Stardew Valley: Token minority character

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No, it's getting perspectives from the people who want it. Tokenism basically means throwing a certain kind of character into a media in order to avoid accusations of lacking diversity. Asking for other perspectives is more akin to a white guy making a movie about Native Americans and being consulted by Native Americans.
But we've already seen the question rejected multiple times in the thread. People are unwilling to pin down diversity to a specific set of races that should be represented, or ratio seen in the game, etc. It's treated like, "if you have to ask, then you're just seeking the minimum to get people off your back."

Even if an answer is given, like, "yes, Stardew Valley wouldn't have seen this thread if 5 out of its 40 characters were black," then you start seeing developers dutifully making 12.5% of their game populations black, and it's just tokenism at that point.

Or do the ends justify the means? The minimum to get people to stop talking about it in the context of your game is still better than anything less than that, and presumably things would continue to improve in the future.
 
But we've already seen the question rejected multiple times in the thread. People are unwilling to pin down diversity to a specific set of races that should be represented, or ratio seen in the game, etc. It's treated like, "if you have to ask, then you're just seeking the minimum to get people off your back."

Even if an answer is given, like, "yes, Stardew Valley wouldn't have seen this thread if 5 out of its 40 characters were black," then you start seeing developers dutifully making 12.5% of their game populations black, and it's just tokenism at that point.
"People are unwilling..."

No, people just simply don't. People don't pin it down to a specific sets of races that should be represented, or ratio seen in the game, etc. because that would be operating upon quotas, which no one in this thread is doing. You're also propping your argument on the slippery slope fallacy - "being expected to have well-thought-out diversity in your game means that we'll just have more token minorities in games" isn't something that is naturally established as truthful.
 
I bet that if the designer apologizes and agrees that the game had diversity problems, people would still come in to complain about outrage culture.
Well, they could be right to. This is the first(and only) negative thing I have heard about this game. It is even contrary to earlier threads that praised how involved Robin and Demetrius are to the plot.

I remember the Witcher 3 shitstorm too, which seemed to crop up only after a critical threshold of success.

A lack of diversity needn't be out of malice or ignorance to be criticized. Criticism doesn't exist for the sake of beating people down, it exists to hopefully ensure that their future endeavours are improved.
This is true. Sorry if I implied otherwise. Other posters appeared vitriolic because they interpreted criticism as a personal attack on themselves or the developer.
 
"People are unwilling..."

No, people just simply don't. People don't pin it down to a specific sets of races that should be represented, or ratio seen in the game, etc. because that would be operating upon quotas, which no one in this thread is doing. You're also propping your argument on the slippery slope fallacy - "being expected to have well-thought-out diversity in your game means that we'll just have more token minorities in games" isn't something that is naturally established as truthful.
No, not "being expected to have well-thought-out diversity," I'm saying that a developer asking specific questions about how better to diversify their game, and receiving specific answers, could result in more token representation.

For example, if the developer of Stardew Valley had said to you, "I know I want to include black people in my game, but I'm not sure how many would be a good solid number, not just so I'm beyond reproach but so that players around the world can have more characters to identify with. What do you suggest?"

Is that an awful question to ask (because he just wants to pad numbers), or a good question to ask (because he's honestly trying to do a better job of diversifying)? And how do you answer him?
 
You keep bringing up numbers, and inherently that is a leading proposal because people aren't simply talking about the number of non-white people in a game, or a flat-rate of non-white characters. The problem is that non-white characters are very, very often lacking in representation, consistently. Thus, it's not a problem even if all of the characters were white - it's a problem because it's, yet again, a game lacking in diversity.
 
Jumping in late to this thread just to say holy, shit some of the mods for this game are really sweet. Super impressive stuff the diversity sprites linked earlier look great.
 
No, not "being expected to have well-thought-out diversity," I'm saying that a developer asking specific questions about how better to diversify their game, and receiving specific answers, could result in more token representation.
This is patently ridiculous. Any developer who is open about taking the time to perform research, ask questions, and get a better sense of how to better represent the world would be lauded by most.

With the exception of the usual suspect posters who whine about "outrage", "forced", "creative vision" and other racebait buzzwords, but they can bugger off, those opinions don't matter.

What you're presenting, and if I'm wrong please correct me, is that a creative shouldn't ask about proper representation because the very act reduces any post-research work to pure representation. If that's what you're saying, it's bollocks.
 
You keep bringing up numbers, and inherently that is a leading proposal because people aren't simply talking about the number of non-white people in a game, or a flat-rate of non-white characters. The problem is that non-white characters are very, very often lacking in representation, consistently. Thus, it's not a problem even if all of the characters were white - it's a problem because it's, yet again, a game lacking in diversity.
Ultimately I can't envision a satisfactory answer that could be given to a developer in search of guidance when it comes to diversity. There will be general discussion about the problem of diversity, and maybe examples of faux pas in other games, but no specific guidance can be given because that results in a quota. The developer is left to their own devices, and perhaps to some extent is expected to understand an underlying quota which must be left unstated.

The only alternative I can see is if the person asked says "here, let me do it -" and they go and develop all the characters on behalf of the developer.
 
Always fascinating to see how angry some people get at even the suggestion that there maybe should be more diversity. The OP was only pointing out that the game doesn't have a lot of diversity and hopes that the dev will maybe address that. He or she didn't call for a boycott, or suggested that the lack of diversity reflects badly on the developer or the game's fans. The dev has been really open to fan feedback, so it's interesting to see how different some people react to this kind of feedback than to feedback about bugs, balance issues etc.
 
Ultimately I can't envision a satisfactory answer that could be given to a developer in search of guidance when it comes to diversity. There will be general discussion about the problem of diversity, and maybe examples of faux pas in other games, but no specific guidance can be given because that results in a quota. The developer is left to their own devices, and perhaps to some extent is expected to understand an underlying quota which must be left unstated.

