Introduction: More than a game
There's certain pastimes and hobbies out there that people take very little notice of or make sweeping assumptions about. In general, unless a hobby is extremely bizarre, only in the "I collect dead squirrels, stuff them & make reenactments of Star Wars battles with them
" sense, then it should simply be seen as a recreational activity that gives people joy.
But some means of self entertainment have evolved over time. Gaming is certainly one of those - no longer do we simply collect coins to drop in arcade machines or sit on the floor playing platformers in our living rooms with friends (mores the pity). Gaming has evolved & much more than being a form of play for kids, it has given many people jobs, friends, businesses & also alas, a lot of nuisances & grief.
When you play football you rarely imagine yourself as the ball or want to be kicked around, unless you're kinky like that. Video games offer people characters that can be molded into their image or with a good writing team can offer stories that cause emotions or a connection. Over the years despite the issues that still exist within gaming, (sexism, lack of decent representation of different sexual orientations, the standard "square jawed white muscular male american lead
") ect, there's one section that has seemingly been left untouched, uncared for and unfathomably unnoticed, except by those who in reality are that 'genre', for lack of a better phrase.
We're a smorgasbord collective
I'll get this off to a quick start. Why is it, when you have the ability to create anything within a game, so hard to create good transgender characters?
For as long as humans have existed there has been one common trend no matter where you were born or what you look like. That is variety. More than anyone, only we ourselves can know who we really are, despite what others see or think. Homosexuality is by no means a new 'fad', & transgender certainly isn't either. Developers can design intricate worlds from imagination or replicate reality in marvelous detail, yet neglect the simple consistent elements of our history and lives so easily and it's quite confusing to me.
Gaming companies have this fear that if they don't cater to straight, white males, then they will never make any money & that their worlds will implode. It's simply not true. Gamers consist of such an eclectic mix of people, people who aren't as bound to old fashioned notions, as marketing directors would assume. Gamers
have been labelled as loners, nerds and weirdos - so they know as much as anyone what it's like to be ostracized because of something you enjoy or something you are. This fear of not catering to a demographic that is wilting away in it's streamlined labeling, is not healthy for companies themselves or for the population they should be catering for across the board.
Gamers consist of women, men, young, old, middle of the road, every creed, colour, height, gender or non gender, hairy, hairless, abled and disabled and in 2013 we still can't seem to transcribe some coding to create characters and stories that represent what is essentially the human race. It just seems to lazy & uncaring.
"I'm not a tomboy, I'm a boy"
But as diplomatic as I am trying to be, right now it's hard not to point out that transgendered people are having a rough time in gaming representations. I say rough time, but what I mean is, no time.
Ostro thinks he's a girl. No, Ostro is a girl and that's evident alone by Ostro stating she'd would rather you just deal with it and call her what her Birdetta. Mkay?
Researching transgender characters in games has come up with a very short list. Bridget
from Guilty Gear
from Final Fight
are the most common results. There's nothing wrong with those characters, depending on your personal opinion of the intent of their representation. But with regards to Poison
, the character was labelled as transgender in order to appease outcries against games that featured men hitting women.
Yasuda responded to the objections by claiming that Poison and Roxy were cross-dressing men, with the manual referring to them as "new-halves
That really isn't a basis that gives the audience a mascot for transgender diversity. The problem is a lot of the time, people assume to include diversity you must accompany it with a bang, when in real life if you're straight, gay or transgender, you simply are. When you came out of your mothers womb, you didn't rocket out in an explosion of glitter & penguins. You simply were, are & continued to be.
Putting aside the ability to properly represent transgender characters, developers have to be careful not to highlight that there's is a segregation involved, but there isn't or there should be. Sadly in the world outside of gaming, there is bigotry & unnecessary ostracization of transgendered characters, but in gaming you can easily create a world where people can just get a damn break.
I hark about Mass Effect
a lot, but to be honest, their inclusion of gay characters is quite streamlined & never this big hoo-hah that makes individuals within a game or holding the controller uncomfortable. That's how it should be, when you break it down very basically.
I'd rather spend the next few years playing on the same console I have now, games that include more diversity & thought with regards to their consumer base.
We can argue or praise next gen consoles, innovative game play mechanics & the future of technology all we want, but none of that has any substance or is as revolutionary as simply including variety in the characters within games. Times have changed & technology may advance but it's worrying that human perceptions are remaining quite stagnant.
"I love sleeping, because in my dreams there is no dysphoria. In my dreams I can be the man I am without anyone questioning it