Video games still have a long way to go when it comes to diversity in games. In a perfect world, we’d have games that covers the experiences of every race, color, gender, and sexual orientation. We may even get to play as these people in their own lead story!
When developers reveal a cast of characters who will be showing up in a game as either playable or part of your party and they aren’t the “usual” sort of characters you typically see in games, it’s always exciting news to hear. Bioware’s recent unveiling of its first “fully gay” character in the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition is one instance of this. Even though there are steps being taken to have game experiences that try to be more inclusive, there will always be one or two individuals who will be resistant toward that move.
When I read the IGN article about Dorian being a gay mage and a party member you can recruit in Inquisition, I had every reason to be excited. Honestly, any news about characters being featured prominently in Dragon Age is enough to send me into a fangirl tizzy. By the time I reached the end of the article, I had an overwhelming curiosity to read the comments section for the article. Unsurprisingly, there were readers who were both for or against this bit of news from Bioware. There have been cries of, “I’m not buying this game now” or “I’m not homophobic, but…” and as usual these types of discussions just escalate into a full on flame war. The worst of the comments have since been deleted by moderators.
Closed and narrow minded thinking will, unfortunately, still exist in this world whether we like it or not. The internet will always make it easy for the trolls to hide behind their anonymity so they can hurl insults and hateful language in the comfort of their own homes. Before reading the comments section for this article, I already expected to see a comment or two that sounded incredibly stupid and offensive. It’s really sad when this is the norm we expect from such topics of conversation. Rather than expect intelligent conversation we get the idiots who always want to start a fight. Obviously, these individuals have nothing better else to do with their time than to troll forums and comment sections with their vile words.
The best advice is to not engage these people with a comment or acknowledgement, but some can’t resist the urge to argue or fight against such narrow views another person has. I don’t personally take part in these discussions because I really don’t see the point. You’ll constantly keep going around in circles and neither person will come out as a “winner” in any argument. Well, maybe the internet trolls will think they won, but they’re just sad and pathetic people whose attitudes and beliefs will be the only things that keeps them warm at night. This doesn’t mean I still don’t get disgusted by what I read.
Maybe in a perfect world everyone will be more accepting of people’s differences and will approach each situation with an open mind. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world and we can’t change other people’s minds either. You can argue until you’re blue in the face, but if the individual themselves don’t want to change then there’s nothing we can really do about it. We can only set examples and keep living with our hearts and minds open. I still think it’s a victory when developers in the games industry are starting to do more to diversify the gaming experience. If they keep moving in this direction, the new normal will be playing as a gay character who is a hero or have a black woman as the lead in a video game. I look forward to that reality becoming more and more possible.