Author Topic: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread  (Read 8554 times)

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Online Art Vandelay

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2016, 05:13:11 am »
Eh, I can kind of see the other side's view on this matter. A lot of games will have you be a thieving, murdering and generally rude to others bag of dicks, but rarely ever a bigot. And if you do, then it's always optional and never towards groups that actually exist. Like Dragon Age: Origins, for example, wherein they give you the odd dialogue option that's racist towards elves or dwarves. It is kind of stupid when you think about it that games like Grand Theft Auto will have you play as a deranged psychopath whose typical day consists of murdering at least 20 people, but only if that deranged psychopath has a sufficiently progressive and tolerant view of race, sexuality, religion and gender. Compare this to film or books wherein stories with bigoted characters, main characters included, or bigotry as a major part of the world can exist without the creators/audience being accused of said bigotry themselves and you can see how people can be both not only okay with but also in favour of racist/sexist/transphobic/whatever else video game characters existing without being racist/sexist/transphobic/whatever else themselves.

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2016, 05:25:21 am »
I guess it would be more understandable if it's like "this character is horrible, that's the point" - but when people start crying about how not being able to call someone a t***ny is immersion-breaking in a game set in a fantasy world where Earth prejudices don't by default exist, it comes off as people just wanting their own particular brand of fuckwittery to be accommodated.

Like, if there's a Final Fantasy-style game where one of the party members has misogynistic attitudes, okay, sure, that can be used for something. Final Fantasy X had Wakka, Wakka was racist, he got over that, that's a good little arc. Dragon Age has homophobia in Dorian's backstory, great, dramatic. But when people start clamouring that they themselves, through the vessel of the player character, should be able to make kitchen jokes or else their immersion in this fantasy world is just ruined... yeah, if your immersion is shattered by not being able to gaybash someone as casually as telling them goodbye, after you just killed a dragon with a magic spell you learned from a 1000-year-old cat, then that's honestly a you problem.

*general you used throughout this post.

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2016, 06:06:14 am »
Would you apply that same logic to stealing and murdering? Generally, people like to at least have the option in their open world RPGs to kill every NPC who looks at them funny and pilfer everything that's not nailed down, yet no one suggests that they can only be terrible people IRL for daring to request such a feature. Roleplaying as a total shitbreeze is a pretty standard thing is those types of games, if only to liven up that 2nd playthrough. Why is it totally okay and not at all a negative reflection of the player's moral fibre if they decide to break into NPC Joe's house, steal all of his worldly possessions and kill his entire family for shits 'n' giggles, followed by playing with their carcasses after the fact if the physics engine allows for it, but not if they call him a nigger or a tranny?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 06:08:27 am by Art Vandelay »

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2016, 06:35:17 am »
For me, what makes it suspicious it's that bigotry is that extra bit of fuck-you. "Stealing and killing isn't enough for me in this game, no, I need to do it in a way that denigrates a real-life dehumanized minority or I just can't get my rocks off sufficiently. This game lacks transphobia, therefore it's badly designed." But sure, it's likely that some people just want a wide variety of awful reactions for character or whatever while still being decent people. Okay. I can buy that. As long as it's actually treated by the narrative as a bad thing and not just brushed off, sure.

What I can't really give a benefit of a doubt to is when people whine about the lack of bigot options breaking their immersion in a fantasy world, specifically. Where there are dragons and angels and archmages and all sorts of fantasy shit. I start side-eyeing people when they insist that growing fairy wings with a potion made from unicorn hair and a virgin's sigh of sorrow is fine and totally realistic, but not being able to call people real-life slurs in a world that's not Earth and therefore doesn't have the history that spawned those slurs to begin with, now that just breaks all suspension of disbelief.

Offline SCarpelan

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2016, 06:47:51 am »
Personally, I wouldn't care if a game has an option to be homophobic/misogynistic/whatever or a character is such if it is handled properly. For example, the mute PC in GTA 3 shoots a nagging woman offscreen and I loved the game because that was the kind of dark humor the game had and it was done too over the top to take seriously. I just think demanding that you have to be able to be asshole in a particular way is stupid specially in fantasy games. This is not completely equal to other mayhem people do.

Stealing, murdering etc are things that almost anyone agrees are bad, mmkay? People do it in the game for shits and giggles, not because they would like to do it in real life. Homophobia, racism and other such phenomena on the other hand are silently accepted and supported by a large group of people for whom it would have a different meaning. Choosing not to include an option for a player to express these attitudes by acting along with them in the game is an understandable decision. It's also understandable to leave it out without even considering the issue seriously.

