We’re in an age where diversity in groups is always welcome & needed, no matter the pastime or country. We came across a newly-formed Facebook group called Joystick Beragam which focuses primarily on promoting inclusivity, diversity of ideas, gender, sexuality, race, identity, and faith.

What makes it special is that was founded by a pair of Malaysians activists whose main aim was to create a “safe space” for folks of differing faiths and lifestyle to congregate online and discuss about their favorite pastime activity, gaming. According to the group’s founder, Shahrir Shazni, his past experience being in several local gaming groups on Facebook compelled him to open his own. 

“As far as my observation goes,” he said via email, “the attitudes are not that friendly, discriminating and hostile towards people of minority.”

“To me it is quite puzzling because generally the gaming world has been moving towards inclusivity; be it in gender, religion or ethnicity. But then, as reality struck, I have to accept that here in Malaysia is far from that. The mindset and mentality are still not there yet.”

joystick beragam header

The less-than-savory response to his post in a local video games Facebook group related to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II set things in motion for Shahir. “Recently, I posted some of my thoughts and a brief review about the Last of Us 2 in this particular PS4 group,” he said. “I am well aware of the controversy that related to the game but I shared nonetheless. Soon after that, people started commenting.”

“They called me names, and claimed that I wanted to spread some agenda; specifically, the ‘LGBT agenda’. Funny thing was, I never mentioned any LGBT stuff in the post. I just said that the game, to me, is quite a masterpiece and that’s it. But they don’t see that.

They don’t see this regular Joe just wanted to share the joy of playing this particular game. All they want is spewing hate and vitriolic comments.”

Coined by a friend of Shahir, Numan Afifi, the name of the group, “Joystick Beragam” means “diverse joystick”‘ in Malay and aims is to serve a space where differing views are embraced and constructive discussions are practiced. “My current aim is to gather like-minded people and ensure that the discourse in the gaming world does not have to be toxic and hostile towards any group of people.

“Gaming is to unite us all,” Shahir concluded. “I just hope that in the coming future Joystick Beragam will inspire other groups to be more inclusive and celebrate all kinds of gamers.”

You can check out and join Joystick Beragam here.


 

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