Shaking off the Rust on Identity

Apr 16, 2016

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An interesting thing happened the other day. Developers in Rust decided to randomly and permanently assign race and gender to its player base. This has set the Internet on fire. For those not aware Rust is an Early Access crafting survival game on PC.  The game has been in development for quite some time and has been quite popular.  I myself use to play with a group of friends and engage in such antics as creating server side cults revolving around torches, but that is a story for another day.

Rust has been no stranger to controversy, several months back they introduced a mechanic in which your Steam ID determined your penis size. The game at that point was male only and nudity had just been introduced. The internet giggled and everyone logged on to size compare size.

A recent updated that assigned gender and race was not as well received.  Despite outcry by the player base, developer Gabe Newman refused to change the mechanic and is currently making no plans in the future to do so.  Browsing comment sections, outcry seems to be that they are removing player choice or players are upset because they are black now and get killed frequently. As a social experiment I find this all absolutely fascinating.

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When I play an RPG I typically try to make a character like me, I don’t know why I just do. At times I pick female characters; perhaps they just looked more badass.  Does all this make me question my gender identity? No.  When I have a choice do I pick my own race? Yes, again I’m not sure why perhaps “white guy” is just ingrained in my brain as my personal preference. Could this in the reason so many people are having a problem with the update, because it goes against some hardwiring within the brain?

Rust Gender

Sadly, I think people are just racist. Race is still an issue in this country that is divisive despite a history of civil rights movements.  Regardless of your thoughts about police shootings or political comments, race and race equality is still an ongoing battle/conversation. Maybe racist people are just mad they are the thing they hate.

My personal opinion is I think all this is great.  I love the fact that Rust is shaking things up and making people uncomfortable. If we as gamers rally around the flag that video games are art and should be thought provoking, why decry something that is just that. I’m sorry you’re not the white guy you’re used to playing; maybe being a black female will lend some perspective to your life.   At the end of the day is adding some new understanding to your life a horrible thing?  I think if you’re getting all riled up about a digital character that doesn’t look like you; you may have some deeper issues you need to address and work out.

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