RACE AND GENDER IN GAMES

Posts

What attracts you to the idea of adding in minority types?
I would answer this the other way around: Why would I want to make a game that is a pickle party with majonaise?

How much have you done?
Not much, I just started with RPG Maker.

What kind of research do you do, if you're writing someone whose circumstances are so different from your own?
Talking to people of different walks of life. That's pretty insightful. I recommend listening over talking too. There are many people out there. It's also important to listen to various people because talking to one queer person does not give you insight into the whole LGBT+ spectrum.

Is there any kind of identity you've intentionally avoided thus far? Would you ever consider writing that?
Not intentionally avoiding them but making an enby will be hard because MV's chargen is gendered.

If you're some flavor of minority, what sort of things would you like to see in games about your status?
I'm not so this question is skipped.

How do you feel about what's available now?
The fact that you can still "shock" people by making female lead protagonists in action games is pretty disappointing.

Are there any examples you can point to of really good or really terrible depictions?
If you want bad inclusion of minorities or women in games look at GTA. It's hard to find a game that's more misogynist than that. On the other hand, you have Saint's Row who really included cool and meaningful women and the dialogue is pretty awesome for a female PC. Pillars of Eternity sucks with gender, like most Western CRPGs. Sunset Overdrive made clothing gender unrestricted and shows how easy it is to be more inclusive by doing really basic stuff.
About race you can lol at Witcher 3 for being whites only but at least they try to remedy this with the additional content. So it's still bad but I don't want to openly condem them considering they listen to their fanbase.
If I would have to choose a game for being the best about gender and race inclusion it would be, hands down, Dragon Age Inquisition.
If you want bad inclusion of minorities or women in games look at GTA. It's hard to find a game that's more misogynist than that.

GTA is actually a terrible example because they're very equal when it comes to taking the piss. They send-up anything and everything.

I'd even go so far as to say that the GTA games are really good at being inclusive. There are a lot of minority characters in those games, to the point were pretty much every instalment has playable/very important characters who come from minority backgrounds. Sure, there are a lot of slurs and insults thrown around, but they get aimed at everyone; if everyone is being treated the same then I don't know how you can complain.

I don't see how the fact they're basically taking the piss out of anything that even remotely represents a stereotype is problematic when they're literally doing it to everybody.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
isn't witcher 3 set in like a medieval poland expy. that's the same shit as complaining that elsa and anna are bright white
Look at 90% (or more) of RPG Maker horror games for a bunch of small girls as the main characters.
author=SnowOwl
Look at 90% (or more) of RPG Maker horror games for a bunch of small girls as the main characters.

That's not really a new thing.
author=Craze
isn't witcher 3 set in like a medieval poland expy. that's the same shit as complaining that elsa and anna are bright white


There's tons of evidence proving that there's pretty much nothing about polish culture in the game, mainly due to lots of creatures from other mythologies and the fact that polish mythology is nearly extinct due to christian interference.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4008
author=SnowOwl
Look at 90% (or more) of RPG Maker horror games for a bunch of small girls as the main characters.


Nothing says weak and helpless like a little girl! It's a silly cliche, because I feel like for most horror games, any human in the situation would be helpless. Making them a little girl is just doubling down by relying on the cliché for no good reason. Like, Silent Hill 2 would not have been improved by replacing the main character with a kid, and it's definitely up there for horror games.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
I haven't actually played it, although I want to. But isn't that the basic setting anyway, location-wise/fantasy time-wise? I mean, there's literally no reason to push people of color into a game for the sake of it. That's not treating ANYBODY fairly.

It would be the same as pushing white characters into a story about the Congo in 1200 or something.

edit for slash: i'm too scared to play any survival horror, but i'm pretty sure Leon (he was RE2 protag right) is more effective as a freaked-out soldier -- it's freaking out a grown and hardened, not just a little kid!

why do i keep talking about games i haven't played lol

edit2: actually i'd love to play a well-written game about the portuguese arriving in the congo hundreds of years ago because i find african history fascinating, the dr of congo especially, but don't know as much as i want to about it since my research of it in college was more like 50s-70s and focused on the experiences of white missionaries. i'm not christian and i don't agree with the idea of missionaries but they're so interesting!

i'll be honest i just want a video game adaptation of heart of darkness/apocalypse now
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18722
If you're making historical fiction there's no need to try to shoehorn in races/ethnicities that are clearly out of place. But I generally don't buy the idea of fantasy lands where everyone is uniformly white and straight, and all the excuses people throw out for why that might be tend to ring pretty hollow to me.

