The Seven-Sided Die

GenCon "reaches out" in the spirit of "inclusiveness"

Posted Tuesday April 20, 2010 at 07:27 PM

GenCon organisers have been making efforts to accommodate the non-gaming partners of the thousands of gamers that flock to Indianapolis every year. Critical Hits highlights GenCon organisers' efforts, bringing to our attention all the non-gamer activities on the schedule for women[1. Because "of course" women don't game and bring their non-gamer male partners, nor do gay men game and bring their non-gamer male partners, let alone transgendered couples. And yes, if you didn't catch it this article is satire.] in all their varied glory.

Activities such as dancing lessons, fitness classes, yarn and needle crafts, jewelry-making, cooking (for your gamer), the ever-empowering pole dancing lessons, scrapbooking, bellydance, and self-defense are helpfully marked for easy identification with this icon:

Ball-and-chain icon for GenCon Indy 2010 "women's" activities

Ball and chain! Haha! Those super-smart geeks sure can come up with intelligent and respectful humour when poking gentle fun at the women they purport to love!

This is a great first step for GenCon to make everyone feel valued and welcomed to the convention, but I think GenCon organisers can do better. I propose that GenCon adopt the following icons for appropriate events to make sure that no-one is left out:

Proposed GenCon icon: Fatties welcome! Depicts an enormous figure guzzling food, with the description "Orc and Pie - Activities for Big and Talls"

Don't you hate it when you get to a table and the chairs are all too small? Or worse, all the tiny chairs are overflowing with immense gobs of geekflesh streaked with Dorito dust?

With this icon the "Big and Tall" gamers would know which games had the capacity to accommodate their corpulent selves comfortably, and the skinny-jeans geeks will know which games to avoid!

Proposed GenCon icon: Cripples welcome! Depicts a armless and legless figure helplessly sitting there, with the description "Accessible Games for the Differently-Able"

This forward-thinking and progressive icon would help the physically and mentally disabled (because that's all one homogeneous group, remember) find games and events that can accommodate their unusual and specific needs.

Normal gamers would no longer have to deal with weirdos in bulky wheelchairs breaking the suspension of disbelief in LARPs, or the awkward and resentful responses to their short series of perfectly well-meaning questions about how a disabled person became disabled.

Everyone wins!

Proposed GenCon icon: Minorities welcome! Depicts a cartoony, stereotypically-caricatured black man (or a white man in blackface), with the description "Racially-Inclusive Activities".

In this post-racial world it's important to constantly highlight and emphasise how minorities are welcome everywhere normal people are. If GenCon organisers adopted this icon, minorities of all colours would be able to quickly and easily identify the games and events that are welcoming of and sensitive to their quaint subcultural customs and non-English languages.

Similarly, people who don't want to get into uncomfortable discussions of race when they're trying to enjoy their escapist fantasy of many lands full of white, muscular men and white, bustin'-out-everywhere women can rest assured that avoiding events with this icon will do the trick.

I for one hope that GenCon will consider these icon suggestions and take them as a celebration of their efforts so far, and as encouragement to further develop their sensitive and inclusive scheduling policies. I think this issue is so important that I missed my Parent and Tots knitting circle to write this article![5. Seriously, I did miss my knitting circle to write this. I must also say that the kids have been remarkably patient with my blogging.]

Comments (14)


Tuesday April 20, 2010 at 08:13 PM



Tuesday April 20, 2010 at 08:27 PM

Bravo, good sir. Bravo.

(On a sillier note, I wish I could have this post in hardcover form. It's a masterpiece.)


Tuesday April 20, 2010 at 08:52 PM

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by direflail: @sevensideddie sees my ball-and-chain article and raises me three icons.

Zachary Houghton

Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 12:35 AM

A++++, sir.


Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 04:50 AM

Perhaps you should have made a Holocaust reference to really blow this out of proportion.


Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 04:54 AM

I was reserving that for the first commenter to be a dick-swinging entitlement douchebag, you Nazi-loving Holocaust-denying puppy-killer.

Happy? :D

The Designer Monologues » Blog Archive » Save Vs Game Industry

Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 06:35 PM

[...] in other blogs, such as this excellent open letter from Critical Hits to this rather more scathing entry at The Seven Sided Die. The comments that it has drawn, both there and on various internet fora, have come down to the [...]


Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 09:11 PM

Your use of "quotes" made me excessively happy today.


Thursday April 22, 2010 at 05:14 PM

So let's actually see how many people are offended by the ball and chain icon: [link removed -editor] Cast your vote and spread the link! Real data is always preferable to guesses and voodoo!


Thursday April 22, 2010 at 11:18 PM

As well-intentioned as that is, I do have to kindly say "fuck that" and remove the link.

Harmful cultural norms are harmful because the majority of people keep them alive to the detriment of the oppressed group. Having a vote on it is misguided at best.

And, as a bit of advice, calling educated beliefs about the harm done by various sociocultural systems in which we are embedded "voodoo" is both racist, and ignorant of fifty years of progress. Have a nice day!


Friday April 23, 2010 at 04:13 AM

D7 how dare you impede Meg from proving that women do want to be ridiculed by Gencon, which BY THE WAY I should point out has enough women shareholders to be able to make fun of women.

Satire explained « The Seven-Sided Die

Friday April 23, 2010 at 05:56 AM

[...] the satire I wrote about the GenCon icon needs to be explained to a depressing minority of people. (Mostly men, funnily enough. [And by [...]


Thursday June 17, 2010 at 05:58 AM

A well-intentioned good effort, which - as you have sadly realized and mentioned in the follow-up, was still somehow not enough to spark change where change might be needed (change of icon notwithstanding).

Such realizations should not dissuade people from continuing to attempt the elevation of how we interact, and incite reassessments of what the hell we are doing on a daily basis to those around us.

Thanks for writing~

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Saturday August 21, 2010 at 04:20 AM

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