I'm a straight male gamer, convince me diversity in games is a good thing

Genocidicles

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shrekfan246 said:
Genocidicles said:
If it meant more strategy games,
Endless Space, Sins of a Solar Empire, Age of Wonders III, Eador: Masters of the Broken World, King's Bounty, Galactic Civilizations 3, X-COM: Enemy Unknown.
more roguelikes,
FTL, Rogue Legacy, Risk of Rain, The Binding of Isaac, Sword of the Stars: The Pit, really too many others for me to even remember at this point.
more RPGS
Divinity: Original Sin, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Transistor, Nekro, Grim Dawn, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, The Witcher, Dark Souls.
and whatever then great! But from what I've seen, all it has given us is walking simulators and shitty point and click adventures.
You should start looking harder.
Are those the result of 'diversity' and 'inclusiveness'?
 

Mikeybb

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Bad Jim said:
Genocidicles said:
Well if we're going for 'things we can't do in real life' why does it have to be playing as a woman, or a gay guy? Why not go all the way and have us play as transdimensional cyborgs with 2 brains? Or insect people with a rigid caste system? That actually sounds interesting to me.
It's not actually a great idea for fantasy to be so far removed from everyday experience. The audience needs to understand the subtleties, which is a lot easier in a universe that mostly works like the real world. Properly understanding an insect people would require an awful lot of exposition. Understanding a woman or black guy or a homosexual is a lot easier because they exist in real life.
A game that explored something that was completely anthropologically alien to a human would be confusing, but it also strikes me as damn interesting.
Being the alien would be a difficult perspective to pull off for a full game, but being a cypher thrown into the environment could be a very compelling experience indeed.
 

shrekfan246

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Genocidicles said:
shrekfan246 said:
Genocidicles said:
If it meant more strategy games,
Endless Space, Sins of a Solar Empire, Age of Wonders III, Eador: Masters of the Broken World, King's Bounty, Galactic Civilizations 3, X-COM: Enemy Unknown.
more roguelikes,
FTL, Rogue Legacy, Risk of Rain, The Binding of Isaac, Sword of the Stars: The Pit, really too many others for me to even remember at this point.
more RPGS
Divinity: Original Sin, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Transistor, Nekro, Grim Dawn, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, The Witcher, Dark Souls.
and whatever then great! But from what I've seen, all it has given us is walking simulators and shitty point and click adventures.
You should start looking harder.
Are those the result of 'diversity' and 'inclusiveness'?
That's something of a loaded and disingenuous question. Was Gone Home the result of "diversity" and "inclusiveness", and can either of us prove one way or the other whether it was or not?

EDIT: Also, I imagine that most of the games I listed did/will come to fruition because of "diversity" within the games industry; that being when smaller developers realized that people are, in fact, still willing to pay money for those types of games.

"Diversity" doesn't just mean "less grizzled, brown-haired 30-something male protagonists". That's just one of the go-to starting points since it's something of a standard for games at the moment.
 

Andy Shandy

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Genocidicles said:
Andy Shandy said:
Well, I suppose if you all you want is "Shooty McWhizBang 69" then no, diversity in games might not be a good thing.

But for me personally, diversity is a good thing as it will increase the chances of us getting a more diverse range of games, not only in characters, but in story, and gameplay. Hell, I myself might be a fan of "Shooty McWhizbang 69" but I wouldn't want every single game to be that.

And don't worry, "Shooty McWhizbang 69" won't be magically wiped out in the process.
But that's the thing, diversity just seems to be leading to easy crap that anyone could play. If it meant more strategy games, more roguelikes, more RPGS and whatever then great! But from what I've seen, all it has given us is walking simulators and shitty point and click adventures.

And then there's the fact that it is affecting our normal games too. Like Anita Sarkeesian's comments to Dice about Mirror's Edge 2:

http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/TheKodu/the-sarkeesian-the-dice-and-the-mirror--235992.phtml

How is dumbing games down so that more women can play them a good thing exactly?
First of all, there is no proof outside of that blog post that Anita Sarkeesian is working with DICE on Mirror's Edge 2. There is proof she had a lecture at DICE talking about Tropes Vs Women, but nothing so far says that she is working on the game. At all. Hell, it would picked up a lot by news sites if she was. So I wouldn't worry about Sarkeesian having all that much influence quite yet.

