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On Why Inclusivity Matters

Jason Beck
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Felix alearum famis! Et posse impares sumus erimus en tui semper favoris.
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Proprietor of The Bored Gaymer, BGG's most popular blog with the words "Bored" and "Gaymer" in the title!
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Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love a digital mage

Wherein Jason takes a break from all this Serious Discussion to talk about feelings and stuff

This past Tuesday, Dragon Age II came out. It is awesome, in case you were wondering. I’d been looking forward to it for, like, six months or something. I came home from my Very Serious Job, tore open the package from Amazon, and installed it with reckless abandon.

As night turned into morning and I unwisely (or not) decided to forsake more and more sleep in the favor of “just one more quest”, I stumbled across the fact that the romantic storyline options for a male character weren’t just limited to the two female options. No, indeed, the two male choices were open to a male main character, too.

And you know what? It made me happy.

And, really, isn’t that the point I’ve been trying to make here, with this blog and its posts, this whole time? Or maybe it isn’t; maybe it’s one I should’ve articulated more clearly. Ultimately, though I (or others) may mount (or not) arguments that inclusivity is ethical; that is the right thing to do; that it helps assist in accessibility; that it makes it easier for emotional investment in a theme for some players; despite all of this, the (gasp!) feeling at the bottom of (much of) this is that, well, it can make people happy.

I know, I know, we shouldn’t need external validation to be okay with ourselves, to be happy, to be whatever. No one’s arguing otherwise. But external validation is nice, and anyone who says otherwise is a communist. (Note: They may not actually be a communist.)

This isn’t about a board game, I know. This is about a video game, it’s outside my stated scope of discussion, I get it. But this is my blog and this was a recent and relevant event; lots of people have commented (across the various posts), and while many of these comments have been super, plenty of people have raised the wearying standard of, “But why does this matter? My sexuality doesn’t matter at the game table, why should yours?”

Because it made me happy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Because every day if I want to hear some hateful invective about how terrible the homos are, how much they’re destroying society, how terrible we are (for the children, you know), all I have to do is turn on the news. Because it gets tiresome, after a while, hearing about the politics and the “culture war” and the nonsense when, really, I’d mostly like to be left alone, thank you very much. Because I work in a large, five-sided building in Washington where Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still technically in effect, so I can’t chat up that cute soldier that’s trying to flirt with me in the hall (mostly because of DADT, but also, admittedly, because I’d probably say something like, “So, like, isn’t 12th century inheritance law awesome?”).

Because, really, at the end of the day, there’s enough nonsense in the world that it’s nice to sit down at a game table (or a computer) and not have to worry about homophobia rearing its ugly head. Because it’s nice to be able to play a game I can relate to.

I don’t want to play a game where I have to romance a buxom blonde. One of the female options in DA2 has enormous breasts. A straight friend of mine commented that he thought she was pretty hot (you know, for a bunch of pixels). I noted that she was probably going to have back problems later in her life.

So in the end, it’s nice to not have to worry about these things at the game table, which is why I’m pushing awareness (in my own, small, way). It’s nice to be able to sit down and enjoy a thematic game because of its inclusivity. It’s nice to be able to sit down and do something for fun and away from the real world, because that’s what games are for, isn’t it?

Plus the mage is totally cute.
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Subscribe sub options Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:44 pm
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