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User Info: Bkstunt_31

6 months ago#1
Thought this would be fun to share.

So I got this comment recently on my review for "Timespinner":

"NO: You're clearly mad that LGBT people exist. This is supposed to be a video game review, not a place for you to rant about your bigotry."

Which of course caught my attention (absolutely love that we can't reply to people /s). So I figured I'd let my fellow reviewers check out the review and see what they thought:


I realize it's hard to judge a story based on a game you may not have played, but who knows, maybe you guys have played this.

I'll add that I actually wrote a guide for this game ( https://www.neoseeker.com/timespinner/walkthrough ) as well. So I've put my fair share of hours into it.

Anyways, thoughts? Are my views bigoted?

The Blitz Knight rides again!
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/Bkstunt -=- Website: http://Bkstunt.com

User Info: 16-BITTER

6 months ago#2
On one hand, I think the commenter overreacted. You qualified your viewpoint about the characters by comparing it with Life is Strange, you kept the critique to the relevant paragraph or so about the narrative instead of making it the focal point of the review, and I seem to recall similar complaints about the story around when that game first came out, though I haven't played the game myself.

On the other hand, I'm a vanilla straight dude that's not really sensitive to portrayals of gender identities or sexual orientations in games. So while it doesn't bother me, someone who's more sensitive to these issues or someone who identifies with the characters in the game may have found fault in the way you voiced your critique. Even when you think you're handling a subject delicately, someone may still feel that you were being too harsh.

So yeah, it seems alright to me, but I'm admittedly not an authority on this subject.

User Info: ImperialScrolls

6 months ago#3
This is a pretty common trait among indie games. A developer has an ideological point to make (or an ax to grind) and designs a game around it. There's nothing wrong with this theoretically. Allegories, for instance, and political satire are as old as time and often brilliant. The problem is, as you noted, sloppy writing, ham-fisted inclusion, and sterile focus group "diversity."

No, your review is not "bigoted" and reviewers should comment on a game's writing and themes.

User Info: dolphinmage

6 months ago#4
I haven't played Timespinner, so I can't comment from an informed perspective, however, I think it's perfectly fair to criticize this sort of thing when it's poorly handled. If we want to be able to see diversity handled well, we need to be able to honestly critique it. That means pointing out the bad as well as the good.

User Info: korokhunter

6 months ago#5
I'm a gay guy. Your review sounds just fine to me. You even gave the game a decent score.

I would say don't sweat over how what you say is perceived as long as you have good intentions and don't mean harm to anyone. The person who reacted to you was oversensitive. Maybe they had a bad day and took it out on you. Ignore it.

One thing I'd be just a little cautious about is the word agenda.
You mention it's "very clear the writer had an agenda" and you "hate being sold an agenda". The word agenda has taken on pretty negative connotations, especially connected to lgbt folks. Agenda nowadays suggests a secret, evil plan to manipulate people's minds. Perhaps the creator's only intention was to create a fantasy world where being queer was a norm and acceptance was never a question? Still, maybe he went overboard because it is awkward for NPC strangers to announce their orientation to you with no context whatsoever.

User Info: sull56ivan2010

6 months ago#6
To look at the section in question, there isn't any bigotry. I'd make the argument of it being forced as well if I played the game. What's the purpose of it if these are characters so minor? I never played this game, so I can't comment too heavily. If a game feels forced in its story with diversity for the sake of diversity instead of having some form of plot, I'll say it feels forced. Same thing with other parts of character development or whatever else The closest thing in any of my reviews that I could see getting a complaint out of is with Life is Strange 2, but with politics. It almost feels forced, but they don't use it that heavily as I thought it was going to do.
Professional athletes lack intelligence to understand real world issues.

User Info: Warhawk

6 months ago#7
korokhunter posted...
I'm a gay guy. Your review sounds just fine to me.

I'm gay as well and I too don't see any problem with the review as well. While I say that LGBT needs representation even in games but wouldn't want to feel like it's forced with certain characters, or maybe just random. If there are any characters that are part of LGBT, would like it to feel natural depending on how the character(s) are written to where they can be relatable in any way. I'd say that the review doesn't sound bigoted to me and the person likely either overreacted or trying to get under the skin.

User Info: Iyamtebist

6 months ago#8
I am a trans lesbian, and I read the review. I can kinda see where the commenter may have gotten the idea, but it's a bit exaggerated to claim you're an outright bigot.

I address the specifics, I do think that hamfisted portrayals that are just announced outright are not only annoying, but insensitive as well. This is especially egregious when it comes to having trans people open a conversation with a stranger by announcing their deadname *cough* Mass Effect Andromeda *cough.*

So I do think the base criticism is valid, I just think there are a few bits that may have gave the wrong impression. The phrase "these character sexulizations don't play into the story whatsoever and are just announced to you, like the writer had to put them in to fit their checklist of diversity," is where I start to disagree. I don't agree with the idea that a gay or trans character HAS to relate to the story or theme of the game. LGBT people don't exist in real life to relate to a story, or as part of an existing motif. Conversely, there's rarely any story related reason that straight characters are present in the game, it's just kind of the default. Granted, the issue is more so that the same standard isn't held to straight characters (just think of how many games, movies, or TV shows have a forced, out of place romance between two characters with no chemistry), rather than any disagreement with the criticism.

Now in the case of something like Timespinner, the subject of sexuality or gender isn't even particularly relevant (at least based on what the review says), so it would likely feel unnatural even if all these NPCs were all straight. I think where the commenter got the idea that you were anti-LGBT, is the use of phrases like "diversity checklist" and "agenda." The phrase "diversity checklist" is something that usually applies more to AAA games from Devs like Bioware who include LGBT characters to appear progressive, but clearly don't understand LGBT people or their culture. Something like TimeSpinner appears to be made by a small team, and from what I can find of lead Developer Bodie Lee, it's more likely that he was just making the kind of game he wanted to make.

As for "agenda," it's very easy for someone to take this as "I hate the gay agenda forcing their diversity down my throats," and this is something that right wing homophobes often say to mask their homophobia. And the phrase "I hate being sold an agenda..." can imply hostility towards LGBT rights. What I and many other LGBT people are likely to interpret "Timespinne's characters are clearly here to fit an agenda" as "Timespinne's characters are clearly here to promote the normalization, understanding, and acceptance of LGBT people." So reacting to that with hostility leads to the implication that you think LGBT acceptance is a bad thing.

If I were writing this review, what I would have kept it the same up to the second to last paragraph of the story section, and instead went into more detail about why the portrayals are hamfisted and out of place, and how most LGBT people won't just announce their sexuality in the middle of a war zone. IE how it fails at a realistic portrayal of LGBT people. Because the truth is that most LGBT people aren't really fond of ill-fitting, hamfisted LGBT characters either.

Anyway I hope this helps create a better understanding of the situation.

User Info: Bkstunt_31

6 months ago#9
Thanks for the fun discussion peeps! My skin is way too thick to really care about one comment, but I did think it'd be a fun topic.

I did indeed like the game a lot and even watched Bodie develop it on live streams occasionally (I even got his autograph on a copy of the game, which is really cool). I'm pretty sure Bodie outsourced the writing though (I remember reading that somewhere... can't be bothered to investigate further). Regardless, it's disappointing those NPC interactions were so ham-fisted. Still, if you like metroidvania games you should totally play Timespinner.
The Blitz Knight rides again!
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/Bkstunt -=- Website: http://Bkstunt.com
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