The only alternative I can see is if the person asked says "here, let me do it -" and they go and develop all the characters on behalf of the developer.
or the developers of a game could say 'okay these characters are going to be mexican, japanese, and egyptian'

and then developers of another game could say 'okay THESE characters are going to be irish, indian, and chilean'

when developers just start making their characters non-white, with the amount of games that get released every year, we will see a much more diverse palette of player characters.
 
I think there's a notable racial omission that may have not been talked about yet. If this game is modeled after American farms, why are there no Mexicans in the game? After all, migrant workers actually do the brunt of farming work in America. Maybe that's an uncomfortable premise the game's creator didn't want to address, but if we're going to talk about racial representation in a farming game it's got to include Latino characters who work in those communities.
 
You realize that people who talk about diversity in a specific game aren't necessarily looking for a reason to call the developer racist, right? This is not about trying to tear down the guy who made Stardew Valley. We're not trying to arrive at a verdict of Racist or Not Racist here.
^If we can have debates about Sonic's proper eye color on this forum without accusing Sega of having hatred towards rodents with green eyes or accusing others of being the "real green eyed rodent haters" or Sonic Eye Warriors, we should be able to discuss video game diversity with the same level of restraint and care.
 
This is patently ridiculous. Any developer who is open about taking the time to perform research, ask questions, and get a better sense of how to better represent the world would be lauded by most.

With the exception of the usual suspect posters who whine about "outrage", "forced", "creative vision" and other racebait buzzwords, but they can bugger off, those opinions don't matter.

What you're presenting, and if I'm wrong please correct me, is that a creative shouldn't ask about proper representation because the very act reduces any post-research work to pure representation. If that's what you're saying, it's bollocks.
I'm not saying that, I am asking whether seeking that answer ought to be seen as good or bad. And I push back a bit against the idea that it must be good not because I disagree, but to confirm its veracity.

However I do question whether the answer to the question of how to diversify can be anything very specific. As A Link To The Past has said multiple times, you'll never get numbers. And I think that could limit the usefulness of the advice, if the developer is unable to take the hint. For all we know, the developer of Stardew did ask someone for help, and thought what he included was sufficient.
 
Always fascinating to see how angry some people get at even the suggestion that there maybe should be more diversity. The OP was only pointing out that the game doesn't have a lot of diversity and hopes that the dev will maybe address that. He or she didn't call for a boycott, or suggested that the lack of diversity reflects badly on the developer or the game's fans. The dev has been really open to fan feedback, so it's interesting to see how different some people react to this kind of feedback than to feedback about bugs, balance issues etc.
yeah it's really strange. I don't understand how the idea of diversity for diversity's sake can be so threatening to some people. Thinking about myself, I'm just kind of used to not seeing hispanic people represented in video games at all, but honestly it would be nice to see a few now and again who weren't like banditos or drug lords or something.
 
I'd appreciate a more diverse cast in Stardew Valley. In gaming. Indie devs can easily implement this change to gaming. They're not subject to the Hollywood effect of AAA games. Help create a better, more diverse environment for the gaming community.
This is the only thing that I particularly disagree with - that fixing broader societal problems is a job for the indie devs to handle when they have the least resources to do so and are already being expected to pick up the slack of general lack of game releases and absence of mid-tier titles.

A range of extra character skins representing the customers who are buying that game for the main playable character (or hell, maybe even a new female mesh option) is a drop in the ocean for a AAA when allocating budget and resources, but not so much for someone making a project on their own dime and doing all their own artwork.
 
I see people saying that they don't think Stardew Valley should be the catalyst for a discussion on diversity. I've seen people say the same of Uncharted 4, The Witcher 3, CoD Black Ops 3 & pretty much any game where the topic of lack of diversity is brought up. What game will we be allowed to use as the catalyst for this type of discussion? DMC5? Scalebound? One of Digital Homicide's next 30 games? Assassin's Creed 12? At some people are gonna have to stop actively trying to delay the discussion.
 
^If we can have debates about Sonic's proper eye color on this forum without accusing Sega of having hatred towards rodents with green eyes or accusing others of being the "real green eyed rodent haters" or Sonic Eye Warriors, we should be able to discuss video game diversity with the same level of restraint and care.
yeah but video games are supposed to be about fun not about pandering to sjws (very much sarcasm)

This post pretty much encapsulates my frustration with the gaming community at large. People have no problem criticizing the most minute, inconsequential things in games, but the second you start talking about representation, diversity, treating other people with respect... "Yeah well it's just a game."
 
Things to take away from this thread:

1) Racial diversity varies considerably around the world.

2) This is represented in games.

Enjoy it; life's too short, & the alternative will just grind you down.
 
Things to take away from this thread:

1) Racial diversity varies considerably around the world.

2) This is represented in games.

Enjoy it; life's too short, & the alternative will just grind you down.
Thing to take away from this post:

1) Don't bother trying to improve things for everyone.






Are you serious right now?
 
yeah but video games are supposed to be about fun not about pandering to sjws (very much sarcasm)

This post pretty much encapsulates my frustration with the gaming community at large. People have no problem criticizing the most minute, inconsequential things in games, but the second you start talking about representation, diversity, treating other people with respect... "Yeah well it's just a game."
While also demanding games be perceive and treated as an art form.
 
Thing to take away from this post:

1) Don't bother trying to improve things for everyone.






Are you serious right now?
I would say that you shouldn't bother to attempt to cater anything for everyone because it's impossible to please everyone. Just picked up a game design book somewhat recently and major theme of the first chapter was "You can't please everyone so don't even attempt to try"

However a valid criticism is still a valid criticism and something for this dev or others to consider in the future when considering that people who are not them or not like them are playing their games. I would say the character himself is very well represented the main problem being addressed is the fact that he is only 1 of potentially 4 characters in the entire game like himself and that makes him stick out to some despite his positive portrayal.
 
yeah but video games are supposed to be about fun not about pandering to sjws (very much sarcasm)

This post pretty much encapsulates my frustration with the gaming community at large. People have no problem criticizing the most minute, inconsequential things in games, but the second you start talking about representation, diversity, treating other people with respect... "Yeah well it's just a game."
As usual it is also good to keep in mind that these aren't necessarily the same people, which is a fallacy you see quite a bit in gaming.

