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Gay Characters: The Longest Journey

The Longest Journey's box.

Among the first things with which this site launched was its Gayest Characters list. Over the years we may have pointed out a few more who like persons of the same sex as they occur (Zevran comes to mind), but I figured why not seek to highlight the lovely ladies, gentlemen, and persons who prefer other titles as we come across them?

Since I recently finished The Longest Journey, I figured that would be a good a start as any (published in 1999, so I was instead finding out about same-sex marriage in Fallout 2). The game itself is quite inclusive, and considering it spans two worlds and is set in the future, it's not hard to imagine why. Playing as protagonist April Ryan, it becomes pretty apparent that she herself is straight, and very comfortable with the sexuality of those around her. In fact, the world which the game depicts hardly makes a note of homosexuality as something other at all. For instance, at one point April tries to hit on a police officer so that she can get to an object behind him. His very blunt response is to inform her that he's gay.

I'll admit, the chuckle that burst forth from me might have been a teensy bit on the loud side, perhaps elevating it to laughter status. Then again, I've had those interactions before, and it was rather curious to be on the other side of the interaction, where I was playing a female trying to flirt with a male with whom I could not succeed.

Ah, but then there's your landladies.

April lives in The Border House, a place that's generally for artists of various sorts (and wouldn't you know it, she's an art student, though in that ages old medium of painting). The whole place is run by a lesbian couple: Fiona and Mickey. You meet Fiona right away, and as you talk to her, she mentions Mickey having to do some fixing up of the house--the pronouns used making sure the somewhat unisex name is quickly understood as female.

Fiona and Mickey sitting on the couch, while April talks.

Fiona is a rather outrageous character, depicted as someone who is very forthright, charming, and very much a mistress of her domain. She handles the tenants and numbers, and speaks very fondly of and with April. Furthermore, while I did not expect it, she is quite frank about her relationship with Mickey, particularly how the sex is awesome. In fact, she seems to tease April with how wonderful her sex life is.

Mickey is older than Fionda by almost two decades, and is generally shown as a handywoman. She starts the game fixing various pipes, and is generally quiet and while not taciturn, rather gruff. The game doesn't have as much interaction with her, and never (that I experienced) without Fiona.

In an alternate end of the first chapter, one can spend time with them, watching something on television before weird things happen. It's during this time you can speak with Mickey, though it's about her dreams, about which she becomes defensive. It becomes clear that the two are a rather odd couple, and not without their own problems--though they seem quite capable of sticking it out, having been together at least fifteen years (it's not entirely certain how long they've been together, but that's how long they've been in their current setting, to which they moved together).

What is obvious is that they are together because they love each other, and again, the game depicts it as a future and setting where this is not out of place or odd at all. They aren't hidden away, they aren't quiet about their relationship, and they even have a tenant who one would generally assume is a bit of a prick (and he is--my April happened to have to inflict some physical harm on him during the course of my game), and yet doesn't breathe a word against them. In fact, if anything, Fiona loves talking about how he's a sniveling little prick whom she can scare quite easily.

In fact, in thinking back on it, what becomes apparent is that this is one of the only actual couples in the game. While there are some implied marriages, by and large, the only couple we actually get to see is the one that greets us at the start of the game. Leave it to a lesbian couple to show everyone else how it's done properly, I suppose. It seems to illustrate how strongly Funcom wanted to have this particular couple in the game, and treated it with care, avoiding capitalizing on the 'lesbian fantasy' most straight males are assumed to have, and giving them actual sexual autonomy.

5 Comments

the_french_guy said:

You know what impress me the most about this article? The fact that the gay character in the game are handled VERY maturely! Can we have more game like this?

And oddly, Fiona sounds a lot like my previous landlady, showing off her sexlife while patting the back of her partner... It's like this game was based on my life, creepy...

blackboy said:

Seriously, it's kind of unfortunate this isn't more lauded as an appropriate, effective means of handling the fact that we as adults are sexual beings. We will have sexual relationships, we will have relationships with others who have their own sexual relationships, and simply treating other characters as equals is the sanest, yet most difficult thing to do.

I didn't know this game, but I'm glad now to know that it exists.

Charlie said:

I loved The Longest Journey when it debuted in '99 but I never actually got around to playing its sequel Dreamfall. I loved that Fiona managed to be forward about her sex life without ever seeming crass or exploitative. I always wondered of the couple appeared again in Dreamfall... anyone know?

kthim said:

Fiona and Mickey are mentioned in the sequel Dreamfall, but they don't make an actual appearance.

RoyM said:

I love this game, and I'm proud that it's made by some fellow Norwegians. I was also struck by how maturely the gay themes were handled.

I also loved the sequel, Dreamfall, and I'm still hoping for the third installation, though it's looking bleak. The main character in Dreamfall, Zoƫ, is one of my all-time favourite characters.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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RoyM on Gay Characters: The Longest Journey: I love this game, and I'm proud that it's made by some fellow Norwegians. I was also struck by how...

kthim on Gay Characters: The Longest Journey: Fiona and Mickey are mentioned in the sequel Dreamfall, but they don't make an actual appearance....

Charlie on Gay Characters: The Longest Journey: I loved The Longest Journey when it debuted in '99 but I never actually got around to playing its sequel...

blackboy on Gay Characters: The Longest Journey: Seriously, it's kind of unfortunate this isn't more lauded as an appropriate, effective means of handling the fact that we...

the_french_guy on Gay Characters: The Longest Journey: You know what impress me the most about this article? The fact that the gay character in the game are...

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