Racial Diversity in Adult Games

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Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
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433
#1
I've played a lot of adult games in the last month and a half having just discovered the wealth of games of this type that are available, but one thing that stands out a lot is the lack of racially diverse main characters. So far, from the games I have played (mainly incest themed), every main character as well as the majority, if not the entirety, of characters that they can have sex with are white.

This isn't some SJW rant about lack of representation, but rather a serious question as to why these games don't have more diversity in their main characters. Is it a design factor, that developing characters of other races isn't as easy as white characters, or is it that devs believe they'd be better off going with white characters because they believe that it's a safer option than characters of other races due to the views of some people?

Personally, I'd love to play as a main character of a different race and would very much welcome that right now as it would at least be something different to the somewhat "cut-and-paste" games that are out there right now which use the same character models, assets, and even basic story premises.
 

SecretSal

Active Member
Aug 25, 2016
259
532
#2
The second option, most likely.
Most devs are looking for patronage to support their project, and white male protagonist is the safest choice to maximise your chances of that happening. So unless the story actually demands something different, it's what most devs will default to.
 

Nottravis

Sci-fi Smutress
Game Developer
Jun 3, 2017
1,649
5,979
#3
I've played a lot of adult games in the last month and a half having just discovered the wealth of games of this type that are available, but one thing that stands out a lot is the lack of racially diverse main characters. So far, from the games I have played (mainly incest themed), every main character as well as the majority, if not the entirety, of characters that they can have sex with are white.

This isn't some SJW rant about lack of representation, but rather a serious question as to why these games don't have more diversity in their main characters. Is it a design factor, that developing characters of other races isn't as easy as white characters, or is it that devs believe they'd be better off going with white characters because they believe that it's a safer option than characters of other races due to the views of some people?

Personally, I'd love to play as a main character of a different race and would very much welcome that right now as it would at least be something different to the somewhat "cut-and-paste" games that are out there right now which use the same character models, assets, and even basic story premises.
Totally agree with you.

But its not a design issue. At least not from a technical perspective. For example alhough there are characters of all races in my game, (choice is always nice, yes?) I settled for -initially at least- white male MC. Once the ten chapters are complete however, it's in my publicly stated design plans to go back and add race and gender options for the player.

Sadly to add those options at the start would massively hit the amount of content I could produce and the interest in the game.

So, yep. With the struggle to get funding for games as it is it's just a safer bet as a design call I'm afraid for a small new dev.
 

Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#4
The second option, most likely.
Most devs are looking for patronage to support their project, and white male protagonist is the safest choice to maximise your chances of that happening. So unless the story actually demands something different, it's what most devs will default to.
That's what I'm leaning towards as well and it just seems really pathetic to me; the idea that just because a game has a black male protagonist it won't get as much support as a game with a white male protagonist. These games are all about sexual fantasy and the idea that people can't put aside their racial views to just enjoy that fantasy is ridiculous.
 

Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#5
Totally agree with you.

But its not a design issue. At least not from a technical perspective. For example alhough there are characters of all races in my game, (choice is always nice, yes?) I settled for -initially at least- white male MC. Once the ten chapters are complete however, it's in my publicly stated design plans to go back and add race and gender options for the player.

Sadly to add those options at the start would massively hit the amount of content I could produce and the interest in the game.

So, yep. With the struggle to get funding for games as it is it's just a safer bet as a design call I'm afraid for a small new dev.
Man, it sucks how racism can even ruin the potential of adult games.
 