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2016, 06:56:12 am »
Basically, what SCarpe said.

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2016, 07:54:58 am »
For me, what makes it suspicious it's that bigotry is that extra bit of fuck-you. "Stealing and killing isn't enough for me in this game, no, I need to do it in a way that denigrates a real-life dehumanized minority or I just can't get my rocks off sufficiently. This game lacks transphobia, therefore it's badly designed." But sure, it's likely that some people just want a wide variety of awful reactions for character or whatever while still being decent people. Okay. I can buy that. As long as it's actually treated by the narrative as a bad thing and not just brushed off, sure.
That doesn't really answer my question. Why exactly does bigotry cross the line in the first place, whereas stealing and murder is all just fun and games? Why is it the thing that raises your suspicions and not stealing and murder?

On a similar note, are you okay with, say, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's story wherein the player character is a deranged psychopath who, far from learning the error of his ways, actually becomes rich and powerful essentially by killing anyone and everyone who even slightly gets in his way? What if, besides being a vehicular kleptomaniac who rarely bothers to differentiate between the road and the footpath, he also hated blacks and gays? Would that offend you in ways the original Tommy Vercetti does not? Would you call for the game to be re-written or outright banned because of it?
What I can't really give a benefit of a doubt to is when people whine about the lack of bigot options breaking their immersion in a fantasy world, specifically. Where there are dragons and angels and archmages and all sorts of fantasy shit. I start side-eyeing people when they insist that growing fairy wings with a potion made from unicorn hair and a virgin's sigh of sorrow is fine and totally realistic, but not being able to call people real-life slurs in a world that's not Earth and therefore doesn't have the history that spawned those slurs to begin with, now that just breaks all suspension of disbelief.
Interesting. So, why draw the line at slurs for not having the necessary real world history? If you want to take that logic to its conclusion, then any world that does not have the exact same geography, cultures and history, then it should break your suspension of disbelief for the modern English language to exist and be spoken with real life accents, much less the slurs. Really, each world would need its own unique set of languages and linguistic history that spawned them in their contemporary state, or immersion goes right out the window.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's required for all fantasy worlds. That would just be stupid. Just that there shouldn't be this big taboo against bigotry in games stories. That does nothing but limit creative freedom for the sake of not offending a few people. And yeah, especially with all the gritty and edgy "dark fantasy" we have nowadays, it does tend to be a bit jarring everyone is all enlightened and progressive when it comes to race or sexuality or gender, yet are otherwise absolute bastards. Hell, it's even more jarring when fantasy bigotry exists yet anything resembling real world bigotry is absent. All the humans will happily be complete dicks to the elves or dwarves, or the humans from different fantasy kingdoms, yet strangely enough there's not even a smidgeon on tension between humans with light skin and humans with dark skin. Like the inhabitants of this world where racism runs rampant don't even notice a difference that's so visible you can see it at a glance. It's not a case of wanting a make-believe race war because it makes my little Aryan pee-pee hard or anything like, but simply a case of knowing full well that these people do not behave like that. It's a behaviour that is very out of character with the rest of the world and sticks out like a sore thumb. That's really the main concern here.

Yeah, obviously there are going to be people who do just want to feel as though their favourite game justifies their own real world bigotry. I wouldn't deny for a second that those idiots are a thing. All I'm saying is don't assume everyone who's against this taboo is one of them.

Offline Askold

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2016, 09:45:00 am »
The thing is that people are demanding that the game should have the kind of bigotry that does not exist in the setting as far as I know.

This is like some yankee watching a British TV show and demanding to know why the main character isn't complaining that the universal healthcare in the country is "pure communism" or why he hasn't shot the stranger that snuck into his home already. Or a Briton reading Spiderman and complaining that "OY what mate?! How come tingly-tangly-eight-legged-nope-man wants to shag the MJ gal? She's ginger and nobody likes gingers."

Show me where is it said that Forgotten Realms has transphobia because as far as I know it does not. They have people who are bigoted against certain species or religious groups and so on but no transphobia as far as I know. Demanding that the game should have normalized transphobia is fundamentally wrong if it is not in the setting.
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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2016, 10:21:55 am »
For me, what makes it suspicious it's that bigotry is that extra bit of fuck-you. "Stealing and killing isn't enough for me in this game, no, I need to do it in a way that denigrates a real-life dehumanized minority or I just can't get my rocks off sufficiently. This game lacks transphobia, therefore it's badly designed." But sure, it's likely that some people just want a wide variety of awful reactions for character or whatever while still being decent people. Okay. I can buy that. As long as it's actually treated by the narrative as a bad thing and not just brushed off, sure.
That doesn't really answer my question. Why exactly does bigotry cross the line in the first place, whereas stealing and murder is all just fun and games? Why is it the thing that raises your suspicions and not stealing and murder?

