfortable enough to write stories with female protagonists. Great to hear it.” Where as the response to this on this thread seems to have been largely negative. Why? I get that it’d be nice to have female stories written by females too (they’re on their way!) but why should an author stepping out of their comfort zone and writing for the opposite gender be bad? There are female writers for HG, so they are there!
I agree with @Eric_Moser. I find it a huge shame that things that differ from the norm are often being criticized so harshly. Not just gender locking, TNT has gotten hate over preset protagonists, while missing wings has been criticized for being more puzzle like. Highly branching games get hit hard, while long linear ones don’t. There’s nothing I can do about this, and I realise that, it is the audience’s perogative to buy what they like and you either go with the majority rule or expect anything else that gets put out there to potentially be hit in the reviews, but as someone who likes seeing new and different being tried, if works that deviate from the norm keep being hit out at like that, it discourages lateral thinking and authors will stop trying different things, or writing the stories they want to which would have been good if ever heard. And I think that is a shame
I do think it’s been happening a lot that when people argue in favor of not gender-locking a game, it is treated as if we were forcing the author to do something or being aggressive in a way that’s out of proportion with other kinds of feedback. While there are certainly some atrocious examples (like what Jacic is pointing out), when people just give feedback of what we think would be an improvement, and explain our reasons for that, even that gets described as if it were hostile. It really doesn’t have to be
This is definitely something I find concerning. I’ve seen so many people hesitate to write a character of a different gender or a minority that they don’t belong to, because of worrying about getting it wrong or that just having that character would be appropriative. And in certain cases, sure, if you’re writing about, say, discrimination experiences, you’ll want to tread a lot more carefully… but that doesn’t mean they can’t write those characters at all. It ends up just meaning that there are fewer of those characters.
I also think a lot of times people try too hard and end up writing stereotypes or try too hard to make the character perfect that they end up not having the depth of characterization that other characters have
I remember reading an example in which a male author with an ambiguous name sent a romance novel to a publisher and had it rejected because he supposedly didn’t write a convincingly male point of view
And this is where your thoughts on what should be true disassociate from what is true. I bet if I asked you if you were racist, you’d say categorically no. I’d then point you to this series by Harvard. [I’m not joking about that either, I strongly recommend you (that is, the general you as in everyone) take a couple of those tests, honestly, before continuing even reading my post.]
Did you score perfectly flat across the board? I’m willing to bet no. I’m willing to bet that what you scored made you uncomfortable. And even if you did score “perfectly,” on a number of them, well you still saw the statistics at the end, right? You saw how most people end up scoring, most of whom would probably also say they aren’t racist/sexist/homophobic. The point here is not to say anyone is bigoted, but that most people don’t fully appreciate what it means when we talk about *phobic behavior in the first place.
Everybody, on some level, is racist, sexist, and homophobic. It is, ironically, a trait that transcends boundaries of race, gender, and orientation.
We make unconscious assumptions and connections all the time. Our brains are crude, ineffective tools, prone to serious errors, with no oversight. We like to think that we are truly intelligent, that we understand how and even what we think, but we don’t. As individuals, we don’t actually know what is going on in our minds at any given time. We don’t recognize minor thoughts and associations that we have developed over decades of living in a world where we are constantly inundated with images, thoughts, and ideas that are both overtly and covertly bigoted.
And now, to bring it back to the topic at hand, I put forward that the reason what so many Hosted Games are genderlocked male is because of primarily unconscious, subtle sexist behavior. I don’t believe any more than maybe one of the writers for those nineteen games is overtly sexist, I believe that jump to “oh, women can’t have done this” in virtually every male genderlocked Hosted Game is done because of a lifetime of inundation with ideas of what “men” are, and what “women” are. And I believe looking for downratings of male genderlocked games is, first, off topic as to the why of these games representing a disproportionate number of games in the first place, and second, a posthoc justification that is rooted in a misunderstanding of the issue at hand.
