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Eiphel

Boy's World / Girl's World - Avoid Gender Binary

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We all have our own ideas about what's best for the game, but if you're worried that "vocal minorities" will sway the opinion of developers, what you're basically saying is that you won't be able to enjoy the game unless minorities are explicitly not represented well in it. You can try and hide that behind the "devs should do whatever they want" idea, but we all know that the devs will do whatever they think is best for the game, so this discussion is really about whether we as a community value diversity in characters.

[Multiple edits because it's late and I can't order put in words the right.]

This is one hell of a strawman argument. Nobody ever said they don't want minorities to appear in the game or that the game can't be enjoyed unless they are "explicitly not represented." This is a cheap attempt at discrediting the opposing view instead of actually addressing it.

I can see how it would come across like that, and I admit that it weakens my post. I only wanted to point out that wanting people to stop requesting minorities in the game implies a desire not to make the game as requested by others. It's a very contrarian position because instead of considering how the game can be made better there's this worry that something that other people want is not a good thing to want.

Anyway, what view in particular did you want me to address? My post was a response to the growing hostility in the thread (e.g. "your prejudice towards white males with a little stubble is showing, as is your self-entitlement")

This in itself is a straw man. I was not arguing that people shouldn't make suggestions, and I see other people have run with this by emphasizing the "request" portion of this. I would have responded to the OP if they were the one I were arguing against. There is a difference between requesting something and trying to sell a narrative. I'm quite upset at this self-entitled activist narrative various portions of the press and player base are trying to sell, and I'm sure it comes across.

Or maybe I should phrase my opinion this way: I'm making a request that Double Fine just does their thing and doesn't side with anyone's social agenda for the sake of trying to get the praises of self-righteous gaming journalists and activists.

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The entirety of op's initial post could be shorted down to "gee I hopes Tim's writing isn't shit!" :D

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

Think you're being a little unfair there. Rambled on and on? It wasn't that long a first post. Yes, in essence the OP was saying don't write the characters in a lazy way. If you want to get really reductive about it, she was just saying that, and I suppose that seems like quite an obvious thing to want.

However, she was talking about a particular facet of that that concerns her in her own life (which of course she's entitled to do, just like any of us are entitled to talk about any aspect of the game that matters to us), which is maybe why she wanted to give it a bit more context.

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

Think you're being a little unfair there. Rambled on and on? It wasn't that long a first post. Yes, in essence the OP was saying don't write the characters in a lazy way. If you want to get really reductive about it, she was just saying that, and I suppose that seems like quite an obvious thing to want.

However, she was talking about a particular facet of that that concerns her in her own life (which of course she's entitled to do, just like any of us are entitled to talk about any aspect of the game that matters to us), which is maybe why she wanted to give it a bit more context.

People can give opinions, doesn't mean I have to agree or care, and gender binaries effect everyone, it's called bad writing, my whole point was the point made was redundant and not worth making

I like food when is tastes good

I don't like glass through my foot

Bad writing r bad

I could dress up how I don't like bad food into a long paragraph, should I? No! Why? It's a moot point, everyone likes tasty food unless you're a sadist (and I think some sadists do enjoy a good meal every once and awhile)

What would this post accomplish? Tim going WOW, MY GAME IS WRITTEN TERRIBLY JUST NOTICED

I'm not saying the post is wrong, I'm saying it's redundant and a waste of time

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

Think you're being a little unfair there. Rambled on and on? It wasn't that long a first post. Yes, in essence the OP was saying don't write the characters in a lazy way. If you want to get really reductive about it, she was just saying that, and I suppose that seems like quite an obvious thing to want.

However, she was talking about a particular facet of that that concerns her in her own life (which of course she's entitled to do, just like any of us are entitled to talk about any aspect of the game that matters to us), which is maybe why she wanted to give it a bit more context.

