I want to start this article by saying I am an ally. I understand why other people may want video games based around their minority groups. I get it, cowboys. You want to walk back and forth and shoot scorpions in a game of your own. I understand where you're coming from, boomerang-shaped spaceships. Hell, you're almost a block. I have a cousin who is a spaceship.
I get that desire to see yourself represented in the game. I really do.
The problem here is that I am a featureless block. Most gamers are featureless blocks. Most game makers are featureless blocks. So of course, featureless blocks are and should be the main protagonist in video games.
I get where Breakout block is coming from. Just like me, he wants to break out. And the featureless block in Adventure? I mean, come on, what featureless block among us has not thought of key? Or had a nightmare about squiggle? Or engaged in furious competition over block with block?
But I just can't understand the game if a featureless block isn't the protagonist. I tried. I really did. I played triangle in Asteroids. What's he about? What's he thinking? Don't know. I played circle man in Pac-Man. I tried to care and I just couldn't. I don't get where these guys are coming from. I might as well go back to playing dot.
It's weird and shrill.I can't even think about playing Ms. Pac-Man. I am not a lady circle. Sorry. That would be just weird to play as a lady circle.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally supportive of a bug or a burger chef starting their own video game company. I have nothing against a cartoon knight making something that's sort of like a video game. Just don't expect me to support it with my money.
One refrain I have heard time and time again, and frankly it's a little insulting, is that featureless block has been in so many video games that we don't have any more stories to tell. This is offensive. Everyone, every single block, has a story and they deserve to tell it. I mean, just yesterday I went up and then left. I shot dot. I pick up green key. I wrapped around the whole screen.
If you've heard that one before, how about this one: block in cave. Block go down. Block jump. Block JUMP. Think about it. What if you take cowboy and replace him with block. Now we're talking. Now there is a story I can identify with.
It's because so many people are featureless blocks that it allows anyone to identify with it. That featureless block could be a submarine. It could be a bug-killer fighting a centipede. Use your imagination, don't wait for some featureless block to program a truck in for you.
A featureless block is the default. It's normal. There's no need for something different. If you're a burger chef or a spaceship and you want to be represented in gaming, then either make the game, or become an economic force to be reckoned with. If featureless blocks running game companies see that all these missile commanders are buying games they will start making games to cater to them.
Until then, block is good enough for everyone.
Everyone, even featureless dots, will enjoy Phrasebook and Rakshasa by Zack Parsons.
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