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IGN Examines A Gay History Of Gaming

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After I finished reading "A Gay History of Gaming" from IGN UK writer Keza MacDonald, I thought to myself, gosh, that's the sort of thing we should be writing here at GayGamer.net. But then I realized that actually, no, because this kind of article on our site would just be preaching to the choir. An article like this has more impact when posted on a mainstream site like IGN or Kotaku. But I'm linking to it so you guys can check it out, too!

Basically, she runs down a brief history of homosexuality in gaming, starting with Nintendo censoring Birdo's true identity and ending with gay marriage in The Sims 3, Fable and Skyrim. We've come a long way, baby!

It is nice that as games have evolved, so too has the representation of equality. Now that we have the technology to allow us to roleplay a videogame character to the point of finessing their facial features, I appreciate being allowed the freedom to also pick the love interest I would like to pursue. If I'm going to be indulging in the fantasy of saving the universe, I'd also like to go after the out-of-my-league hunky squadmate! (Unfortunately, since I played a Fem Shep in the first two Mass Effects, I'm going to need to finish the trilogy with her, so I won't be able to take advantage of the new man-on-man action BioWare added to the third!)

Oh, and while the comments on the WOW article I linked to yesterday might not have been too bad they're downright polite compared to the few I skimmed on this one! (We've still got a long way to go, baby!)

A Gay History of Gaming [IGN]

7 Comments

Paul said:

As much as I think that the choice BioWare and their ilk offer to people on any end of the sexual spectrum to play how they want to play is great, the fact that we get to choose makes the whole thing unrealistic. In most cases, this is a good thing. Gay characters can interact in the world and they aren't treated any differently than the straight ones. Cool. Amazing, in fact. But I argue that that's not really accurate representation.

The fact of the matter is, LGBT people are treated differently, and our relationships don't work quite the same way that heterosexual ones do. There are different sexual politics at play, and different social hurdles to jump. I'm still waiting for the day when a game with a more rigid narrative structure (like an FPS or a JRPG) realistically depicts an LGBT character in a starring or major role in a story, rather than two dudes or chicks getting "slotted in" together because of a few key choices in a dialogue tree. I'm not saying their LGBT-ness has to define them, but it shouldn't be of no consequence either.

Again, we are moving forward, and that is awesome, but we've still got a long way to go.

Limeade said:

I read this earlier today with wariness (it is IGN afterall), but came away feeling ambivalent. It went over some good things and had a few good comments/messages about minorities and diversity in games. Yet... in the first two paragraphs of the article it certainly sets it up as marginalizing the issue/excusing the majority to a degree.

It makes it sound as if we're in a post-homophobia and post-gay relationships/characters being a rarity in games era. We're far from it. It also makes it sound as if there are a wealth of games out there with gay/inclusive content and diversity of characters and relationships in games... when there isn't. Again, far from it.

Maybe it is nitpicking, but the entire intro -- due to its wording and adjectives and tone -- put me off right away. The industry and the community has a long, long, long way to go before we get anywhere close to equality in gaming diversity and a social responsibility collective.

Mikey said:

It was good to see such an article being pusblished on a site like IGN, but I thought it seemed to suggest we now have sexuality egalitaruanism in gaming which in reality is still far from the case.

With all the praising of Bioware's championing of same-sex relationships it failed to note that when same sex relationships do appear in games this championing for the most part is heavily weighted towards lesbian realationships (which keeps the hetrosexual male happy) but the antibodies start flowing when the subject of male/male romance rears its head.

While not strictly speaking the subject of the article it would have been interesting to also comment on the multiplayer aspect of gaming if you're a gay gamer.

I think it would be a good experiment for those members of the IGN team who are involved in MMOs and multiplayer to annonymously create alternate online accounts identifying themselves as homosexual and compare how their gaming experience differs and publish an article on that.

RDM said:

I at first rolled my eyes at what I thought would be "old" news to me. But then, as you guys pointed out, it's totally new for IGN's audience. I'm really glad they covered it.

Dandy Kong said:

Funny how they didn't mention IGN's own Die, Tingle, Die campaign...

Dalton said:

Everyone always forgets about how ".Hack//G.U. Vol. 3" Has a gay marriage ending with Endrance :P Its an amazing game yet everyone forgets )': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWbcGTgTlS4

neon said:

I have to kindly disagree-- I think this is exactly the kind of thing gaygamer should be writing about. I think it's a missed opportunity to not become thought leaders in LGBT issues when this is one of the places people go to when 'gay' and 'gaming' is searched for. Appreciate the link though.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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