People can give opinions, doesn't mean I have to agree or care, and gender binaries effect everyone, it's called bad writing, my whole point was the point made was redundant and not worth making

I like food when is tastes good

I don't like glass through my foot

Bad writing r bad

I could dress up how I don't like bad food into a long paragraph, should I? No! Why? It's a moot point, everyone likes tasty food unless you're a sadist (and I think some sadists do enjoy a good meal every once and awhile)

What would this post accomplish? Tim going WOW, MY GAME IS WRITTEN TERRIBLY JUST NOTICED

I'm not saying the post is wrong, I'm saying it's redundant and a waste of time

So don't comment if you think that. I think a productive discussion was had until the 'keep yer politics outta my games' crew arrived. If you don't, move on. What precisely did your reply accomplish, aside from needless bashing?

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

Think you're being a little unfair there. Rambled on and on? It wasn't that long a first post. Yes, in essence the OP was saying don't write the characters in a lazy way. If you want to get really reductive about it, she was just saying that, and I suppose that seems like quite an obvious thing to want.

However, she was talking about a particular facet of that that concerns her in her own life (which of course she's entitled to do, just like any of us are entitled to talk about any aspect of the game that matters to us), which is maybe why she wanted to give it a bit more context.

People can give opinions, doesn't mean I have to agree or care, and gender binaries effect everyone, it's called bad writing, my whole point was the point made was redundant and not worth making

I like food when is tastes good

I don't like glass through my foot

Bad writing r bad

I could dress up how I don't like bad food into a long paragraph, should I? No! Why? It's a moot point, everyone likes tasty food unless you're a sadist (and I think some sadists do enjoy a good meal every once and awhile)

What would this post accomplish? Tim going WOW, MY GAME IS WRITTEN TERRIBLY JUST NOTICED

I'm not saying the post is wrong, I'm saying it's redundant and a waste of time

So don't comment if you think that. I think a productive discussion was had until the 'keep yer politics outta my games' crew arrived. If you don't, move on. What precisely did your reply accomplish, aside from needless bashing?

Pointing out the fact you're all wasting your time, it's not a productive discussion, don't kid yourself

Again, you clearly aren't getting this, making a post saying you hope the writing is not shit is redundant, and it clearly was made to invoke a different disscusion that has nothing to do with the game

So making redundant posts about redundant posts does what again? You're wasting you're own time posting here if that's how you're seeing things, so what's the point?

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Let me show you how this thread would have gone if people weren't so uptight about anything relating to the words gender, sexuality, or race.

OP: I'm worried the game's characters will be defined too narrowly by their gender.

Second poster: You have nothing to be concerned about. Tim's a good writer.

/thread

Instead, we got three full pages of people complaining that someone dared to be concerned about something in the game that they helped fund.

OP didn't say that, op rambled on and on, the concern is basically in the title it didn't have to be so long and preachy

it comes down to it being written well, which you could literally apply this argument TO ANY PIECE OF FICTIONAL WRITING EVER

seriously, if you have an English class just say "I think the writer of () fell into the trap of typical gender binaries" to anything and it would make sense

Take () place any piece of fictional work

Think you're being a little unfair there. Rambled on and on? It wasn't that long a first post. Yes, in essence the OP was saying don't write the characters in a lazy way. If you want to get really reductive about it, she was just saying that, and I suppose that seems like quite an obvious thing to want.

However, she was talking about a particular facet of that that concerns her in her own life (which of course she's entitled to do, just like any of us are entitled to talk about any aspect of the game that matters to us), which is maybe why she wanted to give it a bit more context.

People can give opinions, doesn't mean I have to agree or care, and gender binaries effect everyone, it's called bad writing, my whole point was the point made was redundant and not worth making

I like food when is tastes good

I don't like glass through my foot

Bad writing r bad

I could dress up how I don't like bad food into a long paragraph, should I? No! Why? It's a moot point, everyone likes tasty food unless you're a sadist (and I think some sadists do enjoy a good meal every once and awhile)

What would this post accomplish? Tim going WOW, MY GAME IS WRITTEN TERRIBLY JUST NOTICED

I'm not saying the post is wrong, I'm saying it's redundant and a waste of time

So don't comment if you think that. I think a productive discussion was had until the 'keep yer politics outta my games' crew arrived. If you don't, move on. What precisely did your reply accomplish, aside from needless bashing?

