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Do You Think We Will See a Nintendo Game With a Minority Lead? [roundtable]
 
That is to say, a lead character that isn't white, straight, or cis.

A few Nintendo games let you create your own avatar like Splatoon, Animal Crossing, and the Miis in general but let's step back from those and talk specifically about named characters with their own story and defined character traits.

Has it happened already in some lesser known title? I've been trying to think of characters that aren't white in Nintendo games and so far the only major example I can think of is Ganondorf.

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Posted: 11/02/16, 22:12:59
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@DapperDave Proposals is kind of vague. I'm trying to talk about a specific thing here related to the OP topic.

I'll try to be more clear. If someone from a marginalized group, to choose a specific example let's say Asian-Americans, says "I want to see more and better representations of Asians in Western media!" and someone not from that group, especially if they are from a group that does not face the same marginalization in Western culture (like white people), says "That shouldn't matter to you!" then I'm not going to have much sympathy for the view of the latter.

Sympathy might not even be the right word though. More accurate is to say that viewpoint feels rather irrelevant to me. I'm not even entirely sure why so many white people feel like they need to have strong opinions opposing more and better representation of non-white people in media. Like I honestly just can't fathom where this energy comes from for some people. It's like, if it's even our business at all, which it mostly isn't, shouldn't we take positions that help amplify the voices of marginalized people instead of drown them out with our white people opinions about how non-white people should feel?

Honestly though like I said it's not too bad here. On Twitter though HOLY SHIT. I run into so many people who just start screaming about how blacks, Asians, women, gays, whoever has any issues with any kind of representation are the TRUE BIGOTS for caring at all. A lot of people have a lot of energy and are very invested in maintaining the status quo... or nowadays reverting back to some perceived better past. It's honestly incredibly bizarre to me. I'm trying to wrap my mind around where all of this energy comes from.

I feel like, even if I did think all of these marginalized groups were barking up the wrong tree, it'd be the last thing on my list of "important things I need to strongly oppose." Why does this specific topic create so much backlash? Something I honestly can't figure out. What is the worst case scenario if we just kind of get out of the way of people calling for more and better diversity?
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:22:16  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:29:50
Zero said:
Her being an Asian person navigating a primarily white-controlled culture is never NOT going to be a thing.

And that's totally her choice, to make sure it remains "a thing." I live with an Asian child of immigrants who couldn't care less about that sort of thing, and is pretty happy about that decision. You understand, though, if she never lets it go it's impossible for it to ever improve, yeah? Because then it's being held onto.

It's like, in the past you've posted things that have dramatically upset me, and I've PMed you about it and stuff. If I held onto that crap, I would be a far unhappier person even though it was never resolved. And that's on ME, not you.

"some kind of let's all hold hands kumbaya hippie nonsense"

That "nonsense" sounds like the kind of world I'd like to live in, rather than the one we do where folks murder each other over flags and opinions and where they were born and such. Sorry you disagree, but I can't get behind NOT holding hands and singing kumbaya. Sign me up for that "nonsense" please. Sign me up today. It baffles my mind that someone is anti-peaceful world. I guess it shouldn't, given what I know about people.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:32:35
@Zero

I don't think any (reasonable) person has any issues with better representation. But my opinion on the matter is that it should come naturally as a result of the creator's own decisions, and not as a result of people campaigning for it. Too quickly, campaigning devolves to badgering, and then bullying, and then the next thing you know accusations of racism are flying every which way.

Yes some people are genuinely racist or sexist and don't want those minorities cluttering up their media. Those people are idiots. We saw examples of that when the rumours of a female Link surfaced with the Breath of the Wild footage, and a whole bunch of people lost their shit and swore they wouldn't play the next Zelda if that was the case. Insanity.

But, then we had a similar discussion over a similar topic with Triforce Heroes, that came about because instead of just accepting what Nintendo had brought to the table, it was actively questioned as to why Nintendo hadn't put a female Link in there. Like they had somehow done something wrong by not including it. To me, that's where the bullying and harassment starts (regardless of the initially stated good intentions), and that's what I stand against. It has nothing to do with being anti-female, as my stance on the Breath of the Wild issue proves.

Basically I see it like this: The end goal is for universal acceptance, right? There's a lot of dispute on the last couple of pages over whether pointing out people's superficial colour differences is helpful or just another form of the racism we're ostensibly trying to eliminate. Regardless of which side of that debate you fall on, I'm sure we can all agree that the *ultimate* end goal is to get to a point where no-one will point out those differences, simply because we'll be part of a world where we don't have to. Where acceptance at all levels of all differences is the default, and these superficial differences become truly and universally irrelevant.