On a similar note, are you okay with, say, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's story wherein the player character is a deranged psychopath who, far from learning the error of his ways, actually becomes rich and powerful essentially by killing anyone and everyone who even slightly gets in his way? What if, besides being a vehicular kleptomaniac who rarely bothers to differentiate between the road and the footpath, he also hated blacks and gays? Would that offend you in ways the original Tommy Vercetti does not? Would you call for the game to be re-written or outright banned because of it?

Bigotry targets specific groups and makes and has made their lives shit specifically for being what they are on a widespread level, so it has baggage mere stealing and murdering doesn't. Stealing and killing can happen to anyone so it doesn't feel like you specifically are targeted, but getting slurs hurled at you and all that other fun stuff pretty often happens specifically because you're not white/not straight/not cis/not a man. And having to face that same shit treatment you get for being a certain kind of person in a game you play to escape reality for a while and unwind ruins that pleasure. That's why I don't really think twice about people adding mods wanting to kill plot-critical NPCs or whatever, but when someone insists on wanting to put transphobia in a game specifically, that makes me cringe. It's like the difference between wanting an action film to have a kick-ass martial arts scene where the hero beats down ninjas in troves, and wanting the hero to stop the movie in its tracks to tell one specific real-world guy named Craig Larson that he's a subhuman.

I admit that it might also be because stealing and killing has been so common in games that I haven't really thought about it that much. You just think "okay, it's part of the game, I'll kill these fifty dudes to progress I guess". But for me at least, real-world discriminations stick out because... well, in addition to all the shit I've said, that's just how I feel.

And about your GTA example,

1) If it was presented as something that's A-OK?  Yeah, that would bother me more, actually. If the narrative insinuated or made it clear that you're not supposed to like or want to be like Tommy Vercetti? Then that would fall under the whole "they're a horrible person, that's the point", and I personally wouldn't mind it.
2) I'm a lazy motherfucker with zero confidence in my ability to organize shit, so I wouldn't exactly be making petitions. I've also never called for the rewriting or banning of games that have racism in them in this thread, just questioned the necessity of games to cater to people who wanna chop off trans people's dicks in Baldur's Gate.

Interesting. So, why draw the line at slurs for not having the necessary real world history? If you want to take that logic to its conclusion, then any world that does not have the exact same geography, cultures and history, then it should break your suspension of disbelief for the modern English language to exist and be spoken with real life accents, much less the slurs. Really, each world would need its own unique set of languages and linguistic history that spawned them in their contemporary state, or immersion goes right out the window.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's required for all fantasy worlds. That would just be stupid. Just that there shouldn't be this big taboo against bigotry in games stories. That does nothing but limit creative freedom for the sake of not offending a few people. And yeah, especially with all the gritty and edgy "dark fantasy" we have nowadays, it does tend to be a bit jarring everyone is all enlightened and progressive when it comes to race or sexuality or gender, yet are otherwise absolute bastards. Hell, it's even more jarring when fantasy bigotry exists yet anything resembling real world bigotry is absent. All the humans will happily be complete dicks to the elves or dwarves, or the humans from different fantasy kingdoms, yet strangely enough there's not even a smidgeon on tension between humans with light skin and humans with dark skin. Like the inhabitants of this world where racism runs rampant don't even notice a difference that's so visible you can see it at a glance. It's not a case of wanting a make-believe race war because it makes my little Aryan pee-pee hard or anything like, but simply a case of knowing full well that these people do not behave like that. It's a behaviour that is very out of character with the rest of the world and sticks out like a sore thumb. That's really the main concern here.

Yeah, obviously there are going to be people who do just want to feel as though their favourite game justifies their own real world bigotry. I wouldn't deny for a second that those idiots are a thing. All I'm saying is don't assume everyone who's against this taboo is one of them.

Hoo boy there's a lot to deal with here.

1) I personally have never given my own opinion on what breaks immersion or not in this thread. I've got a pretty high suspension-of-disbelief height personally, it's easy for me to get immersed in a world. (Case in point; Final Fantasy VII has BBQ and references to real-world locations. I'm able to not give a shit.) I've just called bullshit on the standards of people who insist that time travel with an hourglass doesn't break suspension of disbelief, but black people not getting treated like shit for being black does.

