Change Is Coming: GDC 2014′s Advocacy Track Free To See

By John Walker on April 8th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

A real highlight of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in the last couple of years has been the Advocacy Track. This is made up of a series of talks, round tables and presentations regarding issues within gaming about diversity, tolerance and inclusivity. And in a GDC where not a single woman was giving a full length talk at the Independent Games Summit, there are clearly still some massive issues. Rather brilliantly, the sessions within this track are being made free to all, rather than just those who attended the conference. Highlights are below.

An aside:

Let’s not live in pretend-land. Some people don’t like this stuff existing, and they don’t like its appearing on RPS. For those who are on the fence, I really encourage you to watch at least the first two videos below, to hear people explaining why this stuff really matters. To those unwilling, let me be really clear: If you have a problem with the discussion of matters regarding gaming culture that don’t fit within a grotesque interpretation of the “norm”, then really, feel free to find another site. Join a thread on Reddit discussing some imagined point in our past when we didn’t write about this stuff (we always did) and still wrote about games (we obviously do, the overwhelmingly vast majority of the time). Or recognise that having an issue with this content making up less than one percent of what we publish is perhaps the main reason such content is so massively necessary. If this fleck of dust within the cornucopia of reviews, previews, interviews, trailers and news is such an irritant, perhaps the allergy needs addressing?

Right, let’s get on with the good stuff.

#1ReasonToBe

The highlight of this track both in 2013 and 2014 was #1ReasonToBe. The session, inspired by Rhianna Pratchett’s tweeted response to the #1ReasonWhy hashtag, is about the reasons the women (and other) speaking are in the games industry, despite its significant problems. It’s a time for both the upbeat and the furious, as these industry professionals give their personal reflections. And 2014′s was a wonderful, terrible, moving hour. Opening the session was the inspirational Brenda Romero – one of my biggest heroes and a person who constantly inspires me to be better – introducing a panel of Leigh Alexander, Laralyn McWilliams, Lauren Scott, Ana Kipnis, Colleen Macklin, and Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai.

It feels wrong to pick a highlight from such a varied hour, but Lauren Scott’s talk was astonishing. A student at UC Santa Cruz studying Computer Science and Business Management Economics, she spoke so hugely movingly about being a young, black woman in gaming. And most especially about a defining moment in her life, when her father made a Java game called Lauren’s Alien Game.

“This is a game in which I am a character. At five years old, I saw myself in a game. At five years old, I knew a young black girl could be a character in a game. It completely silenced any voice in my head that I would ever have that would say I couldn’t be in tech or in games.”

There were few dry eyes by the end of that one.

Misogyny, Racism And Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand?

Perhaps the most talked about session of the entire conference, Manveer Heir’s talk can now be seen by all. Beginning by explaining that the talk’s title is wrong, the Mass Effect developer says it should have been:

“Misogyny, Sexism, Racism, Ethnocentrism, Nationalism, Ageism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Queerphobia And Other Types Of Social Injustice: Where Do Video Games Stand?

The talk focuses on the content of games, and what they say about us as a society and industry. Rather than gamer culture. And it’s an incredible primer on the sociological nature of identity, the reasons why we naturally form stereotypes that can be harmful, and how representation of minorities in games have a real-life effect on players. Scrupulously backed up with scientific research, Heir’s talk should be on the curriculum of every game design course in the world. And shown in every publisher’s boardroom.

It really is an incredible talk, that covers such a vast array of subjects, delivered with an aim to make clear the reality of the issues, and then be constructive about how they can be changed. It’s so important that this talk be seen by as many people as possible.

Sexism And The Video Game Industry – An Empirical Study

A fair criticism of much of the debates surrounding misogyny within the games industry is that it so often relies heavily on anecdotal evidence. Brandon Sheffield and Jennifer Allaway decided to do something about that. Their talk is a presentation of an academic paper, in which the treatment of women in the games industry was studied. The results are pretty grim. 35% of women in the industry say they’ve been discriminated against, compared to 5% of men. Only a quarter of women thought women’s voices were equally respected at meetings, compared to 43% of men. Most shockingly, of the hundreds surveyed, 60% of women admitted to experiencing sexism within the industry, and 77% of women knew a woman who has. 55% of men also reported knowing a woman who has experienced sexism in their gaming job. This isn’t made up – this isn’t exaggerated based on a few rogue anecdotes. This is a serious issue endemic within the games industry. (And yes, in other industries too, but wow – if that’s thought to be an argument to dismiss these findings, then there’s so much more work to be done.) There’s much more detail and many more statistics in the talk.

How To Become Fireproof: Surviving Internet Negativity

Nika Harper’s short talk is a great place to start for anyone who’s struggling with online harassment. As someone who experiences a fair bit of this, I found this an enormously helpful talk. The key point that came out of it for me being the notion that the comments that hurt or harm the most are the ones that coincidentally mirror our own specific insecurities. While they’re the result of enough shit being thrown at a wall, rather than any specific insight into you or your fears, they cut to the bone. Just having this observation stated made a big difference for me, helping me take a step back and better rationalise. Hopefully, if this is something that affects you, there will be something in the talk for you too.

Mob Rules: The Destructive Power Of Opinion And Online Community

Adam Orth certainly has experience of internet negativity and toxicity. Despite having worked on many games, he’s known for a tweet. A tweet in which he wrote, “Sorry, I don’t get the drama around having an ‘always on’ console. Every device now is ‘always on’. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit” Acknowledging that he “exercised incredibly poor judgement” regarding the subject, he then goes on to talk brutally honestly about just how horrible things became for him. He lost everything. And no matter how wrong-headed his tweet may have been, the scale of the horrific abuse he received was so astronomically out of proportion as to defy belief. As he says, “The internet is fucking terrifying.”

Women Don’t Want To Work In Games (And Other Myths)

Elizabeth Sampat explores a number of myths about women and the games industry. An industry in which only 10% of employees are women. She breaks down the nonsense that’s usually trotted out, step by step, beginning with the notion that women don’t want to work in games, then that there’s a lack of women to hire, that companies can’t find women who are a “culture fit”, that women can’t be part of the problem, and that it’s not the industry’s fault, it’s women’s fault. If you encounter any of these claims, then check out Sampat’s excellent responses.

Fewer Tifas, Or More Sephiroths? Male Sexualization In Games

Michelle Clough makes an interesting distinction between sexualisation and objectification. She argues that gaming could be a more inclusive space if there were more sexual male characters, while maintaining that the same messages regarding the objectification of women apply to male characters too.

How To Subversively Queer Your Games

This is a panel featuring Samantha Allen, Mattie Brice, Todd Harper, Zoe Quinn and Christine Love, on ways to bring queer culture into games, in perhaps less overt ways.

There are many other talks available to watch on the GDC Vault, without a login. Steve Gaynor talks about why Gone Home is a game, there’s the 10th anniversary Rant Apocalypse, Ken Levine talking about Narrative Legos, and game postmortems of Robotron 2084 and Zork. As well as many others. Scroll through and choose the ones without stars.

The overwhelming message from this year’s Advocacy Track is that these changes are going to happen, no matter how loud and angry a minority will be. The next generation of gamers are growing up with expectations of inclusivity, of representation of the minorities and majorities that gaming ignores, and with gay and queer relationships being a norm. There will still be games about angry white men shooting giant guns, but there will be others too, more variety, more representation of humanity – of the people who are actually playing the games. We’re so far away from it still, but it’s coming.

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227 Comments »

  1. altum videtur says:

    I REMEMBER WHEN ROCK PAPER GOTSHUN WAS ABOUT SERIOUS JOURNALISM ON SERIOUS VIDEO-GAME RELATED NEWS AND NOT PUSHING THEIR SUBVERSIVE LIBERAL AGENDA
    IT SEEMS I’LL HAVE TO PACK MY THINGS AND GO (that’s right!)

    But seriously, it’s good that they are now releasing these things to the world at large in a convenient way. That’s nice. Also appropriate.

    • doodontheinternet says:

      I feel that GDC and Gamasutra is turning into an extreme left organization. They are trying to shove their political opinions down everyone’s throats. Are they going to try and start blacklisting and trying to damage the careers of every developer that has an artistic vision that disagrees with their political opinion next? Is this the birth of the Liberal version of McCarthyism? Don’t like someones artistic vision? Just get them fired like the CEO of Mozilla. I don’t like so and so developers artistic vision so I am going to call them a sexist.

      “I truly hope we will look back on the GDC 14 Advocacy Track as the moment the voices grew so loud and reached so far that, by sheer volume of creatives influenced, games fundamentally changed for the better forever”

      I’m concerned they are going to start attacking anyone in the industry with an artistic vision, that disagrees with their political viewpoint. They need to assure developers that there is going to be no censorship, and no Brendan Eich style witchhunts.

      • toxic avenger says:

        If you are being sarcastic, then this doesn’t apply to you:

        Ya know, Pol Pot had a great artistic vision too.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        On the subject of attacks to artistic vision:

        I used to be a game developer – specifically I was a character artist. I was project lead on the last 12 projects I worked on, over three different companies. I have worked on well over 100 games, mostly in a freelance capacity but many times towards the end of my gaming career as an employee. I have worked in 3 different continents for nearly every console and hand held device going as well as for games on the PC. I have worked on AAA console launch titles, indie titles and have worked alone and in teams of hundreds.

        I make many characters of all races, colours, creeds, sexualities and various other subtleties. I listen to my brief and I make my artistic vision – what I think is cool. I am the creative, I am the artist and for the last 12 games I worked on, I was the last word in the artistic vision. All the other artists had to run their work by me, I directed them to changes I wanted so their characters matched my artistic vision.

        So please explain to me why, with all my experience, talent and creativity, only one of my characters was ever published black, and even then, she was lightened up to such a degree, most people thought she was white or hispanic. Can you explain to me what happened to this much vaunted artistic vision you seem so keen to protect? Because I sure as shit didn’t design boob armour until I was ordered to by a non creative. I designed plenty of black characters until I was told to lighten them up by a non creative. I made characters with clothing inspired by fashion from Canal St, Manchester, until I was told to make them look less like queer as folk and more normal.

        So if you’re so keen to protect the artistic vision and integrity of the creatives, give us free reign to make the game we want to make, then help us stop the “market analysts” from making every character a straight white man or his slim love interest in a stripper costume, please.

        • doodontheinternet says:

          Shen-Ji I’m a creative as well as a minority indie dev. My concerns are legitimate in this industry. In other sectors of the economy the left side of the political spectrum would claim the need for “tolerance”, but would engage in extremely intolerant acts against anyone that disagreed with their political beliefs. If they believe in tolerance why did they try to damage the livelihood of Brendan Eich, just because his opinion was different than theirs? They set a very dangerous precedent with what they did in the tech sector.

          As an indie dev do I need to worry about being harassed and my livelihood destroyed, because some random person on the left side of the political spectrum doesn’t like my artistic vision? There need to be assurances from the GDC advocacy track that such behavior exhibited by the extremists that attacked Eich, is completely unacceptable.

          I don’t support conservatives firing liberals, merely for their political opinions, nor do I support liberals firing conservatives or moderates for their political beliefs.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            That’s fine, make the game you want to make and more power to you, but if you are a creative, you will put yourself in front of an audience, an audience who will criticise your work.

            Its not what the critics say that will damage your employment options, its how you react to criticism. In our society, and in these times, anyone can have a voice, anyone can push their opinions and if you use social media, anyone can get to you directly.

            Do you understand that if you made a statement on twitter along the lines of “all black people should be exterminated because they are lazy” why this would damage your career? So when people criticise you game for example by saying that it’s a shame the protagonist is a white man again, it’s how you react to that criticism that will define your career. Making public statements like:

            “I feel that GDC and Gamasutra is turning into an extreme left organization”

            and the rest of that paragraph absolutely will damage your career, why? Because by calling GDC an extreme organisation makes light of the actions of true extremists, people who bomb, kill and use terror for power. Because calling GDC an extreme organisation is verging on slander and because you have demonstrated that you have political opinions and you will be a risk to any employer who doesn’t want a politically motivated employee, because politically motivated employees may make a statement which alienates part of their audience. You are a risk to profit margins and as such less employable.

            I understand why that may feel unfair to you, because you see what you believe to be left (SIC) affiliated people not having to hold their tongues in the same way and not damaging their career.

            Maybe you’re right – I don’t think you are, but more on that later – maybe leftists are able to say what they want and not affect sales where as righties are condemned with everything they say. If that’s the case, you need to make a choice don’t you – stay true to your artistic vision and make a game that you believe in but that you know will be criticised by leftists. You do so in full knowledge that this criticism will come your way and many leftists will listen and not buy your game. I would have a lot of respect for you in that you have not sold out your principals. In a market where it is difficult to make a living even if you don’t alienate a large section of your audience you have almost guarenteed the commercial failure of your game. What’s the alternative? Compromise your artistic vision, make a game that will sell enough for you to pay the rent and make another.

