Diversity In Video Games Isn’t Scary, It’s Delicious

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Diversity In Video Games Isn’t Scary, It’s Delicious

There’s been an unexpected new trend emerging in the world of video games in recent years.

No, it isn’t Kickstarter games earning $800 trillion or multi-tier pre-order incentives for trivial garbage. The concept I’m talking about is quite easy to follow. You see, since games have started to branch out into other genres beyond ‘collect everything’, ‘kill everything’ and ‘collect and kill everything’, people from all different walks of life have felt more comfortable putting their hand up to say how they feel when it comes to how they are represented in both games and the games industry at large. Specifically, people who want to see more of themselves in video games. So they can relate more. And thus, have a more memorable and rewarding experience. Because everyone loves games. Yay video games!

Cake pic via Shutterstock

Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

Wrong!

You see, there are people who think this is A VERY BAD THING. In fact, they see this as the end of days. And I’m not talking about that god awful Schwarzenegger film. I’m talking about people who see other people as some kind of threat. A threat to the status quo. A disruption to the normal day-to-day turning of the video game wheel. It’s like that bit in Oliver Twist where Oliver asks Mr Bumble for more gruel. Except Oliver is a woman of colour and Mr Bumble is a white dude with a Dragonball Z avatar.

What possible threat could this first group of people pose? Are they the foreign hordes led by Fu Manchu coming to steal our babies? Should we be spying on them to make sure they’re not sending communiques back to Soviet Russia?

Thankfully, things aren’t quite so dire. But if you listen to some people tell it, video games are in grave danger simply because of other people. People who are women. Or black. Or transgender. Or disabled. There’s some who even call this a WAR ON GAMES.

Surprisingly, I sometimes see where they’re coming from. When I was 11, I had a fabulous toy machine gun. It was a promotional item from the VHS release of Rambo III and whoa baby, I loved that thing. I loved it so much that nobody was even allowed to touch it. Sounds silly right? You bet your gunpowder-infused bullet wound it was silly. Because I was 11 and my brain made about as much sense as John Rambo fighting for the Taliban. But this is 2015. A time of comet landings and genome mapping. Why would these kind of silly arguments persist after all this time? In an industry with such amazing variety as video games?

Firstly, people are worried video games will change. Just because there’s folks out there who want to see something other than Johnny Buzzcut Genocides 800,000 Soldiers In The Face: The Game, that doesn’t impact the future development of games. Games like Johnny BallPuncher Strangles Everyone With The Declaration Of Independence will always be around to make money. Two people making a pixelart game about their domestic home life isn’t going to change a damn thing.

People who want more diversity don’t want to ruin anything. They want to make interesting games. They want an even playing field. They want to add, not subtract. For example, if you had a cake, maybe a nice cheese cake and then somebody put a chocolate raspberry cake next to it, that doesn’t harm the cheesecake does it? No, it’s just more cake. More cake? That’s just what the doctor ordered. An irresponsible doctor sure, but a doctor nonetheless. Burn in hell, waistline. Exercising is a waste of time anyway. What do those supermodel-looking holier-than-thou bastards at my local pool know about anything? You’re not better than me, Craig! Didn’t I see one of your kids down at Centrelink last week?


Cake pic via Shutterstock

Secondly, there’s a small but strong resistance to the concept of equality when it comes to gaming conventions. As such, a belief has emerged that equality and diversity is being FORCED UPON US. Convention panels that discuss mental health issues or women in games or inclusivity or some other ‘pointless crap’. Don’t bring politics or opinions into my video games! I play games to escape!

Escape from what exactly? What kind of nightmarish existence are you running from? Is your life like that hell dimension from Event Horizon? Or perhaps more realistically, is it one where nobody discriminates or questions you for any reason? I’m sorry for interrupting your afternoon of being fed grapes by voluptuous maidens while watching Masterchef. I was just wondering if you would you like to spend five minutes hearing about how white male straight men have had a stranglehold on games for decades? Or would you rather I pop off into the next room to starve to death in a corner?

Thirdly, and is this is a doozy: there’s this idea that all of this is fake. A superficial waste of time perpetrated by people who don’t play or care about games to secretly further their own agendas. And anyone who supports them is only in it to appease some mythical god who judges from the heavens and demands regular blood sacrifices of bigots for their Cauldron of Social Justice.

You know how that sounds? I’ll tell you how that sounds. Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson said some rather wacky things recently about gun control. Between telling the media that mass-shooting victims should have attacked their assailants and that maybe the Holocaust would have gone down differently had the Jews gotten their hands on some Glock 17’s, Carson sounds like he might actually be unhinged from reality. You sound like that. As if you’re so afraid of somebody taking something away from you that you’ll say anything to try to stop it from happening. Even if nothing is actually happening in the first place. But the difference here is this is video games we’re talking about. Not lethal child-murdering weapons.

What kind of life are you leading where you see all this as a problem? Were you raised by grizzly bears? Did you spend the first ten years of your life stealing from picnic blankets and going to the toilet in a creek? And now, by some mind-shattering miracle, you can use a keyboard. You’re incredible! Did you learn to speak by watching episodes of According To Jim through a pub window? Let me get Elon Musk on the phone because we have our first person to travel to Mars right here!


That’s what you’re defending. The gross, outdated parts of this industry. By acting like a spoilt child who doesn’t like people playing with their toys, you increase this warped view of video games by ten to the power of manchild. What the hell for? Because you want to eternally live inside a hall of mirrors where you only ever see yourself? Are you a Dalek? That must be it. You must have nothing but hate pumping through your mutated veins and the only thing that gives you even the slightest moment of respite is staring at the photo of Davros you’ve got sticky taped above your bed.

If you’re worried about things being ‘taken away’ from video games, take a second out of your day to consider that some of those things might be not all that great in the first place. Sexist advertising. Racist comic relief characters. Lack of relatable stories, themes and goals. Like a butcher carving the fat off the bone, it’s time to not only make things leaner and tastier but also welcome more people to the dinner table. I don’t know how many more food analogies I can use but I’ll tell you this: I don’t want to be around people who only want convention panels to be about The 10 Most Epic Headshots That Made You Go Bruhhh. I don’t want Faith from Mirror’s Edge to be blonde with huge boobs. And I don’t want to be angry at people who feel happier when they see themselves represented in video games. Because that raspberry chocolate cake at the end of table looks pretty good to me.

Whoops, looks like I had one more.

You can follow Raygun Brown on Twitter here. Warning: he uses caps lock a lot. It’s kind of his thing.

Comments

  • Possibly the worst opinion article I’ve ever read. I don’t even get who this is specifically aimed at. I also feel like I’ve done something wrong having read it.

    • I think it’s pretty clear who it’s aimed at. People who complain about diversity panels and what not. I’ve seen a lot of this.

      • “…you increase this warped view of video games by ten to the power of manchild…”

        I think the author, unless this was a tongue-in-cheek parody that I misidentified, is guilty of the same hyperbole and generalisation that he is complaining about.

        It’s become fashionable to defend diversity by attacking its attackers in a kind of tit-for-tat, ad hominem style. I find it very sad that it’s hard to have a discussion about something about which people obviously feel strongly without being demonised or shouted down as an apologist.

        People who complain about diversity may indeed be racists, homophobes, perverts or what have you, but they should be treated with respect. That means attacking their arguments all you like, but keeping away from the derision and name-calling. When you start attacking someone personally, you aren’t going to convince them of anything except your own hostility.

      • But are all complaints equal? Are the ones questioning the efficacy of technique the same as the ones who decry positive representation of women? We don’t know, we just pretend because it’s easier. I just don’t get how generalising makes things easier, we have kids who have no clear understanding of any media-related concept just “truths” they know are bad and react in the same way as those who value the old status quo instead of the new, with rage and ignorance. How do you move forward responsibly when the conventions of consideration for new, inclusive content is identical to the “ignorant” conventions of our archaic way of thinking? Why does the inclusion of more inclusive content mean the end of challenging discussion? Isn’t that how we learn the concepts to think cognitively and critically as opposed to simply adhering to a new status quo? So confused how something like critical thinking and challenging perspectives – which we try to promote in schools – is being dismissed when it is associated with a particular topic on social media.

        We know there are racist, sexist and ignorant people who are reacting out of fear of change by appropriating false generalisations to modern perspectives and these people are decried for such generalisations by those who generalise everyone right back. The discussion is devolving into generalisations and assumed truths, the actual concepts and principles behind representation in media are being dismissed when it’s not convenient by the same people who use these principles to reinforce their own perspectives when it is. Simply don’t get how ignoring the conventions and principles of media is helpful to anyone but the insecure individual doing it when they (conventions and principles) are largely responsible for the legitimacy of their perspective in the first place. Stuff like this is said over and over and over again by academics and researchers but no one ever listens or engages and it seems to be quite commonplace. At this point, people almost see a perspective on media as a “belief” as opposed to a debatable concept or a skill to be attained. (universities and schools say it is but whatevs) It’s a strange, transparent phenomenon. Helps no one to be dismissive, we can pretend it does but it’ll never be true.

        We don’t know as much as we think we know:

        http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2015-13957-001/

        I value and greatly anticipate the new stories and perspectives brought by inclusive design actually making money. I want people of all genders, orientation, ethnicites and backgrounds to have stories in games because that’s what I find interesting. I want to learn about new perspectives and I want to experience the joy of different characters I came to know as well as the ones who represent me and my identity. None of this would ever have been possible if we didn’t start breaking down prejudice and holding ourselves to a new standard, to be more open to things that are different from us. Now the conventions we came to value from this introspection are simply tossed aside because we’ve excused it with anger, generalisations and an aggressive eye-for-an-eye mentality. Please stop, a little bit of consideration never hurt anything but your pride.

      • I’d like to do a devil’s advocate response to this article, since this article doesn’t seem to want to delve into why these ‘gamers’ are apparently so heavily against diversity.

        • I would be interested to read that.
          As long as you are talking about the generalised issue and not picking individual cases and saying why that person is bad. There are extremists on both sides of the equation but I would be interested in reading the honest opinions on why more diversity in characters, story and/or style of games is a bad thing.
          I don’t understand how it can be, but would like to see the argument as to why this is a bad thing.

      • Honestly it’s not clear. It reads like it hasn’t even been run by an editor. Here’s what the article looks like with all the ranty fluff taken out. Less than half the size, more concise and easier to read:

        There’s been an unexpected new trend emerging in the world of video games in recent years.

        The concept I’m talking about is quite easy to follow. People from all different walks of life have felt more comfortable putting their hand up to say how they feel when it comes to how they are represented in both games and the games industry at large. Specifically, people who want to see more of themselves in video games. So they can relate more. And thus, have a more memorable and rewarding experience. Because everyone loves games. Yay video games!

        Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

        Wrong!

        There are people who, in fact, see this as the end of days. I’m talking about people who see other people as some kind of threat. A threat to the status quo. A disruption to the normal day-to-day turning of the video game wheel.

        What possible threat could this first group of people pose? If you listen to some people tell it, video games are in grave danger simply because of other people. People who are women. Or black. Or transgender. Or disabled. There’s some who even call this a WAR ON GAMES.

        Surprisingly, I sometimes see where they’re coming from. But this is 2015. Why would these kind of silly arguments persist after all this time? In an industry with such amazing variety as video games?

        Firstly, people are worried video games will change.

        People who want more diversity don’t want to ruin anything. They want to make interesting games. They want an even playing field. They want to add, not subtract.

        Secondly, there’s a small but strong resistance to the concept of equality when it comes to gaming conventions. As such, a belief has emerged that equality and diversity is being FORCED UPON US. Convention panels that discuss mental health issues or women in games or inclusivity or some other ‘pointless crap’. Don’t bring politics or opinions into my video games! I play games to escape!

