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Debate: Something for the gaymers

What do you lot reckon?

I've been reading a lot lately about developers introducing LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) characters, though, from what I've read in reviews, these are normally quite weak and diluted. I've asked my mum, and she explained to me about TV in the 70's and 80's having the 'token black person' and 'token Asian person', but that the story lines they had were either really weak and pointless, or they were simply the shop keeper or the market seller that had a random snog with some desperate housewife, and after that, they were never seen or heard of again.

What I'm asking here is, do you think LGBT characters should be included in games, though, like all of their other counterparts be they White, Black, Warrior or Mage, have a proper underpinned story line instead of three lines of dialogue and then disappear?
WilburBelgarathMTHtypo_tillyJuliusBorisov
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Comments

  • Style_CommanderStyle_Commander Member Posts: 9
    It's a really hard thing to ask when you're typing! *Awaits the Michael Jackson memes*. But should writers and designers spend more time on working on the important parts of the game (script/quests etc) before throwing in the 'token' characters, and then in an expansion maybe add various other characters with interesting and fulfilling stories.
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 1,618
    Of course they should be included. If you want a game to reflect real life then you need to have the characters reflect things which happen in real life.

    Romancing characters in a game seems pointless to me, though. If I want to pursue a romance plot and see where it leads I will turn the computer off.
    WilburBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovFinaLfront
  • WilburWilbur Member Posts: 1,154
    deltago said:

    As long as their is more to the character than their sexual orientation, and the sexual orientation is not the first thing you notice, then yes they should be included.

    A well written character, regardless of how big the role, has hopes, dreams, thoughts, desires and fears. That is what should define them first.

    On the other hand love or the lack thereof is one of the strongest motivators in life. Be it straigth or gay.
    alastair93
  • alastair93alastair93 Member Posts: 86
    It depends on the game.

    Generally, I feel that the option for same-sex relationships should be included in most RPGs; or at the very least, those containing romantic themes. This should be a reflection of a greater degree of character customisation and freedom than was possible in the past, and the ability of the player to fully immerse himself/herself in a story where choices matter.

    This sounds pretentious, but I can see romance being an increasingly common element of modern gaming, as current video games are really opening up to the idea of exploring the human condition as opposed to just collecting rings. And love, sex and desire are an immensely important part of being human — I'll never really understand people who say that romance should be left out of video games. And if you're going to have romance, why not non-heterosexual romance? I can't see any logical argument against that.

    Saying that, I don't think a game like The Witcher 3 should necessarily include a gay protagonist, since these games are based on pre-defined lore, and players are manipulating facets of a more defined character that has a hefty backstory.

    As for non-RPGs, it also depends on the game. Shoe-horning a gay character into Super Mario would be bizarre, and I don't think that the game really revolves around the Mario-Peach romance to any great degree, so it doesn't alienate anyone who isn't heterosexual.

    However, it would be refreshing to see LGBT characters in games like Gears of War/Halo/CoD, where NPCs do play a large role in the story. If not for representation of a diverse gamer base, then to at least escape from the grinding monotony of the standard-issue, boring, gruff-voiced Tough Guy(tm) who is in reality more shallow and superficial than *any* token gay character.
    Blackraven
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 4,794
    edited August 2015
    Gaymers lol I didn't know that was a thing

    As for the question, I don't think they should have token LGBT characters just for the sake of it. It just feels awkward and forced. However, if a character if LGBT because that is who he is, that is fine for me.