2) I have said that bigotry in stories can be done well. I even gave examples, like Dorian's dad being homophobic in Dragon Age. I've also said that I do believe there's people who want to be able to misgender Mizhena for a Richer Story Expeience instead of wanting games to tell them that it's okay for them to be Trump supporters. Although I doubt that their number's that big,I can admit they exist. Here's some quotes, even.

Quote from: me, just a few posts ago
But sure, it's likely that some people just want a wide variety of awful reactions for character or whatever while still being decent people. Okay. I can buy that. As long as it's actually treated by the narrative as a bad thing and not just brushed off, sure.

Quote from: me, just a few posts ago
Like, if there's a Final Fantasy-style game where one of the party members has misogynistic attitudes, okay, sure, that can be used for something. Final Fantasy X had Wakka, Wakka was racist, he got over that, that's a good little arc. Dragon Age has homophobia in Dorian's backstory, great, dramatic.

If you wanna use me as a springboard to go on a wider tangent, sure, I'm glad I managed to help you express your thoughts or whatever. But at least tell me you've stopped actually responding to me so I don't get the same feeling of not actually being talked to that I get from strawmanning prats on deviantArt.

Bottom line: can bigotry be used well in a game narrative? Yeah, of course. There's lots of good games and other works of fiction that use bigotry, real-world or fantastic, as story elements.

Quote from: me, when I started this
Should any game with a real-world minority character allow for an option to perpetuate real-world bigotry to that character?

Still leaning towards "no", still don't think it's necessary. (I'm not saying you think it's necessary, I'm just saying I don't think it is.) Do I think that real-world bigotry needs to exist in every setting that has humans in it or it's "out of character"? Again, no, I think a fictional setting can still be immersive without it. Maybe the bigotry happens offscreen. Maybe that particular place is just really cool about equality, it can happen. Maybe it's a fictional world so ethnic and social dynamics are different, because fictional worlds are anything the creator makes them to be.

Offline Tolpuddle Martyr

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2016, 12:20:45 pm »
If a work of fiction has one kind of socially unacceptable behavior going on then it should let them all in? Sorry, does not follow. Would the people arguing that it's ok to allow various types of bigotry because the characters can get away with in-game murder be ok with rape and pederasty being thrown in as player options? There are two options here "fuck no" or back away from that person very slowly.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 12:28:04 pm by Tolpuddle Martyr »

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2016, 12:53:16 pm »
Playing the devil's advocate:

I wouldn't actually oppose the option to play a horribly racist transphobe if the game was set in the real world for example, I just think it is really dishonest to demand such behaviour to be possible in a setting that does not have transphobia.

Though I am not sure if I would play that kind of game or at least not that way.

In some ways I am annoyed that you can make a shooter where people kill hundreds of "politically acceptable targets" but making a game where you play a Wermacht soldier is unacceptable. Then there is the strange hypocrisy that if you make a strategy game then the "evil" campaign is perfectly acceptable. Probably because strategy games that stem from board games had to have someone play the Axis if the other person had an Allied army etc.

And then there is the fact that how you portray such behaviour really makes the difference. Captain Sam Vimes starts out as a racist but the Discworld novels never try to make it look like him being a racist is a good thing. Art also had a few examples of games where some characters having bad characteristics were used to make a nice story.
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2016, 03:17:04 pm »
Quote
And then there is the fact that how you portray such behaviour really makes the difference. Captain Sam Vimes starts out as a racist but the Discworld novels never try to make it look like him being a racist is a good thing. Art also had a few examples of games where some characters having bad characteristics were used to make a nice story.

Yeah, that's basically the gist of it. If someone made Wehrmacht Simulator 2016 but made it a point that you're not supposed to think the protagonist is Cool and Awesome, then I would think that's a good use of the concept. Like I said, bigotry can be used well as a story element.