            Let me ask you, in what other industry would you have the luxury to ignore your market and pig headedly push on with what you want to make regardless of what your potential customers actually want? You may be asking, what makes me think that there wouldn’t be enough righties buying the game to enable you to stay true to your artistic vision and be a commercial success? Well if there were, you wouldn’t be worried for your career – if wouldn’t matter what the leftists say, the righties wouldn’t listen, still buy your game, you could pay the rent and make another. Your career rolls on.

            This is of course on the understanding that you are an indie developer. Things are different if you work for a company. Look at what I said above about the games I worked on. I was asked to change things so that the game sold better. That is literally what I am being paid to do, make the most commercially viable characters I can. Artistic vision and creativity are curtailed by what the market wants and when I was working, the market demanded white straight men with stripper girlfriends. I thought it was artistically barren myself but I still made them because I accepted a pay check every month. It was my job. If I had undermined what my employers wanted, you’re damn right I would have damaged my career. Why do you think you wouldn’t damage yours.

            Put quite simply, to sell games, to maintain a career, you have to deliver what the market wants. Upset that the market doesn’t want what you want to make? Welcome to the life of a professional.

            But I said above that I don’t believe this to be the case, didn’t I – well why not?

            Well lets look at the criticism being levelled at the games industry:

            It’s not inclusive enough. Games are made for only one audience but there is a surge of gamers who wish for you to know that they are not in that demographic for one reason or another. A person may write a comment stating that he wishes that women in a game didn’t show so much flesh, he finds it distasteful. That is a commenter who is either lying (why?) or they have been alienated by every woman in a game showing too much flesh.

            That’s his opinion, and as a game developer, you should feel lucky that you can have such direct feedback from your audience. When asked, why didn’t this game sell more copies, you have hard data direct from source – a certain percentage of our market dismissed our game when they saw our character art. Was it a significant percentage – if yes, why didn’t we cater to them?

            That all makes sense right? So where is the politics? Exactly, you’ve shoehorned politics where there was not a political issue. There are righty women who don’t buy games about white soldiers acting like bros because they are not interested in a soldier bro story and head-shotting brown people. There are leftist straight white men who enjoy nothing more than having a crafty wank to some boob armour.

            This criticism is nothing to do with politics, its about people who want to play games but find themselves alienated using their voice or people who are not alienated but can empathise with those who are – it’s about being a decent human being and this is completely apolitical. It takes a real unpleasant sort to say “I know that you are alienated by the gaming industry right now but because I am not, I don’t care and I don’t want change” or “I know that you are alienated by the gaming industry right now but good because I don’t want your sort in gaming thanks”. Being this unpleasant is also apolitical – leftists, righties, upsidedownungers, insideoutliers and those insidious lostanddontknowwhichwaytoturnominists are equally capable of being empathetic or unpleasant.

            Your career is not defined on what your political beliefs are either, its all to do with your ability to make games that sell. Make games that don’t sell because you stuck to your vision despite what your market wanted, don’t sell because you made a game which alienates too many people, don’t sell because you yourself made people dislike you and your career will be affected, that’s life. Sorry it’s not how you thought it was, but we all have to learn the lesson at some point. On the flipside though, you could make a game about being a white supremacist murdering innocent black and gay people and as long as you somehow get it to sell a tonne of copies, your career will be as healthy as you like! Swings and roundabouts, isn’t it!

          • bill says:

            Very good post Sheng-ji.

  2. 1Life0Continues says:

    *round of applause*

    Thank you RPS. I love that there is more focus on these things as it clearly is needed. I will watch all of these when it isn’t 10pm and when I don’t have a philosophy essay to write.

    I hope this becomes a mainstay in the future. Please RPS, don’t ever stop writing about these issues. Topics like this are important if gaming is ever going to be seen as inclusive, mature and not just the realm of silly toys for silly boys.

    • ColdSpiral says:

      [applause intensifies]

      Seriously. What 1Life0Continues said.
      Except the thing about the philosophy essay, I guess. I don’t have one of those.

      Don’t ever change, RPS.

    • HiFiHair says:

      Hear, hear!

    • Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

      Yes! RPS, awesome as always.

      Now I only need to find the time to actually watch these. It’s quite a lot!

    • Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

      Many of us have written bits and pieces of that introductory paragraph over and over again in the comments (even as recently as yesterday, in the Diablo article), but it’s nice to get it recognized and expressed in the main article.

      So, thanks John, and thanks RPS in general, and thanks for the great commenters who have the patience to discuss these topics in a calm manner time and time again.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yup.

      Don’t stop, never give up, hold your hands high and reach the top.

      (Who got that? WHO?)

      p.s. In all seriousness, RPS is brilliant. I’ll be a complete fanboy if i run into any of their writers in real life.

      • Mags says:

        Let the world see what you have got
        Bring it all back to you

        Out of context, those lyrics are both inspirational and relevant.

  3. HiFiHair says:

    I truly hope we will look back on the GDC 14 Advocacy Track as the moment the voices grew so loud and reached so far that, by sheer volume of creatives influenced, games fundamentally changed for the better forever. And beyond that that the progressive groundswell in games goes on to influence a change in other media, particularly American television, which to this day is rife with casual prejudice and lack of inclusivity. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the moment, but it does feel like this year’s GDC could be a spark whose influence is felt throughout mainstream media. That is my hope.

    Thank you for this important article, John.

    • Bedeage says:

      Good luck with that. Outside of this bubble of pol-sci retardation you guys live in, people play games because they enjoy them. More than that, people play them because they enjoy being white, male power fantasies. It’s difficult to stomach, but if you’ve ever spent any time abroad you’ll know it to be true.

      Work out what percentage of gamers actually want to play as an m-t-f bloke and you’ll work out just how unimportant this activism is to most gamers.

      • The Random One says:

        Well, I can’t argue with that, given the high amount of proof you’ve given to really show us that no non-white people ever would like to play as people who resemble themselves, and all the people mentioned in this article and elsewhere who feel differently are obviously weirdo outliers.

      • Eike says:

        Ah, finally we all know why GTA has been such a flop!

  4. Reapy says:

    There is a lot of issues with respect towards women in my anecdotal corner of the engineering/development world. It does involve a lot of military interaction, which is doubling down on the ‘it’s a mans world’ thing, but it is frustrating as he’ll to see. My last boss of many years was female and knew the ins and outs of the systems like the back of her hand, frequently she was the only one in the room that knew what was going on and was aware of all the issues involved in a take, yet just as often with each new group she would have to fight for people to settle on her word and trust her as an authority source whole tons of others guys just got it for free.

    Another woman I have worked with tells me that her first day on the job as an engineer some guy was having her get coffee and get started on admin tasks because he assumed she was a new admin, not engineer! There are some small minded asses out there for sure.

  5. Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

    Now I know what to do on this day of being home sick. Aside from yelling at American civil war generals for not following my orders the way I meant them as opposed to how I gave them. Bloody Jubal Early and Alexander Lawton! These videos are important™.

    As a side note, I can’t help but think that Twitter works as a sort of magnifier of disagreements if not outright a source for it.

    The 140 char limit is moronic and seems to only serve as a vehicle for arguments being made all too pointy and shrill due to lack of space. That Ort tweet is not too bad until he decides to use #dealwithit. Then it becomes super confrontational. I’m sure he’d have caught some flak for a blog post saying the same but with more words and context but I wonder if it would have been as bad.

    I just know that I prefer not to arbitrarily limit my expression to a 140 char string. It’s barely possible to communicate like that. You can never get past gross simplifications and inane blather that way. Or hashtags. Lots and lots of hashtags. Or maybe I’m old and grumpy.

    Not using Twitter myself, I can’t judge. Anyone who has more experience in the format willing to chime in?

    • TheMightyEthan says:

      I’ve heard it argued that Twitter actually makes people better at writing, for two main reasons:

      1) They’re actually writing something, rather than just not writing at all as most people did before.

      2) It teaches you to be concise.

      I don’t have any idea whether that’s actually true or not though.

      • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

        Being concise is good but on the flipside I’d argue that setting a limit as low as 140 chars is overdoing it. Sometimes you do need nuances.

        Incidentally, that was precisely 140 characters. And I didn’t use any hashtags.

      • P.Funk says:

        I feel that enforced brevity creates an inherent lack of depth. Its not about crafting a good sentence, being a master of diction and clarity, or creating any poetry with your words, its about cramming info into a written soundbite. Most tweets don’t even sound like real language except maybe as a telegraph message sent from the site of a Godzilla attack.

        The thing which I despise most about the uncluttered hyper efficient palm sized modern digital age is that it has atrocious linguistic aesthetic. Much the same way we tear down Victorian homes and build duplexes that will stand for 1/5th the years the previous one did, the tweet does violence to communication by making everyone’s sentences into amputees with only the basic joints left to hobble around on.

      • dE says:

        To me, Twitter was always the written equivalent of MTV. Hyper short flashes of something, random bits of imagery, quick cuts, ultimately without meaning or substance. Just small things to trigger the brain but not follow up on with. A hectic spit of information for those that care only for the quick thrill and stimulation and have no intention of staying or getting involved.

        • P.Funk says:

          For an excellent anecdote along these lines you should watch the Jools Holland interview on Top Gear where he talks about interviewing Miles Davis and has to do it in 1 single minute.

    • Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

      Twitter is good for quick updates, keeping up with news headlines (as long as the actual news are linked, in a full-length article, effectively like an RSS reader) and for the work of some (extremely few) creative writers who make the most of that character limit.

      So, I completely agree with you.

    • Fumarole says:

      My liege, and madam, to expostulate
      What majesty should be, what duty is,
      Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
      Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
      Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
      And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
      I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
      Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
      What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?

      • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

        That took him a bit more than 140 characters to say. :P

  6. Screwie says:

    Awesome stuff, and thanks for compiling them all on a single page. I will be binge-watching these as soon as I can.

  7. HadToLogin says:

    Question: why games can make someone a racist or sexist and we’re fighting with that, but when someone says “games can make someone violent” everyone screams “no, nobody became violent because of games”?

    • P.Funk says:

      Because thats how human psychology works.

      The things which enter our minds passively and which are proven normative through these culturally significant stimuli have deep effects on our attitudes and our assumptions and our unconscious tendencies.

      By contrast violence is a deliberate conscious thing. It takes an extraordinary kind of experience to drive a person to lose all rational control over their own inhibitions in a violent way.

      These are just two very different ideas you’re trying to conflate.

      • Eightball says:

        No it isn’t. In the vast majority of violent videogames, the violence is totally normative, and there are loads of violent acts you watch passively on top of the actions you take as the player.

        • P.Funk says:

          But the normative violence doesn’t translate into normative acts. However normative experience of a passively racist, sexist, homophobic, et al, story or environment or whatever it may be does lead to conditioning to be more accepting and comfortable with those things.

          The difference being that violence is not common nor easy for most people to engage in while racism, homophobia and sexism are.

    • John Walker says:

      There is plenty of evidence that gaming can temporarily raise aggression levels in players. There is no evidence that gaming turns a non-violent person to violence. I think this pattern is partially applicable here too. A game isn’t going to turn someone into a racist. It may, however, confirm someone’s racism and further encourage it.

      However, it’s worth noting that raised aggression levels will only lead to physical violence in enormously extreme cases. Raised acceptance of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, will also be very unlikely to lead to physical actions. However, these thoughts have non-physical ways of being exhibited – like feeling safe and permitted to abuse others – and as such the results are more likely to have an effect on others.

    • nickylee says:

      I can’t say as I’ve heard much argument for gaming making someone racist or sexist. The problems is more that racism and sexism is already present throughout the industry and there’s not much been done about it until lately.

      Also: what John said.

    • rhubarb says:

      When we play a game, we suspend our disbelief, but not for everything equally. We can easily see that the enemies we kill in games aren’t real, that the violence is fantastical and stylised, so we don’t take it as a real thing. However, conversations and social interactions between people are something that happens every day in the real world, so it’s much harder to divorce how characters behave towards each other from how people behave towards each other.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      I think I remember someone in the armed forces noting that they had to train young recruits quite hard not to jump out into fire or do stupid things, because videogame bullets are rather more forgiving than real ones.

      • TWChristine says:

        When I was in the academy I had an instructor who had been through some intense situations in his career and was wanting to impress upon us the need to essentially, not do something stupid (and to not go out every night thinking you were going to get killed), and he said “Remember, there’s no bullet out there with your name on it. It’s ‘To Whom It May Concern’.” Just something that always stuck with me.

    • Premium User Badge Foosnark says:

      The violence is pretend, but the sexism and racism (and other isms) are real.

      Thankfully there have been few games so far that beat up the player or shoot them in the face.

      Racism usually is an error of omission rather than outright hostility — all the characters are white, or when there are skin color choices available there aren’t appropriate facial features and hairstyles to work with them. Sometimes the treatment of fantasy/alien races is a sort of coded racism. it’s enough to make non-white people think game developers don’t care about them though, and it signals the more racist among white gamers that only white people matter.