Most western fantasy, being derived from Tolkien, is based on medieval Europe. So yeah, that's a white-centric society. But a lot of JRPGs are based on, say, asian mythology, and making a world like that with only white people smacks as a bit odd or perhaps lazy. A lot of authors and creators have started branching out to include other races and their mythologies as well. And there's a lot to draw from. I think Arabic and Egyptian mythologies are cool so I often represent cultures like that in any setting I make. (Not that I ever make anything.)
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
21227
I generally don't focus on characterization my games. My stories tend to focus around events rather than people. I don't explore people or their motivations much at all. I never explored sexuality or gender. I am a bad writer.

I tend to craft gender-blind worlds (so idealistic!), where it doesn't matter what gender the characters and NPCs are, but what does is their roles. I tend to go toward an even split for gender but not out of any need to champion equal rights but more because I tend to obsess over balance in my games. I don't think about sexuality because I don't think I've ever written a scene where it was relevant. For race/cultures/identities I paint in broad strokes, and it is usually pretty obvious what my inspirations are, but I don't delve too deep either way. Representationally, I skew heavily towards white characters because I use RTP or rips, because back then I wasn't good at editing sprites (I am still not good at it now, but I also wasn't good at it then). And now that I want to actually explore that in greater detail (race/identity/sexuality) I've kinda lost my will to make games :\ (not causative! just coincidence)

me back in August, re: Hero's Realm
author=kentona
Would it shock anyone to learn that I envisioned Holdana as being lesbian? :x


I've never told anyone this before not even Ocean but I always though his Holdana cameo sprite was too beautiful. When I envisioned Holdana's character and looks, I was actually thinking of my grandma, who was tough as nails and just fucking did whatever she had to fuck gender roles (she ran a gas station, worked as a crop duster, ran a farm, and eventually an auto salvage yard). She was worn, with hard lines on her face, and tough as leather and no-nonsense wouldn't take shit, but would just roll up her sleeves if something needed doing.
It's not exactly unfair or wrong for Witcher 3 to not include people of color, but I still don't like that they justified it with something silly. Problem is that while lack of PoCs in a single game is nothing to be concerned of, it becomes a problem if the vast majority of games is nothing but the same white dudes over and over.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18722
I generally don't care about gender roles. I really like strong, capable heroines, and in general like heroes that show strength in some way besides just physical force, regardless of gender.

Regarding looks, I don't really have a problem with conventionally attractive heroes/heroines but a lot of fiction in my opinion takes it way too far, especially in fantasy where you have characters or even entire races intended to be superhumanly gorgeously perfect. That gets grating fast. But in general I don't mind if a character is good-looking as long as they seem like someone who could actually exist.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
I kinda like "the <elves> that are all preternaturally beautiful to themselves" but are uncanny to us, like very long faces and slightly blurry/glamoured or something. I can't think of a specific example but I know I've seen it. Closest-but-not-quite thing would be the elves from... Lorwyn/Shadowmoor (maybe?) block in MtG... they hunt down the "eyeblights" and want everything to be their definition of beautiful. Eerie, I love it. I know that's not what you meant though XD

LightningLord2
It's not exactly unfair or wrong for Witcher 3 to not include people of color, but I still don't like that they justified it with something silly. Problem is that while lack of PoCs in a single game is nothing to be concerned of, it becomes a problem if the vast majority of games is nothing but the same white dudes over and over.


I actually had a preemptive post about this but I deleted it because it was rambly. Anyway, short version: I get that it's tiring. I also don't think that it needs to be pointed out every time it happens. If you don't like it, don't buy it; buy stuff you do appreciate. Complain if it's egregious or actually racist/sexist/homophobic/whatever, but otherwise speak with your wallet.

However, I didn't know that they had some sort of justification. What was it? You make it sound like it undermines their product. I know that I hate flimsy justifications like Hideo Kojima and Quiet. Blehhhhh. If you want to make a porno game, just make one.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5137
Interestingly, Medieval Europe had a lot more not-white people than people generally assume. The Middle East was a huge player, Mongols became a huge impact on the general culture (they're where the popular pointy princess hat came from), and there were even a few folks from Africa hanging around.

