Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bioware Neglected Their Main Demographic: The Whiny Homophobes

Hey guys! I posted this sooner than I expected, so here it is a little early. I just want to call out how ridiculous this 'Straight Male Gamer' is. He posted on he Bioware forum, complaining that he and all other straight, male gamers were overlooked in the latest Dragon Age installment. The thread already has one amazing reply from the games lead writer, so you should go and read that. He makes several amazing points. However, as a 'female gamer', I was grossly offended and needed to write on it. 

The original thread can be found here, with a wonderful response from David Gaider, the lead writer of Dragon Age II.

So let's begin. The bold words are my responses:

To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer. 

Well, this isn't going to be good, is it? Let's get to reading...

I don't think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they're usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That's not to say there isn't a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forego the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy. 

Women only play 'The Sims'? We aren't off to a great start, are we? I hate The Sims, and I can promise you I can list ten girls off the top of my head right now who are friends of mine who play real games, mostly RPGS. I play RPGs, it's my favorite type of game. So I suppose I don't count in this guys version of what being a 'gamer' means. That's cool, I guess girls don't come to any STRAIGHT MALE GAMERS mind when they think of video games, but that's something that we have to fix.

'Making sure us male gamers were happy' is another problem here. That sounds ridiculously sexists. Boys get priority over girls because... they are boys. That is his argument here, and it is extremely upsetting. It's complete bullshit, really. Why should a game company cast aside an entire category of gamers just because they are the minority? Thoughts like that are why there are so few female gamers. Because men treat it like a boys club that we aren't allowed to be apart of. That's half of a population being alienated, not spending money on games, because boys like this think girls don't belong in the 'gamers' category.

Now immediately I'm sure that some male gamers are going to be like "YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!", but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category. Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, but it is as if when the designers were deciding on how to use their limited resources, instead of thinking "We have fans who loved Alistair and we have fans who thought Alistair was annoying. We have fans that thought Morrigan was great and we have fans that thought that she was a ****. And we have fans who liked the combat and we have fans who hated the combat but liked the story. How do we make make all these groups happy?" Instead, it is as if they went "We have straight males, straight females, gays and lesbians. How do we make all these groups happy?" 

So rather than speaking for 'Straight Male Gamers' (which you already were failing at. My boyfriend in a straight, male gamer, and he denied relating to anything you are saying), you should be speaking for 'All Fans'. But dammit, us girls are ruining it for you, because WE ARE FANS TOO, as well as homosexuals. Also, I'm sure that the design team was trying to make everyone happy. For instance, the new Black Emporium. They noticed that fans download a mod in the first game to reclassify all of their attributes, and put a system in the second game to let them do that. In fact, Dragon Age II is one of the first games where I noticed enough positive changes in the second game that were exactly what fans asked for. I'm not saying it's perfect, but they were trying, and just because they weren't specifically serving the majority entirely and completely neglecting the minority doesn't mean they didn't care. They tried to let everyone enjoy their games.

In every previous BioWare game, I always felt that almost every companion in the game was designed for the male gamer in mind. Every female love interest was always written as a male friend type support character. In Dragon Age 2, I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern. It makes things very awkward when your male companions keep making passes at you. The fact that a "No Homosexuality" option, which could have been easily implemented, is omitted just proves my point. I know there are some straight male gamers out there who did not mind it at and I respect that. 

Okay... So the only female love interest have to be a friend-type suport character. That's fun. He neglected to mention that Aveline is an option for a male love interest. Because if she has a backbone, she's obviously a dyke or completely unavailable to men in some way. And why do you NEED a 'no homosexuality' option? Can't you just click on the other options like everyone else? If the gay people can avoid getting into a straight relationship in the game, you should be able to avoid getting into a gay one. This entire paragraph comes off as 'homophobic' to me. God forbid he even have to deal with a gay man in his game. All of his characters must be STRAIGHT. All of his female characters have to be SUBSERVIANT. Otherwise, he is not getting what he wants and he will damn well complain about in on the internet like the entitled jackass he is.