I have asked once a Spanish friend in high school why he always made all his stories and all stuff from male perspective and with women always in a submission or directly slavery style role. He was just a scared teen that saw women as a menacing creatures as he was really shy to flirtation with girls.
The fact genderlocked is not automatically mean of active sexism. There’s many reasons behind that. One could be fear.
For instance What i am writing now is closed to binary gender not because I don’t want add other umbrella is because I don’t want make a bad stereotypical content as my game has spicy scenes. I don’t think i could make a good portrayal so with pain i don’t add no binary to game.
Sometimes not adding something is better than do a bd portrayal.
I do agree with you. We have to do the best we can to try and correct any subconcious prejudices we have.
Which is the test you recommend? I could only see facial recognition ones for race on that page (but would be interested in taking it as a bit of a self awareness exercise.) I did take the gender one and got this:
But then again I have been a vocal proponent for equality of women in STEM for a long time so I’d hope that would be the case. You are correct that the end statistics are concerning though.
Edit: I think I found the one you’re referring to which said I had a preference for people of darker skin tones than lighter ones which considering I am white actually surprised me that it wasn’t equal preference but some of my best friends aren’t white so I guess you’re going to get positive subconcious reinforcement from the nice people you know since this is a word association program
Is your whole argument as to why there are uneven numbers in gender-locked games, based on something that is quite literally impossible to “fix”?
Look, you brought up a lot of statistics so far, the one statistic you haven’t showed us is how many of these 214(?) HGs were written by males. I’d say that’s a more likely, simple and reasonable reason for why there are more genderlocked male games, hell more genderlocked games period. Because apparently whether it’s male or female locked, they seem to be overwhelmingly written by males. And doesn’t that mean there’s a more reasonable and simple answer than males “unconscious, subtle sexist behavior”? Even if you are right on that, or whoever you got it from is right on that, which I sincerely doubt(hey, could be wrong, I almost never rule that possibility out), all that means is it’s just hard coded in to our biology and genetics, and that it’s not a “problem” that we can just “fix”.
Which one sounds more likely to you?
If you’re looking for “racist, sexist and homophobic” behavior, you’re sure to find it, whether it’s actually there or not.
And look, ofc I’m not saying none of that exists, I know for sure it does, in some parts of the world more than others, and those people tend to have more important things to care about than “racism, sexism and homophobia”, like their survival. I just think people who go looking will find it regardless if it’s there or not, and ultimately create a problem that wasn’t there in the first place.
Maybe the goal for some people in this thread isn’t to “fix” anything, but simply share their thoughts on it, and that’s obviously fine. And maybe some peoples goal is to try and “fix” this “problem” they see here, and that’s fine, though I disagree that there is a “problem”. But when it’s so obvious that some peoples goal is just to bash these people, all male btw, for how they choose to write, I think all that does is hurts your case. Or at the very least it won’t make it any stronger.
I doubt you and I are going to agree on any of this. Because based on what has been said it seems to me we fundamentally disagree on these things. And I don’t think any more discussion between the two of us will have a productive outcome, I’m gonna leave it at that. Cheers for the discussion though.
@DavidGil, thanks for setting me straight on the multiple points where I’d misunderstood you. I agree that the author’s gender, race, and sexuality are no bar to writing protagonists of a different g/r/s, as long as the author has the imaginative sympathy to get into someone else’s circumstances and (crucially) the willingness to listen when people feed back on what rings true and false. Without the latter, you get issues like women POV characters who are always thinking about their own and others’ breasts.
I remember now that authorial control is something you’ve always emphasized as being utterly vital. Interactive Fiction tends to involve letting go of a measure of that control. Personally, rather than fighting that, I lean into it; I think the shared authorship of writer and reader is a distinctive strength of the genre. That’s a bit off-topic here but would be worth its own discussion.
At the end of the day, one can write for HG without writing for the forums, and I hope you do. I appreciated the things you discussed in your first draft, and hope we get the chance to talk about them on some other thread.