But I'm not convinced that, say, a detective game set in modern-day California would be that enriched by a singular dialogue option where you get to have the main character call someone a f*g. It would be perfectly possible to have an adequately engrossing and realistic character and setting otherwise, too. (If they actually did something with it and addressed it, like have the character examine their ingrained preconceptions and habits and whatnot, then it would feel like its presence within the game is actually justified beyond "I want to get my Aryan pee-pee hard" or "I want to be a prick in this one very specialized fashion for The Experience".) A GTA-style game that's supposed to go over the top? That would make more sense, but ultimately I think that resorting to """ironic""" bigotry for Shock Value is lazy as nobs.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 03:24:11 pm by Even Then »

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2016, 07:15:28 pm »
Bigotry targets specific groups and makes and has made their lives shit specifically for being what they are on a widespread level, so it has baggage mere stealing and murdering doesn't. Stealing and killing can happen to anyone so it doesn't feel like you specifically are targeted, but getting slurs hurled at you and all that other fun stuff pretty often happens specifically because you're not white/not straight/not cis/not a man. And having to face that same shit treatment you get for being a certain kind of person in a game you play to escape reality for a while and unwind ruins that pleasure. That's why I don't really think twice about people adding mods wanting to kill plot-critical NPCs or whatever, but when someone insists on wanting to put transphobia in a game specifically, that makes me cringe. It's like the difference between wanting an action film to have a kick-ass martial arts scene where the hero beats down ninjas in troves, and wanting the hero to stop the movie in its tracks to tell one specific real-world guy named Craig Larson that he's a subhuman.

I admit that it might also be because stealing and killing has been so common in games that I haven't really thought about it that much. You just think "okay, it's part of the game, I'll kill these fifty dudes to progress I guess". But for me at least, real-world discriminations stick out because... well, in addition to all the shit I've said, that's just how I feel.
Alright, I see where you're coming from.
Hoo boy there's a lot to deal with here.

1) I personally have never given my own opinion on what breaks immersion or not in this thread. I've got a pretty high suspension-of-disbelief height personally, it's easy for me to get immersed in a world. (Case in point; Final Fantasy VII has BBQ and references to real-world locations. I'm able to not give a shit.) I've just called bullshit on the standards of people who insist that time travel with an hourglass doesn't break suspension of disbelief, but black people not getting treated like shit for being black does.
I wasn't saying it had to be immersion breaking for you personally, just that it can be immersion breaking for others, especially when it comes to all the dark fantasy we have nowadays.
If you wanna use me as a springboard to go on a wider tangent, sure, I'm glad I managed to help you express your thoughts or whatever. But at least tell me you've stopped actually responding to me so I don't get the same feeling of not actually being talked to that I get from strawmanning prats on deviantArt.
Yeah, I did get off on a bit of tangent there, didn't I? I suppose if you want to refocus on the original issue, I was basically responding to this specific thing you said.
Yeah, fair enough.

I was thinking about that whole Baldur's Gate thing, and about how some people have been saying that not being able to be transphobic to Mizhena constitutes being "treated with kid gloves" and "immersion breaking". Should any game with a real-world minority character allow for an option to perpetuate real-world bigotry to that character? Do racists and homophobes and such deserve to be catered to? My personal opinion: no on both counts.
You essentially said the only possible reason for in-game bigotry to exist is to cater to actual bigots. Although seeing as you said this.
I've also said that I do believe there's people who want to be able to misgender Mizhena for a Richer Story Expeience instead of wanting games to tell them that it's okay for them to be Trump supporters. Although I doubt that their number's that big,I can admit they exist. Here's some quotes, even.
That point is no longer relevant. So yeah, might as well just discuss the wider issue. That's what this thread is for, after all.
If a work of fiction has one kind of socially unacceptable behavior going on then it should let them all in? Sorry, does not follow. Would the people arguing that it's ok to allow various types of bigotry because the characters can get away with in-game murder be ok with rape and pederasty being thrown in as player options? There are two options here "fuck no" or back away from that person very slowly.
Yeah, why not? I'd just like to remind you that video games are not real life, and as such, a player's actions in-game do not represent some sort of moral failing on their part. This applies not just to theft and murder, but also bigotry and since you brought it up, rape and kiddy fiddling as well. Again, it's just a game. It's fantasy, not reality. No need to go full Jack Thompson over it.

Offline Tolpuddle Martyr

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2016, 07:55:04 pm »
Art, did you see me calling for a ban-ever, even in the Topic That Shall Not Be Named?

Because that's going "Jack Thompson", and not what I've ever proposed. Let me defend the arguments I've made and not those of some guy called Jack willya?

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Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2016, 08:10:27 pm »
Art, did you see me calling for a ban-ever, even in the Topic That Shall Not Be Named?

Because that's going "Jack Thompson", and not what I've ever proposed. Let me defend the arguments I've made and not those of some guy called Jack willya?
No, but you said those sorts of things should never be allowed in video games because it's immoral. That's very much in the spirit of Jack Thompson's schtick.