When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don't mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill
(And Aveline, but fuck her she is strong and I need a helpless little princess or a whore), were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call "exotic" choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can't make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren't even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could have. They had the resources to add another romance option, but instead chose to implement a gay romance with Anders. 

Merrill is adorable, for the record. I may make a male to have a relationship with her. But anyway, that is besides the point. I'd like this boy to point out an example of what 'straight male gamers' are attracted to. I honestly think he just wants a girl like Princess Freakin' Peach to be implimented. Unbelievable, unattainable, and unrealistic. He even gets dangerously close to racism here with the 'exotic' play. Isabella is dark-skinned, and Merrill has an Irish accent. How dare they not have a white American girl for you? I mean, a white, American, subservient girl who won't talk back or fight or anything. And wow what a waste of time putting a romance with Anders (which is my favorite character, so he not only appeals to 'THE GAYS', but also 'THE WOMEN'.

I'm certain that some will declare "That's only fair!" but lets be honest. I'll be generous and assume that 5% of all Dragon Age 2 players are actually homosexuals. I'll be even more generous and assume that the Anders romance was liked by every homosexual. Are you really telling me that you could not have written another straight romance that would have pleased more than 5% of your fans? 

Wow, nice statistics there. Guessing, but since you put numbers into your guesses, that make it intellectual. This guy obviously knows what he's talking about! There are percentages! I mean, he made them up, but.... but.... NUMBERS!

Dragon Age 2 did have its faults no doubt, objectively; combat that was fun initially but quickly got tedious as a result of constantly respawing enemies and too many random encounters, not so well disguised re-used environments, a flawed equipment system in which most of the loot you got could not be used. And subjectively, I've seen complaints of the new faster combat, the new dialogue wheel and so forth. But truth to be told, I wasn't happy with every single aspect of Origins either, but still I loved that game. The gameplay elements are only a part of an RPG, theres the story and characters that drive it. If the same amount focus and attention to characters were given for me as there was in Origins, I'm sure that even with all those technical flaws, I would have found Dragon Age 2 a good game, a flawed game, but still good. As it stands right now, with mediocre characters and mediocre gameplay, Dragon Age 2 is a mediocre game and I'd rate it as such. 

Now he is giving a review on the actual game. Good job throwing more of your opinions in at the end, or we might have all concentrated on the bulk of what was wrong with your previous statements. For the record, most of his opinions are felt be a lot of fans, including those who wrote real, professional reviews. He put in a lot that people would agree with, and I think he only did that so they would agree with the entire thread. Bull. The characters were just as in-depth as they were in Origins. I think this guy didn't notice that because he chose not to talk to half the cast for fear that he might see a 'GAAAAAY' option.

David Gaider replied in the last thread stating, "There's a lot of assumption in there, not the least of which is certain amount of privilege (not to mention an assumption that all straight male gamers must like the same thing)". It's odd to me that David realized that not all straight male gamers like the same thing, yet thought it prudent to try to include a cast that would be liked by straight male gamers, straight female gamers, gays and lesbians with a development time of 18 months. I just hope that the next game BioWare will get its priorities right or spend more time making the game. 

For the record, this guys says 'in the last thread' because he posted this rant twice. The first time, everyone pointed out the flaws in his argument. They also pointed out that he came off as a sexists, homophobic prick. He didn't like that, so he posted the same thing again so that this time people would have the chance to agree with him... They didn't. So because David Gaider (the awesome lead writer who I will certainly be following from now on) realizes that he can't please everyone and chose to try to please at least most from all different perspectives, both the majority and the minority, he's not doing his job. He should try to please only the majority. Good thinking.

Despite my opinions I fully respect the opinions of those who disagree with me so please let’s agree to disagree in a respectful manner and not let this descend into personal attacks. I respectfully request that the moderators simply remove the trouble makers and trolls who make inflammatory comments rather than locking the entire thread because that’s what the trolls want. Thank you. 

This is the cream on the cake. After he rants and raves like a spoiled child for paragraphs upon paragraphs, he talks about being respectful and how they are just 'opinions' so that no one can call him out on all of the ridiculous whiny nature of his post. As Relient K points out: opinions are immunity from being told you're wrong. (And paper rock and scissors all have their pros and cons)

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