"First everyone hates Zelda for being too kiddy, now everyone hates Zelda for being too realistic?! You can't win!"
 
i've seen some people complaining that you run risk of just making a game with checkboxes to tick in regards to more diversity, but i mean aren't many games pretty much made with that checkbox mindset already? isn't that what playtesting and focus groups are all about and why we end up with some very same-y things in our games now?

it's not even something that people seem to be wanting to force, it seems more a suggestion or something for someone who may not already, to look into. it's almost like people have some sort of fear of change in their hobby
 
As usual it is also good to keep in mind that these aren't necessarily the same people, which is a fallacy you see quite a bit in gaming.

"First everyone hates Zelda for being too kiddy, now everyone hates Zelda for being too realistic?! You can't win!"
Yeah, it's certainly not like they made a game called Skyward Sword which while very divisive mechanically resonated with tons of people visually
 
As usual it is also good to keep in mind that these aren't necessarily the same people, which is a fallacy you see quite a bit in gaming.

"First everyone hates Zelda for being too kiddy, now everyone hates Zelda for being too realistic?! You can't win!"
In this specific case, I've seen the same people do both.
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
I haven't played it a whole lot yet.

But I made a black lady for my character, and my grandfather was still white.

...So there's that.

(I'm sure it was an honest mistake. It made me laugh. Hopefully it'll be fixed. Maybe it already has.)
Thats odd, I could have sworn I saw people saying the Grandfather's Skin Tone was based one what you selected for your character. Maybe that was some other game (I am likely thinking of Fallout 4 now that I think about it more)

I personally would have never thought that the game lacks minorities myself. Games featuring or lacking minority characters tends not to be something I notice unless its really obvious. Only having Demetrius and his daughter Maru being the only default non-white characters doesn't seem out of place at all. It doesn't even seem like that unrealistic, I'd expect most small towns to be mono-cultural and not diverse places, since historically most ethic groups in the Americas tended to stick together and drive out perceived outsiders from the community.

Wanting to have higher cultural diversity is always a sticky situation. I understand some of the end goal, to try and give better role models and raise the medium social-economic class of minorities, but the way people tend to ask for it or want it implemented feels overly hamfisted and prone to resentment from majority.
 
Wanting to have higher cultural diversity is always a sticky situation. I understand some of the end goal, to try and give better role models and raise the medium social-economic class of minorities, but the way people tend to ask for it or want it implemented feels overly hamfisted and prone to resentment from majority.
The thing is, any degree of criticism for poor diversity or poor representation causes the majority to be resentful. It's what happens when you defy the status quo, because for the majority, there is no benefit to such defiance.
 
Wanting to have higher cultural diversity is always a sticky situation. I understand some of the end goal, to try and give better role models and raise the medium social-economic class of minorities, but the way people tend to ask for it or want it implemented feels overly hamfisted and prone to resentment from majority.
Isn't it just as overly ham-fisted to NOT include any?

And who cares about resentment from people who don't want diversity? They're not worth considering.

But yeah, grandpappy was straight up white in my game.
 
I touched on this in my other post, but I'm curious as to what people think of the psychology behind this:


When I was younger, from about age 5-24, when I would sit down and create my cast of characters for my various comics and video games (I used to do a lot more coding when I was in my late teens, early 20's, trying my hand at developing games myself), they would almost always be a white male, or a white female. In many of my concepts, I even had a single minority character; either a black guy, or a black woman, or an asian guy, or an asian woman, etc, etc.

I'm a black man. Why is it that, even as a black male creator of fiction, I would almost exclusively default to white when creating my comics? Why do some of you think that is? I'm about 100% sure I know the answer to this question, but I'd like to hear an outside perspective on this.

Minorities of all types are often told to create the diversity themselves if that's what they want to see, but there is a real perception problem that has permeated not just whites in America, but minorities as well. The history of this country has done such a fantastic job of beating minorities over the head with how inferior to whites they are, that many minorities are ashamed of being a minority, and downplay their non-white lineage, and talk up any non-minority heritage they may have, and it's a shame. I've seen people do this on a regular basis, and it's very sad.

I've mentioned this numerous times before, but growing up, in school, I wasn't allowed to be Batman, or Superman, or The Flash or Spider-Man when playing superheroes with my white classmates. They made me play as the bad guy criminal. Not even Lex Luthor, or Zod, or The Joker. Their reasoning? Because I wasn't white. "Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are white, so you can't play as them." That's not even exaggeration on my part. My "peers" and classmates had already learned, at that young of an age, the value of being white in America.

Growing up as a little mixed boy (I'm Black and Samoan), I'd turn on the TV, and what did I see? White heroes and villains, and the occasional sidekick and supporting character that was a minority, often played up as incompetent, the comic relief, or the person the white male hero got to save each episode.

GI Joe was one of the few cartoons of the 80's that I grew up with where there was a diverse cast of badasses that got to be heroes and save the day. From He-Man to MASK, there wasn't much for non-whites to latch onto. Superhero comics and shows rarely if ever focused on characters like Black Panther, Black Lightning, John Stewart Green Lantern, Luke Cage, or any of the other non-white/non-black minorities in fiction. I had no idea characters like those existed.