        Thirdly, and is this is a doozy: there’s this idea that all of this is fake. A superficial waste of time perpetrated by people who don’t play or care about games to secretly further their own agendas.

        What are you so scared of that leads you to claim you’re the victim of being force-fed agendas? Or heroically recommend that “Hey if something offends you, just walk away or ignore it”? Because if people don’t want to be exposed to stereotypes, sexism, racism and ten different types of discrimination, then maybe games aren’t for them? Because nothing is ever going to change in that department, right?

        That’s what you’re defending. The gross, outdated parts of this industry. By acting like a spoilt child who doesn’t like people playing with their toys, you increase this warped view of video games by ten to the power of manchild.

        If you’re worried about things being ‘taken away’ from video games, take a second out of your day to consider that some of those things might be not all that great in the first place. Sexist advertising. Racist comic relief characters. Lack of relatable stories, themes and goals. Like a butcher carving the fat off the bone, it’s time to not only make things leaner and tastier but also welcome more people to the dinner table. I don’t know how many more food analogies I can use but I’ll tell you this: I don’t want to be around people who only want convention panels to be about The 10 Most Epic Headshots That Made You Go Bruhhh. I don’t want Faith from Mirror’s Edge to be blonde with huge boobs. And I don’t want to be angry at people who feel happier when they see themselves represented in video games. Because that raspberry chocolate cake at the end of table looks pretty good to me.

    • His bigoted twitter rant is more interesting….. Nothing like some fuckwit preaching tolerance by being intolerant WELL PLAYED BRO!

      Clickbait exposed…. Problems solved = 0

      Level of condescension = Over 9000!

  • Wow. I had my comment removed? Let me clarify what I meant. This article made no sense to me, and seemed aimed at ALL readers as if they’d done something wrong, basically pointing the finger at the gaming community in general.

    • I don’t feel like any fingers are being pointed at me. The finger is being pointed at people who want their cake but won’t share the table with people who want some pie.

      • If you put pie on the table then THERE’S LESS ROOM FOR CAKE.
        You don’t even like pies, do you? You just hate cake. You’ve probably never even tasted cake. Or pie.
        :p

    • Not sure where the confusion lies – it’s pretty clear who it’s aimed at. All the change-fearing troglodytes of the world who see the case for inclusion and diversity as some sort of subliminal terrorist attack on their sensibilities.

      It’s generally not very hard to spot one of these people either – they tend to come off like unhinged sociopaths with racist/sexist generally bigoted attitudes to just about everything, especially video games. Just be on the lookout for key words like ‘feminazi’, or ‘SJW’.

      Once one of these specimens is spotted, do not engage – avoid at all costs. Sit back, pity them, enjoy your enlightened and open minded existence and move on.

      • I disagree. I think that engaging in discussion with people you do not necessarily agree with is a good way to understand their arguments and thereby better understand the people who make them. It’s easy to feel personally offended by something that someone says, and then feel a need to either distance yourself by not engaging (as you say) or lash out against that person.

        Unfortunately, as I’ve said above, it is very difficult to convince people that you are interested in discussing something dispassionately. People tend to think you are trolling, because on the internet there is either blind love or unreasoning hatred, nothing in between.

        • Some people aren’t worth engaging. Some arguments are so out of line that arguing with them at all grants them undeserved authority.

          If someone wants to argue that illness is all in your head and that modern medicine is a crock, you don’t argue. You don’t engage, no matter how politely they want to discuss. Because that’s ridiculous and arguing with them just helps them feel that their point is worth arguing about.

          Sure, challenging your views with other people’s ideas is good to do, but there’s a line. Talking about how much social responsibility a dev has to the market, how much sway the market should have over a game, how changing demographics affect the industry as a whole and the future landscape of the medium are all good conversations to have. But as far as I’m concerned, anyone who says that:
          a) an amorphous group of people on the internet are the gatekeepers to a worldwide passtime
          b) that they, personally, are the voice of that amorphous group and that
          c) anyone requesting change of any type is stupid/wrong/part of some sort of conspiracy led by FEMINISTS who are trying to enslave men by saying that they would like to buy things that are a bit different
          not only crosses that line, but pisses on it, sets it on fire, and then writes a word-salad manifesto on the walls in their own shit. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

          • Ha ha, I can understand your sentiment. I’m not suggesting you are obliged to engage with someone if you don’t want to, but I would say that avoiding personal attacks on someone if you do choose to engage is kind of a minimum requirement if you expect to have a useful discussion. My attitude is that just because someone is a crackpot doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong.

          • Well, crackpots are called that for a reason. I get that you’d want to expose yourself to as many varied viewpoints as possible, but sometimes it only does harm.

            A good example is the anti-vaccination people. Their entire argument is predicated on a single study from 25 years ago that was so poorly performed and so thoroughly discredited that the writer was banned from practising medicine for life. Yet they remain in the news. People are literally dying because crackpots feel like they have authority. That authority comes from other people who keep giving them a platform. If they were roundly dismissed like the unicorn chasers they are, we wouldn’t be having massive outbreaks of diseases we all but eradicated before colour television existed.

            That’s an extreme example, but the concept is the same. We don’t debate Flat Earthers because there’s nothing to be learned or gained from it.

          • All I would say is that dismissing an argument once known and considered is fine, but dismissing an argument that is unknown, but dismissed purely because of who is making it, is not very open-minded.

            For example, if someone came up to me and identified as a GamerGate supporter and wanted to talk about ethics in videogames, I would not refuse to listen on the basis that the argument would surely be based on misogyny and misinformation. I would certainly be prepared for that to be the case, but I wouldn’t preclude the possibility that this GamerGate supporter had something relevant to say about ethics in videogames. I find it disappointing when people assume that because someone identifies with a movement, they have NOTHING relevant to say about ANYTHING.

            An example. What if a rabid neo-nazi came up and wanted to talk about asylum seeking policy? I wouldn’t refuse to listen on the basis that the argument would surely revolve around racism.

            You talk about giving a platform or authority to people but I’d hope that people are generally savvy enough, particularly in an age where every man and his dog is on some sort of media, to examine an argument and a counter-argument on the merits of each. I may be wrong!

          • Given the state of things, I think you are being very optimistic about how discerning people are!

            Honestly, I don’t see why you shouldn’t just dismiss them. If you talk to a neo-nazi about locking up brown people in a third world prison, you can be reasonably sure that they aren’t going to be offering interesting humanitarian solutions. There are too many issues in the world to waste your time hearing what a Nazi thinks about when they wear their opinions on exactly that kind of topic on their sleeve. Gamergate is a bit different, but not totally dissimilar.

            The issue with gamergate specifically isn’t that the issue is imaginary. Games journalism is way too chummy with the game marketing machine. That’s certainly an issue. The problem is that the movement’s main targets have mostly had nothing to do with the stated goal and that when terrible people did terrible things under the GG banner, they closed ranks and defended those people. It forever tainted the name and ensured they’d never have any wider credibility. And after reading their list of “demands”, it’s clear that as a whole they don’t seem to understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate business/media relationships. It’s not that the problem isn’t real. It’s that pretty much every single thing they did about it was misguided and unhelpful at best.

            So anyone still talking about it now is in it for the long haul, so they’re either unlikely to give any informed opinions, or are part of the faction that was the most abusive and toxic. A neo-nazi talking about the merits of locking up brown people in an island prison would be the same in that it’s just not worth the time.

  • Eh. Diversity itself is pretty great and yeah it seems maybe that media needs a bunch more of it. The only thing I can concern with in relation to how it is implemented.

    Diversity in real life is a natural occurrence; it’s just what happens when people from all walks of life move around the world. In games, everything is not natural: it’s designed. So when we hear about the ‘impeding diversification’ of game we end up thinking of a bunch of designers/artists going “Make him black. We need more black guys in games to make connections to black players.” Which IMO is not the best way to come up with enjoyably natural diversity.

    Not to mention that it’s a dot-point, a ‘feature’ of the game and I reckon many people find contention with this as usually it’s what gameplay or setting is worth screaming about. Others can disagree but I reckon the best thing to happen is for a diversity of developers to result in naturally diverse characters they always wanted to make, and having the avoidance of backlash by simply not tooting their horn about it. I mean, pointing out that your game has a ‘strong female character’ evokes the notion that that it’s abnormal (argue if must) when it should wholesomely be presented and accepted as normal; as everyday.

    • I was going to type up pretty much the same thing. I think what it boils down to, is the fact that shoe-horning in diversification, just for diversification’s sake is merely tokenism. I personally don’t really care if my character is black, white, yellow or green.

      I guess what I am thinking is, tackling big issues requires finesse. It’s the difference between the finely explored, dramatic piece and the cheap “pro-social” morals that were force fed into cartoons in the 80’s and 90’s. It can result in something becoming a parody of itself. Which is just an insult to everyone.

      • The thing is, though, that the opposite of ‘diversity for diversity’s sake’ is, essentially, ‘monotony for monotonous sake’, which gives us the status quote for games: ‘white dudes for white dudes’ sake’.

        So, maybe WDFWDS isn’t tokenistic, but that’s only because it elevates pandering to one audience to an incredible level. And it’s only that level of pandering that makes each inclusion of someone other than a white dude seem like tokenism. And because of this, the only way to stop the pandering and have more natural reflections of the diversity of the human experience is for more and more people to power through the accusations of DFDS and tokenism. At any rate, I’d argue that DFDS is no worse – and, in reality, a lot better- than WDFWDS.

    • I’ll disagree there. What I expect is developers to create an awesome game, go about making characters for it and thinking “you know, lets have our cast reflect the diversity of our audience, then they’ll relate to it better, make sure there are some women and people of colour in there”. They’ll probably sell more like that too!

      I really don’t understand what you mean by “natural diversity” in reference to games. How else do you expect diversity to appear in games other than developers deciding to listen to the audience asking for it?

      As for diversity being a bullet point in the “pros” column of buying a game, again consider audiences. A game being diverse will absolutely affect my choice to buy it. When across a year I have half a dozen major game releases that are all shooters, I will buy the one that lets me play as a woman if I want to. If it’s story-based, I’ll buy the one with a diverse cast, because it’s more likely to have an interesting story, or at least a character I relate to, in addition to the gameplay.

      Sure, it’d be ideal if it wasn’t a differentiating factor, but that’s not an argument against diversity, it’s an argument for it! When all developers are putting in a little bit of effort to make characters reflect reality better, we won’t need to note diversity because it will be just what is expected of games. I’m looking forward to that!

      • Yeah, as I said I expected disagreement.

        you know, lets have our cast reflect the diversity of our audience, then they’ll relate to it better, make sure there are some women and people of colour in there

        This is exactly what I mean as being the ‘hot-button’ of this issue. You think making characters relatable is important, I think it’s a muchness. Being relatable is nice in games with custom characters since it’s a part of the process, but to me it is pointless for pre-established characters as they represent a normal process of individual character development – they are who they are.
        I also find it strange that we’re calling diversity the adding of women and people of colour… I get it since white men are considered a dominant force in the western world but I also think it cheapens the concept of diversity by reducing it to matter of ‘throwing in some minorities’.

        I really don’t understand what you mean by “natural diversity” in reference to games. How else do you expect diversity to appear in games other than developers deciding to listen to the audience asking for it?

