Braving Blizzard and inclusion in games

Todd Harper writing for Polygon:

Meanwhile, the mere presence of prominent and respectfully portrayed women characters, characters of color, and queer characters is viewed as inherently political and thus anti-fun. It’s another subtle, vicious knife in the side of us marginalized people who play games that says: you’re second class. You’re less valuable. If you show up, somehow you’re removing the fun for everyone else.

This construction where it’s impossible to have “fun” and “inclusion” side-by-side by reflecting diversity in your games is a total illusion, a mirage thrown up to distract us from the simple fact that they just don’t want to make that effort.

Harper quoting Rob Pardo of Blizzard Entertainment earlier in the opinion piece:

“We’re not trying to bring in serious stuff, or socially relevant stuff, or actively trying to preach for diversity or do things like that,” he said. His example of a place where Blizzard struggles is portrayal of women.

Pardo notes that “because most of our developers are guys who grew up reading comics books,” Blizzard games often present women characters as a sexualized comic book ideal that “is offensive to, I think, some women.”

I find Pardo’s comments about Blizzard’s portrayal of women interesting when looking at the Hearthstone tutorial, granted the HS team may be far removed from Pardo’s view.

A very brave piece. Well done.

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