RE­THINK­ING R OLE- P L AY

EDGE - - MINDS AND BODIES -

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.

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