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

I can see that this is a problem, but I still don’t think that it makes sense to say that every game has to have people of every ethnic background in it - any more than every novel should have to have main characters of every single ethnic group. I wonder if the answer may lie in more diversity among the people creating games, and especially those who get to make the creative decisions and inititiate new projects?

I’m not a historian, so if you have some good articles you can point me to on this, I’d be grateful. If not, of course I’ll google it. I do wonder if the degree of diversity varied by place, however. I’m aware that medieval Spain, for example, was extremely diverse, at least until the Reconquista. But would the same thing have been true of medieval Scandinavia?


Great article. Thank you

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The fact that we were talking about non-white people and you immediately jumped to “non-humans” really suggests you need to put some more thought into what you’re saying.


Racial diversity is not the only kind of diversity


You said many as opposed to few, 5/7 generations took place in japan.

XD/Colosseum were the exception since those took place in what on could assumed to be southwest United States, but those were considered to be spin-offs.

As for diversity, it all came to the mindsets that many media have to cater to a certain demographic; which is close minded to say the least.

Nobody is actually saying this, though. But when modern day, post-apoc, future, etc games that don’t advertise themselves with white men are rarities to the point where you can count them on one hand, there’s a serious need to examine just why that is.

It is absolutely true that it is a million times more important to support non-white game developers than it is to push white game devs into including non-white characters. There has, obviously, been some MASSIVE backlash and hate towards non-white and other marginalized devs as of late that I don’t think needs to be touched on very heavily, and working to counteract that is something that needs to be done.

The question is, how many games are based on medieval Scandinavia? Why AREN’T we seeing more games based on medieval Spain?

The fantasy games we see aren’t even based on “European fantasy” all that much. More often then not they’re just based on D&D, which pulled from EVERTHING. Warcraft isn’t based on Europe (and has problems in that it associates non-white cultures with “monstrous” races very often) and it’s the king of the fantasy genre. How many fantasy games are actually based on a specific historical point, and actually stick closely to historical myths and settings, instead of just some generic “Europe” that’s been ingrained in our mind as “of course that’s the way things are”.


I think part of the nuance that is often lost in this conversation is that a lot of old-school, formative game stuff was concocted in a Japanese cultural context. A context that is like, maybe 1940’s USA when it comes to gender and racial dynamics. Japan has more institutional and casual racism and sexism, by far, and it shapes the products coming out of there.

And when those products shape our current crop of game devs, it’s easy to see that the “default” that they learned was pretty frickin’ racist.

So yeah, you only get a white Pokemon trainer because most anime characters are white by default and most Japanese videogame protagonists are anime-white.

Not that it’s an excuse, of course. It’s just a reason. Part of the explanation.


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I simply don’t understand why people are so scared of diversity in games. The more experiences the better!


Note well, BBers, This person is clearly here for the bigoted LOLs and is to be ignored.


The first video game I can remember playing, you could choose the color of your avatar. Then came PacMan, you had no choice but to be yellow. Later, you could only a white plumber.

I never cared before. Thank you for making me angry and frustrated now.

The main controversy with san andreas was with race. Nothing to do with the “hot coffee” mod. See? So easy anyone can do it!


We have to experience different and new things. That’s what videogames are all about

Just sit back and enjoy the sock puppet show.

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Which is why it’s so weird how many people get upset when someone asks "hey, maybe we could get something a bit different and new in our video games instead of white dudes like 90% of the time’.


Fair enough. There seemed to be an undercurrent to the discussion of “why doesn’t this game have black people in!”, but if the comments are really aimed at diversity in games as a whole, then I’m with you on that one.

I agree. For a start, I think that non-white game developers might (on average) make a better job of portraying non-white characters who are people rather than stereotypes.

Not many, but a lot are heavily influenced by Tolkein-esque fantasy, and Tolkein did draw fairly heavily on Norse influences, I think.

You’re right, that would be cool. :smiley: One where the reconquistadores are the “bad guys”.


As Henry Ford (I think) said: “You can have any experience you want so long as it’s an over-muscled white dude blowing things up.”


I would hope, if anything, there would be controversy about the fact that one of the first black protagonists of a triple-A game happened to be in a game where you play a criminal…


There is a lot of trouble with “medieval” itself.

“Medieval Spain” … covers A TON of time. I’ve seen it argued that see, there were black people in European middle ages, by showing a portrait of one, in Seville in XV or XVI century. You know, big city, big slave market, lots of free slaves too.

Move a bit north same time and the average peasant living in XV Asturias or Basque Country would not have seen a black man in his or her life.

Move back in time and the mix would be a minority of Arabs being rulers with a sizeable contingent of Berbers ruling over a mix of Muslims, Christians and Jews, with a few black slaves around too.

Move just a bit south to coastal cities in Morocco in the same XV century and it would be Arabs or Turks ruling over Berbers with white slaves.

So, well, thats the thing. You can very well go for a period of time and a place in Europe for your historical inspiration for fantasy where there is nothing but white people - and the racist friction is about those other white guys vs our kind of white guys. No problem, really.

Thing is when that is ALL we get. All the time.


It’s worth noting Tolkein did have non-white people in his books too… as the faceless badguys. If they’re there, why can’t they be something other than the faceless badguys?