As for the first part, what about the likes of Portal and Assassin's Creed? Or Uncharted? All of these have had women play a huge part in their development, in various forms (Kim Swift was both the leader and level designer of Portal, Jade Raymond was the producer of the Assassin's Creed series and Amy Hennig was the head writer and creative director for the Uncharted series).

If, for some arbitrary reason, game development was a male-only club (I chose male vs female in this example, but I'm sure plenty of other examples could be found for other diversities), those games may not have existed (Portal almost certainly wouldn't have) or may have been very different, taking away the things that make them so beloved.
 

rgrekejin

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Genocidicles said:
Is this a good thing, for me? From where I'm standing, all diversity in gaming has brought us is shit like Gone Home. How can I get on board with 'diversity moving gaming forward', if it just means more crappy games I won't play on Steam? How is this a good thing exactly?
Well... I've always suspected that I may have a bit of a strange view of diversity, but let me see if I can't put together the sort of utilitarian argument you might find appealing...

The thing about diversity is that people tend to forget that diversity is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Diversity for diversity's sake is not a good thing, it is a neutral thing. Three straight white dudes sitting in a bar enjoying each others company are neither inherently better nor inherently worse than a gay black guy, a trans native american woman, and a sentient rock lobster sitting in a bar enjoying each others company. Setting aside for a moment the absurdity of trying to sort radically unique individual human beings into shallow, broad-brush boxes in the first place, the fact is that the diversity of the groups in question is absolutely meaningless in this situation - three friends sitting around enjoying each others company. That one group is superficially diverse and the other isn't is neither a good thing nor a bad thing - it's just a thing.

Diversity becomes important, however, when we talk about collaborative projects, such as running a business, building a bridge, designing a videogame, or just the big collaboration that is human civil society. Think about that bridge example - you have the engineer who knows how to design it, the construction workers who know how to operate the tools to build it, the politician who knows how to needle the public into coughing up the money for it, and the Mafia Don who knows how to get the unions off your back so you can actually build it :D. These people have a diversity of talents, and without it, progress would be much slower, because fewer people would need to know how to do more and more things to build the bridge, and that just isn't practical.

By now you're probably thinking "Well hey, sure, I can see how having a diversity of skills is important, but what the frack does that have to do with the discussion we're having now? We're not talking about skills, we're talking about... other things." And I concede that the answer isn't immediately obvious. But the thing is that our diverse upbringings and life experiences give everyone a different lens through which they view the world, and this causes us to all solve problems different ways. Those different points of view are tools in our toolbox for tackling the problems of everyday life. And it behooves us to keep as many tools on hand as we can, because it's sometimes hard to know a priori which of these different tools are going to be useful and which aren't. For example, if I knew nothing whatsoever about the games industry, I wouldn't guess that a person's nationality would be something that would influence their ability to create a fun rail shooter game. And yet, Killer 7 is in my top 5 games of all time in no small part because of it's distinctive Japanese-ness. That's really the biggest example I can think of - without the diversity of culture that exists, most of the genres of games that only really come out of Japan could not exist. To put it simply, diversity is our repository for different modes of thinking.

But sometimes (in fact, most of the time) most types of diversity *really don't* matter. Think back to the bridge example. Does it really matter if the engineer in question is a latina woman or a black guy? Of course not. Because the beams supporting that bridge don't give one red damn either way - the only thing that matters is whether it's a thick enough piece of steel to support the cars driving over it. But lately it seems that some people have lost sight of that fact, and treat diversity as some sort of idol to be appeased, rather than a tool we can use to help make everyone's lives better, and that's where the problems start. A prime example - I hear a lot of calls for more LGBT characters in games. And when people respond that they'd rather not have identifiably LGBT characters unless they have some good, plot-related reason for being there, they're shouted down for heteronormative thinking. But the thing is, I think these people misunderstand the objection. The objection being made here isn't "All characters should be straight unless there's a good plot-related reason for it", it's "Overt sexuality is probably best left out of games altogether unless there's a good plot-related reason for it". Off the top of my head, I can think of very few games that actually feature any real exploration of the main character's sexuality at all. I have no idea what the protagonist of Bioshock's sexual identity is. If they ever told us if Chris Redfield is straight or gay, I sure missed it (although RE6 had a hell of a lot of homoerotic overtones...) Does my villager in Animal Crossing need to have a customizable sexuality? And then there are the games like Smash Bros, or Titanfall where none of these questions even really make sense to ask. Shoehorning sexuality, whether straight, LGBT, or whatever, into games where it otherwise doesn't exist isn't a neutral change - it actively makes them worse. If you're going to bring sexuality into your game, have a reason for it.

