While Flipboarding, I came across this article by Microsoft Studios regarding the impact of diversity in the world of gaming. As a psychologist in the making, I could not resist the urge to devour the paragraphs addressing such sensitive, yet powerful aspect.
As a mental health professional, I’ve studied to great depths the role of diversity in human relations. At the core, it affects the way we think about other people’s way of life (i.e., culture) in comparison to ours. It’s a constant “evaluation” we put others under our personal standards. Standards that include what you were taught to be right, wrong, and what’s expected of you and other individuals in society. Nevertheless, even people of the same group do not hold values at a same prestigious level. Therefore, a myriad of the personalities are created every day – shaping and undergoing change everyday. What makes the world such a wondrous place is the ability to find beauty in diversity. Encompassing such pulchritude, why wouldn’t videogames utilize diversity as a tool to enhance and the video gaming experience?
As I mentioned in previous entries, a videogame character’s aesthetics play a part in why we identify with whatever character. But there are other factors that make characters appealing to each and everyone of us. Gender, sexual orientation, gender identities, personal problems, a traumatic past… It’s those personality traits and experiences that form each character’s unique stories that play a role in player-character “attunement” – and it’s a great advantage for game developers to understand and utilize diversity. The more diverse the gaming world becomes, the more people games will be able to reach out too. As a consequence, not only expanding the gamer population, but also obliterating the walls of racism, sexual biases, and discrimination.
As the article well stated, the world is changing and I could not agree more. One example that’s becoming an active issue is the legalization of same-sex marriage (side note: to me it needs to be called marriage and nothing else) – and videogames are a great way to help tackle this issue. How many new generation gamers were able to play out a homosexual relationship just because they felt like it thanks to Mass Effect 3? I’m guessing a nice six figures. Might be a small ripple in society,but still counts as something. It is time for diversity of the world shows its face in the virtual universe more often.
What’s your opinion on diversity in gaming? Do you think it’s something worthwhile for developers to look into? Let me know!
See you around!