Pet Society World

Adventures in Pet Society

Diversity in Pet Society April 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Pet Society Girl @ 11:24 pm
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Back in February, Pet Society released three acrylic prints for our pets to buy and decorate their homes with:

The characters were all cute, but they were all white characters.  Since pet society is a diverse game filled with pets of all colors and species, it made no sense to have these paintings as my pet’s decorating choices.  Personally, I have been troubled by these imbalances in Playfish games, not only in terms of cartoon character coloring, but also because of the severe gender imbalance.

Let’s examine the list of achievable brain types in “Who Has The Biggest Brain?” Of the nine brain types with human qualities from Neanderthal to Cyborg (below), 100% of the characters are white, and 100% are male. Does this look unbalanced?

Now, let’s examine the list of achievable brain types in “Word Challenge” Of the 28 brain representations (below), 96% are white and 4% (the pro wrestler) are non-white. Of course, the pro wrestler may also just be white with a tan, which would mean 100% of the characters are white. In terms of gender, we’ll exclude the infant (although it is wearing blue, its gender is not clear) and the hermit. Of the 26 remaining characters, 23% are female, and 77% are male. Does this seem balanced?

Lastly, let’s examine the list of achievable ranking types in “Geo Challenge” (shown below). There are 34 representations that can be analyzed (we’ll exclude the agoraphobe, since he/she is covered up). Of the 34 characters, 100% are white. In terms of gender, 9% are female (hotel receptionist, cabin crew, and adventurer, notice all three are in the lowest three ranking tiers) and 91% are male. Does this seem balanced?

To me, none of these statistics are balanced. They don’t represent me or the world I live in. I don’t believe they represent the diverse group of Playfish game players or the members of this forum.

Playfish’s golf game is an improvement over their previous games, allowing players to choose the appearance of our characters.

Happily, Pet Society showed another sign that the Playfish artists and developers are listening, although they don’t necessarily respond on their forums to commentary from players.  Previously, forum members suggested having real art and pictures of pets as alternatives. This week, a lovely “Pet Lisa” painting (a pet version of daVinci’s Mona Lisa) was introduced on the heals the recently introduced “OMG painting” (a pet version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream).

Wonderful changes Pet Society!  Thanks for listening!

I hope Playfish will continue to consider diversity in the future, in terms of their characters. There’s no reason minorities and women should be excluded from these cartoon representations. This may seem inconsequential to many, but it can be damaging to never see someone who looks like you be depicted as a intelligent, capable and talented, even in a game.