        People are naturally diverse. Yes there are communities that are insular like how Japan is mostly Japanese and how Australia is mostly Caucasian, but diversity still naturally occurs by having people move from place to place, carrying their traditions and culture with them. If you’ve got a diverse community making game then it would be easy to claim that their own creativity, their cultural influences, little bits of themselves will make it into the final product. The diversity of the team is reflected in the diversity of the game. To me this is much more natural than say, a team of white guys adding in black characters because of latest marketing trends. You also can’t always listen to your ‘audience’ if it will negatively affect the game: Resident Evil 5 is set in Africa so the zombie threat was (mostly not all) black people. Some people got the jimmies rustled and now the ratios are more like 50% non-black just to please them. It’s not positive diversity because it ignores the importance of recognising the global diversity of the human race – who we are and where we come from.

        I’ll buy the one with a diverse cast, because it’s more likely to have an interesting story, or at least a character I relate to, in addition to the gameplay.

        That’s fair as long as the games can be objectively compared in your eyes. I’d find it pretty petty for exmaple, to buy the worse overall game solely because it contain X character type. Unless the game provides a choice or has custom characters, I don’t consider a game as ‘letting’ me play as X character. They are who they are: man, woman, black, white, asian etc. I don’t care.

        we won’t need to note diversity because it will be just what is expected of games. I’m looking forward to that!

        Don’t wait for it then. Expect it now. It’s what I do and that, I suppose is why I find it unsettling to ‘sell’ it.

    • What about games like Mirror’s Edge, where the main character just happens to be an Asian woman? That doesn’t feel like shoehorning a token character in. Nor does it feel shoehorned when many of the characters in the Walking Dead are black, because the games (and comics/TV show) are set in a largely black area of America. These also aren’t listed as features on the box to try and sell the games to people.

      Clearly, there’s more ways to handle adding diversity than just hamfistedly shoehorning characters in or raceswapping existing characters. I really don’t see how “here’s a bad way this can be handled” is an argument for why something shouldn’t be done.

      • Speaking of Mirror’s Edge, the writers seemingly retconned Faith’s (possibly) Jewish father from Abraham Connors to Martin Connors. Make of that what you will. Particularly where her mother has remained Erika Connors.

        Also interesting that Faith has been changed from a more mongoloid half-Asian appearance to a more Thai/Filipino half-Asian appearance. There must have been a reason for the re-design.

        • From reports, it was people in different markets requesting characters who looked more in line with their expectations. The original character design was made by DICE, who are European. When they were releasing the game into Asia, the largest market is Japan and they found that the market wanted the character to better represent their expectations. It didn’t hurt the game, everyone was happier. Diversity happened.

          Job well done, I guess?

      • Yeah these are all examples of games I praise for their diverse characters.

        The article is literally railing against the opponents in this issue, I am presenting a situation that would justify the opponents contention, not outrage, just contention.
        Just because X is good doesn’t mean we shouldn’t avoid doing X badly – especially when it gives credence to the argument that X mightn’t be good.

          • So you think I’m saying diversity is bad and you shouldn’t think about it because it’s possible to mess up presenting it?
            That’s definitely not what I am saying.

            This article is practically claiming an absolute and that therefore it’s opponents can only ever be wrong. That’s not a good argument. It shuts out discussion and critique.

        • Diversity is about more than just race/gender and this article is about the people who are opposed to that.
          As an example it targets the people who attacked Gone home because it wasn’t a real game or they didn’t like it or whatever the reason was. Saying that steam should refuse to sell it, that the game should never have existed.
          The fact that it currently has 77% positive reviews mean nothing to them. It is different, they can’t shoot people in the face so therefore it must be destroyed.
          As you said in your OP diversity of character should happen naturally but until you have diversity in experience that can’t happen. It makes no sense for a portly middle aged woman to be leading an assault on a nazi compound during WWII. Unless there is a story and game that makes sense to have a character like that then there is now way for that character to exist. And people are attacking anything that bring it closer to having her as a character.

          As for your other reason it becomes a dot point on a game is because it is a selling point because it isn’t common. It can signify that it isn’t a carbon clone of the 100th FPS with similar story you have already played. But until that become the norm it will still be a selling point. If people want something and you can provide it, why wouldn’t you add it as part of the sales pitch, you would be stupid not to. With so much of the money in AAA game tied up in large publisher conventions and discussions panels are needed to show there is a demand for such games.
          The big money isn’t going to come until there is a proven demand for it, and smaller publishers and indie devs can meet that demand at the moment. The point is they shouldn’t be attacked for doing so.

          • Well I can’t argue with your first point. I agree. My only lament is that it’s much less predictable to refine the diversity of games since there’s a lot of pressure from all sides. Some people will be unreasonable froth at the mouth and others will have legitimate (if not just anxious) concerns since the game experience is usually tied to its monetary value and is of course, always open to criticism. I’m the kind of guy who would simultaneously praise a game for its bold uniqueness but also tear it down if its not as fun.

            On the second point, I’ve made my position clear. In character diversity specifically, I think the best examples come from games where that wasn’t a selling-point. To do so is like a crutch for supporting a poor game that can’t communicate its base gameplay merits and can (possibly) work against them since it influences the players expectations going in. For instance I found Bioware’s announcement of their ‘fully gay’ character in Dragon Age: Inquisition to be irritating because it now formed the basis of my impressions of the character before meeting him, instead of becoming a revealing character development for me to discover.
            In game diversity itself, well of course unique gameplay features etc. are defining and unique things to mention. and hey, if being a rare and unique character plays into that, then sure.

  • Games need to get better.

    But what do I know, I just spent the last 5 months using my PS4 only to watch Netflix and charge my phone.

  • As someone who is thoroughly sick to death of all of this gamergate crap, I have to say that this is exactly the kind of condescending reductionist flamebait that ensures gg idiots will continue to fight. From my attempts to find a common thread, the gg position appears to be:

    Gamers are outcasts. They have been treated like garbage for decades. They are treated like garbage because, like most nerds, they have no social skills. Suddenly video games became popular and more people started joining in. Now those same gamers who were thrown out from ordinary society struggle once again to relate with their terrible social skills. They are cast out again. They are upset.

    This is a very simplified take, because if we go into the culture war currently occuring (primarily) in the States, and the latching on of right wing opportunists we would be here for hours. And do note that I’m not saying gamers are being oppressed, or that their struggles compare to those of minorities.

    • No.

      just…. no.

      Edit:
      here’s the thing with the argument you presented;
      GG Logic – Gamers are outcasts. I am a gamer. Thefore, I WILL SEND DEATH THREATS TO WOMEN ON THE INTERNET.

      point is, that argument holds no weight whatsover. If these individuals feel like outcasts, and if they attribute this to their choice of hobby (which is already a pretty incredulous leap of logic, but I’m gonna run with it for the sake of argument), then how to they rationalise their belief that all gamers are outcasts?
      “I’m an outcast. It’s not my fault. its because I play games. Also, it therefore follows that everyone who plays games is an outcast because my individual subjective experience of life can be blanketly applied to individuals who do not reflect my circumstances.”

      I mean, I’m not. I know quite a few gamers who aren’t. Quite good friends with them.

      so… a few things –
      1) Perhaps being a gamer isnt the cause of your out-casting. Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re a self-centred shit who assumes your experience is the be-all and end-all of the universe.
      2) how fucking dare you speak for me, anyone I know or anyone but yourself? stop it.
      3) I dont care how hard you try, GG. No matter what lies you tell to justify or legitimise your shitty behaviour, its transparent. You’re acting out of insecurity, fear and hate. so you can fucking stop that, too.

    • That’s the problem. Gamers are not outcasts. Gaming is not a recluse and other people wanting to join in is not pushing existing gamers out of their space. It’s the victim mentality, the “woe is me” nonsense, that is keeping the GG nonsense alive. It’s easy to play the victim and perceive everything as an attack on your identity. That doesn’t mean it’s an accurate reflection of reality.

      • The idea of the ‘outcast gamer’ might have been slightly true 20 years ago, but it just isn’t now. If people have decided to define their own identity this way, then they really need to grow up and join the 21st century. You’re not special. You never were. Sorry junior, but it’s a sad, harsh reality.

      • I just want to point out again that I am not pro-gg – I’m not saying you’re saying I am, but it bears repeating. And I am not saying that gamers are outcasts, I am saying they were outcasts. Not that memes about fedoras, neckbeards, mother’s basements and nice guys really convince me that nerds and gamers are no longer outcasts, but the internet is different to real life. Although, this whole thing is happening on the internet, so I don’t know. My point is that generally, the correct response to a group of outcasts being terrified that they are being cast out again is not ‘lol go back to ur mum’s basement neckbeard loser’, it’s compassion and empathy and understanding, traits which have been demonstrably lacking on both sides of this nonsense. I expect the gamergate side to lack those qualities, because they are by and large bitter and immature. I expect better of my peers.

        • So you’re not saying that gamers are outcasts but then your point is that we should not mock outcasts?

          I reject the premise that gamers are outcasts, so I don’t see the relevance of how to respond to outcasts.

          • I am saying that they were outcasts. Bullying leaves scars that can take a long to heal, and I can tell you from personal experience it has not been 20 years, it hasn’t even been 10. Maybe in places like cities gaming has been mainstream for that long, but it’s not the case everywhere. Pretend I said a group of ex-outcasts if that makes things easier.

          • The thing is that they’ve cried ‘I’m an outcast’ at the same time as a lot of them have tried and continue to actively try to exclude other people from the gaming community. Yes, let’s have some compassion for the socially graceless nerdy boys and men of the world, but what about all the nerdy girls and women that those boys /men ostracised and sometimes even threatened and fought to keep out if ‘their’ space, as if women and minorities haven’t been there all along, integral to the creation of geek culture? If nothing else, claiming to be oppressed while refusing to lift the boot you’ve got got on someone else’s neck is a tad hypocritical.

        • I see your point, but having compassion and empathy for people who refuse to have any themselves is… difficult. These people also have a history of overreacting explosively and that has had some serious real world consequences.

          How many people are big enough to meet that kind of poison by turning the other cheek? Not many. certainly not me.

      • other people wanting to join in is not pushing existing gamers out of their space.

        This, so much this. I have been a gamer all my life and diversity games by companies like Bioware have given my my friends reasons to actually pay attention to these games that I bang on about and they’ve become gamers too, playing other games, finding their own things, more gamers, I think YES MORE GAMERS, EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY GAMES.

        I don’t have a sook because oh no, more people are enjoying video games, this is terrible, what happened to my mate Dave in accounting, OH MY GOD HE’S BEEN PUSHED RIGHT OUT OF GAMING BY STEPHANIE, COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO DAVE, WHO HAS JUST BOUGHT SKYRIM. Dave, no. Oh god, the humanity.

  • For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

    People forget Women pretty much only just got the right to vote, you know, theres always gonna be a hill to climb.

  • think the problem is that there’s a subset of people who play games who identify as “gamers” and only as that.

    so when the definition of what a ‘gamer’** is starts to change by recognising that “white hetro male” isnt the only thing people are, those who identify as gamers feel their identity being threatened, so they lash out at the perceived threat.

    they’re totally missing the point, of course. diversity isnt a bad thing. diversity is pretty fantastic. it opens doors to the experiences of others.

    anyway. the whole “I IDENTIFY AS A GAMER & MY IDENTITY IS BEING CHANGED / TAKEN FROM ME BY INCLUDING OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT THE SAME AS ME” bullshit attitude needs to be addressed. go out & get another hobby. something outdoors maybe? like fly fishing perhaps?

    or better yet, go meet some people. learn that those who you perceive to be taking from you aren’t evil. they’re just the same as you. & they’re entitled to the same rights & representation as you are.

    anyway. thats all.

    ** not that i have any fucking idea what the definition of a ‘gamer’ really is coz its such a huge & varied community. and therein, i think, lies the problem.

    • The comment you’re linking to seems to be deleted?