I will say, though, that I really bemoan the dearth of women in high-level design positions within the game industry. It's pretty well known within the neuroscience community that women and men tend to perceive and process information differently (on wide, population-scale average, nobody freak out on me). That the average man tends to lack an intuitive, experiential understanding of the way the average woman integrates information is at least one of the reasons that female programmers are so in demand right now. It's not just affirmative action, it's that female users (again, on gross population-wide average, there are plenty of individual exceptions) tend to think about computing differently than men do. I loved Killer 7 at least in part because the game featured a novel Japanese way of looking at and processing the world. I wonder what I'm missing out on because I don't have any games featuring a novel female way of processing the world.
 

GloatingSwine

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Unless you're an easily entertained moron who is happy to fork over $60 for the same experience every year, yeah, diversity is going to be a good thing for you.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Because I like to play as a girl in video games. It's a refreshing change for the male stereotype character that seems to be the go-to for so many characters.

Plus, there are thousands and thousands of games on Steam. I'm pretty sure you will be able to find your preferred games, no matter how diverse things get. Or how crappy things get, as you put it. Personally I'm looking forward to getting a chance to play Gone Home when it comes out on consoles. I would like to see what all the talk is about.
 

Ratty

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Genocidicles said:
Normally I'm one to just stick my fingers in my ears and pretend everything is fine when discussions about diversity get brought up, but with all these articles about how the 'evil dudebro gamers' are dying off and how gaming will become more diverse and move forward as a medium (and how that's a good thing) have made me wonder:

Is this a good thing, for me? From where I'm standing, all diversity in gaming has brought us is shit like Gone Home. How can I get on board with 'diversity moving gaming forward', if it just means more crappy games I won't play on Steam? How is this a good thing exactly?
More games you won't play help expand the industry and keep it alive. The less niche a hobby is the less likely you personally are liable to be judged for having it. But beyond the tangible benefits, diversity means less stagnation. There's only so many games that can be made about straight white dudebros doing the same things over and over again until it just becomes boring for everyone. A wider audience means that, hopefully, developers will be able to stretch their legs creatively. Their will still be games for straight white men, it just means that won't be 90% of everything that comes out. And besides just because you didn't like Gone Home doesn't mean you'll dislike everything made with other demographics in mind. It's a whole wide world of ideas out there ready to be explored.
 

EternallyBored

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The issue here seems to be that you are mistaking diversity arguments as a whole, for a specific type of game that tends to use diverse characters more often than other genres. Games like Gone Home aren't the end result of diversity, they are a certain style of game like Limbo or Braid, or Journey that are interested in making an artistic statement over other factors of design, they are very much games that put style over substance. Which isn't always bad, as these types of games can provoke thought or emotion when done properly, and can convey a very focused authorial vision that is often lost or muddled by larger AAA budgets and development team sizes. These games are not caused by diversity, they use diversity as a means to attempt to amplify their message or style, doesn't always work, but it can be effective when it does. Games like Gone Home are similar to what is sometimes referred to as "Oscar bait" movies, they are artistic statements first, and in depth games second.

Again though, that's not what people really mean or want when they talk about diversity in games. The statement can mean any number of things, from wanting more diverse casts in the games themselves, to wanting more diversity or voices within the industry, to wanting more or less positive or negative tropes. There is no one agreed upon message for what exactly people want when they say they want diversity in the industry, just like when people clamor for more RPGs or better written stories, there is usually a great number of opinions for what that increase in quality should look like and how it should be accomplished.

