BLOG POST(Module 12): MATTHEW KIM, Diversification of Gaming Platforms

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The point made by Lindsey Ogle has been the goal in most video games that are popular on various gaming platforms. “Just because the difficulty setting is low, doesn’t mean I won’t personally advance further.” It is problematic because it is a language that is associated with expertise that reinforces masculine ideas: power and control.  I would like to address the “simulation games” category of Steam, a popular computer gaming hub where it is made easy to buy games and interact with Steams private economy. The point of the game is to go on dates with multiple dads and try to get the outcome that suits you. The video game community is in fact predominantly male, and I agree with Todd VanDerWerff’s statement that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy. In my opinion, this entails to the content of games that have been coming out over the past decade that includes predominantly masculine topics. “In his What Culture piece, Ephraim brings up the game Gone Home, about a young woman returning to her house after time away. It was roundly lauded in the gaming press, but Ephraim singles it out as something that was praised only because it engaged with LGBT issues (whereas most of the reviews actually suggest the game was appreciated because it did something very different from other games).” Breitbart, as we know, is notorious for its radical claims, and proceeded to rip apart the game. It was criticized for its SJW topics, even plausibly linked to the causes of real-life crime.

About this game:

“Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. You and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay only to discover that everyone in your neighborhood is a single, dateable Dad! Will you go out with Teacher Dad? Goth Dad? Bad Dad? Or any of the other cool Dads in this game? With minigames, sidequests, and a variety of paths and endings, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is this year’s most anticipated Dad-based game.”

This game was created by Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray, a married white, homosexual couple. It seems to me that they can only be knowledgeable of relationships that they have experienced, which I believe that is why their indie game is able to receive a high volume of buys. Many other simulations like this game have been in the man’s perspective but this game is through the eyes of a woman. This I think is a change, but it also sets up opportunities of misunderstanding how real-life interaction works.

Because of its social relevance to current topics, this game may be interpreted as the user pleases, so as a straight man, would I learn about homosexuality through a game like this, or would I create a false interpretation?

Getting lost in this game can make you believe that to get someone you want, you have to say the right things. This simulation gives people more time to create the situation they want, solidifying their personality and decision-making process. This is a distinguishing trait for these simulation games.

The fact that this game was released five days ago concerns me. I don’t think I will ever play simulations like these because I don’t find the joy of faking a romance, or a reality in general.  But I do think that while gaming has taken a forward step in creating more diverse games in the community,  the outcome of any video game is created by you no matter how difficult or long that may take you, and you will be harassed at because of your skill level.

Discussion and Questions

Referring to “Trouble at the Koolaid Point”, do you think that games like this are progressive for the gaming community, knowing how toxic it is?

Just because Steam released this game, many of its players still buy fast-paced action games. Would a straight white male be able to talk about social issues in video games like these?

With trolls being present, how can you see a person taking advantage of this game? Do you think that the positive reviews would be overshadowed by them?

 

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12 thoughts on “BLOG POST(Module 12): MATTHEW KIM, Diversification of Gaming Platforms”

  1. It’s really interesting how this game brings up scenarios and gives you the chance to be able to respond with possible answers and based of your answers you get a possible outcome in the game, but, gives a perspective of the possible outcome in real life. It seems that this game tries to tell you: “hey test out your phrases and comments here, see the possible outcome, and see if it’s in your favor or not”. It also says: “hey try anything you want here, it’s an experiment for you to play with”.

    To answer your first question,

    I definitely think that thing game is far from progressive; it is regressive in its entirety. The point of having a life, a real life, is to and say things and based on that scenario or even, learn from it; whether it’s a good or bad outcome.

    For the second question, I believe that anyone can voice their opinion about this specific topic it’s just that in terms of difficulty, the roles would change. The difficulty level would be extremely hard for the white straight male while for any non-white the difficulty level would be easier. Why would the roles change? because if we look at what this question is asking, a straight white male cannot really relate to such experience directly; just voice their opinion which would possibly not even be accounted for.