      I hope you just take this as constructive feedback, but I found your article verbose and hard to read. You should really practice “less is more”. I was able to edit your article down to less than half its size (see an above comment), and still retain 100% of the meaningful content.

      • The consideration that Raygun wrote an article in a style you didn’t like doesn’t really mean anything other than you didn’t like it. Rewriting it must have felt good but see, we already have the article up there. It was accepted by the editors as what they wanted. It’s a style. You didn’t make it better by taking out Raygun’s style or voice, you just made it a paraphrasing at best.

        • Diversity mate…. Just accept it bro.

          He preferred it without all the piss poor attempt at humor.

        • I don’t think rewriting and paraphrasing mean what you think they mean, because what’s left in my edit (not a rewrite) is what Raygun wrote verbatim.

          It’s just an edit, I take no enjoyment from it aside from helping people read the article (and it only took a minute). I did find it amusing that you blocked me because I found your tweet calling me a “douchecanoe” though.

          Edit: Just to be clear, the guest isn’t Raygun. Gravatar gives it away, but I feel weird revealing someone’s identity.

          • If you edited every article written down to its base meaning the world would be a very boring place indeed. Style is important. Style is fun. Style helps people communicate ideas in a way that is entertaining. We’re not robots. We’re human beings.

          • And that’s fine, but you can’t hide behind the style defense in the face of scrutiny. From the comments it’s clear that it rubbed everyone the wrong way, to say the least. I’m pretty sure if the article wasn’t such a ranty mansplain that the comments would’ve been universally positive.

            Poor writing isn’t a style. The author had their chance to engage the Kotaku community and they blew it.

          • I’m a part of the Kotaku community and I was engaged by the article. Already, your “rubbed everyone the wrong way” is looking pretty weak.

            Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean that others didn’t enjoy it.

          • Well you, @trjn, apparently are the self proclaimed “everyone” now so I guess you’re right!

          • I enjoyed the article immensely.

            Edit: Jesus… mypetmonkey. I know by now you actually believe the things you say, but in future try to actually comprehend the words you read before you reply to them.

          • Accusing people of being intolerant of intolerance is not the Smart Guy Thing you think it is.

            You are intolerant of people who are sick of being excluded based on things they cannot control.
            I am intolerant of people who behave the way you do.

            See the crucial difference?

          • Care to show me where I have been against diversity?

            The way I act? You mean when I point out your inclusion by exclusion and name calling theories?

            But hey you’re an extremist, unless someone is as aggrieved as you then they should be condescendingly handled and removed. By diverse you mean as long as you agree with it, see the crucial hypocrisy?

          • Oh, Monkey-chan. I’m not going to get into this endless argument with you once again. You’ll just have to go back through your comment history and think about why endlessly raging about people wanting equality is a personal attack on logic, society, and you in particular has made me think this about you.

            Or don’t. Whatever toots your horn.

          • That’s the thing Pokedud… I have looked through my posts. I’m fine with diversity, love it even.

            I’m just not an extremist constantly offended gamer like yourself. Yeah I will scoff when a nutter goes ranting that no transsexual-person-of colour-eskimo-vegans were included in the Witcher 3 which was based off medieval Poland.

            I’m sorry if me living in the grey area offends you, that I can accept people on both sides and won’t say everyone who doesn’t believe current levels of diversity is a massive world ending problem and thus means they are a woman hating murderer. People like this author needs to be scoffed at.

            I’m terribly sorry I don’t have the level of self loathing you seem to travel through life with.

  • “Didn’t I see one of your kids down at Centrelink last week?” < Kind of shitty and hurtful don’t you think? I get you mean it as a joke, and I know I’m raw on it because I’ve only got free of that system recently. But talking about diversity in one breath, and taking jabs like that is a bit of a double standard.

    • While I’m not a fan of it, I feel like the most important thing with that kind of humour is to look at where the punch goes. That wasn’t aimed at people going to Centrelink. It was aimed at the imaginary smarmy fuck who looks down on people while secretly being just like the rest of us. “Sometimes you gotta go to Centrelink, Imaginary Smarmy Guy. Don’t pretend to be better than the rest of us.”
      It didn’t bother me all that much because it was “punching up”, so to speak. The butt of the joke is the condescending person, not the person without a job.

  • Ah bugger it, I have nothing better to do.

    You see, there are people who think this is A VERY BAD THING. In fact, they see this as the end of days. And I’m not talking about that god awful Schwarzenegger film. I’m talking about people who see other people as some kind of threat. A threat to the status quo. A disruption to the normal day-to-day turning of the video game wheel. It’s like that bit in Oliver Twist where Oliver asks Mr Bumble for more gruel. Except Oliver is a woman of colour and Mr Bumble is a white dude with an Dragonball Z avatar.

    Wow, woman of colour in this paragraph sounds really, really racist. Just saying.

    Firstly, people are worried video games will change. Just because there’s folks out there who want to see something other than Johnny Buzzcut Genocides 800,000 Soldiers In The Face: The Game, that doesn’t impact the future development of games. Games like Johnny BallPuncher Strangles Everyone With The Declaration Of Independence will always be around to make money. Two people making a pixelart game about their domestic home life isn’t going to change a damn thing.

    You point out that people are worried about games changing, but you only give it this one paragraph pointing it out, instead of looking at the actual reasons people are worried. (And I’m not counting the paragraph after this one, mainly because it’s some weird rant about cake that really doesn’t need to pad this out. This article has a lot of weird, offtopic ranting.) You also misalign the ‘blame’ of games changing towards two people making a pixel art game instead of someone like a very infamous culture critic or a hyperactive games press that seem to have the innate need to shame the majority of the gaming popluation just because they like looking at knockers. You’re right, two people in their basement has nothing to do with the nature of games changing. It’s irrelevant to any point this article is making though.

    Escape from what exactly? What kind of nightmarish existence are you running from? Is your life like that hell dimension from Event Horizon?

    No, but I damn well don’t need to hear about every little piece of identity politics going on in video games while I’m trying to shoot giant ants, which is what is seemed to be implied by the point that you’re writing about panels that I don’t realistically need to know about. That, and some of the ‘experts’ that tend to show up to these panels tend to be so utterly incorrect about everything that people feel the need to stand up and say “this person is not qualified to talk about this”. Nothing wrong with calling out mistakes.

    Most of this article is really strangely written in such a way as to obscure any argument anyone may have against what is being protected in the contents. You finally start making actual points close to the end, though…

    You really think that just because some people might take umbrage with R.Mika’s Hindenburg-sized breasts in Street Fighter V that somehow THE FEMINISTS will take over? Are you worried that Imperator Furiosa will break into your house at three in the morning and cut your throat? What are you so scared of that leads you to claim you’re the victim of being force-fed agendas?

    No, I’m not worried that the feminists will take over. I’m worried that a bunch of hypocrites will get to push the public view that games are sexist while simultaneously being sexist themselves.

    https://i.imgur.com/Nz41uPH.png

    That’s pretty damn hypocritical. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about Hot Ryu. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the Dwarf in Dragon’s Crown. I’ve heard Anita Sarkeesian complain about Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s DLC costumes being sexist, and yet…

    https://imgur.com/a/7JgVX

    And guess what’ll happen if I point this out to a ‘feminist’ as you call it? I’ll probably be told that men have been dominating the earth for several hundred years so women can’t be sexist, or some crazy nonsense like ‘go read feminist literature’ instead of an actual defense. Note, I have had both of these pulled on me during actual internet arguments.

    The problem is that some, not all, but some of the people who claim to be ‘fighting against the lack of diversity’ problem are gigantic hypocrites, and the press, who will willingly defend anything that these people do, without even taking one look into what they might be doing wrong, purely because they’re black, or a woman, or any other kind of minority. I call that sort of thing force feeding because any time you try to refute these people, they will do anything from call you a liar to willingly misrepresent or ignore your argument. Just like this article seems to do…

    Or heroically recommend that “Hey if something offends you, just walk away or ignore it”? Because if people don’t want to be exposed to stereotypes, sexism, racism and ten different types of discrimination, then maybe games aren’t for them? Because nothing is ever going to change in that department, right?

    I love it. “If one game ignores you, WALK AWAY FROM ALL GAMES FOREVER!” You know perfectly well that’s not what the phrase means. If I walked into a resturant and heard the staff call me a ‘cracker’ or something I found offensive, I wouldn’t stop eating out. Leave a bad review on Yelp, check my tastebuds for boogers and move on.

    And I love how you imply stereotypes are a bad thing. Stereotypes are fantastic storytelling devices because by playing on what the author assumes is stereotypical, they can broadcast a huge amount of information in a short amount of time. Stereotypes are not an evil, they are a tool. Only someone who can’t tell fantasy from reality would argue that stereotypes in fiction are bad.

    Here’s the thing – racism, sexism or whatever types of discrimination can never be truly eliminated from games, because offense is never given, it’s taken. Someone can find discrimination in every piece of media that exists, so everyone’s different viewpoint will end up with different results on a product. You do make a point later on about this, so I’ll leave this argument until then…

    That’s what you’re defending. The gross, outdated parts of this industry. By acting like a spoilt child who doesn’t like people playing with their toys, you increase this warped view of video games by ten to the power of manchild. What the hell for?

    So I’m defending the right of people to pick and choose what media they want to consume, and the right of artists to do what they want with their own product. And I’m the bad guy.

    Here’s the great thing about our industry – through the power of CAPITALISM we can choose what succeeds and what fails. Is something so horribly offensive to everyone that no-one buys it? Great, dev learns a lesson and might choose to fix it next time. Something only slightly offensive to a bunch of people who are a bit up themselves, but a lot of other people like it? Well, if that dev makes money they can keep making stuff that way. It’s great. People get what they want. Any attempts to disrupt that balance by forcing out ‘sexism’ would be tampering with capitalism. While I may not be that big of a fan of capitalism, well, it’s the best market system we know of. What people want rises to the top, even if it’s shit.

    If you’re worried about things being ‘taken away’ from video games, take a second out of your day to consider that some of those things might be not all that great in the first place.

    Alright, examples of each of these would have been fantastic here, as I have no idea who you could be referring to with any of these.

    Sexist advertising.

    Sex sells. A woman on a billboard is not sexist. See, I can’t really see where this point is coming from without an example.

    Racist comic relief characters.

    Everything has the potential to be funny. That’s the whole point of black humor. All depends on how well it’s made, really. Again, without an example to go off, I got nothing to work with here.

    Lack of relatable stories, themes and goals.

    Now this is something I REALLY take an issue with. I don’t need to personally relate to everything that’s going on. I’m not an American spy in the 60s sent to destroy a giant mech in Russia. I’m not a member of a horrifically explosive Japanese bug-slaughtering army. I’m not a super powerful wizard on his way to take the throne of the Lich King. How can I possibly relate to ANY of these? You say that not having relatable themes, goals and stories in games is a bad thing, or at least, that’s what you’re implying. Well, that’s what makes games fun for me. Are you really going to call me a bad person for not actively wanting to play games that I can ‘relate to’? As related to the escapism point before, I didn’t turn on my PC this morning to play a game about a 22-year old autistic guy having trouble expressing his feelings on the internet.

    Like a butcher carving the fat off the bone, it’s time to not only make things leaner and tastier but also welcome more people to the dinner table. I don’t know how many more food analogies I can use but I’ll tell you this: I don’t want to be around people who only want convention panels to be about The 10 Most Epic Headshots That Made You Go Bruhhh.

    You make us all sound like complete idiots with that statement.

    http://www.gdcvault.com/free/gdc-12

    Are you not caught up with what actually happens at these panels, or are you actively trying to say that panels that care about the mechanics of games instead of the skin color of the people making them are bad and should be expunged? I do not understand the meaning of your statement.