Not to mention that I grew up fairly poor, with no comic book shops, so I had to rely on the books that the nearby Walgreens or grocery store stocked; mainly Archie comics and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. The affect this had on a young black boys mind was that I grew up thinking that there weren't any relevant black heroes to look up to. You had athletes, but I was never into sports. You had rappers, but I was never into hip hop. When you turned on the TV, whenever a black character was present, they were in trouble. Either a criminal or a fool. Seeing that reinforcement of ineptitude day in and day out, while seeing the competency and skillfullness of white males had a profoundly damaging effect on my own sense of self worth. The sad thing is that I am not alone.

That video of those little black kids talking about the differences between the white dolls and the black dolls is heartbreaking, but I lived that.

White kids seeing white heroes on the screen (whether video games, tv, or film) has a very different effect on their developing brains as Black kids seeing white heroes on the screen. That's just a fact.

Black kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen, has a very different effect on their developing brains as White kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen. Again, that's a fact.

The importance of seeing yourself represented in positive ways can't be understated. Whites in America have the luxury of having such a diverse pool of portrayals to pull from, that the occasional negative ones can be brushed off. Minorities don't have that luxury. It's also worth noting that the few minorities that are in creative positions in film, television, and the gaming industry, have also grown up in a country that has, for hundreds of years, portrayed their people as less than. It's why you have people like Bill Cosby pre-rape scandal, sitting up on his high horse telling black men to "pull their damn pants up." For generations, we've been told we aren't shit, and then the few that have actually been able to make it and live successful influential lives often look back at that struggling period of their life with disdain, and the people that are still living in that struggle with disdain as well. "If I could do it, you can too!" is one of the most infuriating things minorities are often told when we get too vocal about systemic racism.

The Stardew Valley developer most certainly had no ill intent when creating his characters for his game. He included as much diversity as he felt compelled to do, for whatever reasons he felt compelled to do it. I don't think this thread is about trashing Stardew Valley or the developer. It's just another discussion on the lack of inclusiveness in gaming.

But as usual, the discussion has gotten people overly defensive and sensitive. People have to come up with reasons and excuses as to why X developer didn't include Y minority/gender in their game, instead of just acknowledging that being more open in your creative decisions is a good thing. It's not pandering. It's not kowtowing to "social justice warriors," it's not force feeding diversity and political correctness on anyone. It's a developer/writer/artist, etc, actively evaluating his or her work and saying, "You know, there's no good reason why this person can't be Black, or Mexican, or Asian, or Middle Eastern," etc, etc.

As I said before, I always defaulted to white when creating my characters for my comics and stories. Why was that? That's the question I asked myself after some deep introspection. Now, when I sit down to draw a new character, I don't always see a 30 something white male with dark hair grinning up at me with pearly white teeth. It's made me a better creator, and has also allowed me to expand my drawing palette with differing facial features and structures. I just can't see how that's a negative. I gladly welcome diversity in my work. I'm sure many developers, once made aware of these incredibly easy and understandable oversights, will think twice. As I mentioned in another post, it happened when Anita Sarkisian started her series about women and tropes in gaming, and the gaming landscape has started to change significantly. Why can't the same be done for minorities (of all ethnicities, not just blacks)?

Nothing is being taken from white heroes. It's not even a knock against white heroes. It's letting minorities be a part of the heroics as well. It's letting them get to be Spider-Man and Superman every once in a while on the playground. There's nothing wrong with that at all.
 
I touched on this in my other post, but I'm curious as to what people think of the psychology behind this:


When I was younger, from about age 5-24, when I would sit down and create my cast of characters for my various comics and video games (I used to do a lot more coding when I was in my late teens, early 20's, trying my hand at developing games myself), they would almost always be a white male, or a white female. In many of my concepts, I even had a single minority character; either a black guy, or a black woman, or an asian guy, or an asian woman, etc, etc.

I'm a black man. Why is it that, even as a black male creator of fiction, I would almost exclusively default to white when creating my comics? Why do some of you think that is? I'm about 100% sure I know the answer to this question, but I'd like to hear an outside perspective on this.

Minorities of all types are often told to create the diversity themselves if that's what they want to see, but there is a real perception problem that has permeated not just whites in America, but minorities as well. The history of this country has done such a fantastic job of beating minorities over the head with how inferior to whites they are, that many minorities are ashamed of being a minority, and downplay their non-white lineage, and talk up any non-minority heritage they may have, and it's a shame. I've seen people do this on a regular basis, and it's very sad.

I've mentioned this numerous times before, but growing up, in school, I wasn't allowed to be Batman, or Superman, or The Flash or Spider-Man when playing superheroes with my white classmates. They made me play as the bad guy criminal. Not even Lex Luthor, or Zod, or The Joker. Their reasoning? Because I wasn't white. "Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are white, so you can't play as them." That's not even exaggeration on my part. My "peers" and classmates had already learned, at that young of an age, the value of being white in America.

Growing up as a little mixed boy (I'm Black and Samoan), I'd turn on the TV, and what did I see? White heroes and villains, and the occasional sidekick and supporting character that was a minority, often played up as incompetent, the comic relief, or the person the white male hero got to save each episode.

GI Joe was one of the few cartoons of the 80's that I grew up with where there was a diverse cast of badasses that got to be heroes and save the day. From He-Man to MASK, there wasn't much for non-whites to latch onto. Superhero comics and shows rarely if ever focused on characters like Black Panther, Black Lightning, John Stewart Green Lantern, Luke Cage, or any of the other non-white/non-black minorities in fiction. I had no idea characters like those existed.

Not to mention that I grew up fairly poor, with no comic book shops, so I had to rely on the books that the nearby Walgreens or grocery store stocked; mainly Archie comics and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. The affect this had on a young black boys mind was that I grew up thinking that there weren't any relevant black heroes to look up to. You had athletes, but I was never into sports. You had rappers, but I was never into hip hop. When you turned on the TV, whenever a black character was present, they were in trouble. Either a criminal or a fool. Seeing that reinforcement of ineptitude day in and day out, while seeing the competency and skillfullness of white males had a profoundly damaging effect on my own sense of self worth. The sad thing is that I am not alone.