      Sexism though?

      — We’ve seen plenty of cover art/market material with gratuitous female sexuality unrelated to gameplay (hello Evony). Not so much with the male sexuality, not that I’m asking to see that.

      — We’ve seen plenty of cases where the clothing/armor for female characters is overtly sexual compared to the (game-mechanically equivalent) male version. Quite often there is no more modest, practical version available for players to choose. The gender-flipped version of this is almost never true.

      — There are plenty of games where helpless female characters are rewards and/or goals (e.g. rescue) for competent male heroes. The gender-flipped version is, again, almost never true.

      • taristo says:

        http://i.imgur.com/M6qIiya.png

        Yes that makes sense, people can entirely couple off shooting characters in the head every few seconds from doing it in real life, but can’t help but identify and sympathize with any racist/misogynist characters in the story or what they wear, themselves becoming those things! They are helpless and have no control of their own mind after all needing you people as a moral police to impose these things and your way of thinking on them, and it’s not like these games were rated 18+ for a reason…

    • TheLetterM says:

      I think the fundamental misunderstanding here is thinking that the objection is that “games can MAKE someone a racist or sexist.” (emphasis mine). The issue isn’t that anyone thinks that playing GTA is going warp someone’s into becoming a closet nazi or rapist. The concern is that games that are racist or homophobic or whatever promote the idea that such behavior and attitudes are “OK” or “normal,”and will create an atmosphere that is openly hostile to women and minorities while vindicating and amplifying those attitudes among those that already may have some of those prejudices.

      Along those lines, the real question is “why are we concerned that games promote a culture of racism/sexism/homphobia, but are not concerned when games promote a culture of violence?”

      Bob “MovieBob” Chipman made a Game Overthinker video a while back (which I’m unable to find at the moment) positing that we SHOULD re-examine the violence in games issue, not from the standpoint of “games cause violence,” which has largely been debunked and used as a platform for censorship, but through the lens of “is the predominance of violence as the most common verb in video games healthy for culture and society.” His point was that we’ve been forced into the knee-jerk “freedom of speech” stance for so long due to morons like Jack Thompson, that it is difficult to separate the two.

      • toxic avenger says:

        They are separate issues, both violence and gender/sex relationships. This argument usually leads up to the next argument: well, violence is obviously more harmful, therefore gender/sex issues are not as important/do not exist. This is obviously a fallacy.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Well because virtual shooting is pretend shooting. It’s as likely to make you violent as playing cops and robbers as a kid.

      Virtual sexism isn’t simulated sexism, it’s real sexism. It’s (usually) there because someone thought that the concept of it being there was ok, completely normal and how it should be. It’s there because someone thought “yes, that’s realistic, that’s how women behave/dress/talk/think etc.”

      When a virtual gun fires, you learn nothing about how a real gun fires (except that it goes “bang”). If games actually implemented gore like in real life, every time you take a headshot with a .50 cal, that person’s head would splatter all over the virtual place. Not sure how many people would be okay with that.

    • Urthman says:

      Very few gamers commit a violent crime. So it seems hard to make a case that violence in games contributes to or causes violence. And even if you did show that violent games make people more violent, if the vast majority of gamers aren’t doing anything violent, then getting rid of violence in video games couldn’t possibly incidence of violence among those people to less than zero.

      Lots and lots of gamers sexually harass people or give women shit just because they’re women. So it seems a lot more possible that sexism in games encourages or contributes to that. And if that’s true, then it’s at least possible that getting rid of sexism in games could reduce the incidence of sexist behavior by gamers. You’re not trying to go from almost zero violence to zero, you’re trying to go from lots of sexism to less-than-lots of sexism.

      • taristo says:

        “Lots and lots of gamers sexually harass people or give women shit just because they’re women.”
        Wow really, I’m gonna need some numbers on those claims.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Easy – find a game with a voice changer, create an account with a name that you think is feminine. Apply the female voice affect. Join games, play as normal, count how many times creepy guys make you feel uncomfortable or people get strangely aggressive with you in 1 hour. Go back to your regular account, remove voice effect. Play with the same people. Note the difference in attitude.

          Back in the project gotham days, I used to use this method to demonstrate to my gamer friends who didn’t believe me on how much shit I got, exactly what it was like to be a female gamer. Times have not changed.

        • Premium User Badge Nogo says:

          I believe if you scroll up there’s a video, with accompanying slide show, full of related numbers.

    • Shooop says:

      It desensitizes us given enough exposure so we’re not shocked by it.

      Whether or not they actually make us more violent/racist/sexist depends on our individual minds – how strong our morality is. Someone being used to seeing violence/racism/sexism doesn’t mean they’re indifferent to or feel favorably towards it – that depends on their own moral code.

      Most people have agreed “don’t kill/hurt other people” is a good idea and keep that moral code strong because without it you can’t function in normal society. But racism and sexism aren’t as discouraged as much as violent behavior because it’s less overt. People are less likely to keep that kind of behavior in check because it’s not as disruptive. We don’t call people out on it as much as we should.

    • taristo says:

      I’d say because SJWs are inherently stupid and hypocritical: http://i.imgur.com/9H0o73R.jpg ignoring logic when it comes to some perceived “higher cause” and moral high ground.

      And imo people like Jack Thompson actually have a cause that I can understand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XtWV-tIeVg
      I don’t agree with it and I think they are wrong, but I can understand it. They think that mass shootings where actual people die and get hurt and other violent altercations are somehow taught or encouraged by playing violent video games and seeing these things. They often also have actual studies and many government bodies on their side providing them with some legitimacy, albeit again they are to be taken with more than a grain of salt.

      I can at least comprehend the thought pattern: violent shootings where people get wounded and die happen –> the shooters are often playing violent video games –> we should try to decrease the amount of violent video games and prevent young people from being able to get them

      Meanwhile SJWs claim that to “improve society” they have to water down and outright ruin games. A post apocalyptic game where society broke down and all manner of horrible things are going down from mass executions, mutations, starvation, hate for other groups and everyone looking out for themselves, rape? (see for instance the last Walking Dead season, including the attempted rape in the penultimate episode and desperate measures because of hunger and how there wasn’t any SJW backlash)

      Nah, can’t have that, we’ll make it really realistic and awesome instead and show everyone how people that shoot others in the head for a few coins or a bit of food are supportive of gay* and trans* and otherkin rights, and don’t forget to include trans*/genderfluid/otherkin/furry/demisexual/multiplicity/whatever characters and show how they are just like everyone else for the sake of inclooosivity!

      If asked how these supposed influences hurt people in real life they can’t point to a single incident that was supposedly caused by “video games” or go on lamenting about teens on Xbox Live for hours. There is much less scientific evidence that depicting something that some might call “sexism” or similar has caused any damage in the real world than there is about violence.

      Developers that want to include this crap, go right ahead since I think that free speech is one of the most important values on our world. But don’t for a second believe that I (and the many people that you see buying the latest GTA and similar that you won’t find on RPS) will hand you any of my money for what basically boils down to a propaganda piece for an ideological movement (no matter if that is feminism, christianity, mormonism, scientology, Jehova’s witnesses, communism or breatharianism) instead of what games are supposed to be: entertainment.

      Good luck supporting and growing “the industry” with the SJW crowd. Even if there is some sort of a phase to go through I’m sure in the end the people responsible for these decisions will realize where their money was and is coming from. Square Enix for instance just recently announced that they might want to develop games for their actual audience that like games and are willing to pay money for them instead of some imagined audience out there saying that the “horribly misogynistic” game Bravely Default was one of their best sellers.
      Dragon’s Crown for instance was also Vanillawares best selling game, despite or maybe even because of the “controversy”.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        All those words just because you don’t want girls or gays to play games. Sad really

        • taristo says:

          Yes, that’s exactly what I was saying.

          I have absolutely no problem with anyone playing anything they want to. Never have and never will have. Nor could I ever prevent anyone from doing so if I did. My problem is with the people trying to change the narrative, world building, characterization, visual design and other elements to fit with whatever ideological agenda they hold high often for the worse. I also have no problem with people making games or getting games made to their specifications even if it is something like this: http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/6/4400922/my-ex-boyfriend-the-space-tyrant-the-gayest-game-ever-made

          It’s up to anyone to concentrate on 2% of their possibly consumer base mostly, but they should just know that that isn’t the path to success and won’t get them the money of the majority or my own. If they believe that the way to “expanding the industry” is to force everyone to abide by their moral standards instead of being able to make a lot of varying stuff without getting shit on by the usual suspects then they would be wrong.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So you think making games that don’t appeal to, say black people, is the best way to expand the market to the millions of black people in the world?

            Let me guess, you don’t think black people would ever want to play games? Are they too busy listening to rap music on their stoops and playing basketball?

          • taristo says:

            How exactly do you make a game that “doesn’t appeal to black people” specifically and do you have examples of such?

            Last I looked they are people with likes and dislikes like everyone else (are black people somehow excluded from say enjoying Lord of the Rings because the main character is a small hobbit of uncanny resemblance to the Irish?) and can buy and subsequently play any game they like just like everyone else and the right thing to do would be a plea for more games about specific subjects and matters instead of trying to demonize everything that isn’t. Personally I’ve never had a problem playing a game no matter what the character was shaped like or resembling if it was good. What they’re talking about here is specifically making games worse and “forcing diversity” and eye-rolling inducing characterizations split between a simple “good values” and “bad values” dichotomy removing most of the complexity and depth due to their supposed worth as specific social propaganda: http://www.heyash.com/in-defense-of-arbitrary-diversity/

          • Sheng-ji says:

            You don’t understand why people would be put off from buying games that boil them down to a caricature? What is a black person supposed to think exactly about Cole from Gears of War?

            You do understand why you can’t buy golliwogs these days don’t you? Right now black people’s representations in games is the modern equivalent, they are caricatures boiled down to racist stereotypes to appeal to a white persons idea of what the media says a black person is.

            Same with women, gay people – do you really think that the gay game you posted above hasn’t boiled gay people down to a set of stereotypes that have nothing relevant to say about real gay people?

            Imagine now, if every game released over the next 5 years was packed full of women doing exciting things and almost every man was a goofy screw up comedy character who displayed his sexual inadequacy at every turn. The cheap sitcom comedy man trope – think Carlton from Prince of Bel Air. Are you telling me, and be honest now, that you wouldn’t criticise the industry for that?

            Of course you would, so when almost every depiction of a woman in games is a caricature, stripper trope, why are you spending so much energy railing against the criticism being leveled at the industry for that?

          • taristo says:

            You are the one trying to boil down an entire race of people to a label and certain wants and desires instead of granting them individuality and separate opinion and are somehow calling me out for it. For instance when I was much younger, my afternoon entertainment consisted of watching a variation of Prince of Bel Air, Family Matters and the Bill Cosby Show and I loved the first two very much and enjoyed the latter even though any appearance by a white character was often such a “token joke”. I could enjoy the shows and never held any “ill will”.

            Now here you are saying that the entirety of “black people” will have a problem with specific characters in a few games that don’t boil down to even half of how white people were portrayed in those shows and are thus somehow entitled to the given works being changed to fit their specific desires when the actual problem isn’t about “black people” who can play and enjoy Gears of War like everyone else but SJW thinking and competition in the oppression olympics as prominently displayed and exposed here: http://www.reddit.com/r/TumblrInAction/

            Also the game I posted above was actually made by a gay person and was what they actually desired to create and if anything I respect that above everything else.

            I also think that the “trope” thing and the magnitude of what you call a “problem” is very much blown out of proportion, but don’t really want to get into that discussion again.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Firstly, can you drop the notion that black people are one race please? I for example am Mahén and have literally no cultural crossover with Jamaicans, Nigerians, Sub Saharians, Ghanians, Aborigine Australians et al.

            Secondly, I’m telling you for fact that many black people are put off games because of the stereotyping. You can’t equate that to you watching fresh prince when you were growing up because you had access to the choice, you got to watch tv starring white families too!

            What choice to black people have, it’s either white starring token black caricature or nothing. So the black people who don’t feel adequately represented spend their money on other hobbies which don’t exclude them by shoving crude tropes into their faces.

            It’s very important that you also understand that just because a gay/woman/black person wrote a character, they are not magically by virtue of their gender/race or sexuality immune to criticism. To believe otherwise is to be discriminatory. Which you clearly are. You discriminate against people based on their sexuality, that much is confirmed.

            Now, why don’t you stop sidestepping my questions and explain why you are putting so much energy into resisting fair criticism of the industry.

  8. Kemuel says:

    “If this fleck of dust within the cornucopia of reviews, previews, interviews, trailers and news is such an irritant, perhaps the allergy needs addressing?” <-This. A thousand times this. For so many things.

