RETHINKING R OLE- P L AY
To set some kind of quota for representations of disability obviously carries the risk of tokenism. Special Effect ambassador and Flipbook Productions director Mohammed Hossain says that it would be “great” to see more representations of disability in games with large casts, but feels there needs to be a story justification. “Usually in RPGs you can select a few different characters, but these are usually from the point of view of an able-bodied person,” says Hossain, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. “I think it would be really interesting to see other kinds of representation, and the possibility of a role for a person with a disability, whether it be physical or mental, but I think it goes back to the narrative.” One example of an ensemble RPG series that attempts to represent mental disability could be DragonAge, which includes companion characters who display symptoms of bipolar disorder, mania and autism. These characters have attracted divided reactions from players affected by these conditions, and Dragon Age’s writers have shied away from discussing them.