That video of those little black kids talking about the differences between the white dolls and the black dolls is heartbreaking, but I lived that.

White kids seeing white heroes on the screen (whether video games, tv, or film) has a very different effect on their developing brains as Black kids seeing white heroes on the screen. That's just a fact.

Black kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen, has a very different effect on their developing brains as White kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen. Again, that's a fact.

The importance of seeing yourself represented in positive ways can't be understated. Whites in America have the luxury of having such a diverse pool of portrayals to pull from, that the occasional negative ones can be brushed off. Minorities don't have that luxury. It's also worth noting that the few minorities that are in creative positions in film, television, and the gaming industry, have also grown up in a country that has, for hundreds of years, portrayed their people as less than. It's why you have people like Bill Cosby pre-rape scandal, sitting up on his high horse telling black men to "pull their damn pants up." For generations, we've been told we aren't shit, and then the few that have actually been able to make it and live successful influential lives often look back at that struggling period of their life with disdain, and the people that are still living in that struggle with disdain as well. "If I could do it, you can too!" is one of the most infuriating things minorities are often told when we get too vocal about systemic racism.

The Stardew Valley developer most certainly had no ill intent when creating his characters for his game. He included as much diversity as he felt compelled to do, for whatever reasons he felt compelled to do it. I don't think this thread is about trashing Stardew Valley or the developer. It's just another discussion on the lack of inclusiveness in gaming.

But as usual, the discussion has gotten people overly defensive and sensitive. People have to come up with reasons and excuses as to why X developer didn't include Y minority/gender in their game, instead of just acknowledging that being more open in your creative decisions is a good thing. It's not pandering. It's not kowtowing to "social justice warriors," it's not force feeding diversity and political correctness on anyone. It's a developer/writer/artist, etc, actively evaluating his or her work and saying, "You know, there's no good reason why this person can't be Black, or Mexican, or Asian, or Middle Eastern," etc, etc.

As I said before, I always defaulted to white when creating my characters for my comics and stories. Why was that? That's the question I asked myself after some deep introspection. Now, when I sit down to draw a new character, I don't always see a 30 something white male with dark hair grinning up at me with pearly white teeth. It's made me a better creator, and has also allowed me to expand my drawing palette with differing facial features and structures. I just can't see how that's a negative. I gladly welcome diversity in my work. I'm sure many developers, once made aware of these incredibly easy and understandable oversights, will think twice. As I mentioned in another post, it happened when Anita Sarkisian started her series about women and tropes in gaming, and the gaming landscape has started to change significantly. Why can't the same be done for minorities (of all ethnicities, not just blacks)?

Nothing is being taken from white heroes. It's not even a knock against white heroes. It's letting minorities be a part of the heroics as well. It's letting them get to be Spider-Man and Superman every once in a while on the playground. There's nothing wrong with that at all.
Legit teared up reading this. Thank you for sharing that. I know many, including myself, can relate to that.
 
Oh man, basing the grandfather's skintone on the farmer's would be a cool, yet subtle, addition. I don't think it is currently, but it'd be a great change.
This would be a great change.

Legit teared up reading this. Thank you for sharing that. I know many, including myself, can relate to that.
Absolutely. What a great post, Figboy79. Brought tears to my eyes. People brushing off the importance of positive portrayal of minorities in media as if it doesn't matter is one of the most infuriating things I run into on a daily basis.
 
Thats funny because I think that Stardew valley is supposed to take inspiration from the real world and is supposed to be some small sleepy town where everyone knows everyone else. Yes places like that still exist where there aren't too many minorities.
Exactly. Welcome to most of the world OP, not everywhere is racially diverse. I would guess that you're an American? In that case, I understand what you're thinking, but most countries just aren't that diverse. I grew up in a small town of 100% white people, and even now, living in a major city, I'm surprised whenever I see black people.
 
I'm going to keep saying this until I'm blue in the face. It's not always about including the culture. Sometimes just seeing yourself in the game is perfect. Sometimes it's just being able to point at a character and saying, "I visually identify with them!" Minorities are people, so portray them as people. Not every inclusion has to be about their culture. Most games don't include any real references to real world culture to begin with. Outside of, "idk white folk," that is.

As for your last point. Sure. Why not? The narrative shouldn't have to justify someone's existence--it doesn't for white characters in non-narrative-driven games.
Just wanted to give you a shoutout as I've really enjoyed your posts in this thread and I strongly agree here, in fact this stance strongly influences my work. I think a lot of people underestimate how important visual feedback is for a lot of people, simply pointing to someone that looks "like me" is a pretty big deal even on a subconscious level. A large portion of video games have fictional cultures so I find that to be a rather useless argument personally. As a hobbyist content creator, my stuff could be criticized as being too "racially inclusive."

Does every game have to have tokenism? I don't think anyone is saying that. In fact I am one of the biggest proponents of making whatever you want (along with the baggage that can bring). As long as people are civil (i.e. not a dick) I don't see the issue with people respectfully voicing their concerns/issues. The OP, for instance, isn't even malicious.

In general I don't get the strong pushback to racial inclusiveness, even on a superficial level. I mean your writing people, that doesn't change when you switch the skin color and/or other racial features or at least it hasn't for me and I know I'm" not a special snowflake in that regard.
 
I touched on this in my other post, but I'm curious as to what people think of the psychology behind this.
I'm just a dumb white dude, but this was a great post. It took me a long time to appreciate the things you're talking about. And I don't mean the positive kind of appreciation. I never actively railed against diversity, but I certainly didn't understand its importance for a long time.

Thanks for writing it up. I think it's important to strongly and repeatedly drive home the effect the representation of different colors of skin in entertainment and media has on people as they grow up. It teaches things that sometimes (most of the time (all of the time?)) shouldn't be taught. That alone should be enough reason for "arbitrary" - these things are not arbitrary - diversity.

