So, there’s this game called Rust. And it starts off dropping the player into a wilderness naked. It’s a survival-type game, so you have to make, find, or craft what you need to survive (including clothes) in the game for as long as possible. There’s also the chance that another player can kill you, if the game itself doesn’t.
The game is on Early Access on Steam, so it’s a work in progress. Until recently, every character was a white guy. You know, like the vast majority of games with a static character in them. No problems there.
Then, suddenly, Rust changed things. See, the character can be of a different race. And not any sort of fantasy race, I mean human variations. So, yep, you could start up your game and surprise! be a black guy. And there’s no changing it.
It was ironic and glorious. Suddenly, it mattered what the race of your character was. Suddenly, representation mattered as whiner after whiner after whiner whined about living in the game world as a black man and what it means. Like being called ‘nigger’ or being targeted because of the color of your skin, because of course, gamerbros are the worst, even to each other.
Suddenly consumer choice mattered. Suddenly the lack of choice (which every other gamer who isn’t white or male just apparently had to “suck it up”) mattered. Suddenly, they got to feel the same way a lot of us lady gamers and gamers of color get to feel.
And boy or boy did they not like it. The pity is that they don’t quite seem to get it. The lack of empathy is astounding. Hell, Extra Credits, known for having a pretty soft hand when it comes to the goal of making games better, has addressed the issue, seeing it as a good thing, and I agree.
Yes, you may have to play as a black character, and with all that entails. Does that make you uncomfortable? Good. Live in that discomfort. Experience it. This is your privilege being shoved into your face. Think about the lady gamers who would like to play as a woman (though given that the character starts off naked and anatomically correct, there are legit concerns with that, given again, how shitty gamerbros are. I say do it anyway.) in their first person survival games. Think about the people who aren’t you that are forced, by agreeing to pay for and play the game, to play someone who does not represent them over and over again.
Or keep crying. Keep whining. Keep being painfully unaware that the same words you use to attempt to silence us when we ask for diversity in gaming apply to you right now. Hell, my cup needs filling anyways.