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Re: should these be reworded?

On 2008-07-24, Kevin Mark penned:
> "Our priority is our users" might have originally been "Our priority
> is our male users", not that I think Dev's did it intentionally. So
> any attempt to add a 'wishlist' feature in a way that makes our
> software more inclusive of 'all' of our users, sounds like a great
> suggestion.  And anything that does not 'heat the coffee of the
> cabal' aka invoke flamewars is a good approach. I did not mean to
> single-out magicmaze, it was just something that crossed my view and
> sparked the idea. So thanks for the great feedback.

Warning -- rambling post without concrete answers to follow.

This is a difficult issue.  If games in general provided a greater
variety of protagonists, we probably wouldn't be bothered by the few
that didn't.  One game having a male protagonist isn't a big deal;
(almost) all of them having a male protagonist is more problematic.

Then there is a question of how best to spend development time.  If
the game wasn't written to accomodate multiple protagonists, it may be
a large (and potentially tedious) effort to add them.  How many users,
potential or current, will benefit from the effort?  Can that even be

And what does it mean to have female protagonists?  Are the behaviors
exactly the same as the male protagonist, just with a different body?
Or do they change, and if so, how?  And if they change, will the
resulting changes come across as realistic and correct, or patronizing
and sexist?  Different people might have different answers.

> Could a suggestion to: "make your software more inclusive of
> different users based upon gender, race, etc. when possible" sound
> too forcefull?  -Kev

As a feature request for particular games, I think it's great to
submit feedback that you'd like to have more options -- especially if
you can frame it in terms of people who would actually change their
behavior based on the change.  In other words, it may be a bit empty
to suggest that the developers should make changes to their game just
in case some women would be more likely to play, or feel happier
playing a game they already play, or because in a nebulous way having
a female option would make all gamers more aware of gender issues.
Something more concrete, like "my daughter is interested in your game,
but is put off by the lack of a character with whom she can identify"?
Or even better, "I'm a man, but I like to play female characters
sometimes; I find that enhances the replayability of games for
me."  I think some number of men might be tempted to submit a feature
request for an attractive female protagonist, in the case of a
non-first person view.

And of course, you have to be careful what you wish for =)  A lot of
female characters are portrayed in ways that make some women wince.
Is the adjustable breast size in Age Of Conan a step forward or
backward in society's perceptions of women?  I'm not sure there's a
simple answer.

So ultimately, while I think the intention of having greater variety
in gaming protagonists is a great idea, I wonder if it's not a more
complicated request than it seems at first blush.  And I don't think
it belongs in any Debian developer guide ...

But, I'm just a random Debian user, not anyone with authority =)


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