Exactly. Welcome to most of the world OP, not everywhere is racially diverse. I would guess that you're an American? In that case, I understand what you're thinking, but most countries just aren't that diverse. I grew up in a small town of 100% white people, and even now, living in a major city, I'm surprised whenever I see black people.
It's a fucking fictional world with a goddamn wizard.

"Reality" has fuck all to do with it.
 
I'm all for more diversity. I may think nothing of it when I see a character/characters with a different ethnicity to me, but someone else may really enjoy having someone they can relate to or they feel represents them. There's so many unique and diverse perspectives in the world, having more of them in a game can do nothing but good.
 
Exactly. Welcome to most of the world OP, not everywhere is racially diverse. I would guess that you're an American? In that case, I understand what you're thinking, but most countries just aren't that diverse. I grew up in a small town of 100% white people, and even now, living in a major city, I'm surprised whenever I see black people.
I don't have the study, but it's been shown that white people are over-represented in games, while other non-white ethnicities are under-represented. Logically, people will look at each game that further demonstrates this issue and... well, take issue. If you plan on creating media that's meant to be consumed by people, you better expect people to note certain things like this.

I'm all for more diversity. I may think nothing of it when I see a character/characters with a different ethnicity to me, but someone else may really enjoy having someone they can relate to or they feel represents them. There's so many unique and diverse perspectives in the world, having more of them in a game can do nothing but good.
I've grown so used to posts rebutting a desire for diversity starting with "I'm all for more diversity" that I was definitely expecting you to throw a "but" right afterward.
 
Thank you for posting this. As a Chinese kid, growing up I saw nothing but stereotypes on TV, or otherwise nothing. Whenever I wrote stories in middle school or high school, all of the characters ended up being white. I didn't realize that I wasn't even being represented in the stuff that I created for myself until senior year of high school. Growing up in the US, I've definitely internalized white as 'normal', and the amount of self-hate that I've seen some of my friends and family have for not being white is staggering and also very sad.

So yeah, inclusion matters. Just the effect of seeing someone like you in media is big. Again, thank you for the post.
 
Legit teared up reading this. Thank you for sharing that. I know many, including myself, can relate to that.
This was well worth the read, I don't have an answer to your initial question that wouldn't simply be the obvious (actually, reading the whole post probably would have tainted my original answer to be something more along the lines you wrote throughout).
I'm just a dumb white dude, but this was a great post. It took me a long time to appreciate the things you're talking about. And I don't mean the positive kind of appreciation. I never actively railed against diversity, but I certainly didn't understand its importance for a long time.

Thanks for writing it up. I think it's important to strongly and repeatedly drive home the effect the representation of different colors of skin in entertainment and media has on people as they grow up. It teaches things that sometimes (most of the time (all of the time?)) shouldn't be taught. That alone should be enough reason for "arbitrary" - these things are not arbitrary - diversity.



It's a fucking fictional world with a goddamn wizard.

"Reality" has fuck all to do with it.
Thank you guys!

And Russ, don't beat yourself up over it! The thing about discussing race is that it's not to make white people feel bad about white privilege or systemic racism. It's about awareness. I was in the same boat you were, honestly. I never appreciated what the lack of heroes that looked like me meant to my sense of self worth and development until I was much, much older, and able to really think on and understand those concepts as an adult.

All I knew is that I couldn't be a hero, based off of all of the fiction I consumed (movies, books, tv shows, comics, video games, etc). I knew I felt awful about it. I think a lot of that is why people have been going so crazy about Black Panther being a key player in Civil War, and getting his own movie. I honestly had no idea who a Black Panther was until I was in high school, and even then, none of the stores that sold comics carried his books. I was actually surprised that the Walgreens near my house sold Spawn comics. Not because he was black, but because it was such a mature comic compared to the DC and Marvel stuff they stocked sporadically.

If I had had the money and the access, I'd have gobbled up every issue of Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Green Lantern. But that wasn't the case. Television is one of the few things that a poor kid could have fairly easy access to growing up. But yeah, turning on the tv and seeing how your people are portrayed is disheartening.

I think discussions like this topic are so important to have, if anything to get us all thinking twice about representation and diversity. It's not just about having x number of y ethnicity. The Walking Dead comic has an amazingly diverse cast of characters. The show? Ehhhh, not so much. It's a shame that bringing up these discrepancies, and why they are important to discuss and bring to light is being dismissed by so many people in the thread.
 
I touched on this in my other post, but I'm curious as to what people think of the psychology behind this:


When I was younger, from about age 5-24, when I would sit down and create my cast of characters for my various comics and video games (I used to do a lot more coding when I was in my late teens, early 20's, trying my hand at developing games myself), they would almost always be a white male, or a white female. In many of my concepts, I even had a single minority character; either a black guy, or a black woman, or an asian guy, or an asian woman, etc, etc.

I'm a black man. Why is it that, even as a black male creator of fiction, I would almost exclusively default to white when creating my comics? Why do some of you think that is? I'm about 100% sure I know the answer to this question, but I'd like to hear an outside perspective on this.

Minorities of all types are often told to create the diversity themselves if that's what they want to see, but there is a real perception problem that has permeated not just whites in America, but minorities as well. The history of this country has done such a fantastic job of beating minorities over the head with how inferior to whites they are, that many minorities are ashamed of being a minority, and downplay their non-white lineage, and talk up any non-minority heritage they may have, and it's a shame. I've seen people do this on a regular basis, and it's very sad.

I've mentioned this numerous times before, but growing up, in school, I wasn't allowed to be Batman, or Superman, or The Flash or Spider-Man when playing superheroes with my white classmates. They made me play as the bad guy criminal. Not even Lex Luthor, or Zod, or The Joker. Their reasoning? Because I wasn't white. "Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are white, so you can't play as them." That's not even exaggeration on my part. My "peers" and classmates had already learned, at that young of an age, the value of being white in America.