Pointing out the fact you're all wasting your time, it's not a productive discussion, don't kid yourself

Again, you clearly aren't getting this, making a post saying you hope the writing is not shit is redundant, and it clearly was made to invoke a different disscusion that has nothing to do with the game

So making redundant posts about redundant posts does what again? You're wasting you're own time posting here if that's how you're seeing things, so what's the point?

Just pointing out how you're wasting your time, and not as deep and thoughtful as you thought you were by running to the protection of someone who is basically asking for trouble, sorry, we don't have to put up with this crap

OP knew she was stating a huge argument, don't be that self righteous A Hole who's like "god, can't believe everyone is arguing over this, you guys are all immature and not and deep and smart as me snarf snarf"

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Oh we're all immature here. You're clearly demonstrating that right now. I am in no way deep and smart though. Just looking at my post history is proof of that.

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The entirety of op's initial post could be shorted down to "gee I hopes Tim's writing isn't shit!" :D
Okay, look at this. It's pretty much what I said, but without being such a jackass about it. Why are we fighting again? I already apologized for being so pissy in my posts.

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I really don't see how the thread is redundant. Yes, it is a question of good vs. bad writing, but there are many aspects of what makes writing good or bad. I mean, what seems obvious to one person might not be obvious to another. You never know how much Tim, or any writer, has considered any particular aspect of the writing process, and it's definitely worth getting your point out there, as the OP has. If you go around with such a negative mindset, thinking of all such matters as redundant or pointless, well that's too bad.

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I think this thread is a great example as to why people hate this stuff. The mere mention of it caused this...discussion, if you can even call it that.

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The entirety of op's initial post could be shorted down to "gee I hopes Tim's writing isn't shit!" :D

I have to say that Cleft does have a point here.

Let's just say for example that Tim wrote the game including every gender, minority, etc... but it all sucked because he knew not how to write for those subjects, (By the way not saying that you don't Tim) then what would be the point of including any of those things if they didn't serve to make a good game, with a good story.

If Tim, for example, wrote a transgender or gay character into the game just for the hell of it, but hadn't done his research, then there'd be a lot of people feeling misrepresented.

A few posters call out lazy writing for having a so called dark-skinned minority. How many towns, or worlds for that matter, does anyone here know that are made of cakes and gingerbread? None, that's right!

So in these fictional cake towns, does anyone know what their ethnicity is? No! Why? Because none of it exists!

So who cares what ethnicity they are, because their real ethnicity doesn't exist.

If their ethnicity did exist then they'd be the cake people with x skin colour and y traditions, which still would have no relevance to real world issues.

Now, to the original post. At times there perhaps do seem to be visual cues that could potentially pigeon hole the protagonist's genders, like a girl being sacrificed and a boy living on a spaceship, but these provide context for their lives.

As the story progresses, the locations and visual cues should change primarly to serve the story and not necessarily the roles of the protagonists.

Boy's World and Girl's world are also terms, I believe, that are used to demarcate areas of story in which these characters will interact, areas which could possibly overlap making it Boy/Girl World. I don't believe that it means each world will necessarily be boyish or girlish, and if it did, then I believe SurplusGamer mentioned in his earliest post for this topic, that the idea is for them to break out of their predefined roles. Take that literally, metahporically, whatever.

So, really when you get down to it, I hope Tim writes a great story and the rest is just details.

So I'll just finish with these two thing:

1) You can't please everybody

2) You know, it's just a game ;-)

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The entirety of op's initial post could be shorted down to "gee I hopes Tim's writing isn't shit!" :D

I have to say that Cleft does have a point here.