    I don't know if that makes sense, I just woke up...
    Archaostypo_tilly
  • AlmateriaAlmateria Member Posts: 234
    Well, the very first non-terrible video game transgender character has been created in late 2014.
    And he's a transdude, which were never a subject to terrible treatment from storywriters, so i dunno, full inclusion would be nice, even if it's tokenism
  • Artemius_IArtemius_I Member Posts: 1,813
    Just my two cents:

    A good presentation of 'LGBT', as you call it, should be interesting to more than just the token group they represent. If you're writing a gay romance and write the whole thing around the fact it's a gay romance, or specifically for gay people, it's awful writing. Exchange gay romance with "minority character" or "disabled character" or what have you. Otherwise it just seems like a cheap way to try and be politically correct.
    ArchaosFinneousPJdunbar
  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,046
    I hate everyone equally, regardless of race, gender or sexuality. Just sayin'.
    NaveenCaloNord
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,376
    Archaos said:

    Also I hate political correctness. It's trying to please everybody for the sake of it.

    image

    (I don't mean to pick on you specifically Archaos; you're just the most recent person to use the phrase political correctness.)
    ShandyrBlackravenDJKajuru
  • ShandyrShandyr Member Posts: 6,652
    I think how to use and not confuse the ideas of "political correctness" with just "being polite" and "treating people with respect" is a different debate, maybe for another thread.

    However I have noticed, aside from this thread, that there are people who do act rather not respectfully to someone else and justify it by referring to the absurdity of "political correctness".
    Nonnahswriter
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    As a general rule, no. Careful what you wish for, some geeks wanted more social recognition and they got Big Bang Theory. A character is interesting by what he DOES, not because he IS something a bit odd. And I'm afraid introducing lgtb may be a form of cheap creative process, to ignore the DOING part.

    I'm a boring white heterosexual male but one of my favourite characters (Apryl Ryan from The Longest Journey) is a woman, and I didn't have any problem empathising with her because, she is... uh, human. If she'd been lesbian or into goats, it would not have mattered. Good characters are, above everything else, human (or human-like), if his orientation eclipses that you have not done a good job.

    If you are a good writer, go on and write about your transgender half-dwarf-orc, I'll read it. Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando, a transgender immortal poet, but she was a good writer. If not, please, don't.

    Besides, it should be seamless and natural, your reaction to the "revelation" should be "Umm, interesting. Didn't expect that but it makes sense about you and the world, and I'm learning something about different peoples, cultures, personalities or species, but it's cool. Well, keep going, we still have many homophobic orcs to kill".

    FinneousPJ
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 4,794
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,673
    edited August 2015
    My opinion - For every good gay romance, there are 9 bad. Jade Empire is one of the few games where i actually enjoyed the romance.

    The 'token black person' part made me giggle, aren't they always the first ones to die in Zombie movies?
  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 901
    That raises two questions:
    a) Why not learn to write before applying for a major project and butchering it?
    b) Why do some major developers hire shitty writers?
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    You mentioned the half-dwarf-orc with sexual issues XD, so I guess that was partially directed at me. Sexual orientation matters much less than it is believed. Look at Hexxat from BG2, she is lesbian. So? Is the game richer because of that? They could have made her straight or into zombies like PS:T Morte, it would not have added anything, creatively speaking. And if it had mattered too much, that's usually a red flag because it means you may have a flat character. There lies the paradox: If you make its sexuality* (whichever) very visible, the character is poorer from it (Safana, Eldoth? All of them straight, but not memorable), but if it's seamlessly written and a secondary issue, then it does not matter and it could have been almost any other. But people who want LGBT characters usually want it to be very visible (that's the whole point of asking for them). But like light, if it is very visible, it blinds to other surrounding things (like story, plot or a proper personality that isn't defined by what arouses you).

    Example: Aquiles was probably bisexual. Nobody cared even during Christian medieval Europe. It's what he DID that matters. However, when modern authors talk about lgbt-whatever, the doing disappears and it's what they are, related to some identity group, what then defines the individual (who disappears) or even the plot. It's not, "Hey Da Vinci was an inventor, painter, engineer, actually a good cook and, probably, homosexual (though celibate)" and becomes "As a homosexual vegetarian with sexual traumas, Da Vinci..."

    Of course, you can write whatever you want, but you are entering a minefield, hence my warning and -perhaps too direct- advice. And if you are a professional writer in charge of a big project (a new Baldur's Gate or Star Wars) you may actually destroy it without realizing. Some writers don't have the luxury of trying and see what happens, and I was talking about them.

