I love that more gamers are speaking out about the straight-white-male character domination in video games. Awhile ago, I had a tweet stream discussing Bioware’s outspoken stand against players who felt “violated” by the option to choose gay relationships in the game.
I’ll sum up the exchange.
I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forego the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy.
“Neglected straight male gamer” translated: WAHHHH!!!! What about ME?! I’m a neglected majority! How dare you think about women & gays as much as ME? This is oppression! I’M MORE IMPORTANT, DAMNIT!!
Here was Bioware’s response:
The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention…More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t…And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”
HELLLLLL yeah, Bioware!
If anything, this is a glaring example of why video games need to boost the visibility of other groups. It’s a preventative measure…y’know, to keep it from becoming a festering shithole of over-privileged assholes who think the world revolves around them and their entitlement. Sound familiar?….
There is also the larger, more visible org called “Games for Change” that I think is worth supporting.
Check them out if you’re interested! The reality is, much of the western world plays video games. In fact, an NPD report called “Expanding the Games Market” found that 63% of Americans game. Yet, overwhelmingly, only the most privileged group on earth (that is, the straight, white, able-bodied, cisgender male) is represented. So peeps, don’t hesitate to call out your favorite gaming company’s problematic usage of racism/sexism/heterosexism in your games! Tell them that you want to be represented & included (or want others to be represented/included)! Companies, like Bioware, will respond to our demands if there’s enough of it.