Perhaps it would be positive to have an opinion from someone that not only plays Rimworld pretty religiously, but is a bisexual male? I was alerted to this controversy by my annoying Gamergate friend and did some research into what was being flung at Rimworld in general. He’s usually quite a sensationalist, so I wasn’t expecting much. Jesus Christ was I wrong.
First, there’s a great deal of signaling being done in this piece. I suppose that will happen on a forum where people will willingly call themselves “Social Justice Warriors” though, which is a pejorative. Ignoring this error in journalism that has become far too commonplace these days, we can move to the complaints laid out by the writer of RPS. She states she was personally upset by the way the straight men in her game hit on a gay woman. What she ignores is that this happens all the time in real life, and also happens to gay men by women, both in real life and in-game. That’s right, crash two straight women on to a planet in Rimworld and they will hit on your gay man. Because of the way the game works with social interaction, and because he is the only male in the game and the females are not gay, they are going to hit on him as well, and they will get rebuffed while he has no mood penalty. Furthermore, your gay characters WILL hit on the straight ones. The knife cuts both ways. After a while they may (as in a 15% chance, hardly likely) form a relationship with each other instead. This is also rooted in real life, and is called bisexuality. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what that word means.
Here’s the thing about what I just wrote though. Bisexuality in-game is not a trait. Gay is a trait. In order for a pawn to always rebuff the opposite gender, they must be gay. This does not mean that bisexuals in game always accept advances from the same gender. In fact, in over 100 hours of a solo-female colony (I was roleplaying a female-only tribe) there was not one relationship between non-gay women. This is not to say women never rebuffed other women. That happened several times throughout the campaign, and what alerted me to a “bisexual” trait in the first place. That is to say that a bisexual woman (probably 1 or 2 at the most if you are running an appropriately sized colony) will more than likely be rebuffed by non-bisexual women, and never have a relationship. The off-chance that a bisexual woman not only start advancing on another bisexual woman, has the social skill to successfully romance that woman, and then passes the sometimes lower than 10% check at a decent level of social skill to successfully start a romance, simply never fired in an all-woman colony. This is not an isolated incident. When you hear “15% chance of bisexuality”, that sounds pretty good, but you have to take into account that you not only need two, you need two that like each other, have similar traits, and have similar schedules and jobs. Then you can roll 10% every time they flirt (which is quite few to begin with) to attempt to get up to an actual relationship.
Which brings us to the claims of “ableism”. Unfortunately, ableism exists, and attempting to whitewash it in a game that portrays humans frankly is a bit ridiculous. As someone who has experienced this discrimination readily, I think I’m justified in telling you to shove off in this case. If someone is missing an arm, they are going to be viewed as “deformed” by those around them, regardless of how that makes us feel. This isn’t a game about making us feel good. It’s a game about survival and life in a very hostile pre-FTL environment. This should make you mad. It’s how real life works. People are seen as less valuable when they are injured, or have some sort of disability from birth. Tynan never supported this, he modeled it. Correctly. But that’s not all! You (and I’m talking to the OP) didn’t actually do any research into how this effects relationships in the game! When someone gets injured, they have a chance to get a permanent injury that will always affect some aspect of their life. This chance is dramatically reduced with proper medical attention, and also reduced by the level of medicine of the colonist. Likewise, if you have a limb severed, or an eye removed by a sword (which happens frequently in-game,battle is gritty and realistic even when your fighters are very experienced), you will be able to replace these with bionic limbs or prosthetic. If you do this, there is no social penalty. If you don’t have these options (prosthetic parts are only sold, and bionic parts are VERY expensive) you will get a social penalty on that colonist. They will be less liked by all colonists. This *does not* mean they can’t be involved in romance, and it *does not* mean that everyone will hate them. It means they are disadvantaged in this area. My current colony has a dude missing an arm happily married to a beautiful woman 9 years older than him. Why? He has high social skills, and he has similar traits.