To my mind, if the only reason you have a black character in a game or movie is because you petitioned the director or producer or whoever the heck is in charge of these things, then we aren't making progress to the previously stated goal. Someone has added a black person to the role, not because they think it's a 'normal' thing to do, but because somebody kept pestering them until they did. It makes the exercise self defeating. If a minority character is added, because that's what was intended then we've made a true positive step forward in the issue of representation. And that's the best way forward in the long run I feel.

And I think at least in part you agree, hance your own design choices in your games. That's absolutely a positive contribution to make, by creating games with the characters that you want your game to include, for whatever reasons you deem fit. I can get behind that 100%.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:43:27  - Edited by 
 on: 11/04/16, 00:15:11
@Mr_Mustache

I'm not convinced that the Ice climbers are meant to be Inuit and not just people wearing parkas as people of all races do when climbing summits.

@DapperDave
@Mr_Mustache

In the main game Doc Louis is your trainer and from a cursory search on youtube the spin-off bearing his name has you fight him. Neither of those would count as a playable character.

@Shadowlink

Game and Watch is something of an anomaly because it was a binary system. The character couldn't really be another colour. Regardless, he's about as well defined as a stick figure so not a strong suggestion either way.

So far the only good examples I have seen are the characters from Eternal Darkness which wasn't developed by Nintendo first party and John Henry who is an African American folk hero that was put into an ensemble cast with other historical figures. Abraham Lincoln is a character in that game but I would hardly call him a Nintendo original.

Again, the requirements for what I am talking about are:

1. A member of a minority group.
2. The central playable character of the game.
3. Have a defined character design, story, etc.
4. Be an original Nintendo creation

A character like how Mario is a character, or Samus, or Link.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:44:17  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:50:35
Shadowlink said:


I don't think any (reasonable) person has any issues with better representation. But my opinion on the matter is that it should come naturally as a result of the creator's own decisions, and not as a result of people campaigning for it.

Oh my gosh this a million times. And then another million. I can't give this idea enough upvotes.

EDIT: Also not doing it for the publicity. That is the WORST. Literally exploiting people's emotions by putting in something you know will get attention and seems popular. Drives me nuts.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:46:48  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:48:26
Zero said:

I'm not even entirely sure why so many white people feel like they need to have strong opinions opposing more and better representation of non-white people in media. Like I honestly just can't fathom where this energy comes from for some people.

I think we gave some reasons in this thread, but I'll say it again. For me, personally, I think that some (not all) proposals I hear, or at least the attitudes behind it, will inevitably HURT, not help. For example, what about black college students that want to be segregated from white students. I think that will ultimately hurt everyone. Can I not disagree with that because I'm not black? Also, I'm sure a lot of other black people would disagree with it too, so what about their voices?


are very invested in maintaining the status quo... or nowadays reverting back to some perceived better past.

Have they stated this motive or did you assume it?

It's honestly incredibly bizarre to me. I'm trying to wrap my mind around where all of this energy comes from.

You could ask them but you've already said that their "viewpoint feels rather irrelevant"

I feel like, even if I did think all of these marginalized groups were barking up the wrong tree, it'd be the last thing on my list of "important things I need to strongly oppose." Why does this specific topic create so much backlash? Something I honestly can't figure out. What is the worst case scenario if we just kind of get out of the way of people calling for more and better diversity?

It's a good question. Have you looked for the answer? Have you ever just went to google or youtube and searched for "arguments against diversity"? I'm not saying you have to agree with them, and I probably wouldn't agree with them, but you seem to care so much about this issue while also portraying yourself as bewildered by the opposition.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:50:30
J.K. Riki said:
Shadowlink said:


I don't think any (reasonable) person has any issues with better representation. But my opinion on the matter is that it should come naturally as a result of the creator's own decisions, and not as a result of people campaigning for it.

Oh my gosh this a million times. And then another million. I can't give this idea enough upvotes.

EDIT: Also not doing it for the publicity. That is the WORST. Literally exploiting people's emotions by putting in something you know will get attention and seems popular. Drives me nuts.