As for Mirror's edge 2, as Andy Shandy already said, there's no proof that Anita has had any significant effect on the game beyond being invited out to consult on her videos and female tropes, which, for a game that already featured an Asian female protagonist, likely isn't going to result in any huge changes to the game. Given the first game, there's really not much there to screw up, everyone played the game for its parkour mechanics, I can't think of anyone that came away from the game talking about what an awesome character Faith was, or how they couldn't wait to see where the story went from the end of the first one, a game I beat, but had to google the story because it was so forgettable I forgot what the ending was.

As for convincing you that diversity is good, no, I don't know enough about you to make that argument, and given that you seem to have a very specific view of what you consider "diversity" to be, I don't think we are at the stage where people on here are going to be able to convince you of anything. What exactly do you see diversity as? because judging by your first post, and your followup to Shrekfans list of games with diverse characters, apparently you see diversity as only counting when its the sole focus of a game, or if the developers specifically set out to make a game about diversity or inclusiveness rather than just a game with diversity or inclusiveness in it.
 

Mikeyfell

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Genocidicles said:
Normally I'm one to just stick my fingers in my ears and pretend everything is fine when discussions about diversity get brought up, but with all these articles about how the 'evil dudebro gamers' are dying off and how gaming will become more diverse and move forward as a medium (and how that's a good thing) have made me wonder:

Is this a good thing, for me? From where I'm standing, all diversity in gaming has brought us is shit like Gone Home. How can I get on board with 'diversity moving gaming forward', if it just means more crappy games I won't play on Steam? How is this a good thing exactly?
Don't worry no body is going to shove diversity into your Call of Duty's or your Battlefield's where it's not going to be appreciated.

They're talking about broadening the appeal of video games to people who want a little substance in their entertainment,
You know those people who don't get the appeal of drab military shooters. Those people who would rather play a crappy game with a meaningful character driven narrative. Or a game with new mechanics that triple A developers haven't thought of yet.

Of course it would be great if the industry focused even more heavily on pleasing your specific narrow minded demographic, who likes things exactly how they are now and only sees growth and evolution as a vehicle for more crappy games to clog up your steam library. But you know, if you open your eyes you might notice something pretty alarming. You are not the only fucking gamer in the world.

You want to know why diversity is a good thing. Because my definition of "Crappy game" is probably your definition of "awesome game"
And the triple A Devs will never make my definition of "Awesome game" because they all independently decided that it won't be worth it because it's not going to sell 10 million copies unless it has competitive multyplayer and a cover mechanic. So I get to eat shit and play old JRPG's on my PS2 because my money's not worth anything to the big game publishers.

(If your post was trying to play Devil's Advocate I'm sorry about how condescending that sounded.
and if you weren't playing Devil's Advocate I'm... not sorry because you need to open your eyes)
 

StriderShinryu

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Adam Jensen said:
Because same-old gets boring after a while?
Pretty much this. If you don't see the need or feel any interest in exploring the perspectives of others then that's fine. If you don't want to take it on any sort of deeper level then there's really nothing wrong with that, but on the simple surface level of it just being boring doing the same thing while playing as the same character over and over again I would imagine it should be easy to see why diversity is a good thing.

Also, I really do feel that inclusiveness is important for everyone because, quite simply, as someone who loves and supports videogames, I want as many people to play them as possible. I don't want them to be a closeted phenomenon that only a small portion of the population can enjoy, and I say that as someone who personally greatly enjoys games like Dark Souls and fighting games played at the highest of levels. I see games as a medium for everyone even if every individual game isn't for every player. It really doesn't hurt my enjoyment of games if games are being made that don't directly appeal to me, and I like knowing that my entertainment medium of choice is something that many others are enjoying.
 

Jimmy Sylvers

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Because a diverse range of people play games.

Because a diverse range of people have stories to tell through games.

Because diversity doesn't define a game, diversity doesn't make a game good or bad nor does it define the genre. It is not like people sit down and go "hmmm what to play today? An RTS or a diversity game...?"

No developer should be trying to go through a diversity checklist to make sure every single group of people gets represented, that is just bad, cynical writing. But at the same time people shouldn't feel restricted when creating characters for their games. Developers shouldn't feel like they have to cater only to one specific audience for fear of not selling their game because someone has labeled it as a 'shitty diversity game like Gone Home'.

