#GamesSoWhite hashtag attempts race in games convo, goes as well as you'd expect


#1

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#2


#3

I’m not a gamer so pardon my ignorance, but is there a game where the only choice of avatar is a person of color? I used to play the old version of Runescape which offered a broad spectrum of skin colors. That’s the extent of my experience, but I’m assuming that when developers are conscious of race they provide multiple options.

Interestingly it also seems dragons of color were the majority, with white dragons being the exception. Is there a lesson there? Perhaps @Falcor would be kind enough to offer thoughts on privilege and status in the dragon world.


#4

This is one of those things in which I feel I have to shut up, because I would very much like to discuss small details like how I think some of the “there were black people in Europe” defenses miss the point, but really, what the hell, I dont want to deal with the aggravation when I’m in agreement that more diversity is needed in games. It is clear that that moving away from default white male protagonists, for example, is necessary. Or for fantasy RPGs to explore something else apart from pseudo medieval Europe, pseudo Vikings, etc. We got what, pseudo China in Jade Empire so long ago and what else…

Not all games have to be “diverse” (for example, no need in Jade Empire to have white people). But that doesnt mean all games have to be white-majority, either. If you are going for pseudo-historical fantasy, hell, you have EVERYTHING from pre-Columbian civilizations to China to India to Africa to… give the fake Vikings with horned helmets a bit of a rest…


#5

I remember there being a backlash against Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas when it came out for starring a black protagonist. Prince of Persia and Cthulu Saves the World star middle eastern and great old gentlemen, respectively.


#6

we can play with 718 diverse pokemon but one diverse trainer is too much.

Japan is 98.5% ethnically japanese

including a character that isn’t white and isn’t a stereotype - that’s “unrealistic/disingenuous/pushing an agenda/propaganda”

And if we meet both of these expectations, its “tokenism”, and if they aren’t stereotypical it’s a pallete swap

Fallout 4 has customizable characters and still went with default white male for cinematic trailer.

You still are given the option to choose whatever options you want.

that “historical accuracy there were no black people in Europe but dragons oh yeah totally” is an excuse gamedevs give

Dragons can be explained by “magic”


#7

The main controversy with san andreas was the “hot coffee” mod. Nothing to do with race.


#8

I don’t disagree that there should be more diversity in games. I do disagree that every single game has to have characters of colour in it - or, for that matter, that every single game should have to have white people in it. It’s OK to have a fantasy game based around, for example, Japanese mythology that doesn’t have any white people in it, or any black people for that matter. In Fantasy genres that are based around either medieval Europe or that are heavily influenced by northern European mythology, I think it’s OK that some of these games don’t have black people in them. I also think that there probably should be some games of this genre which do have a more diverse cast. I can see that, in the aggregate it must be really annoying if you’re a black person and you never get to play a character that looks like you and which isn’t a stereotype. I just don’t think it makes sense to call out individual games on this basis.


#9

I wasn’t referring to hot coffee, nor was I claiming that race was the main or even a major controversy from that game. I distinctly remember people complaining about having to play as a black person, which was ridiculous.


#10

And many of the games aren’t set in areas based off of Japan.

Diversity can be explained by “Try reading a history book”.

It’s utterly unsurprising that the usual types pushing the same tired arguments that have been rebutted a hundred times ignore the entire point of the article to continue to push their same, usual arguments.


#11

I’m sure there were people of colour in Novigrad, they were just all burned at the stake before they got to the Sorcerers and Elves.


#12

Source? GTA Controversy only comes up with the AO rating and whatnot


#13

You cannot make everybody happy. Regardless what you do, some activists will pan you. It’s easier to just give up and let the dogs bark while the caravan marches on…


#14

The problem is, this ends up letting everyone off the hook, and making it “somebody else’s problem”, to which somehow magically nobody is to blame.

When games continue to push the same looking grizzled white dudes over and over and over, that needs to be called out. When game developers defend their “ultimate character creator” only including white people, that needs to be called out.

Also, there was more than just white people in “medieval Europe”, The fact that you think it was some kind of all-white area is BECAUSE of media like video games and movies that just keep pushing the same white fantasies over and over, and then claim their altered version of history with dragons is somehow “historically accurate”.


#15

You know, I want to like this, but without liking it. If you know what I mean


#16

All of the Main Pokemon RPGs (up until Black/White) were set in Japan; they didn’t outright tell you it’s japan, but a quick look at the regions themselves tell you otherwise.


#17

She’s probably referring to the game “Rust,” which is an online survival multiplayer game. When you create your account, it randomly assigns you a character model which is either caucasian or black, and you cannot change that aspect of your character model, ever. I think there’s something like a 50/50 chance of being either black or white, which, given that the majority of players are not themselves black, means that they are being forced to play a black avatar.

When people originally started playing the game, this feature was not included. The race thing only started fairly recently with an update, and many longtime players are upset about it I guess?

It’s a game world which features both black and white avatars in it, so yes it is accurate to say that players are being “forced” to play a black avatar (or a white avatar for that matter: there are black players upset with the fact that they bought a game where they theoretically could play an avatar that looks like them, but instead are being “forced” to play a white avatar yet again).

Nobody is worked up about being “forced” to play as Adéwalé in Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, or any of the other handful of games which feature an actual black protagonist. The RUST thing is a very specific situation and yes it is being done for political reasons which is something the devs have openly spoken about. I kind of think it’s a cool idea but I guess I can also see why people might be upset about it, because Rust is the type of game where people are used to playing as “themselves” and generally want to create their own character.


#18

All of the main pokemon RPGs are set in Japan except for the newest, what, 5 that aren’t remakes?

I’m not seeing how that’s contradicting what I said.


#19

are a trope in every genre of visual media. Is it overused? certainly. But it’s more a problem for weak storytelling then it is an issue of racism or the like.

I’ve never seen a character creator that only includes white skin tone.

The witcher has plenty of non-humans. Geralt, the protagonist, is one of them.


#20

My source is that I remember people complaining about it. I don’t know how prevalent it was, I was in Augusta, GA at the time, and that town has much racial baggage, so that may have been part of it. That said, the racial angle certainly wasn’t a non-issue.