@LewisGraham, I didn’t ignore what you said about encroaching on the rights of others; I specifically addressed it in both my posts. No amount of telling an author what they should write encroaches on their creative freedom, unless you’re their publisher, their patron, the government, or a crazy “Misery”-style fan who has them chained up in a cabin. Attempts to influence (as distinct from coerce) people are not an encroachment on anyone’s (moral or legal) rights; rather, they’re a characteristic of any genuinely free society, on any scale.
You say that people should have total freedom to criticize a work, unless it takes the form of “trying to influence writers by telling them they should or shouldn’t write something.” And about that you didn’t just use the word “can’t”–you said people had “no right” to tell authors what they should/shouldn’t write, and that it’s an encroachment on creative freedom.
Using that kind of language erodes freedom of expression, and thus creative freedom…so maybe you should be more careful about using it (especially if you don’t mean it literally). I’d be making the same kinds of points if someone had said, “I totally believe in freedom of the press, but people have no right to print deeply offensive material,” or “I believe in freedom of religion/philosophy as long as people don’t try to influence each other’s beliefs.” We should try to avoid framing other people using their freedoms as an erosion of our freedoms.
I’d like the forums to stay a place where people do seek to influence each other’s writing, and authors like me don’t get over-sensitive about it. In terms of how to effectively influence authors, I broadly agree with @Jacic’s comments about catching more flies with honey than vinegar, but I’ve also learned from some decidedly vinegary reviews myself.
Finally, it’s a bit of a tangent, but on speech v expression: freedom of expression is unquestionably the more fundamental human right, both internationally and under US law. That’s why the First Amendment protects not just verbal utterance or writing but art (painting, sculpture), flag burning, and (post-Citizens United) donations to political parties. It certainly covers everything we’re discussing here.
No problem. I appreciate being able to have a good conversation without it devolving into name-calling. So, thanks on my part as well.
The bolded is the difference between us as writers and people, I think. Not because I disagree, as I do think the shared authorship of the author and reader is distinctive of the genre, but because I feel it can get in the way. Before I leave though and try to go on a hiatus for a few days, as I feel I need it after what RE said, I would like to message you two excerpts from my writing as a comparison between player-defined and set characters. You can do with them as you please in terms of creating a discussion or not doing anything, as I think it’s a worthy discussion to have.
PS: I think both you and Lewis actually agree. There’s a line between being domineering and attempting to force an author to do what’s wanted and simply offering feedback. At least that’s what I got from it. I figure it’s just the two of you not phrasing your arguments well or talking past each other.
Slight off-topic but this is one of the real strengths of the community here, and this thread has been a pretty great example of that; people disagree plenty, but the nature of the disagreement can be entirely civil and constructive if people are cool with each other’s differing views.
I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand I do agree that some people are too quick to see racism or other “isms” when there are other perfectly reasonable explanations and that this tendency widens divisions instead of bringing people together.
OTOH everyone tends to identify with and sympathize most closely with those most like themselves, and that includes appearance, which in turn includes race and gender, and behavior which includes gender and orientation. Further, these usually unconscious associations can be either overruled or amplified by systemic cultural perceprions. As a result, while appearance may not be the most important factor to most people, that doesn’t mean it has no effect on us, as the harvard word association test @retowers linked to bears out. So I have no issue with a statement such as: “everybody, on some level, is a racist, sexist and homophobic. It is ironically, a trait that transcends boundaries of race, gender, and orientation.” As a result I tend to think people of all colors, sexes, and orientations should be mindful of this when in a position of power over someone who is very different from themselves.
Perhaps a reason why so many HGs are written by men is because of the gender norms surrounding coding?
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Just a question, why is it so hard for people to look at something as what it is and enjoy and be involved in the setting just because of a choice of locking? I play video games that have had female protagonists didn’t stop me from getting into the story of the game. A thought though, it could be that they don’t want to end up missing a change from her to him or him to her somewhere along the line as I’ve seen with a few HG titles that were published.