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Why Indeed?

June 18, 2010

I’ve been watching this thread on Story Games with much bemusement. Aside from the many problematic issues in the initial post and project*, I’m glad the real question, the question that has always come up, is stated so clearly:

What I’d like to know about minorities in roleplaying is the author’s overarching view of how and why this minority thing matters to me as a white male gamer.

Years back, someone asked me the same question at GenCon. And the answer is still the same:

Why should the experience of ANY GAMER, matter to you?

There’s people who, basically, unless they’re playing with someone, just don’t care about any other gamers’, their experiences, etc. You run into these folks occasionally, but since, for the most part, they’ve got their circles, they’re playing games, you don’t hear from them.

But, you know, if you’re on online communities about sharing and improving experiences of gamers, you’re clearly not one of those people. Perhaps it’s better to flip the question around – “Why is it you don’t care about these gamers’ experiences, when you care about all these others?” Or is it really only your experiences matter and people close enough like you that you gain benefit?

Recently, someone asked me about taking down Deep in the Game a couple years back and I pointed out that it wasn’t serving the community I wanted. I think about that a lot with this blog as well. As a gamer, who gets to hear people say how much they don’t care about my game experiences or thoughts, over and over, WHY should I write about game techniques or theory?

I speak repeatedly about the idea of mutuality. If the hobby rests on, “We like this thing, we want this thing to be awesome”, why aren’t we helping each other make it more awesome? Why is it only your fun matters, and not mine? Why are you so quick to accept my help, and offer none in return?

So, a book about POC in gaming so white people can learn about POC without interacting with us.

Sounds dandy.

* Prepare for snark-a-mighty:

“Hey assumed white peeple! What do YOU want to know about those weird, hard to find, not-like-us gamers over there? We’re making a book FOR YOU about THEM! Naturally, we’re totally going to be experts on it, because we’re asking questions that could have been answered if we bothered interacting, listening, or reading for the last few years but we can’t seem to find them anywhere and it’s totally NOT because we put work into ignoring them or anything.

ETA: When asked why these questions (“What is her purpose in writing this book? Who is the intended audience?”) haven’t been answered, this is the response:

They’re very important questions! I haven’t replied because I don’t have answers to them. (That is one reason they’re very important questions.)

Um. Those aren’t deep ass “to be pondered” questions, those are basic requirements for understanding what the hell the project is you’re doing in the first place. As I mentioned, this kind of competence doesn’t lend itself well to faith in the final product, or how well it will actually communicate useful information…

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