    I don’t want Faith from Mirror’s Edge to be blonde with huge boobs.

    …that’s the best part…she’s not blonde…she doesn’t have big tits…and nobody actually cares because Faith is actually remotely interesting and her race wasn’t actively picked out in an attempt to be diverse…

    The closer we get to forced diversity is the closer we draw to tokenism.

    And I don’t want to be angry at people who feel happier when they see themselves represented in video games. Because that raspberry chocolate cake at the end of table looks pretty good to me.

    If you get angry at random happy people, you need to see a shrink…

    • If I ever meet you I am going to shake your hand and immediately buy you a beer. Well said, bravo.

    • “Wow, woman of colour in this paragraph sounds really, really racist. Just saying.”

      It is clear you don’t listen to many discussions around the issue of racial representation. Which, incidentally, pretty much explains the remainder of this post.

      “That’s pretty damn hypocritical. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about Hot Ryu. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the Dwarf in Dragon’s Crown. I’ve heard Anita Sarkeesian complain about Tekken Tag Tournament 2’s DLC costumes being sexist, and yet…”

      http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/ – False Equivalence, look it up.

      End of the day there is absolutely nothing wrong with you continuing to consume the same stuff the industry has been churning out for decades, but don’t expect a pat on the head for saying “Hey the status quo is fine and shouldn’t be criticised.”

      • It is clear you don’t listen to many discussions around the issue of racial representation. Which, incidentally, pretty much explains the remainder of this post.

        Uh…wasn’t the phrase ‘colored people’ used back in the early parts of last century? Wasn’t that racist? How is “people of color” (woman of color / man of color inclusive) any different?

        http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/ – False Equivalence, look it up.

        Explain this. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=romance+novels&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAmoVChMIh6qQndbSyAIVYyamCh3sCAYR&biw=1920&bih=965&dpr=1

        Apparently women really love their male power fantasies?

        End of the day there is absolutely nothing wrong with you continuing to consume the same stuff the industry has been churning out for decades, but don’t expect a pat on the head for saying “Hey the status quo is fine and shouldn’t be criticised.”

        Not what I said at all. What I’m saying is people shouldn’t be devoured because they question these apparently infallible titans claiming that diversity is the best and calling everything that even dares to show a little skin sexist. In other words, allowing for dialogue. The status quo can be changed if the reasons are good enough – the mere existence of people who enjoy large knockers on female characters is not good enough.

        And I would sure love to know just what other parts of my argument are disproven by my apparent lack of knowledge around racial representation, or my apparent want to keep the status quo uncriticized. I don’t even know what I said that would present that argument.

        • Woman/Man/Person of Colour is the nomenclature used by, importantly, people within those groups in the US. It’s an inclusive term without a pejorative connotation like “coloured,” which was used as part of systemic racial oppression (Ie, white sections vs coloured sections in restaurants).

          More importantly, it includes not just “black americans of african descent whose ancestors were slaves” but a whole bunch of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds. That’s why it’s an accepted term.

      • For starters, that comic doesn’t show false equivalence and people should really stop linking it for that purpose. The woman in the strip is speaking about her personal sexual preferences, which she’s entitled to, but is projecting them onto every other woman in the process by claiming that muscle-bound men don’t appeal to women’s sexual fantasies. In reality, many women find muscular men sexually attractive. Most studies conducted on physical attraction for women put muscular abs, muscular buttocks and broad shoulders at the top.

        There’s likewise no false equivalence in comparing Mika with Ryu. In both cases they were designed to appeal to both power and sexual fantasies. Many women see Mika as a female power fantasy despite her sexual appeal, just as many men see Ryu as a male power fantasy despite his sexual appeal. Likewise, many men find Mika sexually attractive just as many women find Ryu sexually attractive.

        A great example comes from Nadia Oxford from USGamer, who argues Mika is a good example of female power fantasy. When asked why she approves of the character despite the outfit, she replied, “Because her whole schtick is silly, goofy, and way over-the-top–all the stuff you’d expect from someone working in ‘sports entertainment.’ Mainstream wrestling is a profession that’s full of gimmicks, weird promos, and chairs meeting heads. Even male wrestlers outfit themselves in stupid costumes and show up on television framed in pin-up moments. […] She has muscle, and the act of using it makes her as happy as a kitten in a yarn shop.” Other women have been reported as finding her inspirational across similar articles. The character absolutely appeals to female power fantasies.

        These two characters are essentially equivalent in who they appeal to and for what reasons. Where they’re treated differently is where Mika’s sexual appeal is criticised by the same people who praise Ryu’s sexual appeal. It’s hypocrisy. The same standards should apply to everyone regardless of gender.

        Personally, I have no problem with male characters that appeal to female sexual fantasies. I think there should be more of them. Likewise, game artists should be equally free to create female characters that appeal to male sexual fantasies. That’s equality right there, and it’s accomplished by creating, not destroying.

    • You make us all sound like complete idiots with that statement.

      Uh yeah, hate to break it to you buddy, but there are people out there who are. Sad but true.

        • Pretty sure he didn’t say ‘everyone’ involved is an idiot’, but you seem fixated with the notion that’s what he meant for some reason.

  • Diversity and equality conversations are always interesting to watch/read because it’s such a difficult topic to debate without one side tipping the equality balance in the wrong direction. To use cake metaphors, it’s fine if you’d like to put your chocolate and raspberry sponge cake next to the cheesecake, we all get more cake and there is a greater variety that appeals to more people and their current personal fancies. If you then start saying that the strawberries on the cheesecake are too big and they should be taken off and smaller strawberries put on then it starts tipping the equality in the other direction and I think this is why some people get up in arms about the diversity discussion.

    Instead, what you should do is put another cake on the table with smaller strawberries, maybe even one with those chocolate tubes as well to increase the diversity without saying any one cake is wrong. As a result, everyone gets to eat cake.

    • Okay, but the chocolate and raspberry cake is diversity vs the grizzled white guy cheesecake.

      What are the big strawberries and the little strawberries meant to represent?

  • As others have said I have struggled to find who this article is aimed at, and it has left me feeling annoyed and offended.

    Dear Author: I am not an idiot, and neither are the gamers who appear to read this site, judging by the comments I read on a daily basis. So next time you want to write an article, maybe drop the condesending annalogies.

    • I posted an edited version above with (most of) the ranting taken out. The content of the article is actually pretty good, it’s just written very poorly.

    • These comments are starting to get more laughs out of me than the actual article. These moderator skills are sublime.

        • Yep, blocked me too when I owned up to being the endorsed “douchecanoe” that posted a “rewrite”! His tweets are public though so I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do.

          • One of the “be tolerant of me while I’m intolerant of you” crowd.

            Another who inhibits the cause they so champion.

            Diversity but only if you hold the same opinions as the author.

            Fighting exclusion by exclusion.

            I think the douchecanoe has deleted the “douchecanoe” one.

            Pretty cowardly not to reply to actual comments with any intelligence but instead runs off to Twitter where he’s safely an unknown. Shows how much depth he has. Good pick Kotaku.

          • No irony champ….

            The author of the article wrote a hypocritical rant and then ran off to Twitter to mock people with a differing opinion. Basically the author is no better than the people he rants about in his article.

            Now THAT is closer to irony and hypocrisy.

        • I saw his condescending arsehole reply.

          Oh well advertising clicks were had, KotakuAu were happy, no progress was made.

          • Yeah I’m really confused about this one. For someone who calls people ‘manchild’ in this article, he sure knows how to play the part of the manchild.

          • He also blocked me immediately after tweeting back at me. Just shows he’s a coward unwilling to actually discuss everything, he’s just someone who thinks they are smarter than everyone else, (also evident from the way he wrote this article), and anyone who disagree’s with him is wrong and undeserving of the opportunity to have an opinion.

          • Man, I don’t want to have to turn adblock on again. I only turned it off since I, for the most part, liked this place so much.

  • While i understand the intent of this article, and it is a valid one, this really comes off more as an attack piece then something advocating diversity.

    Calling people Manchildren doesn’t help diversity. Shaming people for liking sexual things does not help diversity. Telling people that there’s something wrong with them because they don’t mind laughing at inappropriate things does. not. help. diversity.

    If you are trying to convince people to see your views, treating them like sub-human scum isn’t the way to do it, this is just throwing more fuel on the fire, i can’t wait for people to get angry and attack you, and for you to say “see i told you”, when who wouldn’t defend themselves after hearing this?

    For someone who is claiming to be doing this so that more people feel included and aren’t ostracised, it’s a bit hypocritical that you are trying to bring another group of people down for your own benefit.

    tl;dr: Diversity = good, flame baiting = bad

      • I thought i made it clear in my comment that i actually agreed with the intent of the article?

        If he spent more time explaining his point and less time trying to piss people off he could have written a good article.

        • I personally think your missing the truckload of sympathy hes expressing.

          I re-read it and I think I can see why ppl are saying its annoying; because there is a bit of a crescendo to it. Its more of a motivational/ confronting piece than annoying.

          • It’s hard too see any sympathy when he is calling people out in the comments on twitter and laughing at them, then blocking them when they actually try to talk to him.

            All evidence points towards he just really wanted to piss people off, and hey, he succeeded.

          • Hes laughing because they miss the point completely like you just did your the worst kind commenter an unconscious troll. Look a little deeper stop being so shallow.

          • If people have missed his point, do you think it would be more productive for him to take some time to clarify what he meant, or to mock them on Twitter? Surely he doesn’t believe that it’s always someone else’s fault/problem if they don’t understand the message he was trying to convey?

            Dismissing any and all contrary opinions as trolling only undermines his – and your – position. Learning is predicated on debate and challenging views. When you shut off from that, you stop learning and are left behind.

          • The title reads “Diversity In Video Games Isn’t Scary, It’s Delicious” if you missed his point heaven HELP YOU.

          • @tentpeg I don’t see anyone expressing confusion about the title, do you? I certainly didn’t say anything to that effect. I see some people expressing confusion about the content of the article. Responses like yours are little more than personal attacks, they solve nothing. I’ll give you this quote from Rayfield himself:

            Immediately dismissing criticism, not even acknowledging that it exists or calling someone “butthurt” are solutions to nothing. They don’t help anybody. These are the attitudes of a child who stomps their feet because they don’t want to go to bed.

            Perhaps if he followed his own advice and spoke to people to clear up misunderstandings instead of being condescending, something useful might actually be accomplished. Shutting down communication altogether, or dismissing all criticism because some of it is unfounded is strikingly closed-minded.

            Do you genuinely believe that asking him to clarify his intent for those that didn’t understand it is unreasonable?

          • I AGREE WITH HIS POINT.

            DO I HAVE TO REPEAT THAT?!

            MORE DIVERSITY IS NEEDED IN GAMING!! THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE FEMALE DEVS AND MORE UNIQUE CHARACTERS.

            My issue is with the style of the article, not the opinions expressed by the author.

            i’ll repeat it for you clearly now, and for the last time.

            He is right, diversity is needed in gaming, however, name calling isn’t helping move the situation forward, it only creates more conflict, attacking someone will make them want to defend themselves, then more name calling happens. He could have written the article to be less patronising and used it as a way to convince people, not to aggravate them. that is my argument.

            All you have been saying is “i don’t like that you think he is being mean for no reason”, which you are right, i do think he is being mean for no reason, making comparisons to centrelink is a dirty call, and making fun of people who are struggling financially doesn’t seem to be the right thing to say, when he literally goes on to say that “racist stereotyping is bad” but he obviously believes Classist stereotyping is a-okay.

