Even with the risk of a righteous commenter, hidden behind the heroic disguise of anonymity naming me a social justice warrior, I declare that representation in computer games is an important issue.
|And frankly, wouldn’t Social Justice Warrior be just a great name for a superhero|
Why is it an important issue? Simply put, an important part in people appreciating any form of media is that consumers can find characters they can relate to. If some people do not find any relatable characters in games - say, because all protagonists look like they were brothers of one family, to which they do not belong - they are more likely to find games off-putting and alienating. The solution for this problem is rather easy: just include a wide variety of characters - brothers and even sisters of many different families - in games of different sorts, especially as protagonists. This seems so simple thing to do that it feels strange what reasonable objection anyone would have to it:
- “Doesn’t this mean doing disservice to people resembling the members of the original family?” Hardly, because adding a variety of other kinds of characters to games does not wipe out all the old characters with the familiar looks.
- “Wouldn’t there already be games with a diversity of characters, if there were a market for them? In other words, isn’t the non-existence of games with such diversity a clear sign that these new people are not just interested of games?” This supposed non-interest is not something set in stone and new people might well learn to enjoy games, if they would just find more characters to relate to in them.
- “There are already a lot of games with AFGNCAAPs as protagonists, isn’t that enough? Just use your imagination!” Using imagination is fine, but it doesn’t satisfy all the needs of a game player, or otherwise we would have only AFGNCAAPs in all games.
- “Characters should be determined by the stories, not added to a story because of some dictate.” This objection just changes the point of criticism - why more games don’t have stories with diverse characters?
- “It’s all the same for me what a game protagonist looks like, so no one else need not care about it.” Good for you, but even if you don’t find the issue important, someone else might.
I am really struggling to remember any from Lucasfilm games. Maniac Mansion had film student Michael as a playable character, but otherwise I am not remembering others. Well, Indiana Jones games had few Arabs and Zak McCracken might have met some jungle tribe, but these were not very full characters. With Sierra games we’ve had more variety. I can’t remember any examples from King’s or Space Quest, and Al Lowe games might be best left untouched, but Police Quests have had black police chiefs and Quest for Glory -games had its Simbani characters. But the best games on this account have been those of Coktel Vision, in which Muriel Tramis included many Caribbean characters. Feel free to add other examples in the comments, especially if you remember any clear non-white protagonists!
|I am nor sure whether to call Fatty Bear a non-white protagonist. Technically he is brown, but I don’t think this distinction applies to teddy bears.|
Adventure starts in Kayla’s room, where Fatty can chat with Gretchen the doll, who will remind Fatty of his mission, and with a rabbit, who uses his ears to fly to kitchen, in order to help Fatty do the birthday cake. Other than that there’s really nothing except some fun animations to watch.
|There’s also a weird minigame, where you can put face parts onto a cabbage head|
Opening the door led me to an upstairs hall, with four new doors to open and stairs to go down.
|The fourth door is not visible here, but would be slightly to the left.|
Behind the door next to Kayla’s room I found some kind of home office, with a bookshelf (full of flying books) and a desk with a computer. The room appeared to be complete filler, with nothing but animations to watch.
|Children, work can be bad for your health|
|No, I am afraid not|
Feeling good about my progress, I checked the final door, which led to the bathroom. I began my usual methodical clicking of all the hotspots, but after a singing shower I hit something unexpected.
|Fatty don’t go in that---|
|At least it was a soft landing|