Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

J.R. Blackwell & carry

Posted by Nathan P. on July 22, 2008

My new friend J.R. Blackwell played carry with me at DexCon, and just posted about it on her LJ. Link here. She was a ton of fun to play with, and has some really interested things to say about the game, coming from an out-of-the-indie-gamer-core perspective.

Her comments on feeling uncomfortable talking about what happened at the table are really, really interesting. They remind me of a time a couple of Dexposure cons ago when I was talking to Tony and the subject of racism in games came up. I was all “well, obviously when I run carry I toss around racial epithets for the Vietnamese when speaking in character, it’s part of the genre, but I don’t think it’s gratuitous.” And he was all “dude. I was playing two tables away from your game, and my head snapped around every time I heard “gook,” and it was A LOT.” Once you start down a path, it’s easy to get acclimated to it, to the point where you may not recognize the stuff you’re doing at the table is over acceptable lines “in real life.”

And even if you notice, I think most of us don’t really care, as long as it stays at the table.

5 Responses to “J.R. Blackwell & carry”

  1. Carry was so much fun. I really had an amazing time playing. I think my biggest reason for not wanting to discuss what happened during gametime on my blog was that the actual play by play of the fiction we all created together may have appeared to be offensive without the context of the gameplay to wrap around it.

    I think it was going to work on Monday when it all really hit me in the head. I work with a young lady who was born in Vietnam, and when I was about to write about the Professors experience at the House, I realized that if she or someone like her, read the post they may find it offensive – which is not the point of the game. The game is an elegant exploration of issues of morality, justice, war and relationships. Talking about what may seem inflammatory, I felt might have taken away fromt the deeper themes in Carry.

    I had a wonderful time playing with you, which is why I bought a copy of the game to show to my friends. I hope to run one of my own soon.

  2. […] JR Blackwell & carryThey remind me of a time a couple of Dexposure cons ago when I was talking to Tony and the subject of racism in games came up. I was all “well, obviously when I run carry I toss around racial epithets for the Vietnamese when speaking in … […]

  3. Yeh, I TOTALLY understand the problem you’re talking about, it’s mostly really getting into my head because of the pronounced lack of me ever thinking about it as an issue. I am kind of reminded of a story a friend told me where, somewhere out on the internet, someone has made an inflammatory post about carry, which was basically saying that it’s a sexist game because you can only play male characters. I think that anyone who’s read or played the game, or who even happens to know me, knows that it’s totally not a sexist game at all, but without one of those three touchpoints for context….smallpress game, about war, you only play male characters…sure, obviously sexist!

    Anyway, dear jeebus but I hope we get to play more games. Playing with you is hella fun.

  4. I don’t think it’s a sexist game, because though there are only male characters, female players are welcome. I felt welcome, and it was lovely to have another woman at the table with us.

    Carry is actually one of the less sexist games I have ever played because it doesn’t place women as bikini wearing armor wenches or the white mages or princesses to be rescued or whatever other long suffering stereotype is currently in vogue right now. The portrayal works toward realism, which is admirable.

    Oh! Don’t get me started! I could really go on about sexism in games all day. I wouldn’t put carry, or my experience playing carry, anywhere on the list of sexist games or players.

  5. Well, I’m glad to hear that, at least! I’ve played the game with a number of women, and I’ve never had any of them overtly (or even sent out subtle signals that I’ve detected) tell me that they found the game uncomfortable to play for any reason, let alone some sexist agenda. I identify as a feminist myself, so it’s not like I didn’t think about it a lot.

    I actually had many long discussions with my best friend, a women’s studies scholar and feminist activist, about whether the game was encoding subtle sexism or not (conclusions: I can’t control people’s reactions to it, but there’s nothing intentionally there. I like to think that it provides a platform for an examination of men’s attitudes and actions in war, which is a totally feminist thing to do.

    My point is more the whole out of context = can create badness. Which is a general internet theme, after all.

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