  9. WinTurkey says:

    Just to be specific, when they’re talking about “the game industry” are they referring to just the US? A bulk of my games come from Europe, both west and east, I have a feeling that we’re completely glancing over those places when talking about “The Industry”. Russians may hate gays, but they also make some incredible video games, lets not fall into the pit of ethnocentrism and act as if vidya belongs to and is restricted to America.

    Hell, I’m not even mentioning Japan.

    • dE says:

      I recommend you the video about Tifa and Sepiroth. It picks up the eastern/western divide and also adresses topics such as the Bishonen. Might answer your question.

  10. frightlever says:

    Adam Orth’s tweet ruined his life.

    Brenden Eich was left with no choice but to step down as CEO of Mozilla after it was discovered that he gave a grand to an anti-gay marriage lobby, six years ago.

    So, here’s my Devil’s Advocate discussion point: One guy gets tarred and feathered for directly addressing the people his company targets with a flippant, patronising remark, the other guy has a religious conviction about traditional marriage, or at least he did six years ago, which is un-related to his public-facing job.

    Which, if any, witch hunt was justified?

    Me, I’m going with neither, and not just because I’m against gay marriage – for marriage reasons, not gay reasons. While it’s an institution we should let the gays throw themselves into it, until sanity comes and we abolish it for everyone.

    • P.Funk says:

      Abolishing a choice is no less wrong, neh?

    • PopeRatzo says:

      It wasn’t “discovered” that Eich gave to Prop 8. Those donations were always public.

      He skittered away once his job got hard. Nothing more.

    • WinTurkey says:

      Neither, Eich had an opinion on gay marriage which, at the time, mirrored that of the current president of the United States, hardly a radical opinion that made him incapable of managing a company.

      • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

        It did however conflict with what Mozilla was looking for as far as public perception goes.

        I don’t know the precise inner workings of that company, but it’s entirely likely that they were unwilling to suffer the hit in public perception employing a person with that view would bring.

        And arguing that since the president agreed it was not a problem is silly. The president was wrong as well.

        • elmo.dudd says:

          The bit about the president comes up more because the CEO of OKCupid who led the charge against Eich, donated to the president’s campaign in the same year. Eich gave money to a proposition that impacted a state, OKCupid gave money to a man holding the same views as that proposition who was looking to run the nation. So while he was happy to fund the election of a man claiming those views, he couldn’t tolerate a company promoting their CTO and co-founder to CEO with those views, where one of their major products could be used to view his site. So in short, Obama can thank his lucky stars he didn’t have a web browser.

          • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

            As I said, Obama was wrong. There is a crucial difference though!

            Obama wasn’t trying to remove the right for gays to marry. The Mozilla dude was. That’s a massive difference and one I can understand if the OK Cupid guy had a hard time overlooking.

            As an aside, donating to a politician is a weighing of pros and cons. There will always be something you don’t agree with so you have to decide if that’s a deal breaker. For that guy, I guess it wasn’t. What was his alternative? McCain and Palin? You bet I’d have donated to Obama instead. Eich actively went out of his way to take away rights for people. He’s scum.

            It’s like Orson Scott Card.

          • DoingitRight says:

            And this is the real damage that SJW cause. Death to diversity – now in order to make something sell instantly, you just need to have the plot revolve around an LGBT character. Not even with any amount of writing, mind you. They just have to act gay for one scene and suddenly it is a hit seller.

            What is sad though is that female SJWs are the worse ally the LGBT community could possibly have. A vast majority of them sexualize the LGBT community through slash fiction and BL Manga.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            DoingitRight, can you point to one piece of “slash fiction” that a female straight woman who identifies herself as a SJW has written that sexualises a lesbian or gay person.

            While you’re doing that, I’ll list the best sellers from the last year that haven’t starred a lesbian or gay person, at least not one who identifies as such.

            Grand Theft Auto,
            FIFA 14
            COD Ghosts
            Battlefield 4
            Ass Creed 4: Black Flag
            Tomb Raider
            Fifa 13
            Lego Marvel Superheros
            Minecraft
            Batman Arkham Origins
            COD BLOPS 2
            Just Dance 2014
            Far Cry 3
            Saints Row 4
            Bioshock Infinite
            Killzone Shadow Fall
            Need for Speed Rivals
            Lego Batman 2 DC Superheros
            Skylanders Swap Force
            Animal Crossing New Leaf
            Ass Creed 3
            NFS Most wanted
            Disney Infinite
            Lego Lord of the rings
            Aliens Colonial Marines (Seriously, this pile of crap was a best seller????)
            Pokemon X and Pokemon Y
            WWE 2K14
            Dead Island Riptide
            Halo 4
            Splinter Cell Blacklist
            Hitman Absolution
            Luigi’s Mansion 2 (Though I thought he was confirmed as gay, apparently not)
            Gears of War: Cliffy B edition
            Crysis 3
            Just Dance 4
            Skylanders Giants
            Football Manager 2014
            Dead Space 3
            Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
            Gran Turismo 6
            Forza 5
            GTA 4
            Sonic All Stars Racing
            Injustice: Gods among us
            Max Payne 3
            GTA Episodes from NYC
            God of War Ascension
            F1 2013
            Football Manager 2013
            Mario Kart 7
            Rayman Legends
            Dead Rising 3
            Forza Horison
            Medal of Honor War fighter
            Red Dead Redemption GOY
            Battlefield 3
            Zelda Link between worlds
            Grid 2
            Diahblow 3
            New Super Mario Bros 2
            Sim City
            The Sims 3
            Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
            Lego City Undercover the chase begins
            Sniper Ghost Warrior
            Angry Birds Star Wars
            WWE 13
            Gran Turismo 5 Academy
            Sonic Generations
            Sleeping Dogs
            Dead Island GOY
            Defiance
            Borderlands 2
            DishonoUred
            Beyond: Two souls
            Ryse son of rome
            COD MW3
            Tiger Woods PGA tour 14
            Knack
            Moshi Monsters Moshlings theme park
            Forza 4
            Lego Harry Potter
            Disney Epic Micky 2
            Mario & Sonic at the olympics
            Payday 2
            Pro Evo Soc 14
            Prof Layton and the Arazan Legacy
            The smurfs 2
            Batman Arkham City GOY
            Super Mario Land 3d
            NBA 2K14
            The sims 3 university life
            Resident Evil 6

      • Shooop says:

        It was the public perception that sank him.

        Mozilla is happy to flaunt its image of being a progressive company, but I doubt they would have cared about his views if they were kept private. The problem for them was the public was talking about it, and their public image was endangered. So they cut their losses.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      A company’s CEO has in some ways a responsibility for its brand; the same is true for a lot of workers. While Eich has the freedom to donate money in whatever way they choose, Mozilla also has the right to make business decisions, and it decided that appearing to condone homophobia was a poor decision (I’m unsure exactly what caused Eich to resign, and how much pressure inside Mozilla was applied). There’s also a difference between criticism and abuse – tweeting Orth to disagree is different from tweeting racial/homophobic abuse at them or threatening bodily harm.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        “condoning homophobia” – only he wasn’t, he was condoning a specific interpretation of a term on a legal forum. That condoning might have stemmed from a fear or hatred of certain people, but that is unlikely considering the company he helped found and their policies which he was fine with.

        • The Random One says:

          If you define homophobia as any attempt to curtail the rights of gay people due to the specific fact that they are gay, then he surely was condoning homophobia. I accept that this might not be most people’s innate idea of its definition, but do accept it is possible.

    • Moraven says:

      Adam Orth seems to be doing fine now. Game in development that is getting a lot of free press. Consults for MS.

      Eich got mobbed out of his position regardless of how is views and/or past views were going to effect the business.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Mozilla was founded as a collection of volunteers, inviting the world to help build a browser that everyone could use. As long as he stayed in a technical position, he could partition his political views, but when he took the job as CEO, he became the face of his company. His character and actions would directly reflect on Mozilla. Here’s the thing: this isn’t just about Eich having an unpopular opinion. It wasn’t even about him being a stick-in-the-mud trying to preserve the status quo.

      California’s original ban on on gay marriage had already been found unconstitutional, and Prop 8 was formulated to get around that ruling by denying gay and lesbian couples in different way. Eich actively donated money to the Prop8 campaign and donated money to politicians who were running on pro-Prop 8 platforms.

      Now, as many people have noted, it’s possible to change for your mind to change over a period of six years. Barack Obama’s views have famously ‘evolved’ to the point where he now supports gay marriage. The important difference is that Obama has publicly talked about his change of heart after wrestling with ideas of human rights and faith, and hadn’t tried to sweep his old position under the rug.

      Back to Eich. Californian LGBT couples had had the right to marry and then had it taken away. When asked about his current stance on gay marriage, he refused to answer. When asked if he’d donate to a campaign to ban gay marriage for a third time, he wouldn’t answer. The guy hadn’t changed his mind, but he thought he could cruise under the radar if he kept his answers vague and subdued. But he wouldn’t even rule out trying to infringe the rights of his employees and fellow citizens in the future.

      How could a guy like that continue to manage his company? The decision to hire him had already resulted in two of the five members of the Mozilla board to resign (both ex-CEOs). He tried to have his cake and eat it, too, proving that he’d never be an effective execute officer.

      Source: http://techreport.com/news/26276/friday-shortbread?post=813466

    • Chuckleluck says:

      My problem with the LGBT lobby is their aggressiveness. For a group that always talks about tolerance, they (the majority, including institutions such as GLAAD) seem to be intolerant of other views of a fairly controversial issue.

      On another note, why don’t we see avocation for more religious diversity in games? Aside from Civilization V, I can’t remember a game that involved a religion (though maybe I’m not playing the right games). I think if we considered Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, etc., we could certainly have more colorful characters.

      • Philopoemen says:

        Crusader Kings 2 has all the religions you’d like (any of the Paradox Grand Strategy games really), in fact it’d be arguable that they’re integral to the game.

      • Volcanu says:

        I’d say that games generally avoid the subject of real world religions altogether. At least any exploration of the themes, messages and central beliefs of them- you do get them cropping up in things like Civ, CK2 the TW games and so on.

        It’s a bit like the etiquette for dinner parties- on the whole it’s best to avoid discussing religion or politics unless you want to stir up a whole hornet’s nest of problems for yourself.

        Given the current, rather simplistic approach to narrative and ethical issues in most games I would actually rather they avoid tackling real world religion.

        That said it’s quite common to explore religion and the intolerance of fanatics in abstracted ‘fantasy’ religions. That comes up quite often in games.

      • TheLetterM says:

        I just finished playing Assassin’s Creed (the original), and I’d say it did an OK job of portraying religion. It had a lot of incidental dialogue about the conflict between Christians and Muslims without necessarily demonizing one more than the other.

        To your main point, I’m not sure what issues you’re talking about, but it sounds dangerously close to the “LGBT groups always say they want tolerance, but how come they are so intolerant when I want to say the Fa-word, or when I actively support a religion that openly calls for discrimination against people like me?”

      • Fumarole says:

        My problem with the LGBT lobby is their aggressiveness. For a group that always talks about tolerance, they (the majority, including institutions such as GLAAD) seem to be intolerant of other views of a fairly controversial issue.

        “The LGBT community should be much more tolerant towards those that would treat them as second-class citizens.”

      • SuicideKing says:

        When you walk all over someone for long enough, ignore them and dismiss them, rebellion remains the only option. They’ve been persecuted both historically and individually for centuries and since a lot of them were young respectively, what the fuck do you think…

      • P.Funk says:

        Religion had its 2 millenia and it can go fuck itself now. LGBT people have one lifetime each on this planet and they’ll be damned if they’re going to be uncomfortable on it because of some ancient dogma.

        There I said it.

    • Shooop says:

      The Escapist did a podcast bit about Eich resigning from Mozilla.

      Their takeaway point was Mozilla is a very ideological company – they pride themselves on their ideals more than anything. Eich’s stance on that issue pretty much flied in the face of the company’s operating philosophy of being about freedom.

      Mozilla says the reason he left was because the public took the controversy and ran with it, making his job difficult. Which would mean the company just did what was financially sound for the company – end the controversy the public is chattering about.

      My take is I’m surprised no one investigated whether or not his ideological stance went any deeper than a campaign contribution.

      • almostDead says:

        He refused to state his personal opinions.

        He could have kept his job if he had done an Obama or other weasely politician method of moving when the prevailing wind was set by the majority.

        He didn’t. All he had to do is lie. He could have done what most people who maintain their place at the top do. Lie. I’m sure there were reams of PR drones at his company that could have crafted a mea culpa statement for him, about how wrong he was and how much he has learned from that day.

