Stereotypes in your games

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Lakanar
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Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lakanar »

Note: While this may seen life a general, almost political discussion, it is very relevant to IF and what we put in our games.

In my game, you have a ton of npcs to talk to. The issue is I don't have a lot of time and space to fully flesh all of them out, and in certain cases there is no point to do so. So I fall back on stereotyping to have instant characters, but here is when I run into some issues.
1.We all know walking stereotypes in real life. They exist. People of certain groups tend to generally act and look a certain way. It is a fact of life. Do I then not reflect reality? Are we so afraid of offending that we twist reality into something that doesn't exist? For example my game takes place in a cyberpunk version of Baltimore, Maryland. And in West Baltimore there are a lot of black people. You go to West Baltimore in the game and there is a working-class black guy sitting there. But if I went to real West Baltimore right now, I'd probably find a working-class black guy sitting there. So what is wrong here? I don't think there necessary is a problem from my end, but to others, there very well might be.

2. What I also notice is that in an the attempt to not stereotype, people create stereotypes all their own. This is most obvious with women character. How many times have we seen "the girl who loves science" or the "the empowered and independent action chick" or "the flawless and perfect mary-sue?" Hollywood is so now awash in these characters, they're now memes all their own. Even I fall pray to this, because in my game, the hacker npc is, you guessed it, female. I feel making the hacker character a white dude would actually be playing against type at this point.

3.So now what do I do what? Just avoid stereotypes all together and have generic boring characters with no personality? I can't do that either. My world needs to have personality to be engaging, and to do that, I need characters, and to have characters you have to use tropes(stereotypes of some sort). All characters use these to some extent. And now I've come full circle.

So You see where my bind is. I'm dammed if I do, dammed if I don't. So, In the end, I can't please everyone, so I think I'm just going to write what I want, and if you're offended by people based on real people I've run into, congratulations, I don't really care anymore.
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So what is your opinion on this matter? Use stereotypes, or not to use stereotypes. And if you don't use stereotypes, what do you use?
Last edited by Lakanar on Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
antscoff
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by antscoff »

Don't use stereotypes not for offense/non-offense reasons, but because they're boring. Just make a character that has depth to it, and call it good. Give them a strong opinion, some passion, some hobby they can be seen doing in the game maybe. A stereotype isn't interesting; think no further on the subject. (Now granted, a gag stereotype for comedic effect is a bit different. I may find them bland, but I can't argue it's a stereotype on purpose, at least.)
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Lazzah
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lazzah »

Why do you have to specify that the guy in West Baltimore is black anyway? The majority of the people playing your game won't know that West Baltimore is a predominently black area, any more than you would know that Brixton in London is predominently black or Southall Asian.

Keep it neutral and you don't risk offending anyone.
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Lakanar
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lakanar »

Lazzah wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:45 am Why do you have to specify that the guy in West Baltimore is black anyway? The majority of the people playing your game won't know that West Baltimore is a predominently black area, any more than you would know that Brixton in London is predominently black or Southall Asian.
I guess you're right and I don't, but I tend to hold mirrors up when creating worlds based on reality and my autistic mind is a stickler to that. I should learn to stop doing that, at least in this context.
Keep it neutral and you don't risk offending anyone.
But inoffensive = safe = boring IMO. If you make something inoffensive for everyone, you make something for no one.
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Lumin
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lumin »

I really doubt anyone is going to notice or care one way or the other unless you're going out of your way to be offensive somehow.

That said, you might as well give your characters something beyond one dimensional personality traits if you're going to go through the trouble to make them in the first place. If a game takes place in a very populated setting, I might skim over a passing line about a guy sitting on a bench, read their description and move on, but if they're separated out as their own specific thing in the game engine and I can converse with them, I'd expect some reason for doing so.

Originality doesn't matter so much as whether something is written well tbh. (Although no, I don't think something has to be offensive to be interesting or enjoyable...but that statement seemed to have gone way off the rails of the original question of whether a black guy chilling on a bench was offensive so whatever...)

But overall I think you're worrying too much: cheer up, nobody plays Adrift games, not even Adrift authors!
Lakanar
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lakanar »

Lumin wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:29 pm But overall I think you're worrying too much: cheer up, nobody plays Adrift games, not even Adrift authors!
I was trolled by 2 kids over a book that sold 3 copies, in total, and subsequently put online for free. The next year, I vent "viral" over a book with a terrible cover within certain online communities. All it takes is one person to make a stink over it to cause problem. Granted those books were already far worse products than Networked Mind hopefully will be, but it really does not matter.
But the flip side is, in the case of the latter book, having it go viral actually tripled the sales over it and it remains my highest selling single book. :thanks:
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P/o Prune
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by P/o Prune »

Lumin wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:29 pm But overall I think you're worrying too much: cheer up, nobody plays Adrift games, not even Adrift authors!
Hmm I'm not sure if I should take points away from you for that remark :wink:
People are playing Adrift games, maybe not that many (yet) but I hope that more people will begin playing Adrift games when there are games like Skybreak available.
I, for one, play Adrift games, and I'm an author (at least I claim to be :angel: )
It would be nice if more "drifters" would volunteer for beta testing games, though. Poor Denk and Lazzah is working overtime when the IF Comp comes up.
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Lakanar
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by Lakanar »

P/o Prune wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:30 am People are playing Adrift games, maybe not that many (yet) but I hope that more people will begin playing Adrift games when there are games like Skybreak available.
That's most of the problem, there aren't that many AAA IF available to play on Adrift as there is on other formats like Inform. I'm intending to make a decent game, obviously not Skybreak quality(it is my first real game) but whether or not Networked Mind actually is decent, remains to be seen.
It would be nice if more "drifters" would volunteer for beta testing games, though. Poor Denk and Lazzah is working overtime when the IF Comp comes up.
Networked Mind is going to need to have beta testers and a proof reader. I hope I can find them.
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P/o Prune
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Re: Stereotypes in your games

Post by P/o Prune »

Adrift was originally made for people who didn't wanted to spend a lot of time writing code.
You could concentrate on the gameplay and the puzzles without having to bother with coding.
Adrift 5 has left that path, although it is still possible to create good games without the rocket science, and bells and whistles :wink: (It may take a little longer, mind you)

As for beta testers. When you're ready, put a request up here, and on IntFiction.com and ask for testers. These are the only two places I know of (unfortunately)
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