On the June 10 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, the program’s host moderated a fascinating discussion with two guests about the growing diversity of video games over time and how–increasingly–video games are moving more into niche interests.
But viewers got a little more than they may have bargained for when Mr. Farrow felt the need to share with his audience that he had “just played ‘Gone Home,’ which is a coming of age lesbian love story.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
America was without a doubt dying to hear Mr. Farrow’s, um, interesting taste in video games. Thankfully, the republic still stands. Here’s the relevant exchange:
RONAN FARROW, host: Rand, do you think that the way games portray women has changed substantially in the last few years?
RAND MILLER, Myst co-creator: Yeah. To a certain extent it's been–you take the easy road, the games have taken the easy road, just like movies do a lot. But I think that's changing. And once again I got to point to the indie influence. From my experience a lot of women on the indie side of things and I think it's showing in both the creativity thatthey bring to it, the sensitivities, and the portrayal as well.
FARROW: And Ken, behind the scenes–you have been in the industry for a while–have you seen a shift in how many women are playing a creative role?
KEN LEVINE, BioShock Infinite: Well, yeah. I mean, one challenge we have is that I think when -- the thing you said before about female characters in general evolution of portrayal characters has just gotten a lot better. And I think that's because you're seeing not just diversity of gender, not just diversity of color, you're seeing diversity of background and interest-- when I got in the industry, most people were just interested in fantasy and science fiction. And you're just seeing–whether that’s coming in from different people of educational backgrounds, racial backgrounds, gender backgrounds–you’re just seeing a lot more diversity of interest and I think that's making a much more interesting diversity of content that’s being created.
FARROW: And Rand makes an interesting point in how the business end is changing, there's more space for these independent games, the equivalent of a Sundance movie. I just played a game called "Gone Home," which is a coming of age lesbian love story, not what you expect in games. Rand, another inclusivity issue is, Nintendo just got a lot criticism for not including same-sex relationships in a simulator game. Do games in general need to be more inclusive when they're mirroring real life?
MILLER: Of course. I mean I think it's diversity. It what Ken said. This industry is maturing a bit. As it does, we've got to portray across the board, we got to portray everything. But we're seeing that. Honestly, as people are more creative, they're bringing more of their real life experiences and there's a certain freedom in that. I just get excited. I mean, you got the usual batch of kill the whatever you can imagine games, which will always rake in a lot of funding. But I think, you know, the grass roots efforts–especially from last year and the year before–is starting to influence even the big time publishers at this point.