So last night I came across an article about Paizo’s upcoming game, Starfinder, on Facebook by way of a friend liking someone else’s link. (And if that’s not a sentence that would have been incomprehensible gibberish a decade ago…) On this link, there was a person complaining about how the specific mention of inclusivity and diversity says to him that he’s not valued. Today I’m going to talk a bit about this.
This dude then goes on to say that Paizo should come at their player base as gamer, sexless and colorless, and appreciate what they bring to the table as gamers who want to buy Paizo’s stuff. Setting aside that he first says “TREAT US ALL AS INTERCHANGEABLE AND GENERIC HOMINIDS” and then demands that Paizo respect what makes them unique (You know… Being inclusive of their diversity?), there’s something incredibly grating about this whole thing.
This dude is upset because Paizo has made a statement that they want to welcome everyone to the table. They didn’t tell him to get out, just that they planned to make sure people who aren’t white and who aren’t male see themselves represented in their game products. This game, which contains dragons, artificial intelligence, spaceships, hyperspace, an afterlife, magic, and all the other trappings of space opera science fantasy, goes too far if it contains something that might cause him to acknowledge that people who aren’t like him exist.
I have a much more direct message than Paizo’s for this dude and the others who feel that if they aren’t being catered and pandered to, they must be getting discriminated against: Get the merry hell out of my hobby, you ignorant narrow-minded bigot. The entire gaming industry has been pandering to your one-track boring macho power fantasy for decades; it won’t even mildly inconvenience you to move over and make room for others, but you sit there and throw a tantrum because someone else is getting acknowledged.
Get lost. Despite this idea that you’re the primary support and the key consumer of the entire game industry, you’re a footnote that gets pandered to well beyond what your actual spending value is. You’ve gotten so much attention for so long because the people making the decisions at the executive level have been like you. Now that people different from you are finally getting to call the shots, the industry is starting to grow into what it should have been the entire time, and you’re going to become one voice among many.
You’ll still get your tiresome AAA shooters featuring a musclebound white hero with a week of manly stubble and dull sepia world. You’ll still get your generic and bland RPGs where you get to be the same old musclebound knight rescuing the same fainting damsel in distress. You’ll just have to actually look for them in the more varied field of experiences out there for all of us that aren’t cisgender, heterosexual, or white. You might even find you want to try some of those other games out, games that wouldn’t even be made if everyone kept catering to your blandness and refusal to recognize anything outside your little circle.
So yes, do us all a favor – take your money elsewhere and get the hell out of our hobby. We don’t need you whining noisily to try to drown the rest of us out, and we’ll do just fine without the grotesquely muscled men and ludicrously voluptuous fainting maidens of your same old boring fantasies.
There’s nothing sexless, genderless, or colorless about our hobby, and everyone’s invited to the party.