Exoticism in games

I was fortunate enough the other week to be able to contribute a guest post to the blog of Ginger Goat Games, which is run by Josh Jordan. Josh was looking for “thoughts about storytelling, especially about underrepresented groups like girls and ethnic minorities” and as it happened I had some ideas brewing in that area.

My piece was initially going to be about well-meaning Orientalism – the practice of representing a foreign, particularly Eastern, culture in a reductive and stereotyped way, but thinking that this is OK if the stereotypes are generally positive and appealing ones. But after a chat with my friend Becky Annison, I picked up on the idea of Exoticism, which is basically the same sort of thing as Orientalism but wider: it could be any foreign culture, or any social subculture, or basically any group that’s in some way Other to the writer. So I broadened the article out to cover more ground.

So here it is:
I’d be very interested to hear what you think about the argument.

Responses have been mostly generally agreeing, but not universally so (the first comments under the post give a flavour of the debate). I’ve been particularly pleased that people whose own work and thoughts I admire have picked up on it. And it got mentioned in Story Games Weekly, which was rather nice too.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to switch to writing polemical articles all the time. This blog will still be mostly about my own game play and design experiences.

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