It wasn't super integrated or anything, but it's not like nobody ever saw someone with skin darker than parchment. Particularly in larger cities, you'd expect to see at least a handful of foreigners.
author=Solitayre
If you're making historical fiction there's no need to try to shoehorn in races/ethnicities that are clearly out of place.
Most western fantasy, being derived from Tolkien, is based on medieval Europe. So yeah, that's a white-centric society.

I'm chipping in to say two ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF things:

1) Even if someone is writing historical fiction, they often insert "unrealistic" or historically inaccurate details. This is not always seen as a detriment to the work as a whole.

If it's "unrealistic" to have different racial/ethnic groups in your historically fantasy setting, you (the general you as in person who may or may not be reading this) better be scrubbing out every instance of things that are "unrealistic" before you throw that one around.

2) Good thing it's hardly unrealistic to have more diversity in yr characters!

no really. There is a large body of academic and non-academic work that focuses on how people we'd see as "poc" (people of color), or black, or otherwise "not white" in race did exist in places we assume were "always white".

EVEN THEN, there's an even LARGER body of work that discusses how "whiteness" as we know it today is a fairly modern idea in the grand scheme, and past societies had different ideas about race. Shock and awe. Present concepts may not have existed in the past. I know, I'm saying something truly revolutionary with that one.

"medieval Europe", to go back to Solitaryre here, was not "white centric" because it would be a few more centuries before colonization, the Atlantic slave trade, and the development of "whiteness" and racial difference as people generally think of today. (I mean it gets a lot more complex if you go back and look at what a past society's actual views re: differences between "in-groups" and "out-groups" were. I still maintain it will rarely mesh with modern ideas about race).

Like if you study even the construction of whiteness as a concept there are LOTS of instances where someone gets considered """white""" in a legal or social sense when they, by visual appearance, would not seem to mesh with that. (And vice versa, even today there are many people who are sometimes considered "white passing" even though they are not white bUT ANYWAYS)

I COULD TALK ABOUT THIS FOREVERRRRRRR I GET REALLY PASSIONATE I'M NOT ANGRY YELLING I'M JUST PASSIONATE ABOUT HISTORY!

I'm also gonna link medievalpoc's mission statement on this one. She's much more eloquent and the point I'm making here is that our ideas of "the past" are informed by the biases of the present. So when people look at historical fiction that is seemingly diverse in a way that seems out of place, remember that. Are you informed about the conditions of the time/place? Do you know the author's sources? Does the presence of other "historically inaccurate" or "unrealistic" things also bother you?

And even in the realm of "okay it was possible but unlikely" i'm gonna go out on a limb and say a huge slice of characters and character details in fiction, even outside of representation, are possible but unlikely.

All of the above is just about race/the history of race as a concept? To talk about the other side of this topic header, gender, the history of gender and constructions of gender are no less varied.

I follow some neato folks who do stuff in queer history* too but I'm not gonna casually link them b/c they are people's personal pages, not places made to educate others

It's mostly modern history and not my personal fave, but i will say this blog has a lot of info on historically trans folks (and i mean trans history itself is older than "modern" ideas but gets complicated like....everything else...)

i can also, personally, talk your ear off about it lol

*side note, still not a fan of queer as an identifier but that is how the field usually goes by.

author=Craze
isn't witcher 3 set in like a medieval poland expy. that's the same shit as complaining that elsa and anna are bright white

another reason I brought up medievalpoc is the poland tag

and a frozen one to document that particular "race in frozen" shitstorm because of course people asked her about it a bunch

basically even frozen could have stepped up if they wanted to. Disney did not want to.

3) Fiction inspired by a particular past society does not have to replicate the exact reality of that society.

Many people discuss multiple "real world" things that influence their setting and design choices, and if you're going whole-hog on one particular time/place...you're gonna get closer and closer to just writing historical fiction. Where it's not unrealistic to have different characters than a cast full of white people, or straight people, or able-bodied people, etc.

Even if your source of inspiration is other fiction, no one is obligated to replicate the bias or shit representation of the original.

4) I could go on even more but i gotta run to class lol so: When people end up with a cast that is homogenous in terms of people's backgrounds or identities, it's not an accident and it's not like the creator's hands were tied. If they want to represent a particular group, they can. ("Should they?" is a different question.)

