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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 11:36 am 
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As part of the small group of developers for the NES, what thoughts do you put towards diversity in your games?

Are there Only Six Black NES Characters in Existence?

NES Female Protagonists


----Continued from a previous thread...
dougeff wrote:
M_Tee wrote:
... (to darryl.revok)
Also, have you considered a different race/ethnicity/gender for your players? I think in 2016, correcting the dominance of white male protagonists in NES games should be taken into consideration.


I take issue with adding diversity merely for diversity sake. I feel like if I were playing a game made in ...let's say, Africa... and they added a 'whitey' character, merely as a marketing tactic, I would feel more offended than grateful.

I do agree that women protagonists are underrepresented, but merely slapping a last-minute... 'Oh, you can also play as the girl' feels kind of like a cheat. Especially in this genre.

Makes me think of an episode of Futurama, when they were watching a robot soap opera, and it had one token 'human' on the show.


Regardless, I don't feel that "main character" needs a compelling reason to not be a white male, nor do I feel that a person must be a member of an ethnic group to represent them in fiction. Just because you don't happen to be of a particular group, doesn't mean that persons of that group won't play your games.

Moreover, how does having a female soldier feel like a cheat in a world where most modern countries permit women soldiers?

There's also a difference between adding a "whitey" character" and representing multiple ethnicities without stereotype.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:08 pm 
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Here's the futurama reference...

https://theinfosphere.org/Human_friend

They didn't even bother to give him a name, his character name is 'human friend'.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:16 pm 
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Characters not referred to by name in the body of a screenplay tend to be credited under something other than a name. For example, if All My Circuits were real, it might officially credit "Calculon's Butler". Likewise, BK in Kill Bill Vol. 1 was referred to only as "The Bride", except for a fleeting view of her real name on her ID that couldn't be easily perceived before the film's release on home video. (See "No Name Given" on All The Tropes.)


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Does anyone think the Power Rangers is racist? They made the Red ranger Native American, the Black ranger African American, the Yellow ranger is (a girl) from East Asia...

I'm surprised they didn't call the white guy the White ranger...after all, they made the other girl Pink...oh I get it Blue=boy, Pink=girl.

I feel like a well know Feminist blogger should do an episode about that. And don't correct me for clarity, mods, I write specifically obscurely...to not have my posts linked to by Google searches for a subject which I don't want to be attached to.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Speaking purely about Run and Gun, I don't think there's anything wrong with both characters being men in a game that is ostensibly a 80's male power fantasy. I also don't see fault with one or both of them being white since it draws a lot from Rambo.

As for games in general, I think that a well-rounded cast is a good idea in every situation that allows for it. Playing The Simpsons Hit and Run just yesterday it struck me as odd that all the characters that appear (with one exception) are the typical yellow (white) character. Granted, most of the characters in the show are yellow (white) but some are not and none of the extra actors in game reflected this. I wasn't exactly offended or anything but it did strike me as odd or even inappropriate.

But that's about as far as I think any diversity should be concerned. The gameplay drives the plot, the plot drives the setting, and the setting drives the character's biological identities. If I play a game set in modern day New York then I expect there to be a wide range of colors. If I play a game set in a fantasy world full of european architectue I expect fantasy-european characters. If a game is set in India, the majority of the cast should probably be Indian. Any aspect of the setting that stands out for no in-game reason is a failure no matter what politics are involved.

And of course it should go without saying that all of the above is my opinion and I don't expect the world to agree with me. You don't have to. We're all friends here.


Last edited by Guilty on Thu May 26, 2016 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:41 pm 
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dougeff wrote:
Does anyone think the Power Rangers is racist? They made the Red ranger Native American, the Black ranger African American, the Yellow ranger is (a girl) from East Asia...


That's a really interesting example. I've always been divided on that kind of stuff because it is definitely stereotyping, and that by itself is not a good practice I think but it also doesn't strike me as an atrocity. After all, I hear that Mexicans love Speedy Gonzales and Native Americans love Chief Thunder (especially the 90's design). I guess it comes down to whether it's a stereotype to celebrate a culture or a sterotype to put one down. As for whether it's racist or not... Can't say. All I can say is that it doesn't offend me much.
Okay the Blue=Boy thing gets me a little. But not much.

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I feel like a well know Feminist blogger should do an episode about that. And don't correct me for clarity, mods, I write specifically obscurely...to not have my posts linked to by Google searches for a subject which I don't want to be attached to.


It still makes me upset when people bring this up. I was involved in this movement at the very beginning back when it did what it said on the tin. That was the most exciting month of my life, feeling like I was doing something. Then people on my side started returning fire on shit-slingers and both sides lost any credibility as a whole. Another great thing derailed by petty insults. Then the freaking SVU episode came out and boy am I still sore. It pains me to no end that nothing good came of all that...


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:45 pm 
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Guilty wrote:
If I play a game set in a fantasy world full of european architecture I expect fantasy-european characters.
But that begs the question. The fantasy-european setting is all-white because that's the established expectation of what fantasy-european means. But there were enough people of different visual appearances in the middle ages to justify them in a story. It's just been since largely erased by the Generic Fantasy Setting trope.

There's plenty of room to deconstruct and play with the tropes in an interesting way and not just make something that's a photocopy.

Quote:
Any aspect of the setting that stands out for no in-game reason is a failure no matter what politics are involved.
Just as a random idea to play around with: China has been lately building full-scale copies of historical european towns. What if ... you had a bunch of locals decide they wanted to do historical reënactments there?