    For the third question,

    I think that in anything in general, you tend to look at the negative reviews first and want to see “how bad of a game is”b based on people who played the game already. Logically speaking, if you know something is good, why worry about any positive outcome? it’s positive. When looking at the negative reviews, it gives you an opportunity to see them as warnings, lessons, or whether this game is worth your time, and overall, which reviews are realistic for your own personal life/ situation. Overall, I do not believe that the positive reviews overpower the negative ones.

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  2. To answer your first question:

    I think games like this are extremely regressive. The fact alone that Dream Daddy was released on the Steam platform, a platform intended for straight white male consumers, defeats the purpose if this game was supposed to seem as diverse and progressive. Releasing Dream Daddy on Steam opens scrutiny and jokes from the trolls. Famous gamer Youtuber Markiplier did a playthrough of this game, and is already starting to demean homosexual realtionships. Many comments from his subscribers make it seem like like gay content is cool and ~trendy~. There aren’t mean-hearted trolls like in Sierra’s piece, but the normalizing of gay relationships being the butt of jokes doesn’t progress LGBTQ equality ideals.

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  3. Hello Matthew! After reading all of the other blog posts for this module I found yours to be the most intriguing. I myself have never played nor seen a game such as the one you mentioned in this post and thought that it clearly exemplified many of the topics covered in the module. I regards to your first question, I think that games like this are progressive for the gaming community even thought it is toxic. The reason I say this is because I think it is important to introduce games that break the stereotypes associated with traditional video games. A game as radically different from typical games online such as Dream Daddy make a statement. Not only does the game make a statement, but it also provides a platform for other individuals that are not merely straight white males to participate in the gaming community. The only negative comment I have about the game is that they should try to release it on many other platforms and not just Steam. At the current moment, most of these sites are still dominated by straight white males and in order to gain any traction it should be published on multiple platforms where non straight white males may also be trying to play games. In regards to your second question, I think that straight white males are capable of talking about social issues in a game such as Dream Daddy. However, at the current moment I think it would be a lot tougher. What needs to happen is that more people should be included within the gaming community. Once more people with diverse backgrounds start entering the playing field, I think that it will become easier for straight white men to talk about these issues. The gaming industry as an institution intentionally creates games that are fast-paced and action packed because they only want to target a specific demographic and to keep the gaming industry the way it has been for years. These gamers are really only ever exposed to a certain type of game and therefore do not have the capabilities to talk about social issues that might come up in a game such as Dream Daddy. I think that if more games like this are introduced to the market people will be more inclined to try them out and form their own opinion. Until then it will be very difficult for the current gamers to actually address these issues. In regards to your third question, I definitely think that trolls have the potential to wreak havoc on this game. Since the game is only published on Steam and the majority of the community is already averse to even considering the game legitimate, it becomes very easy for trolls to garner support for verbal attacks on the game. I feel as though individuals that do write good reviews about the game will be overshadowed by the trolls and other individuals that respond negatively to the game. This is just the nature of trolls in general and is a difficult issue to resolve. Again, I think that once more people start becoming included in the gaming community it will be easier to combat these trolls. As of right now it can be very difficult to combat only because the majority of the gaming culture is dominated by a single demographic that is averse to these types of games. The only way to deal with trolls is to fight back in numbers, which cannot happen until the community becomes more diversified. All in all, I though your blog posted was very well written and I really enjoyed reading it. If you need any further explanations of the comments I made please feel free to reach out!

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  4. Great post Matthew! I think this type of game is very interesting because, as you said, for once this a game made more for women or homosexual men, rather than a straight man. However at the same time, I do believe that someone playing this game may get the wrong perception of homosexuals in society and it would be a false interpretation. Like you, I am not a fan of a fake romance game in general, so even if the game was about dating single moms (as I am a straight man), I still would not be very interested in a simulation style dating game. I do not think trolls can do much to harm this game. This type of game is only played by people who are interested and as it is a single player simulation game with computers as the other dads, its not like a troll can harass another person. Now if this game was an online multiplayer game, I could definitely see how trolls can harm others and harass. I do not know how I really feel about this game, but if you’re into this sort of game I feel like it is a refreshing change to all the games in the gaming world that are geared towards pleasing straight males.