Let's just say for example that Tim wrote the game including every gender, minority, etc... but it all sucked because he knew not how to write for those subjects, (By the way not saying that you don't Tim) then what would be the point of including any of those things if they didn't serve to make a good game, with a good story.

If Tim, for example, wrote a transgender or gay character into the game just for the hell of it, but hadn't done his research, then there'd be a lot of people feeling misrepresented.

Well, there are two things going on here...

Firstly, I think everyone at least on some level understands that there is a difference between the concept of inclusivity and 'putting all the things in the game'. I mean, I think we get it. That not every story is going to be about every thing. That's cool, and I don't feel that anyone's putting any pressure (not least in the OP) to include a bunch of characters for the sake of it. We're all on the same page there. What the OP did talk about a bit is how often in games male and female characters are written in a very simplistic way, adhering to gender stereotypes in a way that never questions them or even encourages the kind of 'this stuff is for girls/this stuff is for boys' cultural mentality that the OP finds harmful (and I, to an extent agree). So it is sort of true that it's not so much about content as it is about good writing.

I mean, that's a bit of a rush summary, but we've been though this a few times so I'll leave it there.

So the second thing is the concept of writing a 'transgender or gay character into the game just for the hell of it' and... well, this is sort of a tricky one because I think you have a point that if he hadn't done his research then people might feel misrepresented. But on the other hand, Tim is a writer, and one thing that writers like to do is be able to write about broad ranges of characters. It would be a strange writer who couldn't write women because he didn't understand women properly, and so just avoided it. Ditto for racial minorities. Transgender people and especially non-straight people aren't particularly rare, so I would think that I wouldn't want to cut myself off from being able to write those characters.

But, again, that's not to say they're under any obligation to, that's not really what this is about, this is about the first thing. I'm just saying that if I was a writer but I could only write straight white men well, I'd try to address that. As for 'just for the hell of it,' well, as I've mentioned so far, I'm not sure 'just for the hell of it' is SO bad. As long as I'm not under any obligation to because of 'pressure' or whatever, why NOT make a particular character gay, just because I feel I want them to be? I mean, being gay myself it's practically my default anyway when I start thinking about a character. Why not stick in a gay couple because I just think that works, in the same way that I might decide a character is brown haired or way into heavy metal or whatever else - just for flavour? It's true that it's better not to be arbitrary in writing, but I don't square that with only writing gay characters when there's a really cool story reason for them to be gay. It shouldn't be the entirety of who they are, right? I'm all for this approach, and I would generally trust a good writer to be able to write a gay character in 2013 without being terribly offensive about it. As for transgender, I'm not sure. I'm not trans* and they have a different set of issues to deal with and there's a lot of ignorance. I've learned a lot on the last 12 months.

I know I keep saying this, but just to be sure - I don't think anyone is saying Tim's under any obligation to do much apart from write good characters with well-conceived motivations (be they good or ill). The characters he puts in the game will, and should, be the ones he wants to, and I trust him entirely with that. The only thing I wanted to add with that last bit is that I don't think we're all so sensitive that in this day and age a decent writer needs to tread on eggshells to put an LGBT character in their game if they like, without it being offensive.

Finally, and I think a lot of people at DF would agree - don't say it's 'just a game'! I spend a lot of time in this hobby, both playing and making these things, and if I didn't think they were of any significance, I wouldn't. I get it, in the end we generally want to make something people enjoy and not always be deadly serious about it, but I like to think the things I play and the things I make might amount to a little more than a mild diversion. They're a big part of who I am, an increasingly big part of culture at large. Without them, right now, society would be quite different and I would be unrecognisable. Games don't exist in a vacuum and I don't think we should talk about them like they do. If LucasArts had had that 'just a game' attitude, we would never have seen the likes of the classics we have now, because it wouldn't have occured to anyone to bother doing any more than what was expected of them. :) Part of the reason I'm so into games now is because I remember playing Monkey Island and realising that games were capable of all these things that it had never occurred to me before they might be able to do. It wasn't 'just a game', it was 'woah, games have all this potential!' and I hate "it's just a game" as a way of excusing designers from ever exploring potential. And to my mind that includes occasionally moving beyond the subject matter that games typically deal with. Not every time, not as an obligation - but because that's what happens when a medium grows.