Now that we have the justifications for the arguments that RPS brought up out of the way, how about we talk about the motivations of the person writing them? She is not in fact a bisexual man. She did not have an experience that led her to investigate the bisexuality of Rimworld, she had an experience that led her to investigate the rebuff category in-game (which is readily available, and not hidden in the code). Her search should have led her to the same place it leads anyone, that rebuffing someone gives the character doing the rebuffing a -11 social opinion of them (which this author mentions nowhere), gives the person being rebuffed a -11 social opinion of them (which is the only variable the author mentions) and gives the person being rebuffed a -5 mood penalty, which stacks but disappears in two in-game days (meaning getting more than a -15 at any time is nearly impossible, and will be gone in 4 or 5 days at most). This is done for straight, gay, bi, prisoner, tribal, injured, pirate, ANY group in game. So why then did she dig through code to find something that had already been a bug in-game observed by several people (including me)? Well, you say it in your article. She saw his interview with Breitbart, and made *damn* sure she swept the game to find something she could create outrage about. It is also the reason she has declined comment to many forms of media, and refuses to talk with Tynan about it.
So let’s move on from the woman that wrote the article to your bi-spokesman. I think he was a great resource to prove both you and the person that wrote for RPS wrong. He said, in no confusing terms, that women are more likely to exhibit bisexuality than men. That should have been a case-closed right there. He says in as many words what I would say anecdotally, and what Tynan said based upon two citations. The fact that the game was bugged has no influence on the fact of this matter. Besides, in practice you’ll never see a bisexual couple together anyway. It is too unlikely in-game. His qualifications on Tynan’s character are likewise unfounded.
And finally, the response of people to this happening. While I admire your journalistic integrity (supplying both sides of the argument is a real rarity these days), I must point out what this shows. Look at the responses to Tynan. Not only do they know him by name (proving that they are fans), they care more about the poor journalism. Look at the responses from the other three. Not only have they shown that they have never played Rimworld (all three of them saying that Rimworld was a bad game because of the news), but they also all come to a conclusion that this is somehow an opinion by a biased, unnamed “creator” (further proving they don’t play or know anything about the game), which as I’ve outlined here is NOT how the game actually plays, even when the conditions for such a happenstance are present.
Before I wrap up, I’d like to add in my personal feelings apart from what is actually in the game, as I feel it is important being a bisexual dude myself, and if my opinion isn’t here I could have left this to literally anyone else that played the game. So here it is: Tynan isn’t being admonished by bi people. Tynan is being admonished by people that think that they speak for us. I’ve been happily playing Rimworld since long before the Steam release, and the addition of social interaction in general didn’t come until two updates ago (with a third rapidly approaching). The RPS poster was playing on an old version, which is obvious considering she listed a negative in the social system that has already been fixed in the latest update (just for clarity, I’m not talking about the bisexual males, rebuffs, or social dislike of serious “deformities”). She also listed a known bug, and called the game developer (and by extension, everyone that enjoys the game) sexist and bi-phobic for it. Despite people like me, who are actually bi and fans, playing. I also take issue with the proposal here that a lot of “bisexual men” aren’t sometimes simply gay. Just as an example, when I spoke to a councilor about my sexuality, she asked me definitively and immediately (not that she was trying to accuse me, but to be sure I was telling her the truth) if I was gay when I came out as bisexual. Why? Because in a society where being openly gay is actively discouraged (as I am entirely sure you know Zach), it is easier to first come out as bisexual, allowing people to have ideas of grandeur, like it’s just a phase, like you just haven’t found the right girl yet, etc. These are horrible stereotypes for actual bisexuals, but they have less impact than being thrown out on the street. That’s why people have these anecdotal ideas, because instead of openly coming out as gay, many gay men *do use this tactic*. Acting like that truth is somehow “bi-erasure” is sillier than most of this article.
I would absolutely welcome a response from anyone that wishes to weigh in on this topic, especially others who have actually played Rimworld. I’m also open to criticism of my opinions, but I must remind you that I’m (as of right now) the only person with any actual experience in this comment section. So I’m liable to provide my anecdotal experience, while you cannot provide your own and be taken seriously.