The Accidental Lesbian

Chris Gardiner

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The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

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Worgen

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is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
 

AvsJoe

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See, I'm a fan of the second and third options presented in this article. The only character info I like to fill in are the in-game choices I make. I like a story and I want a completed tale, not one I have to add to in order for it to be whole. That's why the Fable and Final Fantasy series' have always appealed to me: the completed (or mostly-completed) stories. Blank slates bore the hell out of me; that's one of the major reasons why I dislike most shooters not called GoldenEye 64.
 

Dirzzit

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Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
 

Worgen

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Dirzzit said:
Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
I think the main page but Im not sure, its the page I go to even when I go there from google
http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/Home/Index
none of the options let me sign up for it or anything
 

BrotherRool

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It's an interesting concept. I'd never really thought about it, because I tend to approach games from a what can they teach me aspect in terms of story, so it's more about games managing to trick the gameplay into revealing things to the player. Which I guess is why FFX works well, because most of the game is about their journey through a receded, problematic world and that's exactly what the gameplay is. In The Company of Myself (the flash platformer) is particularly good at it.

I can see the problem when the purpose of the game is to be the character, I love the approach of writing a game to adapt to a players decisions, it seems like it would solidify the character, as life seems to do, but that must be an enormous amount of work in terms of writing
 

Dirzzit

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Worgen said:
Dirzzit said:
Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
I think the main page but Im not sure, its the page I go to even when I go there from google
http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/Home/Index
none of the options let me sign up for it or anything
Dang, thats weird :/

Wish I could help.
 

Dragonrose

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Se she complained that the game maybe possibly made her a little bit almost like a lesbian. And what about the countless games that assume the player's character is either straight or asexual? I wouldn't see her complain then... *sigh* :/

Tis why I love Dragon Age, honestly, no assumptions, plenty of options. <3
 

SageRuffin

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Sweet article. I was never a fan of the "Final Fantasy" approach for reasons that I'll keep to myself, and I never came across the "Diablo" approach.

I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
 

Anachronism

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the identity gap is what gives RPGs their power. It's the space players use to make the game about them, and that's how RPGs engage us so powerfully.
This is exactly my problem with the Final Fantasy method presented here, and with the series as a whole. Now, to be clear, I am not by any stretch saying they're bad games; they are, by and large, quite excellent. Nonetheless, I would argue that they aren't role-playing games; as said in the article, the player is merely along for the ride, watching a role rather than playing it. As Tidus says at the beginning of FFX, "This is my story". He's right. It's his story, not the player's. The player has nothing to do with it. To my mind, this defeats the point of a role-playing game, and interactive storytelling as a whole, because the player has no part in it; story-wise, the average Final Fantasy game is essentially a film that you have to push buttons to watch.

Now, I do think it's important that the game defines a certain amount about the player character in advance, otherwise the actual impact of the character itself is quite limited. In Oblivion, for example, the only thing you know about your character is that they were imprisoned; as a result, I never felt like my character was all that interesting or important, because they were nobody. It's a question of striking the right balance, which is why I think the second option presented in the article is the best one. In Baldur's Gate II, for instance, your character's backstory is already established so that they have a meaningful presence in the world, but how they interact with the world and the characters, and what happens to them as a result, is up to the player. In my opinion, that's the best way of making both the player and the player character feel like they matter.
 

gCrusher

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SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
 

alandavidson

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...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
 

SageRuffin

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gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/
 

gCrusher

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
 

SageRuffin

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gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Stupid demons eating my face! I like my face! I always liked the characters in Diablo because I enjoyed gathering little bits of information from the town and the manual about them. Then, finding out their fates in Diablo II--mind blowing.

I can see why this person would be upset. It's not fun to create something completely your own and then have someone decide something about it without getting your approval first. Always hard finding the right balance for RPGs.
The Warden not talking in Dragon Age Origins has always bothered me. The reason being because of one little choice it gives you when you create your character. Chose your voice. "Oh, okay," I thought, "I'm going with the witty, sarcastic one." I thought all the lines would be said in that voice. Nope. Just a few battle quotes. Why go through all the effort to decide on a voice if you're not going to let me use it?
 

Squigie

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What makes a game an RPG isn't a character sheet or experience points - plenty of genres use those - it's the sense of ownership you feel over your avatar.
Video game genres are defined by gameplay mechanics, not by story aspects. There is nothing preventing a straight platformer or FPS from having a player defined character, and JRPGs are no less RPGs for lacking one.
 