Nottravis

Sci-fi Smutress
Game Developer
Jun 3, 2017
1,649
5,979
#6
That's what I'm leaning towards as well and it just seems really pathetic to me; the idea that just because a game has a black male protagonist it won't get as much support as a game with a white male protagonist. These games are all about sexual fantasy and the idea that people can't put aside their racial views to just enjoy that fantasy is ridiculous.
I do sort of concur. Bear in mind my game will have those options ultimately anyway before I prattle on :)

But its also about risk. As it is I've made a game with a strong storyline, believable characters in a fresh setting without the usual tropes of peeking in the shower etc...and the support is fairly minimal compared to other recently released games that are essentially fuck fests. Only so much risk I can carry....
 

freedom.call

Well-known Member
Donor
Mar 8, 2018
1,214
1,129
#7
I think devs have to be pragmatic, most of them are one person 'teams' and have to go with what they think is best. Having said that more variation would be welcome, in every way really.
 

N1K17Y

Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2017
675
1,642
#8
"this isnt some SJW rant"
2 posts in and you turned into a racism thing.
i guess im homophobic because i dont want gay protagonist
i guess im misogynist for not liking female protag games.
i guess im transophobic (or whatever the word is) for not wanting to play as transvestite.
 

Jashmyne

Active Member
Oct 11, 2018
168
278
#9
I doubt it's a racism thing.
Most creators are probably white, so they make the MC white because that's what they know. I brought up the time periods in a incest thread on why incest games are all set in the present and not in the future or in the past and I think the simple answer, that's what they know.
To do anything else would require more attention, different writing and so on which may or may not pay off so they go with what they know since it's easier.
 

Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#10
"this isnt some SJW rant"
2 posts in and you turned into a racism thing.
i guess im homophobic because i dont want gay protagonist
i guess im misogynist for not liking female protag games.
i guess im transophobic (or whatever the word is) for not wanting to play as transvestite.
If you don't want it, that's fine, I'm not going to label you or anyone else for that unless you have very radical views on these issues, but generally speaking it does seem that devs are taking into consideration the fact that there is a great deal of racism out there and that a non-white main character is therefore considered a risky venture.

I'm just saying that since there are plenty of games out there with white male protagonists, we could do with a little more diversity of choice in these games.
 

random.guy

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2017
788
1,210
#11
I think it has more to do with both the game's setting and the author's social reality.
For instance, let's say I want to make a medieval fantasy porn game. Our vision of medieval fantasy is bound to our somewhat distorted vision of Europe during the middle ages. Now if we go around digging for inspiration in historical sources we already find our first problem: Europe in that period was inhabited predominantly by white people. How would we insert, for instance, black people into this in our fictional universe? We could take inspiration from the minorities of the time, like the Jews, but the vision people had of the latter was in great part linked to their role in the death of Jesus and we don't have Christian religion in our world. So it quickly becomes really hard to insert this new element into the system. We probably would end up sprinkling black people in without actually ever inserting any interaction based on skin colour, just as a cosmetic. Whilst this might seem a kind of fair approach since we believe in equality in western cultures, it really isn't satisfactory nor representative of black people. They are not simply persons with a different skin colour, they also have their own subcultures which they are proud of. Is it satisfactory to represent them without any of the characteristics they deem defining of themselves? If you can play a black man but it feels the exact same as when you're playing a white man, isn't it just a farce?
And here we come to the second point. Were I to design such a character I would be lost: I live in a place where non white people are such a minority that I know nothing about them. How can I design characters they can identify with if I can't interact with them on a regular basis?

Those I think are two of the most glaring reasons why it's harder to find games that deal with the complexities linked to "racial" diversity.
 
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Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#12
I doubt it's a racism thing.
Most creators are probably white, so they make the MC white because that's what they know. I brought up the time periods in a incest thread on why incest games are all set in the present and not in the future or in the past and I think the simple answer, that's what they know.
To do anything else would require more attention, different writing and so on which may or may not pay off so they go with what they know since it's easier.
I thought about this too and I don't think that's necessarily true.

It's all about the environment you were brought up in. If you're trying to write about black characters from "the 'hood" but you have no experience of that kind of life then your game is going to suffer because of it, particularly in the dialogue and the personalities of your characters. But if you're trying to write about black characters from a middle class suburban family and this is similar to your own upbringing, then this is how you write the characters and this is where you set the story because it's more relatable and easier to write about. You could even have them be from an upper class family like "Fresh Prince".
 

Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#13
I think it has more to do with both the game's setting and the author's social reality.
For instance, let's say I want to make a medieval fantasy porn game. Our vision of medieval fantasy is bound to our somewhat distorted vision of Europe during the middle ages. Now if we go around digging for inspiration in historical sources we already find our first problem: Europe in that period was inhabited predominantly by white people. How would we insert, for instance, black people into this in our fictional universe? We could take inspiration from the minorities of the time, like the Jews, but the vision people had of the latter was in great part linked to their role in the death of Jesus and we don't have Christian religion in our world. So it quickly becomes really hard to insert this new element into the system. We probably would end up sprinkling black people in without actually ever inserting any interaction based on skin colour, just as a cosmetic. Whilst this might seem a kind of fair approach since we believe in equality in western cultures, it really isn't satisfactory nor representative of black people. They are not simply persons with a different skin colour, they also have their own subcultures which they are proud of. Is it satisfactory to represent them without any of the characteristics they deem defining of themselves? If you can play a black man but it feels the exact same as when you're playing a white man, isn't it just a farce?
And here we come to the second point. Were I to design such a character I would be lost: I live in a place where non white people are such a minority that I know nothing about them. How can I design characters they can identify with if I can't interact with them on a regular basis?

Those I think are two of the most glaring reasons why it's harder to find games that deal with the complexities linked to "racial" diversity.
To clarify, I'm referring to games set in the current era, so games set in past/medieval times aren't much of a concern. However, if you set a game in a fictional medieval fantasy world, I don't see this being an issue as you can just make up your own history.
 

Thialf

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2017
634
584
#15
In a world where there are many games built on the same premise (white young male MC, one single mom, older sister and younger sister), some diversity could be nice.

Having a black female MC would make your game stand out for sure.

For the rest, and at the risk of repeating myself, it's about the storytelling. Having a black female MC in Africa or America would not be strange, the story could be the same as a white female MC in the same setting. But then, what's the point besides it just being different. On the other hand, having a black female MC in an Eastern European or Asian setting would be unusual and thus either a plot driver or an annoying distraction, based on the writing skill of the dev.

A game with a black male MC is likely to go to the "black supremacy" racism that is so prevalent nowadays, especially in porn.

With regards to assets, I do have a feeling it's slightly difficult to do Asian faces with Daz. At least I don't know a lot of really convicing Asian characters in Daz games.
 

Jashmyne

Active Member
Oct 11, 2018
168
278
#16
I thought about this too and I don't think that's necessarily true.



It's all about the environment you were brought up in. If you're trying to write about black characters from "the 'hood" but you have no experience of that kind of life then your game is going to suffer because of it, particularly in the dialogue and the personalities of your characters. But if you're trying to write about black characters from a middle class suburban family and this is similar to your own upbringing, then this is how you write the characters and this is where you set the story because it's more relatable and easier to write about. You could even have them be from an upper class family like "Fresh Prince".
But Fresh Prince still has that black mentality to it. You couldn't have put white people in those roles and made it work.
Hence it's easier for a white person to write a white character, he doesn't have worry about anything else.
The fallout from a white person creating a black MC and getting it wrong would be far worse then simply not caring about diversity.
I think diversity is great but if I would create a game, the MC would be a white female since that's what I'am, that's what I know. I cannot write a black woman MC since I'm not one. It will be better storywise if I wrote based on what I know.
 

Holy Bacchus

Active Member
Dec 13, 2018
348
433
#17
But Fresh Prince still has that black mentality to it. You couldn't have put white people in those roles and made it work.
Hence it's easier for a white person to write a white character, he doesn't have worry about anything else.
The fallout from a white person creating a black MC and getting it wrong would be far worse then simply not caring about diversity.
I think diversity is great but if I would create a game, the MC would be a white female since that's what I'am, that's what I know. I cannot write a black woman MC since I'm not one. It will be better storywise if I wrote based on what I know.
Yeah, I mean, obviously there would still be some issues with writing the dialogue and some elements of their characters, but in terms of their environment and upbringing it could still be a bit easier for someone from a similar background.
 
