Are you as tired of straight white guys as I am?

Random White Guys #74-94

Random White Guys #74-94

There’s not much of an argument to be made that the console and PC gaming industry is heavily invested in the “mainstream” gamer – white males between the ages of 18 and 49 with plenty of disposable income.  Most of the games that are produced by major game companies feature more-or-less whitewashed main characters in order to create resonance with their target audience, and the number of protagonists that aren’t gritty, square-jawed gravelly-voiced men of action with a shaved head and of indeterminate Western descent is pretty low.

Look how white I am.

Man I'm white.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get something different for once?  I’m not talking about the one token black guy who acts as a foil to the painfully Aryan main character.  You know, the one with blonde hair and blue eyes who just happens to be the brooding hero that gets all the bitches?   The one whose name is synonymous with the color “white?”  Yeah, that guy – you know the one.  What a total cunt.  Fuck that guy.  Of course the main bad guy, Mister I’ve-got-a-giant-sword is even whiter, even if his name is Hebrew.

Well for everyone out there who’s tired of playing they typical tough guy, there’s a new game in development that looks like it’s going to subvert the whole genre by focusing on characters that are anything but your typical video game protagonists.  It’s called Arkh, and while it’s still very early in the design phases (most of the information available deals with character concepts and information about the game setting and less about gameplay), the core of the project is going to be to create a “3D full-action RPG” created for and by those groups traditionally marginalized by mainstream gaming – pretty much anyone that isn’t a heterosexual white male.

The development team is comprised of people who are not only members of the LGBT community but are also people of color, and are actively creating the game to attract gamers like themselves.  However, they’re hoping to also spark the interest of gamers of all stripes by developing a product that will feature things that you just don’t see in the majority of mainstream titles – like gay characters that aren’t hot blue-skinned lesbians.

The idea is a pretty cool one, if it’s developed correctly.  I’d like to see the game created in such a way as to make the gender and ethnicity of the characters largely irrelevant and instead just deliver an experience that has both an engaging storyline and enjoyable gameplay.  However, there has been a lot of backlash on the Internet against the idea, especially because someone filed a complaint against IndieGoGo, the website that Arkh is using to handle crowdsourced donations for independent projects, on the grounds that the project was discriminatory because Arkh wants to use the funds to help pay their developers who are LGBT and people of color, since these two groups are severely underrepresented in the industry.

I don’t know why people are so upset by the idea of someone besides a straight white guy getting paid.  What’s the big fucking deal?  It’s like people who make $25,000 a year getting mad at raising the taxes of people who make more than $250,000 a year.

Folks, if you don’t like the project, don’t donate to it, and once the game gets made, don’t buy it or play it.  I swear, it’s as bad as those assholes out in Minnesota who say that the suicide rate for gay teens has gone through the roof because they were asking for it – by being gay.

I don’t know if people are scared that the game will become wildly successful and then a deluge of copycat games depicting Mario and Luigi hitting each other in the balls with a hammer while taking turns blowing Yoshi will flood the market or something, but people seem to forget: games are successful because they have widespread, lasting appeal, through a combination of gameplay mechanics, storyline, and presentation.  If a game doesn’t have the right mix, it’ll flop – no matter how much you spend on its development.

Arkh will either succeed on its own merits, or not.  The fact that you don’t like “dem homos faggin up my vidyagames” doesn’t mean a good goddamn thing.  If it’s entertaining, who cares if it’s being made by people of color or people who identify as LGBT?

The videogame sector needs to catch up with the rest of the entertainment industry.  Is Neil Patrick Harris any less awesome because he happens to be gay?  What about George Takei?  He’s not only gay, he’s also Asian.  Ellen DeGeneres has her own ride at Epcot Center, for fuck’s sake.  And Rosie O’donn–

Okay, you know what?  Bad example.


10 thoughts on “Are you as tired of straight white guys as I am?

  1. The only thing I think is stupid about the whole thing, is the way they’re wording it. They’re claiming that race and orientation isn’t a big deal, yet they’re marketing and describing the game in such a way as to emphasize these factors. They aren’t downplaying it, as if they’re more interested in making a good game than emphasizing their own agenda. In the end, I fear that the game will suffer. I really don’t give a damn if they made a freaking game about the gay pride parade, so long as they then didn’t try to downplay the fact that sexual orientation in the game is irrelevant. It just seems a tad hypocritical….

    • Yeah I don’t know if that’s going to end up biting them in the ass or not. You can’t claim to want to make something that aims to make things like race and gender irrelevant, and then highlight it. It’s one thing to want to create a game that specifically has niche appeal, but you shouldn’t alienate other potential audiences for it.

      Of course I’m sure the Arkh folks will argue that mainstream gaming has been alienating their demographics for years, but I hope that they ultimately decide not to be the other side of the coin but a whole new one altogether.

      I hope Arkh doesn’t turn into a disappointment. I did read on their tumblr that they don’t want the game to be about gay black people doing gay Asian stuff in a Mexican gay town, (I’m paraphrasing here), just simply have a healthy number of people that are members of otherwise marginalized communities.

      I guess we’ll see!

      • Yeah if there’s one thing that turns me off, it’s taking away player choice. I nearly tossed my monitor out the window where my character in Dragon Age 2 ended up accidentally in a gay relationship because I was polite to one character (fucking Anders!).

  2. I’m in a fantastic girl-girl marriage in Skyrim. She’s awesome. Makes me food and gives me money and pumps my ego by telling me what a brave adventurer I am.

      • I killed Lydia — or rather she got herself killed — early on. She got stuck behind something and a horde of Falmer took her out. I’ve accidentally killed every companion I’ve had, and one of them I needed for a quest that I can now not finish. Very annoying.

        I have a new House Man now.. he’s hunky and lives in my Markarth house

    • Dean Ulich: Frankly, I’m not too wild about this next even but it has become a tradition here at Adams: The Belching Contest.

      [the crowd cheers]

      Dean Ulich: First up, Frederick Palowakski.

      Fred “The Ogre” Palowakski, Alpha Beta: [grunting] It’s “Ogre” you asshole!

      Dean Ulich: “Ogre, you asshole.”, uh “Ogre”.

  3. Pingback: That’s not erotic fiction; that’s a Google search term. « Amateur Professional

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