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Weekly Links #74: minority representation edition

Funny thing: just last week I mentioned the issue of racism in games. It just happens that one of the games accused of being "too white" is recent mega-success Witcher 3. Well, a few days ago Nightwrath pointed me at this article by a man from Poland, who essentially points out that there's more to representation than skin color. To wit:

I get it -- there are no AAA games with all Brown or Black characters. I wish there were; I would eagerly play them too. But to Moosa I say: please understand that until The Witcher, there were no AAA games about Poles either. Although we're a smaller and tighter group than you, we finally got our game. I hope that you finally get yours too. But you have no right to begrudge us ours.

And you know, maybe I'm speaking from a position of white privilege, but I simply can't find a fault in this argument. It's as if gay people played a game with an all-black cast and complained that all the characters are straight.

Look, all minorities need much better representation in media. But forcing the issue will just lead to bad games no-one will want to play, thus sabotaging the whole effort.

Coincidentally or not, Jonas Kyratzes recently tweeted about a related problem:

Want to understand racism? My skin is "white" but there's a mainstream newspaper arguing people like me are impure Untermenschen.

— Jonas Kyratzes (@JonasKyratzes) June 13, 2015

Which reminded me of Romanians being harassed in various European countries, like a friend of mine -- journalist of some repute -- at the Italian border, or the tourists nearly arrested by a cop in Paris because one of them had an iPhone, and he thought Romanians were too poor to afford such toys, so in his mind it had to be stolen goods.

Skin color is at least a visible issue. Ethnicity, not so much.

In more technical news, Vintage Is the New Old shares the story of an Amiga computer in use for 30 years (cue Unix admins going green with envy) as an industrial process controller. Thirty. Years. And it's not Erlang code on top of a microkernel OS running on a fault-tolerant CPU cluster. It's one Motorola 68000 with an application written in Basic or Pascal, most likely.

You know why it still works? Because it's doing one job and doing it well. Oh, and the capacitors aren't cheap rejects from a shady Chinese factory either.

But let's get back to game development: over at Gamasutra, Carolyn Van Eseltine writes about motivation in indie gamedev. And you know, it sounds a lot like the things I keep saying: keep it simple, keep your goals realistic, show some patience. There's a lot of good advice in there, so go read.

Last but not least, @gnomeslair links to this article about the making of Lemmings -- yet another gaming masterpiece that failed to spawn a genre despite being a huge success and much more interesting than some titles that keep being cloned year after year. I guess a game about saving creatures just isn't manly enough for a testosterone-fueled industry...

Well, there was also Slashdot discovering that stress is driving developers from the videogame industry, but "Captain Obvious strikes again" has long ceased being frontpage material. So have a laugh, and a nice week. See you!