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Papa Lazarou

Well-Known Member
Mar 25, 2018
600
499
#18
With regards to assets, I do have a feeling it's slightly difficult to do Asian faces with Daz. At least I don't know a lot of really convicing Asian characters in Daz games.
Well there are no problems with creating Asian Faces with Honey Select




And there are enough devs using it.
 

random.guy

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2017
788
1,210
#19
To clarify, I'm referring to games set in the current era, so games set in past/medieval times aren't much of a concern. However, if you set a game in a fictional medieval fantasy world, I don't see this being an issue as you can just make up your own history.
Making up history and in general world-making is one of the great hurdles of narrative. And, let's face it, porn games tend not to focus on narrative.
That's why most of them run on the same premises, they basically rely on tropes to avoid having to concoct a really new world that they would then have to explain to the player: it's more efficient to start from generic fantasy world #22 and then deviate when necessary.
That's why orcs, elves, goblins, ghouls, ghosts, succubi, demons, vampires, dwarves, dragons are staples of the genre. You don't have to explain them, nor describe them, the name speaks for them and you can focus on the lewd.
Inserting "racial" minorities in all of this would simply result in a cosmetic decision if you don't do the heavy lifting of world making. And that's hard because of the reasons I mentioned above.

Regarding modern days titles, the point about the author's extraction holds. In USA's urban societies most minorities are common enough both in real life and in media that authors can have a grasp of how to represent them. But what if the writer isn't American? In my country, in my region, I don't personally know a single person belonging to such a minority. I would I go up about representing them in a game? I'd be lost, I'd have to go with stereotypes taken from American media. And that, in my opinion, would be even worse than not including minorities in the first place, it'd be offensive.
A writer should write what he/she knows, thus when venturing in unfamiliar territory extensive research is advised. But who can afford such anthropological studies for a porn game's narrative fidelity?
You can sure try to bullshit your way through, but if your game includes a ghetto rapper and you don't know shit about the ghetto, well, it will be glaring, ridicule and offensively stereotypical.
 

icesun

Active Member
Nov 2, 2018
234
403
#20
Making up history and in general world-making is one of the great hurdles of narrative. And, let's face it, porn games tend not to focus on narrative.
That's why most of them run on the same premises, they basically rely on tropes to avoid having to concoct a really new world that they would then have to explain to the player: it's more efficient to start from generic fantasy world #22 and then deviate when necessary.
That's why orcs, elves, goblins, ghouls, ghosts, succubi, demons, vampires, dwarves, dragons are staples of the genre. You don't have to explain them, nor describe them, the name speaks for them and you can focus on the lewd.
Inserting "racial" minorities in all of this would simply result in a cosmetic decision if you don't do the heavy lifting of world making. And that's hard because of the reasons I mentioned above.

Regarding modern days titles, the point about the author's extraction holds. In USA's urban societies most minorities are common enough both in real life and in media that authors can have a grasp of how to represent them. But what if the writer isn't American? In my country, in my region, I don't personally know a single person belonging to such a minority. I would I go up about representing them in a game? I'd be lost, I'd have to go with stereotypes taken from American media. And that, in my opinion, would be even worse than not including minorities in the first place, it'd be offensive.
A writer should write what he/she knows, thus when venturing in unfamiliar territory extensive research is advised. But who can afford such anthropological studies for a porn game's narrative fidelity?
You can sure try to bullshit your way through, but if your game includes a ghetto rapper and you don't know shit about the ghetto, well, it will be glaring, ridicule and offensively stereotypical.
I was having a hard time putting together what I wanted to say, but this gathered so much of it that I decided to cancel my writing and just second this... :)

In short: We just need more developer-diversity? ;)
 
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