Mean Girls. The Video Game.

This is so fetch.

It’s been 10 years since Mean Girls first hit screens, becoming an instant classic that is as quotable as it is hilarious. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reference a line from the movie, use a .gif of Regina George t…

Read more

GGOTY 2014: Gayest Games of the Year

Last year our Gayest Games of the Year list was quite popular, so why not do it again? Especially when 2014 has been an even bigger year for gay games than last year. While many of the 2013 titles had major queer themes not all of them had explicitly…

Read more

A different kind of Elven Rogue: a look at Sera

Note: This is the third in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Sera’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including her ultimate romance sub-quest.

Read more

The Legend of Korra series finale was a big win for gay geeks

If you haven’t already been hit with spoilers regarding the finale of Nickelodeon’s hit series The Legend of Korra be forewarned that this post is going to be chock full of spoilers from the moment you click ‘read more’. You have been warned.

The …

Read more

A different kind of Sophisticated Gent: a look at Dorian Pavus

Note: This is the second in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Dorian’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub-quest…

Read more

Review: Coming Out On Top

You may or may not remember those “for girls” boardgames where you play a babysitter or whatever and you date boys…  They tended to have a few different kinds of boys, and you knew who they were the moment you saw them.  There was the blond goody t…

Read more

A different kind of Bodice Ripper: a look at the Iron Bull

Note: This is the first in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of the Iron Bull’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub…

Read more

Mean Girls. The Video Game.

This is so fetch.

It’s been 10 years since Mean Girls first hit screens, becoming an instant classic that is as quotable as it is hilarious. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reference a line from the movie, use a .gif of Regina George t…

Read more

GGOTY 2014: Gayest Games of the Year

Last year our Gayest Games of the Year list was quite popular, so why not do it again? Especially when 2014 has been an even bigger year for gay games than last year. While many of the 2013 titles had major queer themes not all of them had explicitly…

Read more

A different kind of Elven Rogue: a look at Sera

Note: This is the third in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Sera’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including her ultimate romance sub-quest.

Read more

The Legend of Korra series finale was a big win for gay geeks

If you haven’t already been hit with spoilers regarding the finale of Nickelodeon’s hit series The Legend of Korra be forewarned that this post is going to be chock full of spoilers from the moment you click ‘read more’. You have been warned.

The …

Read more

A different kind of Sophisticated Gent: a look at Dorian Pavus

Note: This is the second in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Dorian’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub-quest…

Read more

Review: Coming Out On Top

You may or may not remember those “for girls” boardgames where you play a babysitter or whatever and you date boys…  They tended to have a few different kinds of boys, and you knew who they were the moment you saw them.  There was the blond goody t…

Read more

A different kind of Bodice Ripper: a look at the Iron Bull

Note: This is the first in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of the Iron Bull’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub…

Read more

Mean Girls. The Video Game.

This is so fetch.

It’s been 10 years since Mean Girls first hit screens, becoming an instant classic that is as quotable as it is hilarious. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reference a line from the movie, use a .gif of Regina George to respond to something, note that the limit does not exist, or chastise someone for trying to make something happen that’s not going to happen. This is one of those movies that truly defines a generation.

Today it finally becomes a video game. Cue every gay squee noise I can muster.

meangirls logo

Via So Much Drama Studios:

“If You Have Ever Felt Personally Victimized by Regina George, This Game is For You

Designed as an easily accessible ‘tiara-defense’ game, Mean Girls finds the original Plastics at peace with their world, when a new upstart Plastics clique attempts to take control of North Shore High School by piecing together the broken Spring Fling Tiara. Players can select from eight of their favorite Mean Girls characters—Cady, Regina, Gretchen, Karen, Janis, Damian, Aaron, and Kevin, each with their own distinct boost abilities—and all the cliques from the cafeteria, to help defeat opponents and complete each level.”

The mobile “tiara-defense” game is not unlike your standard tower-defender: You place troops, you set up traps, and you keep the oncoming hoards of enemies away from their goal. Only this time around your troops are who you hang out with and the enemies are the opposing cliques.

Comic mean girls

While it may not seem like an obvious genre to slap the Mean Girls name on, it’s actually quite clever. Just as in the original film the cafeteria is a carefully mapped out warzone, with factions ranging from the Varsity jocks to the girls who eat their feelings to the burnouts to the Plastics. And just as Lindsay Lohan’s Katy Herron went to war with Regina George, players will go to war to protect their tiara from those who’d try to snatch it away.

Does this sound like the most fabulous game ever, or does this sound like the most fabulous game ever? Who would come up with such a game? None other than So Much Drama’s Jeff Medor, creator of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis, one of our gayest games of the year two years running. As was the case with Dragopolis, Mr. Meador isn’t trying to make a lazy licensed tie-in game…he wants this to be a product that true fans will enjoy through and through.

Mean Girls is hilarious, brutal, and endlessly quotable; I absolutely loved watching and re-watching the film,” said Jeff Meador, founder and president, So Much Drama. “The game is rich with the quirky humor, over-the-top high school power struggles, and everything from hilarious lines, peppermint foot cream, to, yes, the Burn Book.”

Burn Book mean girls

No matter which clique players belong to, from band geeks and preps to regulation hotties, Mean Girls offers seven different ways to play including gameplay modes such as You Can’t Sit With Us, Social Suicide, She Doesn’t Even Go Here, and The Limit Does Not Exist.”

Mean Girls is slated for release on mobile platforms soon. I bet it will make for a great candy-gram.

And none for Gretchen Weiners. Bye.