Growing up as a little mixed boy (I'm Black and Samoan), I'd turn on the TV, and what did I see? White heroes and villains, and the occasional sidekick and supporting character that was a minority, often played up as incompetent, the comic relief, or the person the white male hero got to save each episode.

GI Joe was one of the few cartoons of the 80's that I grew up with where there was a diverse cast of badasses that got to be heroes and save the day. From He-Man to MASK, there wasn't much for non-whites to latch onto. Superhero comics and shows rarely if ever focused on characters like Black Panther, Black Lightning, John Stewart Green Lantern, Luke Cage, or any of the other non-white/non-black minorities in fiction. I had no idea characters like those existed.

Not to mention that I grew up fairly poor, with no comic book shops, so I had to rely on the books that the nearby Walgreens or grocery store stocked; mainly Archie comics and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. The affect this had on a young black boys mind was that I grew up thinking that there weren't any relevant black heroes to look up to. You had athletes, but I was never into sports. You had rappers, but I was never into hip hop. When you turned on the TV, whenever a black character was present, they were in trouble. Either a criminal or a fool. Seeing that reinforcement of ineptitude day in and day out, while seeing the competency and skillfullness of white males had a profoundly damaging effect on my own sense of self worth. The sad thing is that I am not alone.

That video of those little black kids talking about the differences between the white dolls and the black dolls is heartbreaking, but I lived that.

White kids seeing white heroes on the screen (whether video games, tv, or film) has a very different effect on their developing brains as Black kids seeing white heroes on the screen. That's just a fact.

Black kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen, has a very different effect on their developing brains as White kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen. Again, that's a fact.

The importance of seeing yourself represented in positive ways can't be understated. Whites in America have the luxury of having such a diverse pool of portrayals to pull from, that the occasional negative ones can be brushed off. Minorities don't have that luxury. It's also worth noting that the few minorities that are in creative positions in film, television, and the gaming industry, have also grown up in a country that has, for hundreds of years, portrayed their people as less than. It's why you have people like Bill Cosby pre-rape scandal, sitting up on his high horse telling black men to "pull their damn pants up." For generations, we've been told we aren't shit, and then the few that have actually been able to make it and live successful influential lives often look back at that struggling period of their life with disdain, and the people that are still living in that struggle with disdain as well. "If I could do it, you can too!" is one of the most infuriating things minorities are often told when we get too vocal about systemic racism.

The Stardew Valley developer most certainly had no ill intent when creating his characters for his game. He included as much diversity as he felt compelled to do, for whatever reasons he felt compelled to do it. I don't think this thread is about trashing Stardew Valley or the developer. It's just another discussion on the lack of inclusiveness in gaming.

But as usual, the discussion has gotten people overly defensive and sensitive. People have to come up with reasons and excuses as to why X developer didn't include Y minority/gender in their game, instead of just acknowledging that being more open in your creative decisions is a good thing. It's not pandering. It's not kowtowing to "social justice warriors," it's not force feeding diversity and political correctness on anyone. It's a developer/writer/artist, etc, actively evaluating his or her work and saying, "You know, there's no good reason why this person can't be Black, or Mexican, or Asian, or Middle Eastern," etc, etc.

As I said before, I always defaulted to white when creating my characters for my comics and stories. Why was that? That's the question I asked myself after some deep introspection. Now, when I sit down to draw a new character, I don't always see a 30 something white male with dark hair grinning up at me with pearly white teeth. It's made me a better creator, and has also allowed me to expand my drawing palette with differing facial features and structures. I just can't see how that's a negative. I gladly welcome diversity in my work. I'm sure many developers, once made aware of these incredibly easy and understandable oversights, will think twice. As I mentioned in another post, it happened when Anita Sarkisian started her series about women and tropes in gaming, and the gaming landscape has started to change significantly. Why can't the same be done for minorities (of all ethnicities, not just blacks)?

Nothing is being taken from white heroes. It's not even a knock against white heroes. It's letting minorities be a part of the heroics as well. It's letting them get to be Spider-Man and Superman every once in a while on the playground. There's nothing wrong with that at all.
This post is so good I feel like it should be posted at the start of every diversity thread on this forum.
 
Easily one of the best posts I've ever read on here. Job well done.

Funny thing is, what you speak of was probably one of the reasons I was more into the likes of Thundercats and TMNT (toon and then eventually the Mirage comics) growing up. For me, at least, it was easier to deal with the fact that there weren't too many actually like myself within popular media, and instead do more to project myself on the likes of anthropomorphic heroes like Panthro (who had the cool car) and Donatello (introverted nerd who made it actually "cool" to be brainy).

But I can't state enough how good of a thing it was to have the likes of Gargoyles in the 90s, who I believe still is one of few (if not only?) toons that had a female PoC in a leading role who was not only portrayed as a competent cop but ALSO wasn't a damsel that needed to be saved by the titular characters every other episode.
 
I touched on this in my other post, but I'm curious as to what people think of the psychology behind this:


When I was younger, from about age 5-24, when I would sit down and create my cast of characters for my various comics and video games (I used to do a lot more coding when I was in my late teens, early 20's, trying my hand at developing games myself), they would almost always be a white male, or a white female. In many of my concepts, I even had a single minority character; either a black guy, or a black woman, or an asian guy, or an asian woman, etc, etc.

I'm a black man. Why is it that, even as a black male creator of fiction, I would almost exclusively default to white when creating my comics? Why do some of you think that is? I'm about 100% sure I know the answer to this question, but I'd like to hear an outside perspective on this.

Minorities of all types are often told to create the diversity themselves if that's what they want to see, but there is a real perception problem that has permeated not just whites in America, but minorities as well. The history of this country has done such a fantastic job of beating minorities over the head with how inferior to whites they are, that many minorities are ashamed of being a minority, and downplay their non-white lineage, and talk up any non-minority heritage they may have, and it's a shame. I've seen people do this on a regular basis, and it's very sad.

