The Natural Evolution of Games (Everything)

| Saturday, August 28, 2010
Adam is still uh... Adam. Flip a coin and spin the the offensive wheel. See what comes up. Throw that out. I'm not saying it's true, but as long as we're all getting offended over how reality is represented in pixels, we might as well go to the irrational extreme.
I am all for the natural evolution of a game and a gaming genre. But I will strongly resist the idea of change for the sake of making change in order to appease any outside special interest groups, whatever the change or whomever the group may be.

I'm all for fighting special interests. Except they're damn hard to define! Are gays a special interest? Women? Men who get a sex change to become women? People who add dried fruit to their otherwise bland cereal? People who eat generic-brand bland cereal? Cereal manufacturers? At this rate we're all going to end up as randomly associated individuals who do not easily fit into any category.

Women are a special interest and for countless years they've been manipulating society to achieve their special ends. Did you know that this special interest group was once held in check? Once upon a time they couldn't vote, so they couldn't advance their radical feminist agenda. Then the first domino fell and next thing they could vote. Before long it was illegal to beat them and next thing we knew rape was being blamed on men rather than on what was clearly a scarlet woman just asking for it.

For any group which is down, politely asking to be equal or waiting to become equal will not be enough. When women in all their feminist plotting gained the right to vote it came not from waking up one morning and seeing that the world had evolved. Instead they spent years advocating, fighting, pushing. Some gave up. Some claimed that women shouldn't act that way, that voting was bad, that rewriting voting laws was too dramatic.

Do I appear to be equating gaming and voting? That is intentional. As we all go deeper into virtual worlds and as they become more important (though still secondary to the real), representation in those worlds matters more. Games, as all media, are both mirrors and projectors. They reflect society and they shape society. So while we create a fantasy of a world of strong men and emotional princesses needing rescue, the game says back that our fantasy should be a world of strong men and emotional princesses. When games act as escape they also attempt to replicate some ideal aspects of a world. We like that our characters do not starve and likely would not enjoy if we needed to log in a couple times a day to feed them. The ideal world doesn't have so much daily maintenance and it doesn't have some uppity bitch getting out of line telling me what to do when I am the man here and I will fucking do what I want even if that means killing someone! See that last bit is a slightly dangerous ideal.

Why do minority groups so often seem to be striving to be more equal, in the sense of "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others"? Because that's the only way to become equal. It sound paradoxical, but consider this analogy: if you start a race running slower than someone else, can you ever catch up by running at the same speed? This isn't the end solution though. Going faster may cause the other person to speed up as well, notice all the backlash to affirmative action? Once caught up, continuing at the accelerated pace will only cause the original bad situation to reverse, which is acceptable, so there must be a way to measure equality and even out the pace when it is reached.

We may be close to that point, as far as women are concerned, in the Western world. There is still a significant gap, but it is closing very quickly, though obviously that rate is too slow for anyone stuck on the losing end of it. The current economy seems to favor women as men lose physical jobs while women are actually going to college, and graduating, more than men. So in some areas the imbalance has flipped, and so it may be necessary to stop or even reverse the trend. But overall women are still behind. Maybe at this point time will fix that 'soon enough' if we leave things alone.

But what about those devious deviant fags and their radical gay lifestyle agenda? Let me put it this way: a parliamentary figure in Uganda is pushing a law that would impose the death penalty for homosexuality, and he's supported by many conservatives in the US, though they claim that the death penalty is a bit much, preferring the clearly reasonable approach of imprisonment and conversion.

Games shouldn't be developed just to represent this or that group, but the developers should ask themselves what sort of world they are creating, what that world reflects, and what it teaches.


Leah said...

you know, I actually kinda agree with Adam. and I think he's getting more and more offensive because he's being pushed more and more and as someone with a tendency to push back when pushed, I can relate.

where do you draw the line? where do you say: "ok, we got enough, lets just enjoy what we have achieved?" when does choice, morph into another kind of lack of choice?

to me fighting for equal opportunity is not the same as fighting for equal representation. One implies choice, while other forces quotas. I need to read up on affirmative action some more, because right now the most vivid example of it that I have is an episode of ER, where Dr Benton finds out that he was accepted into surgical program over candidates with better test results, because they didn't have enough black students. Sure it payed off in the end, but the bitterness he felt made me like him more as a character. and then of course there was an article in my old college's newspaper lamenting how several faculties had little to no black professors. and its not like they were bared from being professors in those fields, there just weren't as many of them working in those fields.

its going to far, sorry. give equal opportunity. don't request equal numbers, because having equal opportunity shouldn't mean being forced into roles you may not wish perform, just to create equal numbers.

and what exactly is wrong with emotional princesses?
I love Mercedes Lackey, partly because she's a wonderful writer and partly because I can cite her as an example as a better illustration of whatever point I'm trying to make. in this case - this story comes to mind

Ratshag said...

