...Or so I thought. Apparently within the "gaming community" a storm has arisen. Rather, several storms are on the horizon so to speak, as gaming journalists are under fierce scrutiny as well as the very vulnerable medium itself. On social media, common hashtags have surfaced such as #GamerGate and #GamesSoWhite. (For those unaware of what is trending, there have been numerous political discussions regarding racial depictions in video games as well as sexism in video game culture.)
The most recent trend has been about the depictions (or lack thereof) of minority characters in video games. I tend not to dwell too much upon how many minorities are visible in a video game (despite being a minority in real life), but every now and then, I'm reminded of the panel on Politics in Video Games I attended at ColossalCon back in 2012. That panel discussed many subtle issues in many of the games I played. I typically will create characters (whenever possible in a customizable game) reflective of my own racial skin tone, but for the most part I feel that it's mostly aesthetic and has no bearing on how I play the game. My skills tell the tale, not how my protagonist looks.
Nonetheless, it has sort of popped my proverbial "bubble" in the fantasy realm. I now look at some of my games through a begrudgingly tainted perspective. A once enjoyable escape from the harshness of reality, has now become grossly entangled in its grasp.
As a political science graduate, I can obviously see the correlations between my favorite pastime and politics. However, as such, it truly pains me to see how hostile and divided the gaming community has become. I like to view the personal and political aspects of life to be somewhat equal, but separate entities (much like the separation of "Church & State"). There may be a bit of a spillover effect from one end to the other, or vice-versa, but too much of one aspect without consideration for the other can, and often will, produce disastrous results.
I suppose what I wish to happen is a tolerance AND a formal acknowledgement of the cultural and ethical dilemmas posed in video games, at least for now (that is, until gradual improvements have been made). Change will not happen overnight. In addition, many folks are not as tolerant of change as others (which is fine, to an extent). Yet, what players & journalists need to realize is that the industry itself is only one facet of the problem, while the consumers themselves are another. Both are at fault, as I see it, because consumers have the power to boycott those products that they don't agree with, thereby forcing developers to re-evaluate their content in order to produce a worthwhile product. (I've done so myself countless times).
I hope that as the dust settles, we can get back to discussing the plots and storylines of games rather than being so enamored with the political miasma of a game. Games are meant to be thought-provoking, amusing, and enjoyable...not capable of inducing undue burden.