Read more

GGOTY 2014: Gayest Games of the Year

Last year our Gayest Games of the Year list was quite popular, so why not do it again? Especially when 2014 has been an even bigger year for gay games than last year. While many of the 2013 titles had major queer themes not all of them had explicitly…

Read more

A different kind of Elven Rogue: a look at Sera

Note: This is the third in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Sera’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including her ultimate romance sub-quest.

Read more

The Legend of Korra series finale was a big win for gay geeks

If you haven’t already been hit with spoilers regarding the finale of Nickelodeon’s hit series The Legend of Korra be forewarned that this post is going to be chock full of spoilers from the moment you click ‘read more’. You have been warned.

The …

Read more

A different kind of Sophisticated Gent: a look at Dorian Pavus

Note: This is the second in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of Dorian’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub-quest…

Read more

Review: Coming Out On Top

You may or may not remember those “for girls” boardgames where you play a babysitter or whatever and you date boys…  They tended to have a few different kinds of boys, and you knew who they were the moment you saw them.  There was the blond goody t…

Read more

A different kind of Bodice Ripper: a look at the Iron Bull

Note: This is the first in a series of articles exploring the diverse cast of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The following contains details from all points of the Iron Bull’s sub-plot in Dragon Age: Inquisition, including his ultimate romance sub…

Read more

Preview: Read Only Memories

MidBoss‘ upcoming cyberpunk adventure game Read Only Memories – or ROM – is due for release next year, and, to give would-be players a little taste of what’s to come, they’ve released a playable demo over on their website – and we’ve taken a look to …

Read more
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January 24
2014

Oculus Rift and Gender Swapping Possibilities

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For the past two years there has been one invention grabbing the attention of game developers everywhere: The Oculus Rift. The Kickstarter-funded virtual reality headset is being touted by many as the next big thing in interactive entertainment. Everyone from Cliffy B to Masahiro Sakurai have endorsed the product, which should be making its way into the consumer market sometime in the next two years.

So far, though, most of the uses I’ve seen of the Oculus Rift have been…less than thrilling. First person shooters are the obvious go-to, and Doom 3 was the first AAA title with Oculus Rift support announced. It’s a no-brainer, after all FPS games are already built on the idea that you are looking through your avatar’s eyes. But all this time, as someone who’s not much into shooters, I’ve been left wondering “what else can it do?”

Recently a group known as BeAnotherLab have begun to answer that question by exploring the possibility of experiencing what it’s like to be other genders via Oculus Rift. (Note: video contains nudity)

Gender Swap – Experiment with The Machine to Be Another from BeAnotherLab on Vimeo.

Via BeAnotherLab:

“Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to Be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body).

In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to synchronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Through out this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect.”

While the experiment is still in very early stages, the notion of being able to experience (at least virtually) what it is like to be another gender holds loads of potential for queer gaming and gaming narrative.

Think about what games such as Dys4ia or Mainichi, titles that ask the player to step into  the lives of their creators, in which empathy acts as the primary game mechanic, would be like with this technology. By breaking down the barrier between avatar and player, a plethora of new possibilities are born that extend well beyond just shooting things more realistically.

Take a game like Gone Home, our gayest game of the 2013, and imagine taking those first ominous steps into the mysterious Greenbriar mansion. Actually taking those steps. Looking down at your own body to discover that you are Kaitlin Greenbriar. Not merely controlling her, you are her. For a male player this could be a new experience, and one that many non cis-male gamers have been having for years.

In my interview with games critic Samantha Allen, Allen noted how playing as straight white men always felt foreign to her. I wonder, then, how the Machine To Be Another experiment would effect the gaming community at large. For years the straight white male protagonist archetype has dominated games, alienating large segments of gamers on a regular basis. With this technology could the virtual shoe be put on the other foot? Would the straight white male demographic experience the adventures of, say, Lara Croft differently if they were Lara Croft, rather than dictating her every move? How would gamers perceive the events of a title like Heavy Rain if they were experiencing scenes of abuse rather than simply watching and reacting to them? What would it mean for iconic silent avatars like Link? Are you still playing Link or are you yourself or are you something in between?

Would we see more diverse protagonists due to a rising empathy in gamers or would the notion of ‘being’ anything other than male scare away that demographic and thereby scare away publishers? At the same time would this new technology attract different kinds of gamers hoping for non-traditional gaming experiences, and thereby create new markets for publishers to go after?

The experiment is still in very early stages but it’s an experiment well worth tracking. For myself this is the first application of the Oculus Rift that truly excites me as it offers genuinely new possibilities for gaming and narrative, rather than just a more advanced version of this thing:
v3_2For more on The Machine to be Another, be sure to visit their official website.

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About Sal Mattos

(Managing Editor and Writer) Sal lives in the beautiful city of San Francisco where he splits his time between playing games, watching copious amounts of television, and occasionally going outside. He has written for GayGamer and Gamezone. He studied creative writing and theatre at SFSU, and when not gaming can most likely be found on stage somewhere. You can keep up with him on twitter @salmattos

2 Responses

  1. avatar Emily says:

    As someone who is Trans, I worry about this kind of research. Whilst very interesting I can see it in future being used to deny rights to Trans people. How? Well if we can be female virtually why should we continue to do so in reality, same for being male. It also has the risk of making Transexualism seem cool, that changing gender can excite and arouse( notice how they looked at “their” genitals at the end). There are those that are turned on by that I know, but if everyone sees it as a bit of fun it may actually do more harm than good.

  2. avatar Krash says:

    I fall on the side of “increasing empathy”. My guess is that the group of gamers who care about exploring games’ boundaries will use this as a phenomenal tool to play with dissonance of perception.

    I don’t expect that this group will be a majority, though.

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