Insisting what when ya flips a quarter, ya get heads the first time, then tails, then heads, then tails, forevers, would be silly. But I does expect what if the quarter be fair, and ain't gimmicked in some way, what if I flips it a buncha times, I's gonna get about the same number of each, give er take a bit. If I get four heads fer every tail, though, then I's gonna say somethin's wrong with me quarter. And anybody tries fer ta tell me the quarter's fine, don't git yer knickers in a twist, I gonna tell him his head ain't right.

Now, we looks at Azeroth. City guards is about 50-50. Named questgivers is about 50-50. But ya gets ta faction leaders, the buggers what has actual backstories? Is more like 80-20 or 90-10. I don't gotta be demandings an exact down ta the millimeter 50-50 parity ta be able ta say, "sumthin's outta balance". 'Cause it clearly is. Tellin' me it ain't wonky, 'cause that's how it were in Conan or medieval France, or 'cause girls made fun of dorks in high school, just makes me think ya got a screw loose.

So, yer evidence what black people don't face active discrimination is one episode of a fictional television show, what happens to be written, directed, and produced by white men? Do you not see the irony there?

Here's the thing. We like fer ta see the world as being comfortable. We likes fer ta see ourselves as the good guys. But sometimes there be uncomfortable, untidy facts. Ain't our fault, we didn't put'em there. But there they be, neverthelesses. Now, we can either cover our ears and go "Lalalalalalalalalalala fuck you", like Adam do, or we can take a minute and stick our heads outta our comfortable shells and say, "ya know what? That thing over there? It don't look right. Mebbe it could be made a little better." Any luck, we grow a bit as a person when we does. With a lotta luck, mebbe we even make the world a little better.

I know what kinda person I'd rather be.

Leah said...

Ratters, I'm not saying that discrimination doesn't exist - it does. What I'm saying is that affirmative action is just as bad.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to get a job, a gig, a raid spot etc, because the female to male ratio happens to be too low and they need more women to be politically correct or whatever. I want to get things because I want them and because I earned them. I don't want to lose a job, because I'm white and they need someone with darker skin on a roster, or get in hot water with "equal opportunity employment rules" I don't want my president to be elected based on their gender or color, I want them to be elected because they were a best person for the job.

I don't want to read a story that reads like a freaking cake recipe with ingredients just so, I want a story that makes sense in its context. to me, story in WoW makes sense. It works within its mythology.

Klepsacovic said...

@Leah: Over-active affirmative action is terrible and there need to be better controls to prevent it. For example, if a the population of a town is 95% white, then it makes sense that the jobs there would be somewhere around 95% white. Trying to enforce/encourage 50% would be absurd.

However affirmative action has a purpose beyond the obvious "get black people into jobs" or "prevent discrimination" part. The true goal is to change perceptions, so that race ceases to be a factor in expected job. In other words, to make it so when you think college professor you don't immediately think "white" or "not black". Or to look at it from a different angle: historical discrimination caused many black people to not get jobs for which they were qualified because of their race, ideally affirmative action would stop, but not invert this.

Anonymous said...

I think its interesting we're discussing sexism in a game that has rampant racism in its very being.

Klepsacovic said...

I've not run into much racism at all in WoW. The only splits that are much like what we'd call racial division are the dwarves and the trolls, and I'm not sure if the Dark Irons looked any different before getting enslaved by Ragnaros. The confusion might be caused by our tendency in WoW to call race what is actually a different species.

Tesh said...

"However affirmative action has a purpose beyond the obvious "get black people into jobs" or "prevent discrimination" part. The true goal is to change perceptions, so that race ceases to be a factor in expected job."

Funny, since in my mind, affirmative action *highlights* racial problems by calling attention to the differences instead of just focusing on the performance. Seems to me a pure meritocracy would be ideal, and let the people best suited for the friggin' job do it, no matter what their skin color.

Ratshag said...

Oh, lordy. A pure meritocracy? Sounds great on papers, but is one little hitch. Information, and the distributions thereof, ain't nevers perfect. Is frictions and uncertainties and cain't see the future and all kindsa other nasty details what get in the way. So, ya ends up with the boss havin' ta hire a new guy, and since he cain't know everythings or see the future, he picks the guy what seems most like the previous worker. 'Cause after all, he did a decent job. That guy in turn, is a lot like the dude what came before him, who also did good work. And is all seeming rational and reasonable and meritocratalized, until ya takes a step back and realizes "wait a minute - they only hire white dudes!" And they ain't even racist - just strugglings with the fact what the universe don't tell ya everything. The universe, after all, don't give a crap about playin' fair.

A pure meritocracy? Sounds like a great idea. So do Santa Claus and free strawberry milkshakes every Wednesday. Ain't none of them got a basis in reality, though.

Anonymous said...

I've not run into much racism at all in WoW.

Really? C'mon Klepsacovic, tell me a joke. You know, in that really funny Haitian accent you do.

All I need to do is find a Dwarf and have them talk to a Troll for the most fun skit possible.

Klepsacovic said...

What's racist about accents? It would be a pretty boring world if everything spoke newscaster's English.

Post a Comment

Comments in posts older than 21 days will be moderated to prevent spam. Comments in posts younger than 21 days will be checked for ID.

Powered by Blogger.