People who preach for normality in a video game are disingenuous. The majority of people who slap a game into their SNES, like Final Fantasy, don’t want their characters to be normal. Most people want characters to be as extraordinary as possible because they see normality every day. For example, with the growing rate of obesity in North America, why would anyone want to play as characters who are fat?
Looks Speak Louder Than Actions?
The fact that some people want “normal” body types and not normal actions in games is one of two reasons why I call them disingenuous. Games feature characters who can blow up boulders with a single punch, fight aliens, get shot in the face and strut around as if nothing happened, but because they have muscles protruding from muscles or bustlines that defies gravity it suddenly becomes unrealistic?
Think about it for a moment. You can take a character like Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5 and have him punch a boulder, causing it to explode. Who can do that in the real world? If SJW game “journalists” want games to feature a more diverse representation of society, why not represent the diversity of actual human ability? The answer is simple: it would be boring. Even if everyone was modeled as close to normal as possible (such as in Citizens of Earth), they would still be doing things the regular Joe can’t accomplish.
The second reason I say that SJWs are disingenuous because “normal” body types are their fantasy, a fantasy that designers are ignoring, which makes them angry. Everyone has different interests. I think Lightning kicks ass. Others hate her. So obviously some people are legitimately interested in playing a fat hero, a gay hero and so on. But why can’t they just say so?
In article after article, SJWs claim that their push for normal body types is for the good for others and not their own selfish desires. The free market is the ultimate form of democracy because people are voting with their dollars. Their desires are just not that popular.
There are a lot of games out there with more normal body types, like the Atelier series. But I don’t see these same bloggers praising Tecmo Koei for it. Why? Again, it is not their fantasy. If diversity (or gender, or race) in body types was such an important factor, then you’d see games like Fat Princess, Lightning Returns or Crackdown as top sellers that break records like COD or GTA do, and make billions.
Can You Define Normal?
Up to this point, I’ve been using the word normal but I haven’t actually defined it. This is another big part of the problem with this debate: what is “normal?” I’ve never seen it defined, and even if it is, what is normal for one person is not normal for another on this earth.
Is it how everyone looks around you? For example, if you count up all the people you see on the way to and from work, are they thin or fat? Are they of a certain skin color or a racial demographic? If that is what it means, well, normality is an unreachable thing. Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m in South Korea. Let’s go through the checklist:
- I’m light-skinned, and so is 99% of everyone around me. That is normal.
- I look like a weight-lifter, but most other men look like they don’t lift at all. Not normal there.
- I’m Anglo-Saxon, they’re Oriental. I’m definitely not the norm there.
- I do have black hair. That’s normal.
So make me a game with a group of characters that can fit that norm for any place in the world, on a global, national, regional, city, or even street level. It’s not going to happen. There will always be that one piece of the puzzle that will never fit.
I’m not saying creators shouldn’t try to create new things or take risks. Writers and designers should make whatever interests them. But if your entire focus is on what people look like (unless that is the actual story), you missed the boat on what games are supposed to be about: fun. If a game is fun, people will buy it and play it. The fact that the character looks like you (or is attractive) is just a bonus, the icing on the cake.
As a Canadian, I was happy to see a Canadian character in Dead or Alive. But five minutes after booting the game up, I started asking the more important questions: is he a good fighter? Is he fun to play as? As I parodied in a previous article, anything can be turned into a “controversy” or “conspiracy” if examined in a particular way.
Tell me what you think. Do you want your games to feature “normal” characters, or do you prefer them to be as extraordinary and abnormal as possible? What’s the most important part of a game for you?