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I know I keep saying this, but just to be sure - I don't think anyone is saying Tim's under any obligation to do much apart from write good characters with well-conceived motivations (be they good or ill). The characters he puts in the game will, and should, be the ones he wants to, and I trust him entirely with that. The only thing I wanted to add with that last bit is that I don't think we're all so sensitive that in this day and age a decent writer needs to tread on eggshells to put an LGBT character in their game if they like, without it being offensive.

You make good points as always SurplusGamer. I'm not saying that writers should treat LGBT or anything else with kid glove, they can be as hard as they want on those subjects, as long as the writing is honest. I hate it when developers think it would be cool to put this or that in the game just to please a certain demographic, only to have it be of no consequence to the game, the story, or the gameplay mechanics, to me that's dishonest. To put it in there just because is dishonest.

Finally, and I think a lot of people at DF would agree - don't say it's 'just a game'! I spend a lot of time in this hobby, both playing and making these things, and if I didn't think they were of any significance, I wouldn't. I get it, in the end we generally want to make something people enjoy and not always be deadly serious about it, but I like to think the things I play and the things I make might amount to a little more than a mild diversion. :)

The bolded part was what I meant when I said 'It's just a game', believe me I don't discount the significance of games in society or their impact, or the time that people spend working on them, but sometimes people should just let it go :-)

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You make good points as always SurplusGamer. I'm not saying that writers should treat LGBT or anything else with kid glove, they can be as hard as they want on those subjects, as long as the writing is honest. I hate it when developers think it would be cool to put this or that in the game just to please a certain demographic, only to have it be of no consequence to the game, the story, or the gameplay mechanics, to me that's dishonest. To put it in there just because is dishonest.

I think we're more or less in agreement there, really. Especially the bit about me making good points ;)

Yeah, I think the writing should be honest, but I think sometimes 'just because' can be honest. Like I can write a story where someone can have ginger hair, just because I want them to. Or I can have a story where there's a woman in a stereotypically male role, like say, a soldier... just because that's the character I want to write (and importantly, that doesn't mean it HAS to be a story about their struggles as a woman in the military). Or I can have a story like this Night in the Woods kickstarter where the protagonist's best friend just happens to be in a gay relationship, just because that feels right in that moment, whatever (honestly, it shouldn't feel like a big deal that in that they have a pair of major characters be a gay couple, but it is, because it's something that people have been trained not to expect in fiction, unless there's some grand justification - which just seems silly to me).

It doesn't all have to be of consequence to the game or the story or the mechanics, because some stuff just is peripheral in some games. Just like a character might be straight (which you might infer by the way they admire an attractive woman in the game, say) but that doesn't mean that their sexuality has anything to do with the story or mechanics. Or maybe it could have something to do with the story - the point is, it doesn't necessarily matter. I would include gay and straight and anything else characters in my game for about the same reasons that I'd include ones of various ethnicities or hair or eye colours. And... maybe that boils down to 'just because,' but maybe it's more like I just feel like it makes my game world richer when I have these things in my palette to paint with, when I feel I want to.

oops, that went on too long.

The bolded part was what I meant when I said 'It's just a game', believe me I don't discount the significance of games in society or their impact, or the time that people spend working on them, but sometimes people should just let it go :-)

Fair enough. It's just a peeve of mine as I find it's often used as ... I think a lot people use 'just a game' when it suits them, when actually they think games are kind of a big deal at other times. So to me it comes across as an excuse not to pay something any thought. Not saying that's necessarily how you were using it, it's just how it often sounds, to me.

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