    *Or race or any other identity politics group.


    PS: I'm also an aspiring writer. I know the difficulties.
    FinneousPJiKrivetko
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    edited August 2015
    Edit: pardon the wall of text. I got a little off topic.

    Well.
    This is actually a complicated question. In a videogame, not only are you trying to write a good story, but there's also a practical aspect of selling the game, which(I assume) must be a different process than someone thinking up a good story and writing it down. The writers are hired after all, they have to produce something. It's not art for arts sake.
    I'm not saying videogames [storylines/weiting] cant be art, but they are not just art. They are, at their core, entertainment. Remember that.
    See, if your writing a story for its own sake, your primary goal is to write a good story. So you do whatever the story dictates. If the story wants a gay man, you put in a gay man. If it does not, you do not.
    But on a videogame, you can't really do that. You have to meet certain parameters. You need to cater to certain demographics. You can't be to offensive. You need to be politically correct. So If the company decides they want 2 black characters, one lesbian and a transgender depressed half Orc with one arm, then you have to write those characters in whether they fit in the story or not.

    And that's the issue.

    See, if the game could be a story for the sake of story, I would say no(the question being "should minorities be forced into games for the sake of inclusion and being politically correct?") Don't force a character to be something. It only leads to bad writing and they end up being 'token' characters as mentioned.

    But it's not that simple. They have to include certain things. Games are not designed and created by one single artists. They are created by committee to be entertaining. So it's necessary for a game to intentionally place certain kinds of characters into a game in order for it to appeal to a wide audience. And that's ok. That's the reality of it. It's ok for me as long as it doesn't seem really forced or obvious. But ideally the answer is no.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Archaos said:

    Also I hate political correctness. It's trying to please everybody for the sake of it.

    image

    (I don't mean to pick on you specifically Archaos; you're just the most recent person to use the phrase political correctness.)
    Political correctness is stupid. And that quote is misleading. If you go by that quote then I'm a terrible person because I think "treating other people with respect" is stupid. And that's not true.

    Treating people with respect is NOT being politically correct. There is a HUGE difference. Political correctness is making sure everything is nice and inoffensive for everyone, even if that means completely changing what you're saying. Respect is different. if you really respect someone you'll tell them exactly what you think, even if it offends them, because they are a respectable human being who deserves your honesty(if you have a response to. I'm not advocating running out onto the street and yelling out all of your honest opinions.)
    You can be politically correct to someone and give them absolutely NO respect whatsoever. If you think you have to water something down for someone so they can take it without getting offended than that's not respectful. That's totally disrespectful.



    And that(the video) leading into my next point: society needs to get over gay people. The media is very fixated on LGBT rights, rather disproportionately Yes, they exist, yes, they have rights. moving on. I'm not saying that we should just leave it where it is. Gay people face struggles in their life. We should do everything we can to fix that. But a bunch of other people face struggles in their life to, and we should do everything we can to fix that to. And a lot of other groups have bigger issues. There are not poor, inner city gay school districts. There is not a gay immigration crisis(in Europe or America). It's a lot easier to hide being gay that it is to hide being whatever race happens to be desriminated against in whatever place you live in(not that you should have to, but still) and yes, I know that's not politically correct to say, but I covered that already.
    And, as the video says, the more we make a big deal out of it the slower the progress moves.
    FinneousPJNaveensimples
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,376
    Naveen said:

    Look at Hexxat from BG2, she is lesbian. So? Is the game richer because of that? They could have made her straight or into zombies like PS:T Morte, it would not have added anything, creatively speaking.

    I think it is richer. We have a romance option that was not available to us in the previous version of the game. If she'd been straight, that would have added yet another romance option for Male!Charname, who already had three available. That would have been boring. Lazy.

    Writing her as lesbian not only gave Female!Charnames more replay value, but it also gave a huge shoutout to the lady-gamers in the demographic. Beamdog said "Hey! Girls! We realize your female Charnames don't have a lot of options in the ways of romance. We fixed that for you with Hexxat, Dorn, and Rasaad." And as a lady-gamer, that pleases me. It tells me, Beamdog heard the complaints of many lady-gamers over the years, and they listened.