Treblaine

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Chris Gardiner said:
The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

Read Full Article
I don't see the problem, in REAL LIFE people don't get to chose their own sexual-preference, why is it so game breaking for it to happen in game?

You are ROLE PLAYING after all! Play the role!

Though if the game is trying to reflect the GAMER'S preference then it should have taken more explicit clues like which gender you proposition for sex. Anyway, regardless of how you read this, this only indicates transient bisexuality. One lesbian crush does not a lesbian make. It's only official when most of her interest is for females with insignificant interest in males.

As to back-story, I don't think it is fair that the gamer gets to choose what terrible circumstances are befallen on them, whether living as prince or a pauper.

In real life people don't get to chose that, it influences them and changes FUNDAMENTALLY who they are, on such a deep level that it must be left with the player. The player must EXPERIENCE what their character has gone through and either emphasise with them or actually feel they are in the role like an actor really living their role.

But people DO have a choice every day what to do with their experience.

Are YOU seeking revenge for their murdered parents? Or are you seeking Justice? Or Do you just want answers and reconciliation? That is your dynamic decision that is entirely in your head and only works if you live the role. You have to know and experience the loss of your virtual family and then the decision is not what you "plan" to do, but what you do do.

You cannot simply have the situation: "Yeah, my brother got murdered, I just remembered that now. I have no memory of the circumstances or even what my bother looked like nor any memory from my life... but it happened and I think I am supposed to care about this..."


I have a very good mechanic for this: Dreams

Sleeping is a vital element of RPGs, almost universal. And every time you do, you remember, you remember what happened. See to give a back story you don't need everything, you just need the important bits, stylistically presented the important parts. Enough to give you drive for your quest. This can also be done with flashbacks, hallucinations and vitrual reality constructs. You could even use de ja vu mechanics (who knows how).

Ever notice how in a dream you can't control yourself. Especially vivid memories, this can be so effective in game.

See from day-to-day moment-to-moment people don't remember all the events of their life, but when prompted they will remember. When left alone for their mind to wander.

Say your character is wandering through the woods from one quest to another then you hear voices - memories of poignant conversations. Relevant to your mission. Say perhaps a memory of an argument with your character's father such as:

"Son! Though shall not kill!"

"But Father, if I am being attacked, or I must help..."

"Killing is a Sin, boy... never forget that..."

For your character to 'recall' that memory as a disembodied conversation, just before he goes on a mission to avenge his father's murder, that I think works far better. I doesn't force you to do anything, nor make decisions for you, it does however force you into the role, be as conflicted as the character you are playing.

YOU make the decisions. You decide who to kill, who not to kill, who to sleep with and who not to.

Almost every role playing game demands the character start with amnesia - with no memory of past events - as it's the only way to put them in the same position as the gamer. Either that or you ease the player in slowly, giving them an entire introduction of their life to actually BE them... not merely impersonate them.

Same reason they make them either mute or of very few words... it prevents them breaking the character mould as in the accidental lesbian.

But I wouldn't say the "accidental lesbian" thing is so awful, it's the way you approach it.

Say for examples you are a female character and you hear the mention of a woman's name: Sarah.

This triggers a mechanic called "nostalgia" when unless you fight it with willpower (tap X for willpower) you will flashback to your time with Sarah. The flashback frames her romantically, your time together which is more than friendship. It is special and intimate but then it falls apart and stylistically the breakup is shown the cutting remarks and regrets.

You can't change this, the past is the past, those are your memories. It did happen.

But it doesn't matter what happened in the past, it is significant for how she will react to you and what kind of relationships you can pursue now but the decision you make now 100% yours. YOU the gamer could just decide you are not interested in her. Was your lesbianism just a phase? Was it just she was the one exception and it is over now? Or do you regret it all, do you want to restart what you had - that you the player only had a fleeting glimpse of as a memory.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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alandavidson said:
...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.

Treblaine said:
In response to your post I tend get annoyed by games that let you play a woman but assume you are male in real life resulting in these kind of lines in dialogue. It's just really depressing. That's the impression I get if they make your female character a lesbian without any input from you.
 

Thaluikhain

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Eh...don't see the issue. All sorts of assumptions are made about the character you play, and you're stuck with it. That's part of the game. Possibly, though, they could tell you all these things straight up (no pun intended)...if you'd been playing Mario as a lesbian electrician, finding out he's a straight plumber might be a bit odd.