        There is so much benefit for him to lie. He, for whatever reason wouldn’t state his opinion- so it hasn’t changed, or he wouldn’t lie about it.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          I don’t think the way Obama handled it was weasly. I very much suspect that Obama, being the lawyerly person that he is, realised early on that these laws wouldn’t pass constitutional scrutiny, so this was a problem that would solve itself as it wound its way through the courts. No need to spend political capital on that. He simply stuck with the times and evolved along with the general sentiment, feeding the feedback loop with small steps like getting rid of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ for example.
          It’s always possible that his stance genuinely evolved as the discussion progressed, or even that he’s just following spin doctor advice, but we’ll never know anyway. Mind reading still doesn’t exist.

    • toxic avenger says:

      Marriage reasons are gay reasons. Who are you trying to kid? I’m as Catholic as they come. This has nothing to do with precedent. People believe what they want to believe: you don’t actively believe and practice everything that happens in Leviticus. If you do, please let me help you find a mental institution.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        You don’t burn cereal to keep God’s link to this world strong? Heresy!

        - stalks off to set fire to a bowl of rice krispies -

  11. namad says:

    Even if many women want to work in games development there’s really no disputing the fact that there are a lot more men interested in doing the job, schools would love to enroll more women in their cs departments but less apply, workplace discrimination isn’t that likely to be directly linked to teenage women being less likely to enroll in cs electives than teenage men.

    • P.Funk says:

      Part of that would also be cultural bias. Women being girly and doing women things. Games being marketed mostly to men means that women have less to be interested in in their pre-existing girly way (which is its own conversation).

      Where are women most going to make headway these days? I guess its the indie scene, which is niche, which is small in number, which means less wider cultural attention to the typical female who likes female stuff.

      This is when this stops being just about games and becomes the conversation about broader gender roles and pre-conditioned expectations. Looking at a social problem in a totally isolated way doesn’t work.

      There’s no small way to fix something that is so entrenched it has a chicken/egg quotient to it.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      There is a broader cultural problem, which is feeding from childhood into adulthood. I think that while you’re right that reducing workplace discrimination doesn’t address childhood problems, creating an environment where adults view each other as equals might create an environment where those adults don’t then teach bigotry to their children. It’s not a simple, quick process, but I’d think that reducing sexism (or bigotry in general) in certain places would help reduce it overall by changing attitudes.

    • dE says:

      When looking at future job prospects, the idea of joining a society that is actively hostile towards you, isn’t exactly encouraging. So why would there be no link between what happens in a future job and the decision to take up that job?

      • derbefrier says:

        Why would you jump to that conclusion that this is the major contributing factor though? I mean sure it is possible a few women here and there have a bad experience that scares them away but how many high school graduates have insider knowledge of a certain industry when they are applying to college courses. hell how many have a clue whats in store for them other than ” i want to make videogames”, or ” i wanna be a doctor”, or I wanna be an enginner”, or I wanna be an electrition” at that point in their lives. I think its a false equivalency. I see no reason to assume that this is a major contributing factor keeping women out of the industry. To me it seems more reasonable to say a majority of women are not interested in this field, you could try and argue that some ingrained form of gender roles is the reason there is no interest but at this point you would just be guessing as there is no way to effectively measure that making it just as valid as any other guess.

        • Nanmais says:

          “it is possible a few women here and there have a bad experience”

          Seriously? A few?

          Let me sum up your reasoning: there are very few A in field B so A must not be interested in working in field B. Now replace A with any category you want and think twice about what you’ve said in regards to social evolution.

          Also I don’t need to have any insider knowledge to know that in an industry dominated by men sexism and discrimination towards women is gonna happen. I’ve already experienced that. Many times. That’s the world I live in every day.

          • SuicideKing says:

            It’s like derbefrier didn’t read this article or watch any of the videos.

          • derbefrier says:

            yes a few is what i said. take that how you will but in the context I meant a few means a small minority not any literal number. Do you really think its reasonable to assume there are 10s of thousands of women wanting to get into the video game industry but cant because they are too scared? that doesn’t seem reasonable to me with what i have experienced and seen in my life. I am not saying its not possible just that its very unlikely given all the other factors one makes when deciding how they want to further their education, or deciding what career path to choose. I am simply arguing that making the assumption sexism is the sole reason that women are a small minority in the field seems like a stretch from where i am sitting and please dont try and argue that college age women dont take programming classes because they read on the internet the world is sometimes a mean place or whatever, give them a bit more credit than that.

          • dE says:

            You’re just the master of twisting words, it’s almost funny. No. It’s not the sole reason. That’s you twisting my words to mean what you need so you can fire a broadside steeped in denial at it. Alas, while hostility and hellish working climate is not the sole reason, it’s one of the major reasons why we don’t see more women in technological jobs. This has got nothing to do with being scared but rather quality of life decisions.

            It’s also not something that magically starts at college but rather threads through entire school careers. All the bullshit of women suppesedly being better at languages but lost at math, the exclusive nerd culture that goes into cardiac arrest if a woman dares enter their domain, these things permeate through life and are fair outlook on what will happen in a technical job, that is dominated by nerd culture. I’m not in the mood for long and patient replies today so I’ll refer you to the videos, the Directory of Open Access Journals or just plain googling for studies to that effect. These things have been treaded before, the dead horse is in a very poor condition.

          • SuicideKing says:

            @debriefer So i take it you know 10′s of thousands of women? Okay.

            See, women in many societies aren’t encouraged to get into things that are supposed to be “for men”. Those who are by their parents, or by themselves, then face social stigma in real life, and by the hordes on the internet who don’t think that maintaining an uninviting attitude towards women on the internet will discourage them, and maintain uninviting attitudes.

            Okay, here, read this. A friend of mine, so for heaven’s sake don’t spam her blog.

            Note that “engendered” means gender neutral, and is the feminist theory meaning, not the dictionary meaning.

          • derbefrier says:

            look guys please dont act like I am completely against any of this, my intent here was to try and understand something that doesn’t make sense to me by asking questions . If you see me”twisting” my words as you say, its just an attempt to get you to understand my point, not to manipulate you, I am simply trying to figure out how these conclusions were made and as far as i can tell its mostly “because i said so”, or this one “study” in this one random article proves it(news flash numbers in studies are often manipulated to get the result people want, take them with a grain of salt). that article doesn’t prove anything by the way. Its an idea that may have merit but that’s about it, you take it any farther than that it ceases being an idea to becoming dogma and that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe i am just incapable of comprehending this or maybe it possible you guys have just bought into a line of rhetoric that may not be as big an issue as some would like to believe. I am certainly not getting this answer here though. This seems to be one of things were you just believe what want based on your own preconceptions about the issue.

            Ok after typing all that gibberish I thought about it some more. It seems I am probably an idiot focused on crap that doesn’t really matter. I can see and understand that it exists, maybe not to the degree some may claim, but it does exist nonetheless and that’s what’s important not whatever bullshit numbers or surveys we pull out of our asses. I guess I sometimes let my general distrust of people sway my focus to the irrelevent rather than what’s important. It doesn’t matter how many women are affect by this, what matters is that they are and I think that even one girl that is intimmitaded out of a career choice us too much. Foot meet mouth….

          • twaitsfan says:

            @derbefrier Don’t be browbeaten into submission. What you’re saying make sense. What they’re saying makes sense. The answer isn’t digital, it’s analog. It’s somewhere in the middle. Each side saying they’re completely right is the silliness of emotional arguing. Are there some women intimidated into not joining the industry? Certainly. Is there some male trait be it natural or societal that that attracts more men to gaming? Certainly. Can we fix the former and still acknowledge the latter? I would maintain that we can do only that. Or the status quo will remain.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      The first year at my university program in electical engineering there were just three female students in a class of ~50. One graduated last year and the other ones dropped out AFAIK.
      I switched to computer engineering the second year and it’s even worse here, there were more female students when we started but second year and all of them are gone.

      The local industry is doing everything they can to get more women into the business and you’re guaranteed a job the day you graduate if you’re female.
      The few women working at the local tech companies I’ve visited (one of them is a manager for a larger team working with stock market systems) has never said anything about negative treatment because of their gender (doesn’t mean it’s non-existent though).
      Note: This is in Sweden and I don’t have any insight into any of the few game studios here.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Not true in India, CS/IT departments are full of women. I’d say almost equal enrollment in CS, female majority in IT. Our mechanical departments don’t get women, though.

      EDIT: That said, few people aim to get into games development here anyway so you perhaps the wrong place to look for more female game devs.

      • taristo says:

        See the Gender Equality Paradox: http://vimeo.com/19707588

        TL;DW of it is basically that in countries like India where the base rights and wants aren’t fulfilled women will most likely choose jobs that make money and are considered “successful” just to support their families, even if that isn’t what they actually want to do with their lives.

        While in Norway, Sweden and similar countries that are always in the Top10 of “Gender Equality” in the world they have free choice to focus on what they really want to do with their lives given their basic needs are provided for.

        I don’t think forcing people (of either gender) to do things that they have no aptitude or interest in is the way to go and move forward. Give them all the chances and encouragement in the world to do whatever they want, but don’t force quotas.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Ha! You’re actually saying that women have no interest in IT or tech jobs. I suppose next you’ll decide that little boys play with cars naturally and little girls dolls – it’s nothing to do with them being raised in a society that defines the toys and jobs you should be interested in based on your gender.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            I don’t think that’s what he said really.
            There is an actual real difference in the level of tech-interest between the genders. It’s a cultural and social structure forced on us from the moment we are born, resulting in fewer women interested in tech and instead going for natural science, humanities etc instead of engineering.
            (Give your daughters lego instead of barbie dolls?)

            Edit: okay perhaps I should’ve clicked the link before writing, he’s on his own I think…

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I think we both agree on exactly what he said – I was merely pointing out, as you also believe that this is not some chemical level thing in females, this is as a result of how we raise our children, how we react to them if we see them playing with the wrong genders toys, wearing the wrong colour or applying for the wrong job.

            So if there are very few women in tech or IT jobs, maybe we, as a society needs to stop thinking of these jobs as male jobs – and stop believing whatever the underlying cause of that assertion is: Do we as a society believe women aren’t as good as men at programming for example, if so, that’s a sexist belief that needs to be purged from our collective minds.

            Maybe when a little girl says that she wants to play on the xbox, we should stop grandma telling her that it’s a “boys toy”, wouldn’t she be much happier playing with the tea set.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            100% agreed. Some reading comprehension fail on my part.
            I should know better than commenting at 4 in the morning. >_>

          • Silenus says:

            So you really believe we’re born a tabula rasa? That the only differences in male and female behaviour and thought are determined by culture? If so, what studies have you been reading? Everything I’ve ever read on the subject points to inherent neurological differences between men and women, and a substantial influence of genes over all aspects of behaviour and cognitive ability.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            If Silenus reply was to me (a little hard to tell now):

            No I don’t believe in the blank slate mind. There are many variables forming us as we grow up, some of them inherent.
            There are neurological differences yes. Yet there are women working in engineering professions, are they just “tomboys”? I don’t think life is that binary.

            Btw I don’t see what genes have to do with it.
            The only genetic difference between male and female is a Y chromosome instead of one of the X.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Silenus – Things change, obviously – no-one goes through their life static, people constantly re-evaluate themselves, change their minds and think of things from a new direction. They don’t do this in a bubble, however, they are still heavily influenced by their immediate surroundings, the culture that surrounds them and the society they live in.

            Never underestimate the effects of your childhood and how powerful an influence it has over your life however, especially the teenage years

    • Shooop says:

      Probably just because there’s more men wandering about looking for work in general. People don’t adjust the statistics for that fact.

      The real question that concerns me is when a woman does decide she wants that kind of work, is the environment hostile to her simply because of her gender? If the statistics they gave are to be believed, the answer is terrifyingly, yes.

      That definitely has an effect on how many other women would consider that line of work because someone who’s suffering a poor work environment talks about their experiences with other people. And like that we circle back to the skewed argument that “There’s no women here because they don’t want this type of job!” Self-fulling prophecy.

  12. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    I like the idea of “Free to See” (or F2C). If you pay $5, you can buy hats to put on each of the panel members, and another $10 adds dances for the speakers.

    • TWChristine says:

      The only problem then is that all conferences will adopt that for the casual market, and where will us hardcore conference (that sounds odd..) attendees go? Everything’s being dumbed down for the console conference crowd as it is!

      • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

        It depends. If done right then I don’t have a problem if people pay extra for conference hats, it’s when conferences hire burly security guards to frown at you if you don’t pay, or when they start charging $20 to skip toilet queues that I get annoyed.

    • Schiraman says:

      *pays $15*
      *adds hat and dance to Gap Gen*

      • SuicideKing says:

        Does GAP make hats now? :D

      • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

        *jiggles seductively*

        • SuicideKing says:

          With hardware accelerated PhysX.

          • The Random One says:

            omg that hair ♥_♥

          • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

            A graphic design intern is working on a Gap Gen mesh for the upcoming F2C RPS Comments game. A publisher walks past. “Needs to be more scraggly.” The beard hairs become unevenly distributed, tangled fibres knitting a forest of despair. Generations of wildlife have known no other place. The skin beneath is a pallid, cratered moonscape. The publisher slaps them. “I SAID SCRAGGLY”.