    (That being said, there's still some serious problems with Hexxat's character, but her sexuality is not one of them.)
    Naveen said:

    And if it had mattered too much, that's usually a red flag because it means you may have a flat character. There lies the paradox: If you make its sexuality* (whichever) very visible, the character is poorer from it (Safana, Eldoth? All of them straight, but not memorable), but if it's seamlessly written and a secondary issue, then it does not matter and it could have been almost any other. But people who want LGBT characters usually want it to be very visible (that's the whole point of asking for them). But like light, if it is very visible, it blinds to other surrounding things (like story, plot or a proper personality that isn't defined by what arouses you).

    They're also not very memorable because they have little to no character interaction or quests thanks to Baldur's Gate 1's simplistic style, but I digress. (Unpopular Opinion Thread, anyone?)

    I certainly agree that it's a balancing act. If you make that character's sexuality the defining characteristic, then yes, it can lead to tokenism. I don't think anyone on the side of "Yes! We want more LGBT characters!" disagrees with that; no matter a character's race, sex, sexuality, religion, or whatever, we want them to be well-written.

    My point is that good writers don't just magically become good over night; they work and they make mistakes, and those mistakes are going to entail creating some tokens. Don't let that fear stop you. You shouldn't feel afraid to create a kind of character just because other people are telling you how hard it is, how it does or doesn't sell, or how you're buying into this "political correctness" by trying to be inclusive.
    Naveen said:

    Of course, you can write whatever you want, but you are entering a minefield, hence my warning and -perhaps too direct- advice. And if you are a professional writer in charge of a big project (a new Baldur's Gate or Star Wars) you may actually destroy it without realizing. Some writers don't have the luxury of trying and see what happens, and I was talking about them.

    And that's fine too. There's nothing wrong with playing it safe under pressure. But keep in mind too that it's that same attitude that continually gives us this:

    image

    White Guy after White Guy after White Guy after White Guy... Brand name: SCRUFFY.

    (Disclaimer: This is from last year's E3, I do believe. This year's E3 was a very different story.)

    Not that there's anything wrong with these protagonists. I like straight/white/cis/guys too; look at my dad, look at my boyfriend. But when that's the only kind of hero we see, game after game after game... That's a problem. The world is not made up of only straight/white/cis/guys.

    And I understand that the professionals are under a lot of pressure. They're trying to make money, build a reputation, ultimately create something a ton of people will love...but they're also the ones with the most power, the ones we have no choice but to rely on for inclusiveness. That pressure doesn't give them a free pass to keep chucking out the same carbon-copy protags all the time. People want to see themselves in the games they love, and they're becoming more and more vocal about it. Sometimes it's even more dangerous to play it safe than it is to try something new. (Lookin' at you, Witcher 3 reviewers complaining about the all-white cast...)
    Naveen said:

    PS: I'm also an aspiring writer. I know the difficulties.

    image

    (To be honest, the only part I really wanted to say was the first paragraph and that fistbump... But that alone felt insubstantial, so you get a wall of text instead. :tongue: Sorry. Not sorry.)
    ShandyrAedanalastair93Ayiekie
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,254
    @Nonnahswriter
    Did you really just mention the "scruffy 30-whatsit white guy" trope? I seriously hope we're not playing the Oppression Olympics up in here.

    SionIVWandering_MinstrelSaleri
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,376
    Flashburn said:

    @Nonnahswriter
    Did you really just mention the "scruffy 30-whatsit white guy" trope? I seriously hope we're not playing the Oppression Olympics up in here.

    It was in jest, but yes, I did.
  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member, Moderator Posts: 9,506
    Hey, some of us like our scruffy 30-something CIS Het White Dudes… maybe a little too much!

    image by MathiaArkoniel

    ::Whistles innocently…::
    Nonnahswriter
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