AS a little backdrop to my question: In the past month or so I've begun exploring other podcasts. The Bombcast was my first love - quite literally the first podcast I ever listened to and for many years after it was the only one I listened to. Through the office splintering and various change-ups over the years at GB I begun to lean a lot more towards the Beastcast as my primary pod' of choice. This break from the many years of listening to the Bombcast led me to start exploring other game related shows as well. The two I've somewhat settled on are Kotakus Splitscreen hosted among others by the scoop master himself, Jason Schreier, as well as Waypoints (I'm sorry ..Vice Gaming) "Waypoint Radio" with Austin Walker, Patrick Klepek, and several other rotating chairs of the Waypoint crew.
Listening to these different podcasts I've noticed how little the guys at Giant Bomb talk about various issues in gaming concerning representation, gender identity, racial stereotyping, and so forth - what I would bundle together as socio-political issues, or if you want to be super modern about it I guess "woke" topics. Now I'm fine with that because personally I don't give that much thought to it myself. I like to play games to relax and unwind and certain things either go right over my head or I simply don't really put that much thought into them. This indifference on my part makes Waypoint at times a strange experience of vast ignorance. I actually think the team there has a great dynamic and oftentimes is a very funny, informative podcast. Then there are moments where I think, and this is just me of course, that they severely over-analyze certain issues and look for oceans in a puddle. Recently there was talk how a certain Overwatch character is getting a new skin and it's that of a Riot-Cop. This led the entire Waypoint team to say (and I'm paraphrasing) that this character is now celebrating "police militarization" and so forth. (They cite an article for a lot of this talk but are mostly in agreement with it). I dunno I kind thought.. hey it's a skin for a fantasy game about made up superheroes.. isn't this digging a little deep? Also while police brutality is making a lot of headlines and the few clips I've seen online are disturbing to say the least, I also wouldn't paint with such a broad brush to label all police forces nationwide to be equally terrible. To me it's a skin, not a news story. There is a cowboy, a robot monk, a pig man in a gas mask. A police skin just seems like a no brainer to me, and it's a game about shooting each other anyway so where do you draw the line of what is right and wrong?
But all that aside, I found myself thinking is this just a Waypoint thing? Over at the Bombcast/Beastcast these topics almost never gain any traction if they are brought up at all, and they generally just stick to talking about games from a "how fun is it" perspective. Kotaku does bring this stuff up once in a while but they don't really dwell on it quite as much. While I do empathize with a lot of the modern issues people have to go through, I also find myself kind of rolling my eyes when Waypoint discusses some silly horror game and they give a very serious warning about mental health representation before diving into the conversation. Like in a game about a "mad" movie director haunting you throughout a cruise ship with spooky mannequins do you really need to warn people that this might not be the most accurate representation of mental illness?
I guess in short my question to you fine folks of Giant Bomb is: how much do you dig into this stuff? Do you just play the games to have fun and don't take them all that seriously or are you acutely aware and sensitive to issues like mental health representation in horror games or how military shooters fetishize warfare to a younger audience?