I was watching TV with my mom a couple days ago when an advertisement came on for Max Payne 3. She saw me roll my eyes and laughed a little. “Another game that you don’t want to play?”
Yup, another game with men shooting each other and women dressed up in revealing clothing. Why would I pay for that?
It seems these days, people are still under the mistaken impression that the only people who play video games are straight, white, cisgender men.
I can see where this mistake comes from. I mean, most games rarely ever feature anyone but the afore mentioned white man. It gets a little boring after a while. If any marginalized groups are featured, it is usually for comic relief or a sad attempt at showing progression.
And don’t get me wrong, there are companies out there that do an okay job of representing minority groups. BioWare has same-sex relationships in their games. Valve releases games where the main characters are POC. They’re not perfect, mind you, but at least they’re trying. I would much rather have a company that tries, then a company that doesn’t even bother. I want more games like Dragon Age or Portal. Games where I play a badass woman who uses both her brains and her muscles.
But it goes a lot more deeper than me. To say that the gaming world’s sexism just hurts me would be ignorant.
The problem is that this assumption doesn’t just hurt me, a woman. I mean, it sucks, but I manage to survive by making gaming a solitary experience instead of usually playing with others. No, this assumption doesn’t just hurt women. It also hurts non-binary people. As much as I don’t get a lot of representation in the gaming world, it is even scarcer for those who don’t ID as man or woman. Genderqueer, masculine, feminine, people who take on both, there are many different gender identities out there and they play video games too. There are no games with good representation of transgender characters. Don’t they deserve to have a game?
I want these companies to realize that their audience is expanding. There are women who play games, there are LGBTQ members who play games, there are POC who play games. We deserve just as much representation as anyone else. And I don’t mean just a background character that you can’t even talk to, but an actual playable character. A character where you can tell they did their home-work in respect, not just put an assumption on that group.
And I know not all men who fit the categories above are upset that people are trying to have more representation. There are those who are genuinely trying to make a change. Like I have previously said, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. So if you are trying to change things, then thank you.