Just yesterday, I was playing an Overwatch game with my friends. Of course I also got matched with people I didn’t know, which happens in online multiplayer games. Among normal players, quite a few leave simply because they can’t stand the idea of getting killed by a girl. If I compare my skill level with others, it is not the best out there. But at least I don’t know what it feels like to think: “I’m playing this game and I’m losing because there’s a girl Overwatch PLayers playing.”
Even though I could enjoy my game and play with friends, this will remain an exception. Some too many people don’t know how to behave appropriately in such a diverse environment as the internet. This includes not only those players that leave immediately after starting their first fight just because they lost against a girl, but it also includes the rampant homophobia and racism I see in many of my matches. In a country like Germany where everyone is equal, some people think they can behave however way they want without consequences. We will have to fight against every day if we don’t want to lose our society.
What does that have to do with Overwatch Players?
I recently got to know that all the heroes in Overwatch are either identified as male or female. There is no third option and this implies that there is a certain vision behind the game: Only men and women exist, there are none else. If you don’t fit into that spectrum, tough luck. You can play Overwatch, but only as a character that is not you. No matter how good Overwatch Players I am, I will never be any of those heroes. And this goes for all the other people who don’t fit into the male or female spectrum – whatever their reasons might be.
So why do I think Overwatch is problematic? Because it has problems with sexism, racism and homophobia. It seems as if some people don’t know how to behave accordingly in an environment where there are so many different players from so many different backgrounds. But I am pretty sure that this isn’t how Overwatch Players were supposed to be playing: Not only do the heroes not fit into a diverse spectrum – neither do the players.
Is overwatch really a good game?
Overwatch seems to be a game that doesn’t give its players the chance to show what they’re made of and how good they are at the game. Not only is it sexist, racist and homophobic, but it also puts people into categories: You go on with your life as if you were one of these heroes in which you don’t fit in. You can play, but you will always be a character that doesn’t feel like yourself.
Of course there is also the opposite opinion. Some people think that I’m ruining their game by playing it at all. They say that girls don’t even play this kind of game, which might be true in most cases, but it doesn’t really bother me if my opponent thinks they are better than me just because they have an XY instead of an XX chromosome.
Talking about the issues faced by Overwatch Players of sexism, racism and homophobia:-
I don’t think there are many games that are free of sexism, racism and homophobia. This is sad but probably results from this being a male dominated society. If you have ever played LOL or CSGO for example, you have witnessed how much sexism happens in these games. The same goes for racism and homophobia. And hence I don’t think that’s there an easy solution to these problems. Of course they can help by adding female characters with suitable roles instead of only showing women as sexy sidekicks or damsels in distress.
I think that no game is perfect and I don’t want Overwatchplayers to be either. If I did, I would have expected too much from it. This game tries to do everything at once – tell a story, make people compete against each other in 6v6 combat, give players different roles (which doesn’t always work out well) and give players the ability to collect different skins for their characters. I think that in the end it turned out well, though there are some points that could be improved.