There are so many ways to integrate this kind of writing without running into the matter of "you should represent groups without forcing the matter or shoving it in your face" i also see being mentioned. I agree with that idea, but with the caveat that some people interpret "simply exists" as diversity being shoved in their face. And to a degree, many writing decisions are forced and arbitrary; people complain more when they notice because it ruins the illusion of fiction. Matters of representation tend to be noticed.

LAST MINUTE RECOMMENDATION: writingwithcolor

For the folks who have mentioned wanting to maybe write some kind of different racial/ethnic group but have zero clue how to approach that

like, if you're worried about stereotypes you can go take a look at these and see how your idea stacks up

There's also a recommendations page and it's not limited to race at all.

And even in the times where i, personally, might disagree with an answer or a particular approach the mods take, they know what they're talking about and like, generally explain what they mean very well.

ok bye

edit after class: Wow that was a mess of phrasing! that's what I get for writing anything less flippant than "lol" during my break
author=LockeZ
author=emmych
...really i'm sick of conventionally attractive people in my media. Give me more "ugly" people pls.
This is just weird as hell to me. I can't wrap my head around it at all. Making a work of fiction more attractive is just objectively better. Do you also want ugly backgrounds, ugly animations, ugly pixel art, bad special effects, badly written music, stupid dialogue? The choice of characters in a game or actors in a movie is no different from any of these other things. They're chosen to make the art itself more attractive.
Because what is attractive is SUPER subjective. There is no such thing as something that is objectively beautiful. Different people find beauty in different things, and as it stands, current media is tailored to a very specific set of tastes. This is why I put ugly in quotes, because there are some traits that society as a whole has deemed ugly that I find to be beautiful.

Other than that, I also don't think attractiveness or beauty should be as important as it is! I am super tired of characters only having worth if someone thinks they're fuckable. People who aren't conventionally beautiful deserve to feel important as well, and should be more than villains or gags, y'know?

I also feel that it's worth noting that I'm not talking about pixels or interfaces or game shit: I'm talking about people. I want more "ugly" people, ESPECIALLY "ugly" women. QUIT WITH THE TIDDY BABES AUGH

EDIT: PENTA WE DID THAT THING AGAIN WHERE WE REPLIED TO A THREAD AT THE SAME TIME UNINTENTIONALLY I HAVEN'T EVEN SAID GOOD MORNING YET LMAO
also that is a Good Post some Good Shit everyone go read that
unity
You're magical to me.
12169
This is a great point, emmych, and I'm guilty with having conventionally attractive characters in my games myself. I definitely plan to expand my horizons on that in the future ^_^

author=karins_soulkeeper
author=unity
author=karins_soulkeeper
And don't get me started on the yuri's (1)(2)
What are the numbers after "the yuri's" for?

As someone who's making a yuri game, do you see me guilty of that as well?

I also want to know what you mean about "turban donning and vocal." Is having a character who is obviously attracted to the same sex included in that? And how would that be different than showing a male character who is obviously attracted to women or a female character who is obviously attracted to men?
The numbers are typos. why didn't I see them??? >.<;

No, no. Not at all! I've nothing against yuri (and yaoi). I meant the yuri's that I've played/watched/read. Those were bad.

Depends on how things are run, I guess. If it's contextual and not awkward, then it will be wrong NOT to show that that is so. And hetero relationships feel more "natural", and go right through without raising any eyebrows. That's what most of the world were taught anyway.


Ah, I get what you mean. Yeah, if done badly, it can come off as very cheap and tacky.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5137
Just as an advisory, medievalpoc has been shown to be not all that accurate several times. They're doing decent work, but are REALLY loose on their fact checking.

ETA: Regarding attractiveness in character design, I think part of the problem is one of definition. Attractive character design can mean "visually appealing" or "harmonious." It can also mean "causes viewers to pop like twelve boners."

The issue here is that the vast, vast majority of times, people desgining dudes are going for the former, and ladytypes the latter. So you get a really nice variety of men, from "Would" to "Awesome, but Wouldn't," while female characters rarely deviate from the "Would" range.

