How Gaming Can Tell Important Stories
Life isn’t that different from video games. We live in a world full of colourful characters from all walks of life. Sometimes we follow linear paths, and other times we have to make life changing decisions. Everyday life brings problem-solving and puzzles.
What we’re trying to say is that video games tell stories, and our lives are our own big stories to tell. This week we celebrate the National Day On Writing. Read on to learn more about the day, why we’re talking about it, and how gaming can tell important stories.
What is National Day On Writing?
National Day On Writing celebrates the many places, reasons, and ways we write. Launched by America’s National Council of Teachers of English, every October 20th offers an opportunity to help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft.
The day’s aim each year is to transform the public’s understanding of writing and the role it plays in society today. Using the campaign #WhyIWrite, National Day On Writing encourages you to lift your voices to the things that matter most to you.
Why Are We Talking About It?
Maybe you’ve spent too much time around The Forgetting in Disney’s Dreamlight Valley, but there’s an easy answer to this: because it’s important. We’ve been empowering gamers since 1999 and that stretches beyond LED streaming microphones and world class charging solutions; it’s about caring for our community and creating safe spaces to talk about the things that matter, that might feel taboo, through what we love: video games.
It's not the first time we’ve touched on these kinds of topics either. If you’d like to educate yourself further, you can visit any of our blogs on:
- Gaming & Schizophrenia
- Gaming & Dementia
- Gaming & Grief
- World Mental Health Day 2022: Mental Health & Gaming
- Depression & Gaming
- Blue Monday – Gaming for Happiness
Using Storytelling as a vehicle for diversity and inclusivity
If you’re still wondering why we’re talking about this year’s National Day On Writing, here’s a quick primer for you. Storytelling is an integral part of modern video games. It’s almost the bread and butter of the industry. And storytelling offers amazing opportunities for writers and developers to create games that go beyond being just a game.
Storytelling in gaming allows for unique perspectives to be told, to highlight characters from all walks of life, and to touch on subject’s other mediums stay away from. It’s a chance to be diverse, to be inclusive, whether that’s with disability, gender, race, and so on.
Shining a light on storytelling, on writing, and days likeNational Day On Writing, allows us to empower and encourage writers and gamers worldwide to address the diversity issues affecting gaming, too.
In a study conducted by Diamond Lobby, it’s been discovered that 79.2% of main characters in games are male, and 54.2% are white. Only 8.3% of games currently have female main characters of Black, Asian, or other ethnic origins. Only 5.8% are non-binary, and 31.7% of games have only male characters. In fact, there are over six times more games with only male characters than there are with only female characters. It might surprise you to find out that Apex Legends is the most diverse video game, with more female characters, and more Black, Asian, and other ethnicity characters than there are male one’s and white ones.
Whilst we’d love to see you all get writing the video games of the future, here’s a handful of games we feel are using storytelling to drive home diversity and inclusivity in gaming.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
BioWare are no strangers to making their games diverse. Whilst they’ve not always got it right, Dragon Age: Inquisition shows the studio are committed to populating their fictional word’s with more women and minorities.
Before you’ve even pressed a button, you meet two female characters in prominent positions, who dominate much of your screen time moving forward. You’ll meet Krem, BioWare’s first transgender character, who was made out of an attempt to provide a respectful representation of transgender characters without resorting to stereotypes.
There’s LGBT characters for you to romance, such as Sera andDorian, and you’ll play around with religion and faith, representing a whole bunch of walks of life. There’s also more people of colour to join your party, and meet along the way too, than any other Dragon Age game.
Dragon Age: Inquisition’s rich, fantasy world and emphasis on choice allows you to tell your story the way you want to, whilst watching the stories of a diverse, inclusive cast unfold, too. In many ways, it’s the perfect place to educate yourself on different cultures and ideas.
Supergiant Games’ retelling of classic Greek mythology through a modern lens with Hades has a lot going for itself: well-crafted stories, beautiful art, and clever levels. But what sets it apart from other roguelikes is its sheer commitment to diversity.
Hades’ interpretation of Greek gods is diverse and inclusive: Athena is a dark-skinned Black woman, Dionysus and Hermes are south and east Asian, and Chaos is non-binary with they/them pronouns. Your player-character is bisexual, and you can enter asexual romances with characters like Dusa.
Hades uses classic tales we all know and love to tell modern and unique stories. No matter who you are or how you feel, you can find yourself in Hades.