This will hurt some, but... (About political correctness and gaming)

This will hurt some, but we won't be Politically Correct.We don't want to be, and we can't afford to be.

However we should want to explain our decisions.

Almost everyone could start their explanation with Freedom of Speech, but we will start with another value: Tolerance. And of course it is about the way to achieve tolerance. I hope we got your attention.

Most gamers know well what happened with Pillars of Eternity, and the allegedly transphobic joke it contained. Well, it doesn't look transphobic, and it doesn't look like a joke. And while some people spoke about "portraying prejudice" that poem wasn't portraying prejudice. So lets see that offensive poem first.

Here lies Fireborn, a hero in bed.
He once was alive, but now he’s dead.
The last woman he bedded, turned out a man.
And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.

Fireborn haven't ran of the cliff because he was prejudiced agains transgender people. He ran off the cliff for a very different reason. 

A few months later we have seen one interesting story in the mainstream media about Gayle Newland. As you can see she pretended to be a men to gain consent for sex and raped a women this way. As you see both the allegedly transphobic joke and the real world rape case had one thing in common: Gaining consent by art of deception. And as you see it is rape, it can ruin lives, and it can lead to suicide.

Comments on The Mary Sue included the following: 

I'm saying that statistically the person who would wind up beaten or dead in the disgusting situation described would unfortunately not be the transphobic cis man.

So some of the fans of political correctness and feminism are sorry because statistically in a similar rape situation the rapist would get killed / beaten and not the rape victim. I am sure, that by allowing those comments and taking this side in the incident The Mary Sue was pretty insensitive towards rape victims, and they supported rapist and the act of rape itself. Should I name other feminist sites, organizations, journalists who supported rape in the name of political correctness? 

It isn't about Gayle Newland. We all heard stories when a "loving partner for years" either accepted or rejected a transsexual / transgender person after "the big coming out". You know whats wrong with all of those stories? That having sex without informed consent from other is rape. And sex before coming out in this case? No informed consent. Yet when the victim of the rape is often shown in bad light for rejecting the rapists. Come on: If you don't want to have sex with members of same biological sex you are heterosexual and not "transphobic". The Mary Sue, several other feminists portals involved in the issue supported rape. Same is true about Obsidian who requested the backer to change the poem. 

I don't call for boycott, because if you don't like this, and you feel future games will be censored, one sided, etc. because of this, you wouldn't buy any software from them. If you support rapists and censorships, calling boycott now won't change your mind. And I won't tell the other side "stop being offended", because I don't care at all if people who are knowingly and willingly support rape feel offended. They just deserve it.

The whole issue is about how should we portray controversial topics like this. Some would want one sided picture, visible censorship and claim if we condemn rape we condemn all transgender people. But most transgender people aren't rapist, and most of them would condemn rape. They aren't that different here. Our best bet is to portray different sides of the story. And it is good for almost every controversial topic. It is effective because when players can experience the same story from different perspectives they learn to understand different sides and it leads to tolerance. Censorship based on PC when they hate censorship would be contraproductive. 

Before you ask. What if our readers feel offended because we ignore Political Correctness?

Well I doubt if that would happen. First of all most fans of roleplaying games aren't offended by such jokes or about discussing controversial topics, they are offended if we "bash" their favorite edition of their favorite game. And political correctness is unrelated to forming oppinions about D&D 4th edition or New World of Darkness. Okay, that was bellow the belt for sure. But lets see another perspective: If we speak about RPG World and Game design, we will end up in talkes like "old school vs Gen X", yet people forget about a few other generations and approaches.

And I think both "old school" and "Gen X" are overrepresented approaches. Roleplaying games evolved with time. If we look at any given period of time, we know what kind of games were popular, and it is easy to copy them. But we should also look at why those games were popular, and also what they have wanted to achieve. If we loved AD&D because it had more depth than earlier games, it offered better stories, more complex and engaging adventures, and we loved to see how things evolved and things were looking up, then we see very important values. If we make a retro game, that is good for nostalgia... But a such retro "old school" game won't share these values.

And also the whole market is different. If in late 1970s and early 1980s you wanted dungeon crawl at reasonable price your best bet was D&D and AD&D. Most early video game consoles, computers, etc. weren't that great. Then in 1982 came the Commodore 64, with lots of text adventures, dungeon crawl focused video games, etc. But if you wanted roleplaying AD&D and rest of tabletop RPGs were "a few steps ahead". Yet RPGs faced more and more competitiors like video games, CCGs, etc. so the growth of this market stalled but we wanted better looking, more colorful products and it was harder and harder to finance developing them. 

Then came the idea of streamlining, making RPGs more accessible and to go back to classic adventures. Yet we looked at an even faster shrinking market. The years worth of advantage tabletop RPGs had over the video games are lost. And when we promise RPGs give you more freedom and depth, most potential players laugh: it doesn't really happen in dungeon crawl. In theory it is possible with tabletop RPGs, in reality most games try to promise the exact opposite. And there are play by post RPGs without solid setting, without system, without depth and you cannot be any more streamlined than that. 

The "it is a bloody game" approach is something we hear a lot. It is there to explain simplicity. It is there when the story becomes incosistent due to problems in game / setting design. And the same statement is used when we hear about controversial topics. A bloody game, where you don't want to prepare a lot, don't want to think a lot...

The moment you say: It is a hobby, a serious hobby that requires serious amount of time and money, and we have to put a lot of effort into characters, adventures, and we want something in return for that work, you get a different picture. At that moment depth, details, etc. become essential, and you would like to present controversial topics as moral dilemmas that add more depth to your games. 

If it is your goal as well as ours, and that is why you are here, then you probably agree that this approach is inherently incompatible with political correctness and censorship, and presenting those dilemmas won't offend you  at all. So our intented core audience doesn't want political correctness. 

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