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  5. I believe that this game is not truly progressive because it is not applicable to real life interactions. In fact, it almost devalues how real society functions through certain scenarios by allowing a retry of situations among people. Additionally, I believe that the difficulty for various demographics of people to voice certain social inequalities is different. It is difficult for white males to relate to or understand the intersectional challenges that are faced by a woman of color in the gaming community. I believe that trolls can overshadow positive comments about a certain game because people tend to look into reviews of games. I personally take negative reviews very seriously, be that about a film, show, or game, so these negative reviews can greatly have an effect on a game, despite good reviews by actual users.

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  6. Hi Matt I enjoyed your post. I find that the fact simulation games exist especially those that are like Dream Daddy is pretty counterintuitive since it tries to simulate romantic relationships one dimensionally. In games like these where you have a few preset options for dialogue which dictate the outcome, it gives the gamer complete control of the situation and what to say—they have time to think over the repercussions of certain dialogues and also the pros of certain actions yet for those who dislike a certain outcome, they can simply replay the situation and explore the other options. I find that although a game like Dream Daddy does well to label a progressive agenda in terms of providing more LGBT representation and situations in the gaming community, it actually becomes regressive in the sense of throwing real, genuine relationships and situations under the bus. Real relationships do not have only a few dialogue choices and a second chance to say something else. They are real time commitments that require careful consideration and wit; a retro simulator game like this only makes a more toxic environment where one would gain false impressions of homosexual relationships and have a very skewed, narrow view on how real relationships work. If a straight white man was exposed to a game like this a forced to discuss its social impact and implications, I do not feel like they would be in the proper place or platform to talk about it, since they themselves are not homosexual. As this game was created by a homosexual couple, it comes to light that this game may have been based off of their knowledge and experience with homosexuality. A straight individual would probably not be a wise figure to talk about the game in social terms since he or she is not homosexual. In terms of troll presence I find that they can attack players under the pretense that they are “sheltered and afraid to show themselves”, retreating to virtual simulation for satisfaction and comfort about themselves. Especially for the trolls who attack players based on their sexuality, it becomes increasingly clear that all the positive reviews about said game can be overshadowed if the “trolling” becomes too serious. For example, despite how the game treads new ground by creating a scenario that is entirely new and innovative, consumers who are verbally attacked for playing the game and thus committing self harm as a result of it can definitely overshadow the positivity. It is just a matter of how much a troll takes advantage of the game and its premise.

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  7. Knowing how toxic games like this can be I believe it is regressive rather than progressive. It’s not a great simulation of real life and so it is not transferable to real life situations. Oversimplifing life does not help in order to progress society. It is cutting corners rather than solving problems. That being said, it is very interesting that this game is made for women or non-straight men. This is rare and significant in and of itself even if the game itself is not progressive. The oversimplification in the game can provide a distorted image of homosexual relationships. Love affairs in gaming in general tend to be far from reality and do not project realistic scenarios. This can mislead people and their expectations.

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  8. Hi Matthew, I think the effect of this game on the gaming community will be a double edged sword. I think it could be partially a progressive step for the community because the game can attract more people to the gaming community that are not straight cis males. I think it could also help affirm the place of gay males within the gaming community itself. But it is also a huge target for trolls. Trolls can quickly turn this game into a joke. By doing sarcastic playthroughs, done in a mocking sort of manner, trolls have the opportunity to demean and mock members of the LGBT community. I will be interesting to see how the culture develops around this new game.
    To be honest, I don’t think straight males will talk about social issues in games like this because I don’t think straight males want to play dating simulator games. While members of the gaming community do like simulation games that require strategy, they typically do not look for social strategy games like in this game. Typically the most popular simulation/strategy games remove certain amounts of social interaction and typically focus or more abstract things, like the Civilization series where the player controls a nation. Additionally, dating simulator games in general also have a certain stigma attached to them, and are often met with shame or ridicule. If there is going to be discourse between straight males in the gaming community through games, it must be done through more popular genres.