            You even admitted it yourself how this article might annoy people, and whether or not it’s sympathetic, you understand that people aren’t getting this based on a lot of the comments here, and that is my point i am trying to make, if you attack people they will defend themselves, instead write an article not treating them like idiots and have a discussion, don’t throw shit over your neighbours fence, then laugh at them for doing the exact same thing back to you.

            As for calling me the worst commenter and an unconscious troll, it’s really sad that trying to have a serious discussion makes me like that, would you have preferred me to say “THIS ARTICLE IS SHIT!1!1!” and then never talk back to you after you replied to me like a normal troll? No, i listened to what you said, and i responded with my opinion, it’s called an argument, debate, or a discussion. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your opinion doesn’t make them a troll, and you’ve got a pretty bad victim complex if you seriously believe that.

  • “They want to add, not subtract”

    “If you’re worried about things being ‘taken away’ from video games, take a second out of your day to consider that some of those things might be not all that great in the first place.”

    Another day, another game journalist contradicting himself. More flamebait for the clixxx…

  • I found the article and also many of the responses hard to read. We are getting so far up our own arses here I am not sure anyone can see anything.

    I think if everyone just grew the f*** up a little and treated others with respect it wouldn’t hurt. “Don’t harass people” is a fairly solid base to start with. Let’s try that.

    Cause it doesn’t matter if some SJW’s views are terrible and wrong, or if they hate computer games, or if they aren’t very nice, or if they cheated on someone or they didn’t, or if they are fat or if they are not, or whatever. They have a right to air those opinions freely because: free god damn speech. Get over it. Digging into someone’s private life and maintaining a crusade to destroy them or engaging in harassment campaigns are clearly attacks on that free speech. So to the people who are doing that: STOP IT.

    Everything else is just free speech. Go for it.

    • If you’re interested, I earlier posted an edited version that removes the fluff and makes it far easier to read (see above).

  • There is not some aggressive resistance to diversity in games. The problem is just this amplified, condescending bellowing that games are “problematic” and that a wide cross-section of the community doesn’t embrace diversity. It’s just garbage. It’s a tiring rhetoric.

    Yesterday we saw a group of idiots pushing a boycott Star Wars campaign for being “anti-white”. I saw equally stupid people harping on and on and ON about these people, throwing out similarly dysfunctional generalisations about groups and cultures as a means to highlight how stupid the entire boycott was. It was comical. I tweeted out to one of those people and said, “Why are you even focusing on these morons? You’ve said more about how stupid the boycott is than you have about the actual movie.” All the guy was doing was amplifying what is a ridiculous, minuscule campaign. He didn’t even realise it because he felt he had some obligation to stand up for “diversity”. What he didn’t realise he was doing was standing up for the *creative freedoms* of the people making the films. What’s ironic is that this same very person was the one chucking a fit over Kojima’s design of Quiet. He was inadvertently standing up for the film maker’s creative freedoms, all the while devaluing his own warped approach to shaping video games into some sort of castrated beacon of ultra-realism, all in an effort to fit into his moral compass of “diversity”. The author here has done *exactly* the same thing on Twitter and on his blog: you can’t argue for diversity and then have a whine when a game relies on sexist or racist interpretations in the depiction of a character or storyline. You can’t pick and choose when you want to stand by creative freedoms. Because whether you like it or not, that’s what you’re doing here. If you want to castrate game makers into creating games and characters that don’t offend you, you’re fighting *against* diversity. You don’t have a monopoly on the moral standards of diversity, because it should encompass a broad and varied approach to character design.

    The author here is speaking down to his audience, because he thinks his audience is incapable of both embracing and engaging with diverse characters. When you apply sweeping strokes and try to explain to us *why* diversity is “delicious” (love the pics, btw), you’re just assuming that the audience needs it explained, when we don’t.

    You’re just creating a hyperbolic discourse. It’s a bit like how when Adam Baldwin was confirmed for Supanova. People argued that he would make the environment “unsafe”. That’s just irresponsible, and it treats the Supanova audience as one that is incapable of engaging with controversial opinion. And let’s not pretend that the boycott in that case wasn’t politically motivated.

    Yes, diversity is amazing. We know. That’s why people hate it when game makers submit to lazy discourse like this, and feed us shit characters as a means to please a bellowing minority of whinges.

    • The only reason that #boycottstarwars or whatever it was got any traction was by the outrage crowd…. It would have died out otherwise.

    • “Yesterday we saw a group of idiots pushing a boycott Star Wars campaign for being “anti-white”
      Spread the word: THIS WAS A TROLL. That whole thing was orchestrated by a handful of people trying to fuck with other people. And it worked. Those morons at TheMarySue didn’t do an inch of research, and from there it spread to other publications who didn’t do any research either.

  • This kinda reminds me of an article I wrote a while back. The responses were … mixed, at best. From that I learnt that the best thing as a writer/journalist is to stick with it, because we’re within such a diverse culture where no matter what you say, the comments section always go haywire. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, you know? But there’s honestly nothing wrong with that, just as long as the conversations had are civil and the points on both sides are clearly defined.

    • Unfortunately, the author has chosen to mock some of the responses from here on his Twitter account rather than engage in civil discussion. There are some perfectly reasonable criticisms of the article here and there in the comments that he’s thus far ignored.

      My opinion on the article is that it rambles too much and because of that it’s difficult at times to parse whether his comments are directed at the minority he’s criticising, or the readers. His comment on ‘I play games to escape’ strongly comes across as directed at anyone who has used that phrase, rather than ‘the bad people who happen to use that phrase’. It’s a shame, because through the cruft there’s the essence of a good message, it’s just ended up being obfuscated by silliness and tangential diversions.

      I think there are a lot of missed marks overall. The combination of addressing his targets directly combined with a somewhat antagonistic tone effectively neutralises any potential good the article could have done. Historically, long-term change is effected far better through inclusion and dialogue than through hard-line stances and insults. I’ve commented in some articles previously, Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished much more for black rights in the United States by using peaceful inclusion than Malcolm X did by using intolerance and violence. The anti-Islam protest outside a mosque in the US recently ended when a Muslim woman spoke with the protester calmly, hugged her and invited her inside to talk; something that never would have happened had the Muslim woman decided to throw insults at the protester and antagonise her instead.

      So because of that, this article’s message is lost on the people it appears to target. To the rest of us it’s little more than preaching to the choir.

      • @trjn Was your ‘usual offenders’ comment directed at me? I don’t think I’ve been unreasonable or rude anywhere here.

        • You haven’t noticed that it’s always the same handful of people who always argue the pro-GG side whenever a topic like this pops up? That’s what I meant and you fall under that umbrella. Doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily rude about it.

          • Fair enough. If I’ve given the impression that I’m pro-GG then I apologise, I’m not. To be honest I find that you hold that image of me to be disturbing. I believe in equality achieved through inclusion, I don’t believe GamerGate shares my belief.

          • I’ve never had the impression that you were either. Always thought you just post objective, well reasoned arguments that don’t take a particular side, but rather attempt to discuss/explain the topic at hand. As @mypetmonkey said however, some people just assume things unless you’re on the same black/white ‘side’ as they are.

  • was an interesting read until the second part (after the first cake pic) where it just turned into a rant… christ.

  • Look, gaming was already becoming more diverse before all these articles started popping up attacking the gamer identity and everything. The problem people have are outrageous outsiders with no knowledge and no love for the hobby trying to politicize gaming and censor things they don’t like.

    Gaming has been the most interesting medium in the last couple of years and I’d hate to see it killed off by writers not being willing to tackle contentious topics. If you don’t like it, say so and suggest ways it could be tackled differently or made better instead of the shaming outrage culture we’ve developed now.

  • Chocolate cake, trifle, baklava, ice kachang, mochi, gulab jamun, lamingtons, pavlova, profiteroles, strawberry gateau, fruit cake, pandan chiffon cake, tiramisu, pumpkin pie, halva, and something from Adriano Zumbo that “is a bit like a cheesecake, but it’s got this incredible red stuff in the middle that might be beetroot”…

    …I like cake.

  • The Ben Carson dig kinda derails the analogy this piece is trying to make because the Nazis deliberately and calculatedly took guns away from Jews as part of a specific agenda. Carson isn’t actually wrong with his whole “Nazis disarmed people” schtick.

    Anyhow, the overarching problem is that “diversity” is one of those little words that more often than not means “a diverse range of people I agree with”. When games start tackling controversial political issues, some people tend to take very stark sides and bleat on and on about how great it is to see games that reflect their own opinions on the matter. True diversity is a very difficult thing to maintain since you’ve got to figure out how to get people who really don’t like each other to get along. Now in my view, videogames were traditionally a medium for bringing folks together. We never really had a framework for dealing with strong political disagreements, strongly political games, and strongly political critique of said games. I like to think that most gamers can agree to put their differences aside and enjoy the art form as a whole. But some people really don’t know how to play nice. I’m not sure any particular group is at fault.

  • People who want more diversity don’t want to ruin anything. They want to make interesting games. They want an even playing field. They want to add, not subtract.

    The way the discourse runs in some places (including frequently Kotaku), I have a very, very hard time believing the sincerity of that, sometimes.

    It’s basically a situation where you like cake and believe there should be more cake… but every damn time I’ve ordered more pizza, there’s a predictable chorus of complaints that the person who served me pizza SHOULD have been serving more cake, because aren’t we all past pizza now?

    No. We’re not. We don’t need to be. Pizza is bloody great.

    And no, that doesn’t mean that I HATE CAKE, either. That’s ridiculous. I eat cake, too. You can’t ‘cheat on cake with pizza’, you can eat both! Cake can be great. Only adding more of both with nothing less of one is a dream scenario… if that’s what you were actually asking for.

    But instead we see no end to the complaining of, “Ugh, where’s the cake already, why is it always fucking pizza?” every time I settle down to enjoy another deliciously greasy pizza.

    If not for the prevalence of that complaint, I might actually believe someone who then tries to claim that they’re not trying to stop the endless procession of cheesy goodness that I buy more of than I can consume.

    • And yes, I know… the normal, sane response is, “That’s fine for you, but nobody’s ordering cake and we’re just so tired of pizza already, it’s all pizza, no cake! Can you really blame us for complaining? How else are we going to get cake, if not for harrassing the pizza-maker?”

      Of course I don’t blame you. I mean aside from the fact that you should probably take that up with the cake-makers and not the pizza-makers, insisting that they become cake-makers because how hard is it really…
      Well, aside from that, no, I don’t blame you. I’ve been there, I’ve made those complaints myself. I still do.

      For example: I long for a day when Blizzard goes back to making games that aren’t predictable cashi-ins on popular competitive online match games with an esport focus, and I will complain every time they pop out a high-quality clone of whatever the current genre-leader PVP thing is. I mourn the loss of Ghost and Warcraft Adventures and couldn’t give two shits about MOBAs or TCGs or TF2 clones, no matter how well-polished they are.

      So yes, I get that urge… that is a complaint that I make: “Stop making that F2P online MP garbage and put out a REAL game! …By which I mean single-player and that I like!” I cry, knowing that it is futile and my desires will not be met, I am no longer the target audience of a studio I once loved.

      But it’s utterly hypocritical to try to claim that you aren’t asking for there to be ‘less of what you don’t want’ when you constantly complain about what you don’t want, when it turns up.

      Just own it.
      Say that you’re sick of the only cake-makers being those two indies making pixel-art crap that’s not very visually impressive or filling, and you WANT the mega-studio team of 200+ creators to make something for you this year. Even if that means that they stop making the pizza that someone who isn’t you likes, and that might annoy the pizza-lover.
      That’s the honesty that anyone can relate to on principle, even if in wallet-terms they oppose it because it means they don’t get their pizza.