  13. Premium User Badge melnificent says:

    A post containing pretty much the reasons I always check out RPS. Just because something is uncomfortable or awkward for some (or the majority) to hear doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be heard.

  14. Golden Pantaloons says:

    I was wondering if anyone playing Guild Wars 2 has had any thoughts about the new (NPC) characters they introduced in the recently concluded Living Story event.
    These characters included a lesbian couple and a little girl who’s disabled (she can barely walk unassisted).
    While mostly played on the safe side, I think this was a huge step forwards in terms of diversity in MMO’s, especially given that the characters are presented as (upcoming) heroes, someone the player is encouraged to look up to or even emulate.

    • Serenegoose says:

      I think it’s been excellent. I do have reservations about GW2 (almost 100% of which are ‘the armour….’) but I think in terms of diversity it’s one of the best games I’ve played. Especially Tegwen and Carys, who, although much less important characters, have been around for a lot longer. And are sweet.

  15. Kollega says:

    When people start talking about “inclusivity in games”, what I’m most often reminded of is not the lack of female or LGBT protagonists in games, but the lack of protagonists of different races and cultures. It’s not more important, but it is more egregious and less understandable. You don’t often get to play as a black character outside of sandbox crime game (which is pretty disturbing considering that ‘Murrica has both a large black population, including their president, and the leading position in game production), you don’t often get to play as Hispanic or Asian guys and girls, you don’t even get to play as other Europeans who aren’t of British descent – the French or Germans or Poles or Swedes or Russians. And don’t even get me started on Indians or Middle-Easterners. It’s always the same Action Genre Hero Guy: a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant with short brown hair and propensity for no-nonsense violence.

    The point is, games are really, really lacking in diversity, to an almost horrifying extent. You have more chance of playing as a robot or alien than as a some representative of human species other than that white short-brown-haired guy. The indie scene really should rise up and include more differing protagonists from different races, cultures, and walks of life, and maybe that will eventually seep upwards into the AAA industry (assuming the AAA industry doesn’t just fall apart under its own weight, anyway).

    • Guvornator says:

      I remember someone praising Dragon Age tackled racism, which was interesting considering, unless the player chose to make one, there were no black people in it.

      I think a lot of the lack of diversity is down to the perceived inadequacies of the writers. They’re scared (and understandably so) of falling into the trap of writing stereotypes. But even a poor portrayal of a race is infinitely preferable to ignoring them, as long as it’s an honest attempt to portray them fairly.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      That’s not exclusive to games though. The movie industry does crap like Prince of Persia – Starring Jake Gyllenhaal because their target audience should be more “comfortable to identify with the character”.

      @Guvornator
      It’s also the fault of cowards at the larger publishers.
      Remember Me had issues with publishing because of the female protatonist:
      “You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that’s going to feel awkward.”

      • Guvornator says:

        “So who should we get to play this Persian Prince? Remember, he must be fit the profile of someone who would be a) a Prince and b) from Persia. Those are the two things to remember, he must be befitting Middle-Eastern royalty, someone who would perhaps be a Muslim, with brown skin and a Arabic look. Like he was from Iran, because that’s the modern day equivalent. We want someone who looks and understands what being a brave, handsome, courageous Muslim royal is all about, with no preconceived negative notions regarding Muslims”

        “Er….how about this White Jewish American?”

        “Great!!!”

        • seventh_wave says:

          Before making observations about race and how it is represented in games/media you should probably take some time and do some research first. There is a significant difference between “Arabic” and “Persian”.

          • Guvornator says:

            Apologies, although I would still make the point that none of those would point to the box marked “can be skillfully portayed by Jake Gyllenhaal”

          • Geebs says:

            Hey, Jake Gyllenhal was slightly plausible. Gemma Arterton was the really egregious one.

  16. P-Dazzle says:

    Gaming is awesome. This is all liberal/social justice warrior nonsense.

    • iucounu says:

      God, I hate social justice and liberty.

      • P-Dazzle says:

        Incorrect – you hate the fact that people really are different. That scares you doesn’t it! :)

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Nobody is saying that people aren’t different, they’re saying that they should be fairly represented. But yeah nice try.

        • Nevard says:

          There’s definitely someone who is deeply worried about the truth of that statement in this comment thread.

        • iucounu says:

          Oh, god, it’s true! I do wish everyone were the same, and that perhaps we could settle on some kind of default for protagonists in video games to reflect that. I’m saying, bald straight male space marine.

          • Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

            Dammit, we have the tech to go in space and be space marines and make lasers go pew-pew, but we can’t un-baldify our troops?

          • Volcanu says:

            AngelTear

            Its an entirely unavoidable side effect of being in such close proximity to one’s fellow space marines for prolonged periods. Pickling in a testosterone filled soup causes sudden and irrevocable hair loss.

            In (space) war, follicles are the first casualty.

      • iucounu says:

        *sigh*

        You appear to be conflating ‘liberty’ with ‘nobody getting to call me out on my shitty opinions’. You can say what you like; I can mock you for it, and organise panels to talk about what I want to talk to, and blog about it on my website if I wish.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          It’s not even about “opinions” really. It’s kind of inevitable that some people are going to believe things that other people will find unpleasant.
          It’s the treatment of people. If you treat people badly you will be treated badly. That simple.

      • John Walker says:

        If you read what’s actually here, rather than the mad made up version in your head, you’ll see that’s not even vaguely true. People who have constructively disagreed have held civil discussions, and not received your imagined abuse. Others have thrown around lazy insults and received the response they deserve.

        Constructively respond with why you disagree with – um – tolerance? and people will respond in kind.

        I’d suggest you also do some research into Marxism, as I’m not sure you’ve quite got the idea about what it is.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          I’m most definitely not responding to any specific incident here, John, but the reasons why people might disagree with tolerance are pretty well documented, in that intolerance is generally speaking more ideologically coherent than tolerance.

          Consider: Your opinion is X, and my opinion is Y. Your opinion, X, is that all opinions are valid. My opinion, Y, is that all contrary opinions must be destroyed. Philosophically speaking, opinion X (the tolerant one) is disadvantaged from the get-go. Once opinion Y has designated an enemy, it must destroy it. Opinion X, however, is confronted with a dilemma: it either maintains coherence of principles and allows itself to be destroyed, or it forsakes its principles in order to eliminate Y.

          Therein lies the problem of announcing that “This is my opinion (and its the tolerant one).” You might as well append onto the end “…and is thus doomed.” Much better to just say “this is my opinion, I dislike your opinion, you dislike my opinion, we will fight (or argue, whatever) until one of us loses the energy to continue”.

    • SuicideKing says:

      You know, if you just made this one troll post and went away, it would be cool, but don’t go around poisoning the rest of the threads.

      /blocked

  17. Carlos Danger says:

    So they are trying to turn all video games into an episode of Law and Order, oh joy. Wish they could provide a list of games they are working with so I can save my money. Bigots pushing their new and improved bigotry because this time they got it right.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      It seems so fucking obvious that I’m loathe to bother typing it, but:

      1) At no point is anyone calling for people to be forced to do anything, they are opening up debate and voicing their opinions.

      2) Restricting people’s liberty to harm and marginalise others is not the same as restricting people’s liberty by harming and marginalising them. Case in point, the entire western legal system. It is not bigotry to prejudice against people because they are bigoted against other people’s sexuality, race or gender. One action is intent on marginalising, the other is intent on empowering. And if you really dont get that then you’re a nasty little man indeed.

      • taristo says:

        This is kind of the effect of bullying someone into submission and calling them a horrible person if they don’t do what you say: http://orogion.deviantart.com/journal/Save-the-Boob-plate-380891149
        http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=35390.msg941073#msg941073

        There are so many cases of this shit seeping in the wonderful new world of “social media” from Donglegate to Mozillagate to that woman that made an off-color joke before boarding a plane that I fail to see how you people do not realize that you are forming mobs to will others into submission.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Our society form “mobs” to “bully” drink drivers too!

          • taristo says:

            Disagreeing with someones opinion or creative decisions within an entertainment product that they created is the same as driving over people and killing them because of gross negligence. It would be funny if this wasn’t what you probably actually believed.

            And angry mobs have very often even killed or attacked and beat innocent people because they believed they were guilty of some sort of crime. This is usually what is behind the police withholding any information into investigations until they are damn sure of what happened.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            There are no actual mobs though are there? Thats why I put the word in quotes, to highlight how you distort the English language to strengthen your false argument. No-ones going to get beaten by a group of RPS readers because we are not all collected in one place shouting. We are not “angry” either – see that quotes thing again.

            Oh and FYI, hate crime is in fact a crime, and it’s a crime because it does damage our society. Just like drink driving.

          • taristo says:

            I would call people out to get someone whatever the reason, potentially putting their job, future, health and possibly family in danger a “mob” even if the place it occurs isn’t the town square with torches and pitchforks but Twitter and from people all around the world.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            How do you beat people over twitter again?

            Oh, I’m pretty sure that the police withold evidence until they are 100% certain they have enough to convict someone so that they don’t tip off that person that they are collecting evidence on them as opposed to some sort of flash mob forming over twitter and beating them to death with criticism of the crime they may have committed.

  18. Shadrach says:

    Ooh! Looking forward to seeing “that slide” in Brenda Romero’s talk – apparently it was truly shocking, well according to One Life Left at least.

  19. spleendamage says:

    I just wish we could do without the admonishing of the children as part of the article. A preferable strategy might be to write your piece, and if you must, put the parenting in the first comment. The way this was presented detracts and distracts from what the speakers are saying and puts the focus on the troublemaker commenters’ agendas.

    • Guvornator says:

      While I do agree with John, I do think he tends to present them in overly confrontational fashion, which is somewhat counter productive, as it just gets the people he’s aiming at on the defensive rather than engaging positively. It’s sort of a hair shirt for him – the more he suffers for his beliefs, the more they matter. Pop psychology FTW!

      • Nanmais says:

        Congratulations! I guess this wasn’t your intention but what you’re saying is very close to the ‘You Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry’ argument aka a very, very common derailing tactic. Also telling things how they *are* isn’t being confrontational. Making a point about what you believe is worth talking about isn’t being confrontational. Telling what you will do and what you won’t do in your *own* space isn’t being confrontational. The only people feeling confronted here are the people who I wished watched the videos and listened and tried to understand what they’re saying. The only people being confrontational are the people who refuse to even admit that these topics are topics which can be talked about and *vocally* and often rudely let it know.

        • Guvornator says:

          Congratulations! You have successfully managed to write a patronising response, and undermined your argument from the get go by being, well, confrontational.

          In Britain a mosque managed to engage and defuse an anti-Muslim riot by bring them tea and engaging with them. Nelson Mandela won freedom for his people by engaging with the very people who oppressed him. But folks still think the best way to get change is yelling from whatever castle they’re in.

          I’m not saying he shouldn’t be saying these things. What I am saying is starting the article with a paragraph telling people who disagree with him to piss off will not convert the haters. Everyone who would willingly believe in this cause does, but it’s the people who are against it who need to be converted.

          • twaitsfan says:

            Wow – well said.

          • Nanmais says:

            And you’ve just used this derailing tactic yourself.

            Preventing a riot through peaceful means doesn’t mean anti-Muslim sentiments have disappeared, right? Or that this won’t happen again. It’s a step in the right direction but it’s just a step. As for Mandela you’re vastly oversimplifying his actions as well as the actions of all the other people who participated in the abolition of apartheid in SA. This took decades and many different sorts of actions from all sorts of people.

            I don’t see how firmly telling people that you will keep speaking up about something you care about and think is important in your own news blog and that they can either try and listen or go away if the mere presence of such an article or reference from time to time bothers them so much –article or reference they can easily skip or ignore– is yelling.
            Do you think the point of these articles is to ‘convert’ the haters? I don’t. Sure, haters can change their minds. It’s happened. But do you think speeches and articles usually convince them? To me, this is for people who are willing to listen but don’t really see where the problem is. Don’t get that this concerns them too. The indifferent ones. The ignorant ones. And I don’t say this pejoratively. You can see in the comments that some people don’t see how much of a problem this is, and what a profound impact it can have.

          • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

            It’s worth noting that before Mandela engaged peacefully he engaged or at least was an important part of ANC and they engaged less peacefully.

            You don’t see many examples of genuine progress fueled by amicable discussion from the outset. That’s not how it works. That comes later, when it’s time to patch up.

            Also, an argument is not invalidated because it’s patronizing. That’s silly. In fact, that’s a tone argument and it’s another derailing tactic.

          • Geebs says:

            Bombing got Mandela imprisoned, peaceful protest made him President….

          • twaitsfan says:

            Again, the point isn’t which argument is valid, the point is convincing other people. Your own righteousness and/or confidence in your argument does not convince other people of it. And the more you shake your first the less many will listen. No one is arguing the points of the talks (in this subthread); the first six words of the initial reply were “While I do agree with John”.

