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View Diary: Should Non-Whites be Included in a "Realistic" Video Game About Medieval Europe? (108 comments)

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  •  Being the hero is a universal fantasy. (1+ / 0-)
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    sturunner

    We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

    by i understand on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:39:58 PM PST

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    •  Apparently not if you want to be a black hero (9+ / 0-)

      in a video game. Hence the complaints referenced in the diary.

      Or, to take an example from my own experience, I have run tabletop pen-and-paper fantasy role-playing games since the late 1980s. It has always been an option in my games to play completely non-human characters: dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-orcs, etc. This is common in most fantasy games. Over the years, many players have availed themselves of this option. Players can likewise choose to play characters who are of the opposite gender. Many have.

      However, although I have very deliberately created my fantasy game worlds with areas containing humans who range over a wide spectrum of appearance and skin color, most vaguely approximating real world ethnicities (albeit often with wildly diffent histories and levels of technological/magical progress), I cannot recall that a single one of my (white) players has ever created a character who was a nonwhite human being. Am I accusing all the white people I have ever gamed with of being actively racist? No. But it is striking that it is apparently easier or preferable for a lot of people to imagine portraying an immortal elf or a dwarf from a subterranean culture or a person of the opposite sex than to imagine portraying a human with dark or dusky skin, even when that human comes from a cultural milieu different only marginally from others portrayed in which the majority population is white.  

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 02:12:41 PM PST

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      •  I always figured most people create characters (0+ / 0-)

        that look like themselves. Although I get what you're saying.

        I think this article is more about NPCs though as I expect this game, like most, would give the ability to greatly customize your character (although it looks like they don't talk about that on their kickstarter).

        In any case, I don't see any reason there shouldn't be diversity in any game regardless of so called "historical accuracy" which has no chance of being accurate regardless.

        We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

        by i understand on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 02:31:33 PM PST

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        •  Almost none of my players look like their PCs (3+ / 0-)
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          Kevskos, AoT, poco

          (PCs = player characters). Few players have actually created PCs who resemble themselves in any way...any way aside from skin color, that is.

          I already mentioned that it isn't uncommon for gamers to play characters of an entirely different species or gender, who are obviously very little like themselves. However, it goes further than that. Although few gamers (heck, few people) are built like Conan, many gamers create warrior-type characters with the same physique...who also happen to be pale of skin. And it isn't just  a matter of unimaginative players copying characters from movie or books. This seemingly unimportant choice extends to human characters of types far less often portrayed in Western pop culture, like wizards, cleric/priests, and rogues.

          I won't say I've never seen nonwhite characters portrayed by white players. I do myself from time to time (at the moment my favorite long-running character is a skinny little Egyptian-themed wizardess named Khef with a penchant for sarcasm, convolute plans, and mild paranoia). I know I've seen one or two Asians portrayed by fellow gamers in games run by others (as opposed to the aforementioned games I've run), although IIRC they weren't particularly well developed, being fairly stereotypical. I've read online about various characters of diverse appearance and assume at least some of them are played by white gamers. However, in my experience this is far from common.

          My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
          --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

          by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 03:03:30 PM PST

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          •  I still don't see the point. (0+ / 0-)

            Are you saying non-white players create characters with different skin color then their own disproportionately more often then white players?

            I get diversity wrt to NPCs that's 100% the choice of the game developer. But the idea that your subject line "Apparently not if you want to be a black hero" is the case doesn't ring true to me at all. People can, and do, create whatever character they want in a game as long as the game mechanics allow for it. And every game I've played allows for a wide range of skin color among the visual controls.

            I think everyone wants to be the hero, I don't think race has anything to do with that desire at all.

            We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

            by i understand on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:25:45 PM PST

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          •  I never gave it any thought, but I can't imagine (2+ / 0-)

            I would ever "bother" to create a non-white player character for myself -- the primary reason being, what difference would it make? Unless the game-master has introduced some sort of explicit racial dynamic related to skin color (or any other tertiary physical characteristic associated with race), there would be no difference at all between playing a white character and playing a black character ... so it wouldn't even occur to me to choose anything other than what I happen to be myself.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:46:51 PM PST

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            •  I can see that reasoning, I suppose (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              poco

              but I don't think it is universally applicable. A long time ago I decided mere racial prejudice is (even more) ridiculous in game settings with entirely different species, so in my game it does not exist. On the other hand, species prejudice between sentients is common(e,g.,elves are commonly feared by humans and hated by dwarves, while feeling superior to both).

              However, there are differences in the areas humans live in in my game. Differences in culture, climate, available skills, and backgrounds. I've tried to avoid generic cookie-cutter settings and by and large I think I've succeeded. I've almost always had more people wanting into the campaigns than I've had room for. During the character creation process, players choose where they are from. When all the players seem to be coming from only a few different places that in my opinion are no more interesting than any others (and as their creator, I think I'm entitled to an opinion), it does form a pattern.

              I haven't done anything about this pattern but note it because I haven't deliberately made the "white" parts of the campaign LESS interesting than the rest, either. But people are definitely choosing off a smaller menu than they need to, just to have characters they can better identify with, even though (as stated earlier) this isn't an issue if they're playing nonhumans who look very very different.

              My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
              --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

              by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:19:06 PM PST

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      •  Or a female hero. (2+ / 0-)

        As a woman gamer, I can roleplay a male character, but I am sick to death of having games force it on me.  Deus Ex, which I just recently finished, for example.  The kickstarter game the diary references is another.  And countless other games.  It's part of why I go back to Skyrim time and again; the ability to be any gender and any race, and still be the hero.

        Shop Kos Katalogue
        I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

        by Avilyn on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:12:34 PM PST

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