You seem to think that including diversity in games makes them less enjoyable, when really you probably just don't like the game regardless. The types of games you like may be less diverse (I am guessing by the topic) but that isnt what made them good games. That is a ridiculous notion.

But overall diversity is just a much more realistic representation of our lives. I don't know if you live in a world where only boring white guys have stories to tell, but I don't. Plenty of people have interesting stories to tell, including boring white guys but also everyone else who plays and develops games.

I would also like to pick up on the women being filthy casuals thing you mentioned and say that my girlfriend could wipe the floor with you in Quake 3.

There is nothing wrong with having games that anyone can play, playing games doesn't make us some kind of elite, games should be for everyone. And if you think diversity is the reason that games are often designed to be easier then I think you are a little misguide. The first example that comes to mind is the Assassin's Creed series, not very diverse but it has been designed in a way that any gamer, even of limited experience could finish it.
 

Racecarlock

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Ok, you guys know you can answer his question just fine without being all condescending and shit, right? If I see one more comment about how he's just an idiot who only buys call of duty every year, you'll be getting a wall of text from me.

Anyways, mr. genocidicles, are there any dead genres that you miss that you wish would be brought back? Well, maybe this rise in diversity might bring back some of those. And sure, it'll also make plenty of games you won't play, and it'll make a lot of games I won't be playing either. Doesn't matter. Not all games are made for us, and that's a beautiful thing, not something to be feared.
 

GenuflectHonesty

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Genocidicles said:
Well if we're going for 'things we can't do in real life' why does it have to be playing as a woman, or a gay guy? Why not go all the way and have us play as transdimensional cyborgs with 2 brains? Or insect people with a rigid caste system? That actually sounds interesting to me.
Good question, OP! Diversity isn't restricted to just people; it's just that since gamers and developers are all people, they want to represent everyone fairly. As a bisexual male I wouldn't mind some more LGBT protagonists, but that doesn't mean it just has to stop there.

One thing that disappoints me about indie games is that I really want to see more "out there" concepts from them; something like Bad Mojo, an old PC game where you literally played as a cockroach.
 

Mirroga

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Why? Because the status quo is boring and dull. It's the same reason most gamers enjoy genre-breaking games.
 

Rahkshi500

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erttheking said:
I'm more than happy to agree with you on this. However, I can still understand to an extent of where the OP is coming from. I agree with you that diversity is good, bringing new ideas and perspectives to the table; but it also means still allowing the old ideas to still have a place in gaming(I can name a few for example). But the thing is that many people who cry out for "diversity" only seem to care about is not actual diversity, but instead care about imposing what is acceptable or not onto everyone else, to replace one status quo with another status quo, and if that isn't what their intentions or goals are, then they're really doing a good job at getting that across.
 

Risingblade

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As a straight white male why would you even care? A bit of diversity won't stop the industry from catering to you.
 

Inglorious891

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GloatingSwine said:
Unless you're an easily entertained moron who is happy to fork over $60 for the same experience every year, yeah, diversity is going to be a good thing for you.
So you're telling me if, for example, the next Call of Duty had a diverse cast it would all of a sudden be interesting versus the same boring slag that it is every year, but since it still stars mainly white guys now it's same-old crap for, "easily entertained morons"? This is the main reason why I don't buy the whole, "you should want diversity in games because it makes them more interesting!" arguement. Just because a game stars mostly white guys doesn't make it suddenly uninteresting or less interesting then a game with a diverse cast.

To give an example, Team Fortress 2 stars 8 straight white guys out of a cast of 9 guys. By the logic that more whites guys = less interesting, the 8 characters that are white should all be dull and uninteresting. Compared to most video game casts, TF2 has a very fun cast of characters, despite the fact that they're all white straight guys.

What makes a character interesting is the character itself; just because he's white doesn't mean he's any less interesting.
 

Cronenberg1

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You don't have to play the games. Games as we see them now won't go away any time soon, they make to much money. Diversity in games just means more people making/playing the kind of games they want to make/play. If they aren't your cup of tea then that's fine but nothing but good can come out of making gaming more inclusive for everyone.