Thoughts came after reading another article from people, who are unhappy with fact, that other races and sexual orientations are not represented in american games. And I really liked comment – Complaining, that there are no blacks and asians in fantasy medieval Europe, is same, as complaining, that there are too many japanese in games about medieval Japan.
I think, this is very true. And the fact, that such problems are not shown in games is completely wrong.
It’s quite obvious that all those timid examples of showing racism, slavery, cultural division, based on elves / aliens, do not work at all. Especially if these races can be played. Why is playing as a white men slave owner, who has other human in slavery is bad, but playing as an elven dark mage, who has human in slavery – is cool? It's all about association. We can associate ourselves with a human, we cannot associate ourselves with an alien, whom we will definitely consider as a mask for entertainment.
I constantly hear, that something non-anthropomorphic and incomprehensible is not added to games, that players can sympathize with characters when they see familiar traits in them. At same time, almost always, villains, slave owners, and other bastards are either depraved aliens, or solid-looking human villains. Non-people`s can always give them bad features, and humans must necessarily look spectacular. But is very wrong, when there is a world where there are no really bad people, and everything bad is given to those who are not human.
RPG games where you can play as a human slave master or a slave are incredibly rare, and are always frowned upon, like Fallout, for example. Games in which these are other races – literally every game where the topic of slavery is touched upon and the world is less humanized, which can be expressed as in a different point of view – isometric, or genre, slavery is perceived, as an entertaining background.
And how does that instill any empathy in players if the template never changes? It will not work to show people an ethnic / racial / cultural issue if it should be avoided, and this applies not only in games, but also in films, and other areas of entertainment that have become politically correct.
Suffice it to recall how Ulfric is treated in Skyrim. Main argument, is that he is bad, because he is racist. And fact, that dunmers are racists is always conveniently forgotten, and dunmers are considered best race in TES. The Thalmor is also bad, that it is racist towards human, fact, that they also hate all non-altmers, and forced bosmers and khajiits to serve themselves, is forgotten – after all, these are not human, there are no such creatures.
I think, that games will be much more interesting, and much more beneficial, if humans appear as examples. In which problems of race, slavery, cultural influences and division will be visually and interactively presented on example of people. So the player, ideally from both sides, will be able to feel problems of humanity on himself, in form of a virtual experience, and only then will he be able to understand such problems, and ideally, solve them. Of course I can already see comments – we play games to distract ourselves from reality. – But people constantly forget, that games are also a product of reality, and less reality there is in them, more painful real problems are felt when stop playing.
I am very interested in your opinion.
As my example, I really feel huge difference in games whether there are human victims or not. As a prime example, Skyrim and Fallout 4.
Skyrim: I always destroy the Dark Brotherhood, because I am terribly uncomfortable that almost all of their victims are good and plot people. But I was madly angry when at end, when appears a corral with human slaves, on which you can train blows, and slaves scream in pain. I was terribly uncomfortable, so I always destroy them. At same time, I choose side of vampires, because being a vampire is fun, you are no longer a human, but "blood vessels", are under hypnosis, some come on their own, and they clearly have better conditions than weak-willed victims of eternal torture.
Fallout 4: As much as I can see benefits of raiders and brutal decisions, I cannot feel sorry for humans of wasteland. I cannot be cruel to them, they are already in a terrible situation. I would not even be able to keep bandits in slavery for a long time, because I will quickly feel sorry for them, because these are all humans. I choose ending of Institute only because I can potentially transfer people's brains to synths, and they will no longer get sick and suffer from problems of this cruel world. But at same time, I constantly feel discomfort from fact, that there are human around me, and I need to take care of their welfare, since these damn NPCs are weak, and it would be easier to destroy them all, but I worry about life of each of my settlers, if they are not anonymous NPCs.
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