            It is the messaging, not the message.

            Taking this argument to the meta argument, we could definitely debate as to which method is better to convince people. That is a valid debate in which I’m open to the idea that some yelling is necessary. But at the end of the day, coming in a sympathetic and even affected participant (search below for “Obsessive Compulsive” to get my angle), reading the wording of that john’s second paragraph seriously put me off and that’s not something that can be argued. I had a negative feeling based on that paragraph and made me less open to the message to follow.

          • Nanmais says:

            @twaitsfan: and we’re back to the tone argument. I could quote the article I linked to but I trust you’ve read it. Obviously you don’t agree with what it says.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Indeed, Nanmais, the article you linked is not the be all and end all of conversation. I’m glad you realise that. :)

          • toxic avenger says:

            Why pacify a group of people who think both your life, as you live it, is less important and should not be openly discussed in a positive way? Why talk to a group of people who are implacable beyond normal logic? Do you know anyone who has thought this topic is, “fucking stupid” and other ideas not backed by research, suddenly change their minds? This is like the Israeli Palestinian conflict, in many senses.

        • twaitsfan says:

          “Making a point about what you believe is worth talking about isn’t being confrontational.” True, but that doesn’t mean that’s what John is doing. It’s clear you feel very strongly, but again you can make a point without being confrontational. Gandhi wasn’t about getting in people’s face but still got his point across. Don’t confuse the message with the delivery of the message.

          • Nanmais says:

            So you believe what John is writing here is getting into people’s faces? How so? And how is it different from organizing protests and marches like Gandhi did? That’s a serious question. I’m really asking what you consider ‘getting into people’s faces’?

          • twaitsfan says:

            @nanmais – yep, the aside is pretty confrontational. Now before you say “are you saying that …insert sentence from aside here… isn’t true”, I’m not arguing that. I’m saying there’s a far less snarky way of saying it.

            In terms of “getting in peoples faces”, getting hung up on an axiom is also a pretty nifty derailment technique.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Gandhi did get in people’s (the British) faces and stayed there, but did that non-violently so using violence against him won him a moral victory, that led to more popular support.

        • spleendamage says:

          For the record, I didn’t say confrontational. What I was saying was more that he was being like a parent anticipating kids who will misbehave. If you all don’t sit still and be quiet, you’ll have to leave. It’s sort of like the copyright warnings at the start of DVDs saying how much trouble you’ll be in if you pirate this disk. Everyone has to watch it, pirates or not.
          I’m not offended by what was said. I just felt like it didn’t apply to me anyway, so it was just something to get through to read the actual content I was interested in.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        If you’re angry, get angry. If you feel people need to be confronted, confront them.

        Likewise, if you want to criticise someone for being upset by an upsetting thing, go right ahead and do it. I suspect you’ll need to be prepared for various flavours of internet mockery as a result, though.

  20. blobb says:

    … I just kinda wish people would focus on real problems. Y’know, instead of crying over a boob in a videogame.

    • TheLetterM says:

      I just kinda wish people would focus on real problems problems that affect me.

      That’s what you meant to say, right?

      If you really think that people are just “crying over a boob,” you’re not really paying attention and shouldn’t be a part of the conversation. I’m not saying that you can’t have a different opinion, but if you’re not willing to take the time to understand what you’re criticizing for longer than the thirty seconds it takes to type out a dismissive comment, maybe it’s better that you don’t engage in the discussion.

    • rhubarb says:

      I kinda wish people would focus on real problems instead of writing uninformed comments on articles they obviously didn’t read about videos they obviously didn’t watch on the subject of issues that obviously don’t affect them personally.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I know it’s difficult, but please, grow up.

      • Alzu says:

        Yeah, grow up and stop talking about real problems in the world. Come and talk about the problems in games with the adults.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Gaming is a huge part of our culture. Our culture defines who we as a society are. It is important.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          You could start a discussion about these yet-to-be-mentioned “real world” problems on your own website. Or you could, if you pulled your head out of your arse for five minutes. Perhaps you’d even be able to make a nonfalacious argument at that point.

  21. Burzmali says:

    In the US, political change happens at the ballot booth not on the street, I’d assume the same happens across the first world. Folks can beat drums and scream at rallies until their voices are raw, but if that isn’t getting the (female) meat in the seats in STEM programs, they’re no more changing the world than a tea partier marching down the street with an “Impeach Obama” sign.

    I guess this lets people feel like they are “making a difference”TM, so there’s that at least.

    • TheLetterM says:

      Yes, because having a discussion about how we can fix the problem is totally pointless and just for feeling useful. How would you suggest we enact change without discussion, short of a military coup?

      • Burzmali says:

        I see very little discussion, I see preaching to the choir. Change comes when you convince the bulk of the population that change is warranted, if the number of younger girls choosing to enroll in STEM programs in increasing naturally, this is working, otherwise it is just chest beating.

        • TheLetterM says:

          Yes, change happens because you convince the majority to rethink their positions, but I think you are confusing a panel for a drum circle. Speaking to an audience that wants change isn’t necessarily chest beating, I can think of at least three good reasons to talk to like-minded people:

          1. You have audience members that are curious but unconvinced. Panel discussions can help sway those that are on the fence.

          2. You have audience members who feel they are alone. Leigh Alexander addresses this directly. Especially when you are part of a minority or disempowered group, it is very easy to feel like there’s no support or solidarity. Panels like this help reinforce that there is a larger movement and may encourage attendees to be more courageous in advocating for change.

          3. You educate your audience on facts or arguments that they may not have been aware of.

          I’m 100% in agreement that marches, rallies, drum circles, etc. are of limited value, but I think simplistic cynicism is blinding you to the idea that any discussion within a group is necessary before trying to sway they larger public.

          • Burzmali says:

            I think these tend to feature lots of 2 and less of 1 and 3. The question they seem to want be asking “How can we fight today” instead of “How can this war be won”. I don’t see why young women would be signing up to a career like this when misogyny and sexism in the industry are your lead talking points.”Come be a programmer, you’re only 60% likely to be harassed, well at least it’s better than working for NASCAR”.

          • TheLetterM says:

            Your argument might have merit if this were, say, an actual recruiting drive aimed at potential graduates. Last I checked, GDC was for folks who are already in the industry and interested in improving it..

          • Burzmali says:

            That’s what I mean when I say “fighting right now”. The long term effect of making your industry appear to a cesspit of misogyny and sexism (despite its numbers not being too far from the norm) is unlikely to produce the positive results they are looking for.

          • TheLetterM says:

            I don’t think having an discussion panel with industry people saying, “Hey, we have a behavior problem with how some gamers, developers, and publishers act, and we want to hold them accountable and change it” is what’s fostering the negative image. Perhaps the problem might lie with, I don’t know, the people who are actually acting like asshats?

            Don’t blame the whiteblowers and protesters for the shining a spotlight.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Civil Rights movement in the 60s had the same arguments from people who didn’t want change to occur. So you like protesting? I don’t like protesting, it doesn’t help anything. So you should stop protesting.

    • Nanmais says:

      And political views have nothing to do with education, media, environment? Things you’ve seen, read, heard, watched? Were taught?
      Also are you saying that, historically, rallies and protests have had no effect on politics in the US? Are you really saying that?

      • Burzmali says:

        I’m saying that in around the last 240 years or so never has a rally or protest or public outcry accomplished anything when the voters in the ballot booths disagreed.

        • Volcanu says:

          Ah, but these things you mention DO serve to change public opinion (sometimes, not always). Which leads to change through the ballot box. The civil rights movement for instance, changed mainstream public opinion in the US – not through any one aspect in isolation, but through the weight of many factors, the contribution of many actors (not the thespian kind) great and small and through a combination of different methods of protest, persuasion and dissent.

          Rallies and protests were very much a facet of this. Eventually the weight of public opinion brought political change.

          • Burzmali says:

            The value of attempts to change public opinion through rallies and the like are only measurable through the poll. Screaming about the injustice that polygamists that want the state to recognize their marriages face to a group of polygamists is unlikely to sway voters regardless of the size of the bullhorn. In theory there are “undecideds” to sway, but I’m guessing that most people have firmed up their stance on the whole “Women should be comfortable working in traditionally male jobs” by now, as the issue predates a sizable chunk of the population.

          • The Random One says:

            The poll is the only way to measure those things (that, or violent revolution) but that’s a methodology problem. Are you arguing that without the rallies and protests of the civil rights movement it would have happened anyway? (It probably would, but much later, and to a much smaller degree – I wouldn’t doubt that the US would be discussing interracial marriage instead of gay marriage right now, but that’s speculation.)

            I find your analogy spurious. Surely, if most people accept that women should be able to work on jobs that are traditionally men’s, then if those people are shown as fact that women have trouble working on those jobs that it will cause them to work for that to change, or even support it. Conversely, most people don’t think that polygamists should be able to marry many espouses, or don’t care about it, so the size of the bullhorn is indeed meaningless. Unless what you are arguing for is that people do not, in fact, want more women to work on the industry?

    • Premium User Badge cpt_freakout says:

      Political change happens all over every facet of our lives, of which the elections and the government are but one (enormous, and enormously complicated) expression. It’s very rare to see things change over the course of a government or two, and if you study up on your history a bit, you will be able to see that a true political change often depends little on the change of a public functionary. An example that goes with the post’s theme: women in different parts of the West had to struggle for their right to vote over the course of a century and in many cases even two centuries. Many, many kinds of governments were in effect during that time, both right and left-leaning, so no, political change isn’t dependent on one or two factors, it’s dependent on so many things it’s impossible not to see cultural products such as videogames as a little somewhere in the great map of ‘what is to be done’.

      • Burzmali says:

        Sure, there are hundreds of factors that determine how people vote or why they choose to enroll in STEM classes, but if you are trying to effect change, like say legalize a behavior or change enrollment numbers, at the end of the day checking the numbers from the polls or counting heads is the only way that’s going to happen.

    • jarowdowsky says:

      dar he

  22. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Hello, may I talk about a personal bugbear of mine, that doesn’t seem to have been covered above? I haven’t watched every video so may well have missed it, but from this summary article it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned at all, so thought I’d bring it up. If the RPS crew disagree with this being here and bandwagoning (as it were) then I apologise, I’ll get rid of it. (Also apologies as I’ll probably waffle a lot, I’m not a brilliant writer.)

    Now, this post is going to go into “I’m offended by this” territory, and I do know plenty of people won’t be bothered by the same issue.

    So, depictions of mental health in games then.

    Frankly it’s something that’s starting to piss me off a little bit, with some recurring tropes (is that the right word?) which I don’t think are correct or helpful. The most common one is the classic sanity meter, in which as you get more scared you start hallucinating etc., and then (in some games) collapse and die, or for NPCs to suddenly become raging madmen (DX:HR, I’m looking at you). It does piss me off somewhat that sanity is used as a form of health bar indicating that you are “worse” when sanity is low, with no consideration for the different ways that mental health can manifest, most of which do not involve collapsing, hallucinating or becoming frenzied and attacking everything in sight. It just seems lazy and incorrect to me, and I’d quite like it if games stopped doing this.
    As an example of what I mean by “incorrect”, with sanity meters it may be worth mentioning that this isn’t how fear works, there is actually a maximum amount of “I’m scared” chemicals that the body can produce, and at this point you don’t actually get any worse – it doesn’t matter if you’re being chased by lions or have a gun to your head, you don’t feel any more scared past a certain point. (A little positive thought for anyone that’s ever had a panic attack: you’ve probably been to this point, been as scared as it’s possible for a human being to be, and survived. Well done!)

    As well as lazy ways that “sanity” is depicted in games, I also wonder a little at the depiction of men in games, and what effect it has on self-image for (especially young) men – this bit is only going to be about male mental health, I’m afraid. I feel one of the most dangerous things for men with mental health problems is a inability to ask for help, a feeling that showing any weakness is “unmanly”. For example, in Saving Private Ryan we see Tom Hanks’ character struggling, he’s not some sort of rock-hard bastion that every problem bounces off because he’s that damn manly, and for me it’s helpful that this example exists. (There are others in films too – often only when the Man Showing Weakness is in a group of only men, interestingly.) In games however I’m really struggling to think of an example where a man finds things hard and shows weakness, and I think this lack may be reinforcing the “real men don’t show weakness” trope which isn’t helpful for men that may be struggling, that may be better off “showing weakness” and asking for help. (And of course, depictions of men in games is something that’s already been mentioned, but I mention it because maybe this angle isn’t being noticed.)

    Finally, outside games themselves, I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any talk of the mental health of developers etc. within the industry. Given some of the things we hear about “crunch time” and other practices I’d be amazed if there weren’t issues, and I can’t help wondering if some dialogue needs to be going on on how to spot and help with this. I’m not in the industry myself so can’t comment directly, but like I said I didn’t see it addressed in the article so thought it worth mentioning.