And, y'know, for people who have not gone outside, there is a wide variety of women, of varying appearances, many of whom could be considered "well designed" if they were 2D, but would probably not cause a general bonerpocalypse.
author=Craze
I kinda like "the <elves> that are all preternaturally beautiful to themselves" but are uncanny to us, like very long faces and slightly blurry/glamoured or something. I can't think of a specific example but I know I've seen it. Closest-but-not-quite thing would be the elves from... Lorwyn/Shadowmoor (maybe?) block in MtG... they hunt down the "eyeblights" and want everything to be their definition of beautiful. Eerie, I love it. I know that's not what you meant though XD

LightningLord2
It's not exactly unfair or wrong for Witcher 3 to not include people of color, but I still don't like that they justified it with something silly. Problem is that while lack of PoCs in a single game is nothing to be concerned of, it becomes a problem if the vast majority of games is nothing but the same white dudes over and over.


I actually had a preemptive post about this but I deleted it because it was rambly. Anyway, short version: I get that it's tiring. I also don't think that it needs to be pointed out every time it happens. If you don't like it, don't buy it; buy stuff you do appreciate. Complain if it's egregious or actually racist/sexist/homophobic/whatever, but otherwise speak with your wallet.

However, I didn't know that they had some sort of justification. What was it? You make it sound like it undermines their product. I know that I hate flimsy justifications like Hideo Kojima and Quiet. Blehhhhh. If you want to make a porno game, just make one.


If you don't like/care about inclusiveness in games I'd suggest you not to tell people who want it to shut up.
author=Sated
If you want bad inclusion of minorities or women in games look at GTA. It's hard to find a game that's more misogynist than that.
GTA is actually a terrible example because they're very equal when it comes to taking the piss. They send-up anything and everything.

I'd even go so far as to say that the GTA games are really good at being inclusive. There are a lot of minority characters in those games, to the point were pretty much every instalment has playable/very important characters who come from minority backgrounds. Sure, there are a lot of slurs and insults thrown around, but they get aimed at everyone; if everyone is being treated the same then I don't know how you can complain.

I don't see how the fact they're basically taking the piss out of anything that even remotely represents a stereotype is problematic when they're literally doing it to everybody.


just lol. Every woman's personality in GTA is either "Annoying New Age Feminist" or "Annoying Girlfriend". I didn't even talk how it displays race all that much but "it makes fun of everyone" is a weak defense. No one is ever made fun of for being overly white and/or straight. That is seen as "default".

author=Craze
isn't witcher 3 set in like a medieval poland expy. that's the same shit as complaining that elsa and anna are bright white



See these leopard pelts? Poland was pretty close with Persia. I get the polish people are white, but seeing not even a single PoC in Witcher 3 is just a result of a white dev team who didn't think about including PoC in their game.

Every woman's personality in GTA is either "Annoying New Age Feminist" or "Annoying Girlfriend"


I'm pretty sure a powerful drug dealer who purportedly fed someone their balls for trying to rape them doesn't fall under "new age feminist" or "annoying girlfriend". She's also black, an immigrant, and isn't designed to be attractive in a traditional sense. The other important female character in GTAIV (the storyline romantic interest) is probably one of the most level-headed characters in the series. There probably aren't enough important female characters, and there are characters who are "new age feminists" or "annoying girlfriends", but it's not everyone.

No one is ever made fun of for being overly white and/or straight. That is seen as "default".

One third of the main story in GTAV (and the area its set in) takes the piss out of everything to do with white, middle class suburban life. From spoilt kids to ridiculous fad diets to the stereotypical mid-life crisis. The whole segment is a paraody of what television/movies would tell us is the "default" white lifestyle in America. Another third of the main story (and the area its set in) is set up to take the piss out of everything to do with the white, trailer trash stereotype, which I'm pretty sure covers being both "overly white" and "overly straight". There's even time to take shots at American authority figures (police/government) for being dominated by white people. GTAIV has a character who is a parody of the stereotypical gym-rat, right down to chauvinistic, bully-like behaviour. Every segment with them in is a joke aimed at that type culture. It's parodied even harder in the Episodes from Liberty City DLC. The main character's brother trips over himself trying to fit into what he perceives to be "default" American culture and makes both it and himself look ridiculous. I can't be bothered going through all of them, but there are plenty of other characters who are made fun of for (or who are parodies of) lifestyle choices that are generally perceived to be dominated by straight men (white or otherwise).

Y'know, to be perfectly honest, if you don't think that the GTA games are even-handed in how they basically throw shit at everything and everyone, you're either purposefully being selective in what you see and hear, or you're incredibly stupid. I can't think of any other explanation, and so I don't really see the point in having this conversation with you. You clearly don't have a fucking clue what you're talking about.