PAX Prime 2013: Gays In Love (With Their RPGs)

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender gamers share in their love for RPGs. They represent an escape from the societal expectation to look, act and love in a certain way. With games like Fable III, The Sims, Dragon Age and Mass Effect, gamers have an unprecedented amount of control over their experience than ever before. Unlike other genres, RPGs rely on strong story and character development. Choice and shared similarities between RPGs and the “gay experience” is why many LGBT gamers enjoy these types of video games.

Last week, Penny Arcade held its annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime at the Convention Center in Seattle, WA. In a panel titled, “Gays In Love (With Their RPGs)”, Samantha Allen (whom we recently interviewed following her Open Letter to Games Media made waves), Dean Levengood, Jeremiah Bratton, and Jason Toups discussed their theories about why they believe many LGBT gamers are drawn to the genre.

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Nintendo 2DS: Third Time’s The Charm

Moments after the Nintendo 2DS was announced, gamers immediately hurled their usual vitriol at Nintendo. Most mocked it; calling it a “toy” that heralded Nintendo’s doom. So, this is exactly what they said about the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Wii. In fairness, the Nintendo 2DS’ design is unexpected and polarizing. It came out of nowhere and dropped the familiar clamshell design that Nintendo used for their handhelds since they introduced the dual-screens. However, this device is aimed at a demographic of gamers who haven’t even entered the market: kids and casual gamers. Therefore, Nintendo needed to lower the barrier to entry without compromising the 3DS gaming experience. The result was budget hardware that’s surprisingly a joy to use.

Barely 48 hours after its announcement, Nintendo had demo units of the 2DS on floor at PAX in their Handheld Lounge. I got several long minutes playing with the device. After adjusting to its new design during a level of New Super Mario Bros. 2, I was surprised by how comfortable it is to hold. The narrow bottom and wide top fit naturally into your palms and provide a suitable amount of space at the top for your index fingers to rest. Your thumbs hover precisely above the analog stick/d-pad and ABXY buttons. Just like with a tablet, the device disappears and you’re immersed in the content. While designed to meet a specifically low budget, none of the buttons or materials felt cheap. Buttons all click exactly as you’d expect from a Nintendo handheld. The home button and volume slider do require some effort to get at, but again this device was designed for kids — and adults that won’t be bothered by it. Other people that tried out the device did so out of curiosity but walked away genuinely impressed.

The Nintendo 2DS is an important step in Nintendo growing their handheld audience. It’s not for everyone. When the Nintendo 3DS XL was first released, I didn’t hesitate to upgrade immediately because the buttons and screens were too small for me. This was still true with the Nintendo 2DS, but that’s a personal preference. With the original Nintendo 3DS at $169, the Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 and now the Nintendo 2DS at $129, the company won’t be able to keep enough on store shelves this holiday season. The Nintendo 2DS will charm your pants off the moment you pick it up.

EA Shows More Pride

Last year, EA surprised the world by participating in Pride parades in both San Francisco and Seattle (PopCap). Well, this year the company will outdo their previous efforts by expanding that support around the world.

EA announced on their blog that they will march in Pride parades in Los Angeles, Stockholm, Vancouver, Austin and Orlando. Like last year, there will be plenty of singing, dancing, sign holding and free trinkets passed out to the crowds. The company will also fly a rainbow flag at their headquarters in Redwood Shores.

EA recently defended its business after being named the “Worst Company In America” by blaming anti-gay critics. COO Peter Moore claimed:

…we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America…If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we’re not caving on that.
Looks like Moore is keeping his word.

Arkham Origins Needs Batwoman

When you think of Batman: Arkham Asylum or Batman: Arkham City, Rocksteady Games did a phenomenal job leaving us with positive impressions. Sure, all the characters are stereotypical for a video game; males are super muscular and the females ultra curvy. But, Rocksteady accomplished what no other developer could: used immersive narrative and gameplay to relay the feeling of being Batman. The recent announcement of the follow up to Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins should excite gamers across the world. While most will be wondering which villains will be featured, gay gamers might be wondering if there will finally be LGBT representation. One way Warner Bros. could continue expanding their Batman universe and provide said representation is by releasing a game featuring Batwoman.

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