      That’s what this is always, always, always about, after all. Because it’s not just those two indies making diverse things… there’s more diverse shit out there, but it’s… well. Often a bit shit.
      The idea that anyone but the most irrevocable extremist is complaining about the existence of that crap is nothing but a straw-man. Sane, normal people don’t get frustrated and defensive and aggressive when a friend brings their vegan/gluten-free cookies to the party because it’s the only thing they can eat… normal people pity them. The only people who get ranty and genuinely offended about that poor suffering soul are people whose parents must’ve been killed by a vegan or some absurd shit, who generally aren’t worth acknowledging because you might as well start arguing with a brick wall for all the good it will do to point out how insane they are.

      You want something that’s not just for you, but that’s also actually GOOD and big and impressive. And there’s fewer folks out there who can do that, and they’re busy doing that thing you don’t like, so you’d like them to stop that and instead do the thing you do like. Maybe you didn’t realize that, maybe it was subconscious. But this is what it’s about, when someone grumbles about seeing another grizzled straight-white-male space marine or some visually-pleasing (to me) T&A.

      • A well-reasoned response that I fear will be dismissed as missing the point or derided on Twitter, along with the rest of the polite criticism so far. The way Rayfield has responded to things so far really makes me sad.

      • The idea the GamerGaters are AAA maniacs angry over indie games is a fallacy. GGers are the original “AAA development is ruining everything” whiners. GGers are the original indie game enthusiasts. They may BUY the latest Ubisoft and the latest Activision-published title, but they openly loathe the AAA system and often despise game design concessions made to make games more appealing to a wider audience.

      • I was thinking a similar thing when I read the article.

        I’m absolutely all for much greater diversity in games, and my personal preference would be to see fewer SWMs in my games. But the core argument of this article that it’s a simple matter of addition is – while amusing – a disingenuous and oversimplified one.

    • It doesn’t mean you don’t get your MICHAEL BAY PRESENTS CALL OF DUTY OMG at all.

      It means you get MICHAEL BAY PRESENTS CALL OF DUTY OMG WITH BLACK GUY AS LEAD CHARACTER WITHOUT CRINGEY STEREOTYPING

      or

      ASIAN GUY AS LEAD WITHOUT CRINGEY STEREOTYPING

      or even

      TRANS MUSLIM PERSON AS LEAD WITHOUT CRINGEY STEREOTYPING

      I mean since GamerGate etc is allegedly all about being REASONABLE and LOGICAL and totally not about raging out with privilege then let’s apply logic.

      What percentage of AAA audience members are black?

      Asian? Female? Gay, trans you name it.

      Run those numbers, rough as you like.

      Then insert that percentage split of lead characters in the next 100 AAA blockbuster titles.

      Your ‘SJW’ crowd will have to shut the heck up at that point, and I imagine most will, and turn their ire elsewhere.

      But the GamerGaters? I think we all know what would happen and that’s what this is about.

      Your argument basically boils down to ‘white males make up a majority buying audience at this point and so many of them will lose their sh*t if you remove white male protagonists that it’s not financially viable to do so.’

      And I’d say you’re correct.

      It’s about pandering to the market. And it will change, as this demographic gets edged out and less financially relevant over time.

      It may not be in the next year, but in a decade or two white males will indeed become the ‘endangered species’ GG claim they are.

      And it won’t just be happening in games. Take a look at credit card adverts today, and then one from a decade ago. Count the white folks.

      You can’t stop the world changing, no matter how hard you scream.

      That’s what GamerGate is about, hoping they can stop the inexorable progress of social, cultural and economic global change by squawking in areas they currently dominate.

      Go for your lives – it won’t change anything in the end.

      Same as Reclaim Australia and the other white privilege groups erupting in various areas of society – they’re all actually correct in that the values they hold dear are ‘under threat’.

      But history moves on, and anyone with a basic level of general awareness can see that the Age of Empire is over for white folks.

      Deal with it – because it’s better that you acknowledge it and do what you can to preserve your values in the ‘new’ world than kick and scream and end up having them trampled.

      • Your argument basically boils down to ‘white males make up a majority buying audience at this point and so many of them will lose their sh*t if you remove white male protagonists that it’s not financially viable to do so.’

        That’s not my argument at all. You’ve spent so long fighting monsters you see them where they aren’t.
        I do not lament a changing in perspectives, you can read practically anything else I’ve written on the subject, be it Krem, Ubi non-white protagonists in flagship marquees, femmeshep, Steve Cortez, etc, etc, I’m well-established on the record for observing:
        I like cake just fine.

        What I am arguing is:

        1) People who complain every time something they don’t like comes out make themselves look utterly ridiculous if they then also claim that they’re not trying to reduce the instance of things they don’t like.
        That is precisely the purpose that the complaining about something is seen to serve. “I don’t like this, change it.”
        It’s not an offense to white privilege that bothers me, it’s the offense to logic. Go for your life, argue for better representation in what you want, just don’t try to make us swallow that while simultaneously using every single damn release of something you don’t like as an example of what’s somehow ‘wrong’. Which leads to point two…

        2) No. It’s not WRONG. There is nothing inherently less-virtuous in the stereotypical straight-white-male bullet-chewing space marine being straight or white… so it’s incredibly tiring that those who want better representation for other demographics try to do so by making out that there’s something wrong with SWM in a protagonist, or in liking it. The very reason that this archetype may not appeal to one demographic is the exact same reason that anything else they replace it with may not appeal to me – and trying to shame that paradigm is essentially me being told that I should be ashamed of queuing up to buy the products that feature the archetypes I might relate to. Which pretty much anyone would find offensive.

        If you want folks of hitherto unrepresented genders, sexuality, or race, that’s fine. Great! Just stop shitting on the incumbents as part of your argument as if there’s something wrong with what we’re getting, which I like. There’s an important difference between arguing for something you want and shitting on what we’re getting. It’s one thing to argue for something you want… it’s another entirely to tell me what I like is shit and everything wrong with the industry. Which is what happens, all the damn time.

        • You’ve spent so long fighting monsters you see them where they aren’t.
          Ol’ Burny has made some insane comments in his day. I’m talking hyperbolic and unsubstantiated to the extreme.

          • I like to think of him as the KotakuAU version of Russell Brand…. lots of words that actually mean nothing.

        • No, your argument IS ‘white males make up a majority buying audience at this point and so many of them will lose their sh*t if you remove white male protagonists that it’s not financially viable to do so.’

          I am not saying you agree with this or think it’s a good thing. Hopefully you don’t.

          But you’re misinterpreting what I say.

          Both your arguments there are predicated on this notion that the status quo somehow is more valid than the views of others and railing at their gall at trying to shit on you the way they are currently shat on.

          1) You’re creating a straw man and claiming that people who have a problem with white privilege in games say they don’t want to reduce the instance of things they don’t like.

          This is a lie, and not a well constructed one. It’s pretty obvious they are very strident in clearly stating they DO want to reduce the instance of things they don’t like – and replace it with a more balanced representation.

          That’s EXACTLY their entire argument. There’s a few million representations of it easily found.

          I’m not sure where these mythical SJWs who ask for equal representation BUT NOT AT THE SAME TIME are hiding.

          2) Did I say it was WRONG? No, so I assume you’re talking to someone else.There’s nothing less virtuous, I fully agree.

          BUT

          IT’S

          F*CKING

          BORING

          and pandering to it in each and every game just to appease people is puerile.

          You’re whining about being told ‘what you like is shit’ and woe is you, so unfairs.

          Dude, at least you get to SEE what you like in 90% of games.

          You’re acting like you’re harder done by than someone who simply cannot play a AAA title and relate to a character like themselves without it being a cheap stereotype or a wallpaper character.

          ‘The incumbents’.

          Did you even think about that before you typed it?

          Just exactly *what* do you think it is that makes SWM ‘incumbents’?

          Here’s the thing. I also prefer SWM stereotypes, as I am also one.

          But when someone gets upset that what I like hogs 90% of the screen time, I don’t think ‘HOW DARE YOU’.

          I think ‘Fair enough, I’d be pretty pissed too if 90% of games were nothing but black/asian/trans people and no one looked like me or acted in ways I relate to.’

          Lucky for me that’s not going to be the case for a while.

          But it will eventually, and whining about it won’t change that.

          • 1) You’re creating a straw man and claiming that people who have a problem with white privilege in games say they don’t want to reduce the instance of things they don’t like.
            Ignoring the fact that you’ve done exactly the same thing by replying to me, then half-way through switching to talking to some hypothetical GamerGaters for some reason…
            Not sure where the people saying that they want more diversity, without taking away the ‘SWMness’ that folks like, are? They’re actually the author I was metaphorically rolling my eyes at in my very first point. Like you said, it runs counter the whole point of change, but here it is:
            People who want more diversity don’t want to ruin anything. They want to make interesting games. They want an even playing field. They want to add, not subtract.
            My entire point was: That’s disingenuous. You want more AAA of one thing, you’re going to get less AAA of the thing that it is not. And that’s fine, for various reasons not the least of which is the 10%:90% fairness thing you mentioned, but if you’re going to argue for it, then at least bloody argue for it instead of trying to convince people that’s not going to reduce what they see of their own demographic and that they should all calm down at the shrinking of what they like, the ‘nothing to see here,’ lie.

            And the second point was, argue for your representation instead of what you just did there with your whole ‘SWM protagonist thing is boring’ bit.

            It’s not, by the way.

            It’s not the demographic’s traits that are boring, it’s boring characters. Nathan Drake from Uncharted or Lee Everett from Telltale’s Walking Dead aren’t boring characters, regardless of their race. They have in common that they’re fleshed-out characters.
            What’s boring is the writing and sometimes the genre, not the character demographic.
            Even in games that aren’t chock with protagonists whose names are utterly unimportant because this-is-a-shooter-what-do-you-want-but-shooting (I couldn’t tell you the names of the protagonists of Killzone, Haze, codblops, etc), it’s not the SWMness that’s boring. Infamous’ Delsin was more boring than Cole. Unbelievably, Alex Mercer’s replacement James Heller was somehow – I didn’t think it possible – more boring. AC3’s jump from Hatham Kenway to Connor signalled the onset of boredom, too.
            Don’t agree? Then maybe boring is in the eye of the beholder? This would sort of prove my point about criticizing it.

            BUT IT’S F*CKING BORING and pandering to it in each and every game just to appease people is puerile.
            A big part of the problem with what you’ve just said is seeing the writing of SWM characters as just puerile pandering to a market, instead of accepting that very, very often this is SWM people writing what they know or want to see, to avoid the painful tokenism you referred to in your first post.

            Obviously the pandering IS there to an extent; we do still have that list of publishers who shot down funding developer Dotnod because the devs insisted that Remember Me’s Nilin be of mixed heritage and, y’know… a woman. But if even money-first Ubisoft can these days puff up their chests and post proudly about how AC Syndicate has a trans person in it, thinking that it’s GOOD PR, then the cracks in the wall of ‘SMW pandering’ are starting to show pretty clear.

            But it’s all too easy to read something negative – like ‘pandering’ – into people who are just doing what they know, for the people they know, instead of considering everyone else. A more obvious example would be turning to the mercifully small number folks who reached so very hard to try and find something unethical about the lack of diversity in the Witcher 3. Or the initial knee-jerk flurry of compalints from the more progressive sites I read about Tomb Raider’s typical SWM writing crew and their uninformed ‘voice’ for Lara croft before Rhianna Pratchett cleared her throat.

