Yes, Your Game Has Problems Too

We’ve all seen it: games exposed on social media for harassment, power abuse, and rampant hostility; creators called out for their actions (or their inaction) along with private conversations screen capped and posted online; the incoming flood of comments where people tell everyone they knew all along, that’s why they left, and now play THIS game because it’s “not like that.” There’s always a new game without all of the problems and politics of the previous one. The hot new thing.

Until it happens again. The hot new thing is under fire. It’s an endless cycle of exodus, exalting, then exposure. It’s endless because people keep blaming games or the culture, without focusing on what makes up those things: the people.

The people are the problems within each game whether it’s a tabletop group, video game community, or LARP society. They move from group to group, the game taking the blame for problems they cause. While it’s easy to point out the “problem players” as the issue, it seems like an impossible problem to solve. After all, their actions and mindsets are a symptom of a much larger problem within society as whole. However, with our smaller groups we can hold people accountable and find ways to reduce instances of problem behaviors– once we recognize them for what they are.

In games, there are numerous concerns to dissect. Over the coming weeks, we’ll discuss a few and find ways not to blame a system, game, or organization, but to understand what is going on in the population and the people– to put words to actions and know how to intervene and improve the environment through activism.

  • Harassment, Discrimination, Hostility: We go into some of the obvious and not-so-obvious instances of how people in games harass others and underpin ideas that support discriminatory behavior.
  • Dehumanization: We address how people elevate games and rules above the people who play them.
  • Social Media and Clique Politics: How does the use of social media, instead of direct action, affect us? How do cliques within games create an environment where we only see what we want to see to support our beliefs?
  • Entitlement and Abuse of Power: We look at the behaviors that support the belief that we are entitled to resources, time, and effort within certain games and how we use perceptions of our power to take control of games and the people within them
  • Unintentional Bias: What are the things we do that we don’t even recognize? How do we hold ourselves accountable and question ourselves and our actions?

What do you think are some of the issues that plague our enjoyment of game?

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