May 152012

Science fiction writer John Scalzi recently posted a great blog entry framing white male privilege in gaming terms. He asks the reader to think of life as one long role-playing game with “Straight White Male” being the lowest difficulty setting. It’s still entirely possible to lose badly on this setting, but you start the game with much better odds of success than someone playing on the “Gay Woman of Color” setting.

And no, I don’t think I’m playing at a much higher difficulty setting. My disability certainly makes the game more challenging, but I started out with the same advantages as most other straight white men. The fact that I’m living a comfortable middle-class life simply demonstrates how powerful those advantages are.

May 082012

Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed that the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t quite as “massively multiplayer” compared to when I first started playing in December. It’s a rare thing to see more than ten people signed into my particular corner of the server at one time. I thought perhaps I was playing during off-peak hours, but I began to read reports of dwindling player participation across all servers. Electronic Arts confirmed those rumors yesterday when it revealed that the game had lost 400,000 subscribers in the previous quarter. I still enjoy playing through the story, but it’s become nearly impossible to find teammates for the multiplayer content (which is some of the game’s best content).

I’ll likely remain a subscriber for a while longer in the hopes that Bioware figures out how to make the game world feel more dynamic and less like an abandoned amusement park. Of course, I may not give the matter much thought once Diablo III conjures itself onto my hard drive next week.