Why does this have to be justified, since the Generic Fantasy Setting trope isn't?


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:48 pm 
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The character definitely needs to be designed for the darker skin tone from the beginning, because the skin tone sometimes needs to be the dark/outline color in the sprite's palette. If you want to use a simple palette swap to achieve light skin and dark skin, you're usually stuck using black as your darkest/outline color, and then only one accent color versus two.

If the NES had a higher fidelity palette, this would be much easier.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 12:59 pm 
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lidnariq wrote:
But that begs the question. The fantasy-european setting is all-white because that's the established expectation of what fantasy-european means. But there were enough people of different visual appearances in the middle ages to justify them in a story. It's just been since largely erased by the Generic Fantasy Setting trope.

I didn't say all the characters needed to be white, just fantasy-european. If there are made up ethnicities from nearby made up countries that are brown or even blue skinned, that's cool with me as long as it stays believable within the context of the world.

lidnariq wrote:
There's plenty of room to deconstruct and play with the tropes in an interesting way and not just make something that's a photocopy.


True, but I didn't get in to game development to play around with people's expectations for narrative or race. I'm here to make fun gameplay, and I assume many professional devs are the same way. I'm not interested in challenging any political norms.
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Just as a random idea to play around with: China has been lately building full-scale copies of historical european towns. What if ... you had a bunch of locals decide they wanted to do historical reënactments there?

...then... They do it? I mean it's pretty difficult to disguise yourself as a different ethnicity so I don't expect anyone to.

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Why does this have to be justified, since the Generic Fantasy Setting trope isn't?

In my game I'm very set on swordplay and shields for the core combat gameplay. That limits my possible settings to things that include the facilities and traditions that go along with my swords and shields. I can either go with a generic fantasy setting or I can research around about other cultures I might can work it in to. I'm interested in using a unique setting, but I also want the world to be consistent, so I'm probably going to end up picking the path of least resistance here. That's enough justification in my eyes.

Phew, these conversations are really hard to have. There are so many things that need to be said very carefully in a given political climate.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:09 pm 
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Drag wrote:
The character definitely needs to be designed for the darker skin tone from the beginning, because the skin tone sometimes needs to be the dark/outline color in the sprite's palette. If you want to use a simple palette swap to achieve light skin and dark skin, you're usually stuck using black as your darkest/outline color, and then only one accent color versus two.

If the NES had a higher fidelity palette, this would be much easier.

This, as I understand, was also an issue with depicted people of color in movies with older film types which did not have as wide of dynamic range. Shadow details would be lost meaning more detail of the actor than with a caucasian.

lidnariq wrote:
The fantasy-european setting is all-white because that's the established expectation of what fantasy-european means. But there were enough people of different visual appearances in the middle ages to justify them in a story. It's just been since largely erased by the Generic Fantasy Setting trope.
I'm for the sake of diversity where it fits as a natural extension of the story. For Run 'n' Gun, which started this discussion, I don't feel that it fits. However, with my main game which I'm taking a break from to make Run 'n' Gun, the protagonist is female, and it also takes place in an world which is a macrocosm, encompassing European and Asian influenced elements. It's a total work of fiction and a smaller world than our Earth, so I chose to just pick the elements I thought would work well in a game.

I feel like the concept is worth talking about to put into developers' minds that there are characters who can be portrayed who are not white male. However, I don't think anybody should be pressured to do so for a particular release if it's not what they are making. The last thing I think anybody wants to do is polarize the issue, and that's what often happens with debates on matters like these.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:34 pm 
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Is this just about race and sex, or also about sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability?


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:54 pm 
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I would say 'all of the above'.

Believe it or not, I was considering doing a Metroid reveal at the end of my game, to show that the Ninja is secretly...some kind of minority, perhaps trans-gendered or gay or something, but I still feel it's a bit disingenuous.

Especially since the tone of my game is light-hearted, it might feel like I was mocking said groups.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:07 pm 
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dougeff wrote:
I would say 'all of the above'.

Believe it or not, I was considering doing a Metroid reveal at the end of my game, to show that the Ninja is secretly...some kind of minority, perhaps trans-gendered or gay or something, but I still feel it's a bit disingenuous.

Especially since the tone of my game is light-hearted, it might feel like I was mocking said groups.


I catch myself doing this same thing quite a lot. Part of me will feel very uncomfortable if I release a game with a large cast of human characters who are all the same race, but it's also hard to decide who's going to be what color.
I wish more of my close friends were non-white just so that I could get ideas from people I trust about where to go with the diversity thing. It's not exactly my first concern but I also don't want to make a game that makes someone feel bad about his or her self.

Unless they're just bad at the game itself because that's something I'll harp on endlessly. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:11 pm 
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dougeff wrote:
Believe it or not, I was considering doing a Metroid reveal at the end of my game, to show that the Ninja is secretly...some kind of minority, perhaps trans-gendered or gay or something, but I still feel it's a bit disingenuous.

What if he took off his ninja outfit and he was just a normal guy standing there and you couldn't tell anything until it flashed in bright rainbow letters "He's Gay!!!"

Also, I believe caucasian would probably be a minority for the ninja profession.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:22 pm 
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It was going to be more subtle...

The ninja is rescuing his 'girlfriend', if he took off his mask and revealed to really be a woman, I was going to leave it to the imagination what 'girlfriend' means.

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