Sorry, ages late, but my Dissertation was due. Brings me to my first point actually. You see, as a student of Computer Games Design, it has been drilled into me that the next great avenue for games are Serious Games. Serious Games are games which have a purpose beyond being fun, they could educate you, influence you or even help physiotherapy. Its actually a really cool field, partially due to the challenge and also because you get a real feeling you are helping people.
So, in my Honours year, the year I began my Transition, I decided I would try to build a game to help the Trans Community. It was a cool idea, and instantly a hit with my chosen supervisor and fellow peers. Mitch (god people are gonna think I fancy him at this rate) embarked on a similar exercise, but on the LGBT community as a whole. It looked like it was gonna be groovy. I drew up a brief idea, and began to write my proposal. Other staff members heard about my project and were very interested. I even got in contact with a local Trans Youth group to help me design the game. The man in charge was very interested and really looked forward to me meeting them to begin drawing up ideas.
There was just one hurdle. The Ethics Committee (insert scary thunder here). I had to be careful, as they could cancel my project if they felt it was unethical. I made sure to inform them the Trans Youth Group was ready willing and able to be a part of the project, and I even tried to figure out how to get my criminal record checked for working with under eighteens. The difficulty was the University only gave guidance for Government Organisations, and the Trans Youth Group was a Charity. They didn’t know, and as far as they were concerned it was a non-issue. So I asked the Ethics Committee for help.
They originally did not respond, till I gave them a second Email. Here was the response;
“I am afraid that the committee cannot approve your Ethics application as it stands. The subject you are addressing is considered a sensitive subject and the ethical issues are complex, and unlikely to be resolved in the timescale required for an undergraduate project.”
So I was told no. After creating an entire proposal, almost nine weeks of work as I started early because I felt so keen to do it, I was told no. I tried to get Trans issues into a game somehow, a long too and fro got me nowhere. Trans issues was a blanket no go zone. The line of it being “too sensitive” carried on throughout. Then, Mitch had his project halted too. We both had to radically shift our projects, mine became recycling. I was obviously livid, and believed that this may well have been discrimination, especially due to the difficulty of getting information. I read the guidelines, got in contact with Groups to help Trans People, I was ready to fight to bring back my project. then I learned something. Many projects were cancelled. My initial though was the Ethics Committee was covering their skin, however I eventually dropped this to focus on my work.
So my school work continued, with me feeling really rather upset at not being able to do what I really wanted too. Then the module Series Games Design came up and I got excited. I could try again! I had to work with a team however, and I was unlikely to persuade them. However my concept could still be pitched, and the Lecturer could pick which they though was best out of all the teams ideas. So I created a brief, which outlined the basic idea of a game where you have to do battle discussions and mini games to learn about the issues that face Transgender people. My lecturer liked it.
The Clients did not.
According to the clients who also judged our ideas, Trans issues was not a broad enough topic to build a game around. Apparently I would be better suited to just do bullying in general. Sweep the Trans stuff away. Who would play it aside from Trans People? People, that’s who! The game was specifically designed to let the player see it from a Trans view point and a Cis view point, and so people could learn what they perhaps do in their own lives that may be anti-Trans. It was designed to be used by both Trans People, and Cis People.
Guess this is just something I’ll have to get used to. Either my ideas are to icky, or they just won’t be attractive to your typical Male Heterosexual Cis Gamer.