I dunno. I'm actually in favor of a nudge toward diversity from the creator when it doesn't totally change the vision. But I understand it can go too far and even be a way to exploit the issue.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:56:12
DapperDave said:

I think we gave some reasons in this thread, but I'll say it again. For me, personally, I think that some (not all) proposals I hear, or at least the attitudes behind it, will inevitably HURT, not help. For example, what about black college students that want to be segregated from white students. I think that will ultimately hurt everyone. Can I not disagree with that because I'm not black? Also, I'm sure a lot of other black people would disagree with it too, so what about their voices? .

Man, shit like that absolutely mystifies me. Wasn't the entire Civil Rights movement about *eliminating* things like segregation? Why the fuck would anyone want to go backwards on this? It makes no sense whatsoever.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:56:58  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:57:31
@Shadowlink I don't think anything that has ever happened in the history of humanity has come "naturally".

But I agree that badgering is iffy, and harassment is of course bad.

Stating some desires though, why would that ever be bad? We do that all the time, for a variety of features / etc. we want to see.

J.K. Riki said:
And that's totally her choice, to make sure it remains "a thing."

Sorry, bullshit. It's the choices of the people AROUND her, and she can't control them. She can try to actively ignore what is happening, but that isn't the same thing as it not happening and not being real.

DapperDave said:
It's a good question. Have you looked for the answer? Have you ever just went to google or youtube and searched for "arguments against diversity"? I'm not saying you have to agree with them, and I probably wouldn't agree with them, but you seem to care so much about this issue while also portraying yourself as bewildered by the opposition.
[/quote]
I've spoken to many, many people on the "opposition" so yes, I've gotten a variety (so to speak, though not that much variety) of opinions on it. It sill bewilders me though. The energy behind it, I mean.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:06:36  - Edited by 
 on: 11/04/16, 00:10:02
Shadowlink said:
DapperDave said:

I think we gave some reasons in this thread, but I'll say it again. For me, personally, I think that some (not all) proposals I hear, or at least the attitudes behind it, will inevitably HURT, not help. For example, what about black college students that want to be segregated from white students. I think that will ultimately hurt everyone. Can I not disagree with that because I'm not black? Also, I'm sure a lot of other black people would disagree with it too, so what about their voices? .

Man, shit like that absolutely mystifies me. Wasn't the entire Civil Rights movement about *eliminating* things like segregation? Why the fuck would anyone want to go backwards on this? It makes no sense whatsoever.

It is backwards and it doesn't make sense. I think they are just surrounded by people who are TERRIFIED of criticizing them because they are part of a Marginalized Group (TM). And so no one calls out a bad idea. Instead they feel like their marginalized voices should be amplified. This seems to be the attitude Zero is espousing, so I'm interested in his response.

EDIT: Actually it does make sense to me. It is the sensible next step based on a lot of the ideas I've heard thus far. You could see it coming. Maybe that's where all this "energy" comes from.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:07:08  - Edited by 
 on: 11/04/16, 00:08:53
TriforceBun said:
This...isn't about Nintendo anymore, is it?
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:10:11
It's also worth noting that the vast majority of the time a character's race, gender or orientation wouldn't have much impact. Is there a reason Little Mac had to be white? Would it be just as compelling a game if he were another race? Then maybe that is worth exploring. I think a big problem is this idea of when creating a character and the go to default is white male. I am sure in many cases it probably isn't even something people realize they are doing.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:11:38
Zero said:

I've spoken to many, many people on the "opposition" so yes, I've gotten a variety (so to speak, though not that much variety) of opinions on it. It sill bewilders me though. The energy behind it, I mean.

I don't mean arguing with some idiot 13 year old on Twitter. Have you listened to anyone intelligent make a case? Give me some names.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:14:23
Stephen said:
It's also worth noting that the vast majority of the time a character's race, gender or orientation wouldn't have much impact. Is there a reason Little Mac had to be white? Would it be just as compelling a game if he were another race? Then maybe that is worth exploring. I think a big problem is this idea of when creating a character and the go to default is white male. I am sure in many cases it probably isn't even something people realize they are doing.

I can get behind this.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:17:41
@Hero_Of_Hyrule

Good . It really shouldn't be. It's hardly a Nintendo specific issue after all.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:18:25
Very interesting arguments in here. PC mentality, racial, cultural, and sexual differences have really been on my mind lately. I think it's important to try and discover how and why you feel a certain way while also being mindful of how others may feel, or how their environment has influenced them.