I've mentioned this numerous times before, but growing up, in school, I wasn't allowed to be Batman, or Superman, or The Flash or Spider-Man when playing superheroes with my white classmates. They made me play as the bad guy criminal. Not even Lex Luthor, or Zod, or The Joker. Their reasoning? Because I wasn't white. "Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are white, so you can't play as them." That's not even exaggeration on my part. My "peers" and classmates had already learned, at that young of an age, the value of being white in America.

Growing up as a little mixed boy (I'm Black and Samoan), I'd turn on the TV, and what did I see? White heroes and villains, and the occasional sidekick and supporting character that was a minority, often played up as incompetent, the comic relief, or the person the white male hero got to save each episode.

GI Joe was one of the few cartoons of the 80's that I grew up with where there was a diverse cast of badasses that got to be heroes and save the day. From He-Man to MASK, there wasn't much for non-whites to latch onto. Superhero comics and shows rarely if ever focused on characters like Black Panther, Black Lightning, John Stewart Green Lantern, Luke Cage, or any of the other non-white/non-black minorities in fiction. I had no idea characters like those existed.

Not to mention that I grew up fairly poor, with no comic book shops, so I had to rely on the books that the nearby Walgreens or grocery store stocked; mainly Archie comics and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. The affect this had on a young black boys mind was that I grew up thinking that there weren't any relevant black heroes to look up to. You had athletes, but I was never into sports. You had rappers, but I was never into hip hop. When you turned on the TV, whenever a black character was present, they were in trouble. Either a criminal or a fool. Seeing that reinforcement of ineptitude day in and day out, while seeing the competency and skillfullness of white males had a profoundly damaging effect on my own sense of self worth. The sad thing is that I am not alone.

That video of those little black kids talking about the differences between the white dolls and the black dolls is heartbreaking, but I lived that.

White kids seeing white heroes on the screen (whether video games, tv, or film) has a very different effect on their developing brains as Black kids seeing white heroes on the screen. That's just a fact.

Black kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen, has a very different effect on their developing brains as White kids seeing minorities portrayed stereotypically and negatively on the screen. Again, that's a fact.

The importance of seeing yourself represented in positive ways can't be understated. Whites in America have the luxury of having such a diverse pool of portrayals to pull from, that the occasional negative ones can be brushed off. Minorities don't have that luxury. It's also worth noting that the few minorities that are in creative positions in film, television, and the gaming industry, have also grown up in a country that has, for hundreds of years, portrayed their people as less than. It's why you have people like Bill Cosby pre-rape scandal, sitting up on his high horse telling black men to "pull their damn pants up." For generations, we've been told we aren't shit, and then the few that have actually been able to make it and live successful influential lives often look back at that struggling period of their life with disdain, and the people that are still living in that struggle with disdain as well. "If I could do it, you can too!" is one of the most infuriating things minorities are often told when we get too vocal about systemic racism.

The Stardew Valley developer most certainly had no ill intent when creating his characters for his game. He included as much diversity as he felt compelled to do, for whatever reasons he felt compelled to do it. I don't think this thread is about trashing Stardew Valley or the developer. It's just another discussion on the lack of inclusiveness in gaming.

But as usual, the discussion has gotten people overly defensive and sensitive. People have to come up with reasons and excuses as to why X developer didn't include Y minority/gender in their game, instead of just acknowledging that being more open in your creative decisions is a good thing. It's not pandering. It's not kowtowing to "social justice warriors," it's not force feeding diversity and political correctness on anyone. It's a developer/writer/artist, etc, actively evaluating his or her work and saying, "You know, there's no good reason why this person can't be Black, or Mexican, or Asian, or Middle Eastern," etc, etc.

As I said before, I always defaulted to white when creating my characters for my comics and stories. Why was that? That's the question I asked myself after some deep introspection. Now, when I sit down to draw a new character, I don't always see a 30 something white male with dark hair grinning up at me with pearly white teeth. It's made me a better creator, and has also allowed me to expand my drawing palette with differing facial features and structures. I just can't see how that's a negative. I gladly welcome diversity in my work. I'm sure many developers, once made aware of these incredibly easy and understandable oversights, will think twice. As I mentioned in another post, it happened when Anita Sarkisian started her series about women and tropes in gaming, and the gaming landscape has started to change significantly. Why can't the same be done for minorities (of all ethnicities, not just blacks)?

Nothing is being taken from white heroes. It's not even a knock against white heroes. It's letting minorities be a part of the heroics as well. It's letting them get to be Spider-Man and Superman every once in a while on the playground. There's nothing wrong with that at all.
Nail. Head. Thank you for putting this so eloquently. Some people just don't get it.
 
I've mentioned this numerous times before, but growing up, in school, I wasn't allowed to be Batman, or Superman, or The Flash or Spider-Man when playing superheroes with my white classmates. They made me play as the bad guy criminal. Not even Lex Luthor, or Zod, or The Joker. Their reasoning? Because I wasn't white. "Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are white, so you can't play as them." That's not even exaggeration on my part. My "peers" and classmates had already learned, at that young of an age, the value of being white in America.
That is incredibly saddening to hear. I'm really sorry you had to experience that.

Not to mention that I grew up fairly poor, with no comic book shops, so I had to rely on the books that the nearby Walgreens or grocery store stocked; mainly Archie comics and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. The affect this had on a young black boys mind was that I grew up thinking that there weren't any relevant black heroes to look up to.
Yeah, even by '80s-'90s comic book standards DC was lily white. Marvel at least had the somewhat-problematic Power Man (aka Luke Cage), and Storm on the X-Men...I remember reading a multiple-issue plotline where she went back to visit her African homeland. But looking at it now, in general it was not diverse at all. We as a society have got to do better in giving positive role models for kids of all backgrounds.
 
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