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  9. Thanks for sharing, Matt! I personally feel progress in any realm cannot be impeded forever and these games represent the next step in our cultural evolution regardless of how toxic gaming communities may be. Fast action-paced games aren’t just enjoyed by straight white males though, but I do understand the point you are making. I personally feel if anything, games like Dream Daddy invite members of all lifestyles to partake or at least be exposed to different representations and portrayals. They also invite dialogue and discussion, and whilst much of it has the potential to be toxic there are often many others who take the opportunity to read, learn and understand better. It is fascinating that you mentioned trolling because when this game came out I was expecting it to be flooded by negative, toxic reviews but interestingly enough games like these, Hatoful Boyfriend and other similar titles usually have informative reviews at the top, followed by a ‘very/mostly positive’ rating response by those who played them.

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  10. Hi! Thanks very much for the interesting post. To be honest I have not really interacted with the Steam gaming platform but from my understanding of the types of video games that have been popular lately, I find it somewhat counterintuitive that such a game would attract a diverse set of people from different backgrounds. Indeed, I found your point on the appearance versus reality of such role-playing games to be quite interesting. I agree with the statement that such games are usually designed in such a way as to provoke a response from the user that is perceived as being the one desired by the game or the rest of the users. In that sense, I am not confident that people participating would feel free to express their real selves and hence promote the spirit of honest exchange and camaraderie that the game is most likely meant to promote. This ties back to the discussion we also had in the previous module about people’s online presence in social media and other hubs. Lastly, I also believe that a game like that that often is of interest to certain groups r communities often run the risk of being targeted the most by trolls and abusers. This relates strongly to the analysis we saw in Sierra’s article.

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  11. Hey Matt, thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it! I think that in terms of progressiveness, games like this that bring out a new style in video games can be very progressive, and get people to think about things they may not otherwise have given thought to. Rarely do you see the LGBTQ community in video games, and I’ve certainly never seen a dating simulator for gay characters. The “newness” of this game, and the discussions it can prompt, are I think what make it very progressive. The gaming community is often described as toxic, however I think this stems from the community in certain popular games, like Call of Duty and Battlefield. I think other games, especially indie ones like Stardew Valley, help to lessen the perceived toxicity of the gaming community, and think that this game can positively contribute to that.

    While I don’t fully understand your second question and the relation between this game and fast-paced action games on Steam, I do think that straight white males, and indeed any other person of any sexuality, can use games like this as a talking point for societal issues. I think this game serves as a good lens through which people can look at how LGBTQ people are portrayed in other games, and how society perceives them.

    I think trolls can take advantage of this game by mocking the LGBTQ community through the mocking of the game. Since the game acts somewhat as a new frontier in games, I think the trolls will always be drawn to it, and games like it. However, I don’t think they will overshadow positive reviews. Especially since Steam categorizes reviews as funny, or helpful, I think the positive ones can rise to the top, and people making a serious analysis of the game will be heard by more people than people just looking to troll.

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  12. Hi Matt! Thanks for sharing!
    I learned a lot since I have no experience with gaming.
    It may have been confusing but I will let you know what I got from it!
    To answer the very first question you ask: “Referring to “Trouble at the Koolaid Point”, do you think that games like this are progressive for the gaming community, knowing how toxic it is?”
    I would have to say that yes. Yes it is progressive.
    Because, it is any change at all toward being more inclusive. Change towards inclusivity is (almost) always progress. Even if, sometimes there is a negative reaction in things that were originally intended for good, we cannot dismiss the fact that they have, at least, brought more awareness. They affected conversation that can then affect change.
    So did this one exact game make progress? Eh,, debate-able I suppose, but it did start conversation. It is making people think.

    Also, I think that the fact that there are more games now that cater to different people’s interests and tastes, at all, is a really good start.

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