Should 'Other' Be a Gender Option in Text Games?
It's no secret people with traits considered "different" are more likely victims of bullies. Amongst the most common groups targeted are gays and lesbians. Despite the Internet giving anonymity to some types of bullies, it provides moral support and a feeling of being connected to people with certain traits or lifestyles! In a time when young people are succumbing to pressure from bullies, highly addictive social media groups like Facebook and Twitter proved more reactive than proactive on the topic. Unlike past groups of its type, Google+ offers something new and different in regards to gender choice. It offers...the “other” choice. That’s right! Choices include male, female, or other.
Non-gender specific freedom hasn’t quite made it into our favorite text games from Iron Realms, but respect for gender-based roleplay has always been present. For instance, Lusternia offers the “Bubble of Gender Switching” artifact, which allows players to complete a one-time, permanent gender change. All five text games allow same-sex marriage -- and did it long before the American government began dictating rules for real-life wedding ceremonies! While Achaea doesn’t allow for same-sex couples to bloodline children, Imperian displays bloodlines not only through blood relation, but also through adoption and marriage. Meanwhile over in Lusternia, married couples simply add children to their family after an appropriate period of consideration, all gender aside!
Real life is finally catching up to Iron Realms in respect to same-sex couples parenting a child. Soon passports in the UK will ask for details of “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” as opposed to details of “Mother” and “Father.” Normal Wells, (5) director of Family Education Trust, disagreed, “To speak of ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’ denigrates the place of both fathers and mothers. Much as the equality and diversity of social engineers might wish it otherwise, it still takes a father and a mother to produce a child.” Wells has a very good point, genetically speaking, but to raise a child it takes two parents, period...not necessarily one male, and one female.
When I began playing the addicting games from Iron Realms, I made a bard in Achaea. Another bard in the house called Maria was a satyr. But Maria was not like the other satyr boys -- not just because of his name. Maria spoke in a feminine voice and dressed in feminine clothing -- despite having obvious male traits in his personal description. Two men from a neighboring city found Maria unaware, tied him up, and had their way with him. As a character in the text game, I felt appalled. As a player, I felt torn. Part of me commended the player on the dedication to roleplay the scenario to the end, but the other part of me wondered...why didn’t Maria’s player just type QUIT and come back later?
When reading about the Google+ social networking platform and its unprecedented decision to offer a third gender option, “other”, for its members, I immediately thought about Maria, and how different his life might’ve been if the same option had existed within the game. Google+ is also adding a privacy setting for gender. I can totally imagine a future artifact item that allows people to hide their gender from anyone looking at their HONOURS line, like the one Achaea offers for characters wishing to hide their age or divorces. If Iron Realms can add new races and classes, then why not a new gender? Would you take advantage of the non-conforming new term? Do you think those who do would be outnumbered by griefers? Answers to these questions and other comments are welcome in the space below.
Authored by: Sid Jennings
Editor: Tony Celentano