Lots of people whine, moan, complain, lambast and bitch about games not being ‘inclusive’ of race, gender, sexuality etc, etc, etc. A while back I made an offer that I’d put together some stock art packs of inclusive art (#inclusiveart hashtag on Twitter) and there was surprisingly little response, considering the amount of ‘Ra!’ that goes on around these topics all the time. In fact there were no suggestions or ideas at all pretty much.
I don’t give up so easily though.
As a writer/creator I write about things that interest me and I write from a viewpoint that I either a) hold or b) want to explore. Lots of writers do this and their work is generally better for it because it comes from a place of sincerity and conviction. It’s often all the better for it EVEN if you don’t agree with the writer’s outlook. China Mieville’s work is greatly influenced by his political opinions, Dawkins’ ascerbic wit would not be so entertaining if he were not so fervently anti-religious, Peter F Hamiltion is a bit of a rightie, but his books are the better for that ideological foundation, Heinlein was a libertine socially and… a bit odd politically, his work retains impact and relevance because of that. There’s plenty of other authors this is true of.
You see this a bit less in games – at least outside the Indie/Self Published scene partly due to commercial pressure but also due to the nature of games themselves. We don’t write a novel, we create a context in which other people create their own stories. If your particular hot button issue is not addressed or is ignored the most likely explanation is not that you’re being slighted but because it simply doesn’t matter to the author, they don’t consider it an issue or it’s undefined – leaving you free to.
Still, games are useful places to address these issues.
In my work I’m interested in left wing and Anarchistic politics and social structures, I’m interested in the religious/atheistic dynamic and the conflict between rationality and faith. I’m interested in sex positivism. I’m interested in questions of morality, evolutionary psychology, social structures, science, speculation and obscure corners of genre fiction.
So that’s what I write about and the viewpoint I come from.
If you want to see games about other things, that pay service to your concerns and your viewpoint, you have to write them. There’s too much inertia and too little money in gaming for huge risk taking outside the indie scene, which is very small, but very enthusiastic, like concentrated gamer amphetamines.
If you genuinely think addressing these issues head on or creating games that go out of their way to be inclusive and make a point and an issue of it, then you need to put your money where your mouth is.
I’d love this to be true and I love controversy – another topic that interests me – so I’ll even help.
Here’s what I’ll offer you to help you:
I’ve been publishing PoD and PDF for some time now as well as working freelance for a hell of a lot of gaming companies. I know the industry, I know how to self publish, I know how to do things cheaply, I know how to work.
I will help you get set up, get writing and get producing your game. I’ll give it a once over and help you out any way I can, time and workload permitting.
Write it for something of mine
Not up to writing a whole game yourself?
Fine, write it for one of my systems/settings. I’ll give you permission if I think the project is cool and you can publish it yourself and even keep all the profits. You want to use Xpress? Write a women’s lib adventure for SWING? Go for it. Let’s talk.
I’ll publish it with you.
You’ve got a groovy game idea that’s inclusive and shiny and tackles the issues you think are marginalised in gaming? You want to make a game that properly reflects your ethnicity/sexuality/gender/whatever… go for it. So long as the idea’s good I’ll do all of the above PLUS lay it out, handle the art and design direction and so on and I’ll split the profit (after costs are met) 50/50 with you.
If you want to see the things that you want to see, the best way to do that is to make it happen. Not expect other people who don’t share your outlook and concerns to do it for you.
Step into my office…