Every time a chorus of pieces emerge discussing the game industry’s lack of diversity across all sectors, an outpouring of broadband philosophers stroke their sparse chin straps and pose a variety of counter arguments they seem to be under the impression are unique or thoughtprovoking. Unbiased and logical, I’ve actually been told. They don’t usually seem to attack the idea of inclusivity itself, because few people want to actually do that. Instead, they try to lend support to viewpoints diametrically opposed to inclusivity because they are “rational” and because they don’t really want the weight on their shoulders of saying what they really mean: “Fuck anyone else who isn’t me.”
Well, given you’re responding to an article, video, tweet or Facebook post, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that person cares. And all the other people producing similar content care. Plenty of people care.
“No, no. What I mean was, I don’t care.”
Yeah, no kidding. I got that vibe. Fine. You don’t care. I wish you did! I wish you cared about a wider array of gameplay experiences and writing that better represents all the different kinds of people in this industry and hobby. But maybe you truly don’t. Maybe you like playing the same stupid spaceman games and don’t give a shit about anyone who doesn’t look, think or feel like you do.
Fine. You don’t care.
But apathy isn’t a stance. It’s the exact opposite of one. And so every time someone expresses an interest in diversity and inclusivity, and your response is to snarl “I don’t care”, you have actually taken a stance. You’ve positioned yourself opposite of someone who actually has a viewpoint for the sake of positioning yourself opposite to them. If you don’t care, then shut up and let the people who do actually care have a conversation. Otherwise, you’re just a bratty child in the backseat of the car.
“I don’t have anything against gay people/people of color/women/etc but…”
No. Wrong. Stop. Whatever you’re going to say next likely invalidates anything you said before the “but,” and is probably some form of crowd control, telling these marginalized groups how they should feel and how they should react. If you exist outside of the marginalized group you are poised to criticize, you have zero room to talk. You don’t understand the experience and you likely never can. Your best bet is to shush and listen to what these folks have to say. They’re not homogenous; one woman may feel the complete opposite of another, for instance. But many people have valuable insights into what it means to be marginalized. Stop telling them how they should react. You have no place.
“The game publisher put out they game THEY wanted to make.”
Not a point that is in contention. Anyone can make, say or do whatever they like, but there are consequences to doing those things. If a game is a product, then it’s only fair that a customer or potential customer is allowed to criticize that product. It doesn’t matter if GM made the car they wanted to make, if it blows people up, I think there’s strong case to be made that people can call that a lousy car. If games are art, then they’re probably subject to even more scrutiny than a simple appliance. Frequently people might say “Art shouldn’t be censored.” Look, art is nebulous so there’s no way I’m going to define it, but one thing is for sure: Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Art tends to reflect society and culture, and if art is doing that poorly, then perhaps someone should tap the artist on the shoulder. Art is not beyond critique. It’s not a protected status.
The idea that someone can make something and that someone else isn’t allowed to react to it is asinine.
“Right, people can criticize a game, but only reasonable criticism.
I don’t really know the onomatopoeia for a long, breathy, exasperated sigh, but I would type it if I could. I’ve literally been told before that inclusivity isn’t a reasonable criticism. I don’t know when it happened, but apparently someone appointed this guy Arbiter of All That is Reasonable and I missed it. He insisted that things like framerate or controls are reasonable things to criticize, but not inclusivity because it is too emotional.
Ok, so the Arbiter of All That is Reasonable is a robot. Maybe he doesn’t have emotions. But to reiterate, if games are art, and art often reflects society and culture, then people should absolutely speak up about their emotions. Games, like books or music or movies, sometimes make people feel things. That’s actually often a game’s intent. Why should we not speak up about it?
And if the game is just a series of moving parts, just a framerate and some controls in a plastic case, that still doesn’t excuse it. Kentucky Fried Chicken is owned by YUM! Brands. YUM!’s CEO is a super white guy. If he suddenly decided tomorrow that KFC’s slogan is now something crazy racist that plays at racial stereotypes, it doesn’t matter how good the food is. People are not going to be happy.
And you know why?
BECAUSE YOU CAN’T DIVORCE THINGS FROM THE UNIVERSE IN WHICH THEY INHABIT. CONTEXT MATTERS.
“Ugh. Can we just go back to talking about games?”
lol ok here’s another regurgitated press release about map packs or double XP or something for you