            And really, I hope that’s about as much as is needed to explain my skeptical eye-roll at the first point, and a qualifier that I get where the overall sentiment comes from. Concepts of ranting and raging, relative comparisons I didn’t make of how hard done by I am vs others, or ‘HOW DARE YOU’ sentiments?
            You’re outright projecting anything like that, perhaps the subconscious effect of too long spent letting the Internet amplify (for you, I don’t seek out the extremist shit) the presence of a fearful collection of extremists who play culture-war buzzword bingo for ‘the other side.’

          • I’ll just take a second to point out, that in your effort to appear reasonable – and elevate yourself above the ‘extremists’ – you seem oblivious to the fact your argument is simply

            ‘I like the status quo and resist anyone who would change it’.

            which you have repeated in a number of forms.

            You’re speaking in an echo chamber of mostly white middle class males who will endorse your views (and a few MRAs who will do the same) as it plays to their inherent conservatism.

            There’s nothing wrong with that, I’d just suggest you spend a minute or two removing any false notions of validation you get from people on Kotaku. You’re an eloquent, intelligent person and I’d just suggest you bear that in mind when posting here.

            Your views are valid. As valid as mine, as valid as SJWs like Raygun and MRAs like Mypetmonkey.

            Which is to say they are utterly predicated on your subjective position in the most part.

            And based on your understanding of what it is you are commenting on.

            So I’d point out all of this commentary thread comes from your misunderstanding of the comment you are referring to.

            ‘People who want more diversity don’t want to ruin anything. They want to make interesting games. They want an even playing field. They want to add, not subtract.’

            This comment is about the QUALITY of the games. ie. AAA titles with guns and explosions won’t suddenly become 8bit indie dev efforts due to political correctness. That you won’t have all guns removed and replaced with ‘Anti-Micro Aggression trigger warnings’.

            Your comment is about gender representation which is about the CONTENT of the games.

            You’re talking about the wrong thing. It’s easy to see why you misunderstood, as it’s a terrible, terrible article, but no one has ever said WE WANT FEWER WHITE MALES BUT NOT FEWER AT THE SAME TIME.

            Of course those arguing for diversity want fewer SWMs, and a more logical representation of other genders/races/cultures in return. That’s the whole point of their argument. Yes, you will see less of YOU in games and more of OTHERS – hopefully commensurate with representation of game playing audiences.

            So now that you have the actual context, do you have a problem with that?

          • Hm. I see what you’re saying. If we’re talking about quality, then no. Not at all. People asking for the tokenism to be less grating, for the explorations to be less one-note is fine. Deus Ex’s Letitia is obviously not where we want to be when we can be going for TWD’s Lee Everett. I struggle to imagine anyone would be arguing against that.

            I still don’t think that’s quite the same argument as is actually made here – I think that’s just a convenient context, especially when you say that the SWM is so fucking boring, but IF (and that’s a pretty big if) we say those criticisms are only about quality… then maybe. It’s not what I see when people complain about things like AC5’s lack of a female protagonist, for example.
            That wasn’t about the quality of existing representation, that was about about, “You didn’t put it in there.”
            The fact that it was a rushed annual franchise working on a new engine would kind have made the ‘quality’ argument completely moot as well, because the response, “We don’t have time to implement that,” was booed and jeered by the kinds of folks who must never, ever, ever be allowed anywhere near project management positions, the type of people responsible for the feature creep and last-minute scope changes that are the bane of my existence.

            And again, the only reason that I think it’s not about, “Ugh, there’s a character of my demographic but it’s offensively token shit,” is because if that’s what your complaint is, then, “Ugh, the SWM protagonist is so fucking boring, do something else,” is a pretty round-about way to say it. Kind of makes me think that what that is ACTUALLY saying is that they don’t like the SWM protagonist and want to see less of it. Communication might be a lot less confusing and misunderstandings less common if people actually said what they meant.

          • ‘Wanting to see more of MY kind of person’ is not the same intent as ‘Wanting to see LESS of your kind of person’, even if that may be the physical result.

            The majority of people arguing for diversity are quite happy for SWMs to have their SWM protagonists – as long as there is a (more) equal representation of other folks.

            Your point about communication honesty is central to this issue. The majority of GamerGaters are less honest about their intentions – you can tell, since a conversation that is allegedly about ethics in game journalism always ends up being about anything BUT ethics in game journalism and always something about ‘things that are not SWM-focused and annoy/scare me’. Their lack of honesty is simply because their flashpoint issue was poorly hijacked by a bandwagon that’s seen every misogynist crawl out from under their internet rocks and hop on. If they’d been honest and separated out ethical issues in game journalism (which has nothing to do with diversity, really) from questions of managing increasing diversity, we’d not have seen this clusterf*ck of conspiracy theories and death threats.

            There are conversations to be had about more nuanced introductions of diversity but they won’t be had under the banner of that *movement*.

            As said many times – things WILL change. You cannot stop diversity simply by creating MSpaint conspiracy theories about Zoe Quinn. Non-SWM people quite simply represent an ever-increasing market share and the market will accommodate their spending over time.

            If you want to ‘safeguard’ the culture of SWMs in gaming, GamerGate is possibly the worst way to go about it. Acceptance and then a rational conversation about transition is where it’s at.

          • Uhm… @burnside that’s a fine point about gamergate and the purpose of effective communication, but maybe you should be arguing it with someone else?

            I’ve never, ever, at all, ever fallen under the gamergate banner, nor ever intend to for pretty much the reasons you argue.

            I’m all for ethics in journalism as much as any other profession, but when the jealous-ex story that kicked the whole storm off broke and its writing-for-sex etc accusations/implications summarily proven invalid I declared very early that this was not a hill worth dying on or even arguing next to.

            It’s not helpful at all to try and argue against them when replying to me.

          • You may want to note that you have the two most strident hardcore conservative MRAs (Oh but we’re not!) and GG supporters on Kotaku supporting you closely in here – and this isn’t the first time that has happened.

            I know that YOU aren’t a supporter of GG because, let’s face it, you’re not insane or incredibly stupid.

            I’m just suggesting you look at how you frame your points a bit more closely as you attract a lot of support from these kinds of people – as they are able to extract elements of what you say to provide a reasonable facade for their ideological issues.

            Of course, I happily create hyperbolic posts to wind these muppets up so I am also guilty of feeding them.

            Go back to your original post. You made an assertion that was unsupported by evidence and based on misinterpretation. Cool, you worked that out rapidly and very clearly developed a conversation that addressed things more accurately.

            But that initial post came across as ‘THOSE LEFTIES AND LGBTQ WHATSITS ARE ALL SJWS WHO WANT TO TEKKKK URRRRRRRRR GEEEEEERRRRMMMMSSSS’ and that played directly to the sympathies of the conservative culture warriors.

            That’s why these guys trail you around and upvote you.

          • Oh @burnside I know how bad it hurts a narcissist like you when people like Transient absolutely annihilate you.

            Where have I “supported” Gamergate? I’ve merely pointed out that there are things such as ethics in journalism where they have a point. I suppose I’m just a little more tolerant and less bigoted than you.

            Still waiting when have I been a “Mens Rights Activist”? Oh that’s right…..I haven’t. Made up by someone who claims anyone who doesn’t see things your way is “mentally ill”.

            But keep it going, you make me smile.

          • Seriously? I’m a MRA?

            Where do you come up with this shit? Whatever you do don’t overdose on it.

          • So you have nothing as usual @burnside…

            Just your constant narcissistic exaggerated rage of stupidity. Perhaps one day you will be able to string together at least 3 words out of the blundering babling rants you mash out on a keyboard that make sense.

  • The only thing worse than reading this article is reading these comments.

    This was possibly the hardest call of my life. I mean deciding which white dude drunk on his own insecurity issues and allowed near a keyboard is nearly impossible.

    But the one take home message is:

    Mr Raygun – don’t write opinion pieces. While your heart may be in the right place, your self indulgent prose would make HP Lovecraft’s tentacles squirm in embarrassment.

    Maybe stick to Twitter, surely you can’t make 250 characters that cringe-inducing?

    Oh.

    Can you draw?

  • I agree with what the author has written, but if he thinks he’s going to convince anyone by calling them “man-child” and stereotyping them as “gross”, then he’s in for a shock. People don’t get convinced by being insulted. You have the right message, man, but you are preaching to the choir – in that, only those who ALREADY agree with you will be unoffended by this piece.

  • I have no strong feelings… one way or the other… I’m sure the market will sort out this diversity thing. If/when enough people want it, the cash wont be able to ignore it…

  • I don’t get the anger against pushes for diversity. Look, here’s the deal:

    1) If the reactionary crowd is right and these games are trying to push an agenda that the mainstream doesn’t want, you know what? They will fail. If it doesn’t resonate with a large enough audience, it’ll die out and there is NOTHING anyone can do about it.

    2) If, on the other hand, diversity in games and films DOES resonate with a large audience, if it IS something people enjoy, then it will survive, and what’s more, it will deserve to survive because it speaks to people.

    Society is going to experiment and culture will change. This can be disturbing for some, but the reality is that societies and cultures change. Granted, the pace of change may be faster than what it used to be, but make no mistake – this is not something new. Cultures that change are often more flexible and adaptable than cultures that remain stagnant and immutable.

    Look – don’t worry. If you really think that this diversity push is a fad, then why get angry? Let it die out and it will. On the other hand, if it is NOT a fad, then embrace it as a part of the world and realise that this push for diversity represented a very real desire to make the world better.

  • It’s 2015.

    It’s 2015, and here I am, reading an article about an issue we shouldn’t still be dealing with. Whether or not you like this particular article itself, whether you believe the author was condescending or not, doesn’t detract from one simple fact; we still have a pretty big issue to deal with in gaming.
    We have an exclusionary culture. We form groups. Teams. Gangs. Clans. We take a side, we stick with it. And we attack people on the other side. We have debates over things that don’t even matter. Console VS PC. Xbox VS PlayStation. Intel VS AMD. People all over the world are fleeing wars. People are dealing with poverty. People are struggling with diseases. And here we are, arguing over whether characters who aren’t the generic white-guy-with-short-brown-hair-action-hero are “shoehorned” in for the sake of diversity.
    I mean, really? Does it really matter to you? Does the idea of playing as a different gender or race upset people that much, that they have to argue against it? If a developer wants to be make a game about a homeless-female-former-junkie-with-superpowers, why shouldn’t they? SuckerPunch did just that with Infamous: First Light, and ended up with one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve seen in quite a while. If I was a developer, I’d hate for people to tell me that my characters were “forced inclusions” or “pushing an agenda”.
    And does the idea of diversity in gaming really offend people that much? People criticised Depression Quest for “not being a game”, as it was text-based. Much like classic text-based games of yesterday, such as The Hobbit. Or “Gone Home”, an exploration based game. You know, kinda like Myst was. These games aren’t taking anything away from Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. They’re games made by people who just want to play something else as well. No agendas are being forced on you. You are not being forced to buy, download and install the game.
    And I often read that people feel as if gamers are being treated as outcasts. In an age where more people play games than ever, after parents and grandparents had fun with the Wii, or major video games getting featured on high profile chat shows such as Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon, or GTA 5 making a billion dollars in a matter of days, gaming is now mainstream. If you feel as though you’re somehow being treated as an outcast, why would you want to treat others like outcasts too? Do you think gamers get treated poorly? If so, how do you think a gamer or developer who is female, gay or transgender would feel, seeing people who share their hobby turning on them? Why would you want to drive away people who are bringing diversity and choice to gaming?

    It’s 2015, not 1915.
    We can do better than this.

  • Stop whining and go make a game starring an unnatractive small boobed female non-white lgbt character yourself. Be part ‘of’ the solution, not a big crying baby.

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