I'm in a very interesting position as I consider myself semi raceless and generally don't feel bothered by many labels (slurs of all kind). There's a certain level of apathy I feel towards such terms because words are just words. Still, that's not to say racial slurs are okay and you should let them roll off your back. If Trump used the word "spic" I'd call for blood. I also wouldn't let it ruin my day. A part of that has to do with my agnosticism when it comes to many things. I don't necessarily feel I "belong" to many groups, or that I can freely mingle amongst several. I'm a walker between worlds. I like that. I have no particular allegiances, though you could say there's a slight bias or appreciation towards Latino culture, as obviously I was raised in it. But I also share a strong appreciation for Japanese culture (and different aspects of all cultures), so I'm not sure a Latino bias is even real. I just have more exposure to it.

I don't really expect people to share my opinion, and many can't since they don't have that feeling of being a mixed race (I'm technically not, but boy do I generally act/look white), but I still think many people would be better off if they were a bit more objective and rational. But a Black person feeling very offended by a white guy throwing out racial epithets? Of course, that's bullshit. Kick his ass. And if someone is constantly a victim of racism, yeah, it's bound to suck. So I can definitely step outside myself and realize that just because I don't feel a certain way, that others won't feel different. That's textbook empathy.

A dialogue does need to be created though, without resorting to pussyfooting and PC dancing around. Be real with how you feel, even if it isn't socially acceptable. If you explain how you feel and maybe why you came to this conclusion, you can't ever be wrong. Playing devil's advocate here, is a racist person "wrong", or just ignorant and uninformed? What even is a racist person? Modern racism is a whole other beast than it was back in the day because now there is a ton of baggage associated with it when back in the day there was less history. I think "original racists" are worse than "modern racists". That's a loaded thing to say, but an easier way to say it is there's probably different levels of "racism". None are okay of course, be cause blanket discrimination is never right. But isn't "racism" a blanket term in of itself?

I have a lot more to say on the subject and more, but I'm at work and typing on my phone is a royal pain in my ass.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:18:35  - Edited by 
 on: 11/04/16, 00:23:10
The only case I have seen of black college students "segregating" themselves is this one. Which is apparently related to "frequent racist attacks" on campus... would be hard for me to address it without knowing what that entails. Also using the term segregation is weird, I mean yeah, it is technically true on a dictionary level but people are using the term to try to equate it to forced segregation (for instance saying "Wasn't the entire Civil Rights movement about *eliminating* things like segregation?" is clearly trying to equate the two on some level) when this is clearly being offered as an option. It's not super different from all female dorms, which are very common. It's not like they won't be exposed to a variety of people on campus, it's just about who they live with. Many college students rarely interact with anyone in their dorms anyway. I barely ever did.

Again though, do we really understand what it is like to be a minority in this situation? Apparently blacks make up less than 5% of the students there. Do we dismiss their claims of frequent racist attacks or accept that they might be facing unique issues with racism that we have no experience with and no idea how we would personally handle? This may very well be a terrible idea, but I don't feel like I'm in the position to judge it particularly harshly.

And they have received massive criticism on a national level (part of why we all know about it), so the theory that no one is calling it out holds no real weight with me. In fact anything even remotely related to the "PC culture" on college campuses gets massive attention and often turns into a national debate with people vehemently on all sides. I find it hard to imagine anyone would be in the middle of this and not ever hear anyone calling it out.

PS. Shirley like literally laughed out loud the last time I suggested that some people think people are afraid to criticize minorities and their ideas. And then suggested they should visit the University of Chicago.

...but this is not addressing the topic of diverse representation in media, so I'm not really sure why we're talking about it now.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:23:29
@Stephen

I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure Little Mac was a play on Rocky Balboa. Undersized, Philly/Brooklyn-type Italian guy. "Is there any reason that Rocky had to be white?" I guess not, but Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers) was the champ and beat him down in the 1st movie. And that was the 70's.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:23:36
@DapperDave I'm not sure how you are defining intelligent here but I've read many articles written by adults as well. I don't keep track of names.

...but my question is why do SO MANY COMMON PEOPLE have such energy about this, so Twitter people having so much energy about this are perfectly valid people to question since they're a large part of what spurred on me wondering this to begin with. And I doubt most of the ones I have spoken to were teenagers, not sure why you made that assumption.

@Mr_Mustache Hmm, so then the next Punch-Out!! game should have an older Mac training a young up-and-coming black fighter? I can dig it.
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:25:10  - Edited by 
 on: 11/04/16, 00:38:29
Posted: 11/04/16, 00:27:05
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