One last time, on diversity & inclusion in games.

It’s tiring to see this same.damned.argument.against.diversity all the fucking time. But here we go… AGAIN.

So I saw this tweet:

It’s caps of a pull quote from this Polygon article about a new Paizo venture, Starfinder and some very angry dude who feels like mentioning diversity and inclusion makes him feel unvalued. UNVALUED Y’all.

For ease of viewing:

Said pull quote by Paizo’s Sutter

and the ridiculous response:

dude seriously thinks he’s not valued or included. OK

So, this dude seriously feels like diversity and inclusion excludes him and makes him feel unvalued. That makes me so goddamned angry. So angry. So like you do, I tweeted a bit about it cause I couldn’t let go of that anger. Here’s those twitterpations, cleaned up a bit and organized a bit more cohesively.

Why? Because I’ve been excluded from gaming my whole life. Always forced to step into shoes of white bro dude. The idea that any white dude can even say some shit like that makes me furious. Makes them feel unwanted, not valued?

Welcome to my world

How gaming has often made me feel

Think I felt valued when I only got to see black characters as stereotypes, jokes, if they were present at all? Or they were there as a sacrifice to the great white protag as further motivation for white protags. Spare me.

Wanting to see more of folks like me, like my friends who aren’t white make protags is why I bust my ass with I Need Diverse Games. It’s not just me either. If others didn’t feel the same, @INeedDivGms wouldn’t be where it is now. Even now with games like @mafiagame & @watchdogsgame with black male leads, some people act like it’s too much. We’re taking over.

Let that sink in, the fact we got a few, not even a handful of black leads in one year is seen by some as taking over. Yeah, ok. Don’t make me laugh. Two games with a black lead are drops in the bucket, little splashes in the tide of white game leads. I begrudgingly throw Battlefield 1 in due to the marketing using a Harlem Hellfighter. No black women leads though. When is it our turn?

I’m not counting Virginia game cause I didn’t like it. It was inauthentic to me as a black woman despite having two black female leads. So that’s what? Four games out of how many total released this year? That’s not incl. tabletop. That dude can GTFO on not feeling welcome or valued. I’m legit raging over this. At the nerve of a white dude complaining he feels left out of a hobby that’s catered to him since forever.

Also if your response is go make your own? I invite you to send me the money & staff required to do that. Otherwise STFU. Spoiler gaming has always had women, POC, lgbtqia folks and more. We been here and we’re not going anywhere. Deal.

Rant over, go to bed, but twitter being what it is; I get someone with this attempt at wisdom:

Let’s talk about this. Because character customization =\= diversity in your leading character. Not like I was speaking on earlier. Sure this rando knows that, or maybe he doesn’t. But this is really what some people think is diversity? Here we go again.

Giving me a blank slate in an RPG is not the same as giving me a black, lgbtqia, female or dare I hope black woman lead.

Here’s why:

It’s obvious from RPG’s I’ve played that I can create a character that might be brown, have some similar features to me, but that’s it, their story does not change based on their appearance. Exception I’ve seen recently is Wicked Hearts, Wicked Minds mission in Dragon Age Inquisition.

Your Inquisitor is treated differently based on whether your a elf, Vashoth, Dwarf, human &/or mage. But overall it makes no difference in game, the plot, etc. In fact, you can say hey I don’t believe in your Maker & Andraste, yet the game ignores that making you an unwilling Herald.

It didn’t matter at all in DA2 since you’re only given human as option. So saying customizable characters in RPG’s is diversity is wrong, it’s giving me a large palette to attempt to create the hero in my image. Not much else. However, when you have stories like Lincoln Clay in @mafiagame where they made that integral to his story? That’s progress to me.

If Hangar 13 had not bluntly addressed the racism of the time, what black folks dealt with? The game wouldn’t have been as meaningful to me. Same with @watchdogsgame. I had zero expectation of the game being good or anything I’d want to play. Marcus & Horatio won me over though. What @watchdogsgame did in noting the subtle, everyday racism black folks in tech deal with?

Unexpected but glad they showed it. Before people get it twisted, realize I’m not going omg yay racism in my games makes me loooove them! It’s the acknowledgement of it in plot. It’s realizing that folks playing your game will see this and recognize it. Have that moment of this is MY experience, holy shit. It’s a step in recognizing your core demographic, your audience isn’t 18–35 year old white dudes anymore. [I was on a PAX West panel where we talked about this in depth. Here’s a PDF of our deck with some interesting stats!]

It’s seeing me & others in the media we’re consuming. That tacit acknowledgement that we’re out here too. It’s subtle things that show me the folks who made the game I’m playing are aware, even on a small scale that this happens to me and people like me. So don’t try and serve me up some oh lol, customizable RPG characters! As an answer to missing diversity in games. It’s not.

That’s a really flimsy straw man, a way to placate someone when you think they’ll take crumbs when you’ve had the biggest slice all along.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.