    So, that’s my little rant, sorry for waffling on for far longer than I originally intended. Flame away, interneters!

    P.S. In case anyone’s wondering, I haven’t actually played Depression Quest, because I play games to escape and cheer up. I am pleased it exists though.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      No, I definitely think it’s an issue worth raising (it doesn’t make issues of gender/sexuality and race representation any less important obvs). I’m a psychologist in a secure inpatient facility and find it’s a really interesting topic. Representation of mental health in media can be tricky because there’s considerable debate professionally around how ‘mental health’ should be understood, including a hotly contested debate between diagnosis and ‘illness’ conceptualisations and recognition of more socially and environmentally origins. I actually quite like the ‘sanity’ meters found in some games because it at least represents that people can be driven to unusual experiences by horror and trauma and that this is a normal process. I’m not fond of the use of ‘madness’ as a by-word for ‘dangerous and unpredictable’ found commonly in all media. And one of the best representations of psychosis I thought was the companion in Fallout:New Vegas whose voice-hearing was related to trauma, rather than just meaningless ‘madness’ and whose best ending actually involved her continuing to hear them to some extent as they were meaningful and important to her.

      Would love to hear any more ideas that anyone has.

    • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

      Those are issues worth raising as well. Thanks for your post.

      Having suffered from depression myself I’ll admit that I’ve not looked into Depression Quest but like you I’m pleased it exists. I have some dark spots in my past and I try to only confront them when I really have to.

      I think the only game I’ve played with a sanity meter was Amnesia though. In that context it sort of makes sense though I suppose it could as easy be called something else. Courage? Mental strength? Impressionability? Hell if I know, but given the game I thought it was a good mechanic, whatever the name.

      I could add that game protagonists should have a lot of PTSD.

      Which reminds me, Spec Ops The Line. I thought that was a game that for the most part at least took the subject of mental health somewhat seriously and reflected on what actions and experiences can do to a person.

      • Baines says:

        Eternal Darkness had a sanity meter, and would trigger various graphical effects when the meter was low. I don’t recall if running out of sanity was fatal, though. Eternal Darkness was based on Lovecraftian horror, which has its own ideas of how sanity works and is lost.

    • John Walker says:

      Hi there. We published an article about this very subject last year:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/24/definition-of-insanity-games-the-stigma-of-depression/

      But I agree, it’s a topic that deserves a lot more discussion.

  23. lofaszjoska says:

    Propaganda comes for free? Now there’s a shocker.

  24. Philopoemen says:

    I’m actually surprised at how low the stats for women in the empirical study are – and I’m not being facetious. I know a similar study in law enforcement found much higher percentages of respondents stating they had been discriminated against, and I’d wager several other industries would as well. I’m not sure what the average for the general populace is though, and would be curious to see that compared.

    I’m just wondering if perhaps the gaming industry is *less* discriminatory than other industries, which is still a scathing indictment on modern society really.

    i’d be interested in the demographics of the games industry in general, as it seems to be a very passionate issue, but unclear as to where it sits in relation to society itself.

  25. montorsi says:

    Thank you for continuing to discuss this in an adult manner. I choose to forgive the howling masses of teenage to young adult men who don’t yet understand why it’s important to shine the spotlight on the subject. They don’t know any better but maybe, just maybe, with the help of RPS and other sensible outlets, the light will go on for them someday.

  26. twaitsfan says:

    I grew up with debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was laughed out of my sixth grade because I did crazy (for lack…) things like walking in and out of doorways 5 times and having to run my hand over my desk if anyone else touched it (made for a good game of “Hey everyone walk by his desk and poke it with your finger!”) I see things like the show “Monk” or “As good as it gets” and it rankles. I try to be vocal when appropriate to let people know that there are people out there that have such issues in nightmarish-real-life. I think communicating in an open, non-confrontational way is the best way to dispel ignorance and educate. From what I’ve watched, it seems like these videos are some good conversation on the matter.

    I get slightly antsy though, because people look for ways to ‘fix’ things as opposed to just fixing their own ignorance. These fixes usually end up being counter productive and creating tons of resentment. I’m not saying anyone in these videos is proposing anything in particular, but I guess I’m a little obsessive about it. Hrm…

  27. Archer666 says:

    Meh, I’m completely indifferent about most of this. Couldn’t watch most of those for more than 10 minutes without losing interest.

    Also I think its amusing that there is a video for “Surviving” internet negativity. Apparently ignoring it is hard for some people..

    • toxic avenger says:

      People like you can’t see the forest because of the trees.

  28. Philopoemen says:

    Just a quick comment re: Nika Harper’s talk when she mentions “Threats” and to contact your local authorities, it will depend on your local laws, but normally one of the elements of a “threat” type offence is the perceived ability to be able to carry out the threat. It’s for this reason that most police jurisdictions disregard threats made over facebook, email etc.

    Time, place, circumstance applies, but before contacting local authorities examine if the threat is actual, or just perceived and made with no ability to follow through. It’s actually quite cathartic in the sense that you realise the person making the threat has no actual power to influence you and words is all they can offer.

    Interesting videos, but one thing they seem to avoid is controlling your own ego, in the sense that not everything is an attack which is directed at you or your beliefs. A lot of the presenters come across like that, on the defensive.

    • The Random One says:

      I’m pretty sure that in most of the Western world making a threat over Facebook is just as much of a crime as saying it to that person’s face. Yes, the fact that they would probably not be able to do good on that threat would make it less grave of a crime, but that would be determined by the judges, not the cops. The worst problem is that it is a crime in the perpetrators’ juridiction, not the victim, so even if the crime is reported it’s likely that much would get done.

      • Premium User Badge Martel says:

        This is true, at least in the US.

      • Philopoemen says:

        It’s not in Australia and several British jurisdictions that I know of – you can try under Australian Federal law using “Use carriage service to make threats”, but that’s usually part of a Stalking charge.

        Admittedly not much experience with US law, but as I said, police need a prima facie case, and one of the elements of the offence is the ability to carry out said threat. If the person making the threat doesn’t know you in the real world, doesn’t know where you live, work, etc how are they able to carry out the threat? I can say to you “I’m going to beat the crap out of you”, but I have no way of following through, so you may perceive it as a threat, but good luck proving it.

        Facebook is the main one we deal with – people new to the internet who think that “threats” made on forums or facebook are real. But again, time place circumstance.

  29. joa says:

    I think I’ve said this before but I don’t really see why women need to make up half the numbers in the games industry? If not that many women actually want to work in games, then who cares?
    Surely what is important is that those that do work in games are respected. It seems silly to demand a 50/50 split in numbers.

    • Burzmali says:

      I’ve never seen a claim that the goal is 50/50, only that it is desirable for more women in the field. Gain a critical mass of female employees and then your gender stops being your defining feature in any team. That’s how it’s worked for most industries at least.

      • lautalocos says:

        but couldn´t that lead to the same starting problem? hiring people of a gender just because.

        personally, i think hiring people just depends on their skill in the respective field.
        if you are a good employee, you could be some extradimentional eldritch horror and i could not care. unless you like the brains of your co-workers, in that case they should not hire you

  30. Tasloi says:

    I’m all for variety: diverse character depictions, storylines, etc. You’d think Manveer Heir’s talk should be just my thing. It isn’t. Whether it’s this talk or a video series like Tropes vs Women it’s puzzling why the focus is almost entirely on drawing broad, absolute conclusions from carefully picked research or theory. All leading to an incessant desire to control how and where, if at all, “offensive” content can be used. I try to picture their vision in practice with games or movies and the results are not pretty.

    I’m sure one could argue we already have a version of control in place today, a question i’m certainly willing to entertain. That said, it’s clear there’s really no reason for me to support exchanging it with Heir’s version considering it’s just a different and stronger flavor of restrictive.

    • Geebs says:

      Heir’s thing was quite dense, and I liked the stuff about encouraging devs to work on persuading their marketing departments and managers, but I think he could have owned up to “benevolent ancient blue alien stripper babes”, the female Shepard beauty pageant and press-x-to-abuse-rank; if anything these traits got worse as the mass effect series progressed.

  31. Premium User Badge JiminyJickers says:

    I was only planning on watching a little bit but ending up watching the first two videos. Two hours of my life well spent. Gave me a lot to think about, which I didn’t consider before, cheers.

  32. Phier says:

    Hey great and all, and if you want to make genderbender style games, or the like thats fine and dandy, but most of the games on this site are played by white heterosexual young to middle aged males. In my 40′s I’m in the biggest game buying group there is. Not all games need to appeal to me or my demographic, nor should they, and I don’t have a problem with the idea of such games where the main character is a gay radical feminist or the like.

    But what I do want games that I want to play, and tackling gender issues is not on that list. The end point of these sorts of things isn’t to write for an audience but to change one who you don’t agree with. Games for social change! Yea great. How about that panel challenges their collective weight problem. Yes I know insensitive but thats harming gamers more than stereotypes, only we can’t talk about that one ;)

    • Sheng-ji says:

      What if the game doesn’t “tackle” gender issues but simply tasks your male character to rescue a prince from the tower and features cutscenes with long lingering shots on mens buttocks and your character kisses the prince at the end? Would that be OK? It wouldn’t change the game in any way, everything is still the same and you’ll still enjoy it just the same, won’t you?

      • joa says:

        I think that a game where a man rescues a gay prince might still be seen as ‘tackling issues’ simply because of how uncommon that scenario is in games. And I don’t really see what point you’re trying to make by the fact that a lot of men wouldn’t be able to identify with that role. Women seem to have some flexibility in that area, and more power to them, but men don’t.

        Not really a problem in itself, until you realize that businesses are going to make what appeals to the largest demographic.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          The thing is, you’re saying something that is perfectly correct – the industry is going to make games which sell to the widest demographic, and right now, because of the circlejerk that the industry has been in for the last 30 years, that market is 30 something straight white males who don’t get out all that much.

          However, when someone dares raise their voice to say: I’m not going to buy games because I don’t like this, there are two responses

          1) I completely understand, well done for making a stand
          2) You are ruining gaming by getting concerned about such minor things, get over yourself and you might be able to have fun, or just piss off and leave us to our fun. Go moan somewhere else about something else.

          With some less than subtle variations on each of these things.

          When the criticism is about something like DRM, something we as consumers can point fingers at the big bad corporate men in suits, there is a much greater emphasis on 1)

          When the criticism threatens to disrupt our comfortable little world, there is an emphasis on response 2), like charging £100′s for some pretend spaceships.

          The thing with sexism, racism et al – problems with society, we can’t point fingers elsewhere and these things will affect us all. People who like boob armour worry that they will have to quit the game to have a wank, people who like a straight white male her worry that their stories will be ruined by girl stuff, black people stuff or gay stuff – shudder, their friends may joke that they are gay if they play a game with a gay protagonist.

          As long as criticism is fair, then people should be allowed to express it without MRA jumping down their throats. How else is the industry supposed to listen to their customers – we are privileged in that we have such a direct line to the people making our games and them to us – do you think people in the ready meals industry have so much feedback available to them for free at the press of a button? Don’t be the guy trying to censor other peoples opinions.

          • joa says:

            Okay – I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. Although I disagree a lot with social justice and feminist stuff, I am in favour of more diverse games and a culture where everyone can feel comfortable. Obviously this debate seems to rub a lot of men the wrong way — and I’m not sure the answer is as simple as “they’re all a bunch of dicks who need to grow up”. Are these people really so attached to boob armour or so homophobic that they think gay characters will ruin games? I doubt it.

            I think a lot of the issue is that the pro-diversity in gaming side of the argument rides on the back of a lot of left-wing social justice stuff, which a lot of people don’t like. They might see a call for my diversity as a call for a very restricted, politically correct way of writing. The characters may be diverse, in background, gender, sexuality, but they will be forced into either very bland or whacky unbelievable roles in order to avoid stereotypes. Diversity doesn’t necessarily need to mean that — but for a lot of people that’s what it does seem to mean.

          • taristo says:

            “If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.” – Jack Handey

  33. Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

    Well, someone sanitized this comment section over night.
    Not that I’m complaining, mind you. There’s a lot less toxicity now.

  34. KenTWOu says:

    Adam Orth’s speech is so inspiring, especially the moment when he started quoting the True Detective finale during his Q&A session.
    Thanks, RPS, I could easily miss his talk.

  35. HugobertingtonEsq says:

    So if this much attention is being shovelled into the “Diversity/Social Justice” broola in videogames, is there an equally determined and put together broola on the efficiency and output of the industry? In the polarisation towards gwaffics and edgy set-pieces over substantial gameplay and value for money? The unsustainable relationship between market driven producers and game centered developers? The endless product placement and paid promotion in the Journalist/Reviewer complex? How the hell we’re meant determine if a game deserves a good review or not after it’s been hyped to hell and back by the mainstream and the hippies?
    Yes?
    No?
    Or are we just tumblr now?