HBO’s Looking goes to GaymerX

Last night’s episode of HBO’s Looking saw its gay game dev couple Patrick and Kevin make their way to GaymerX, the first ever queer-friendly gaming convention. Today on Talking, the show’s official podcast, GX organizer (and GayGamer bff) Matt Conn speaks with some of the show’s creators about the episode, titled Looking for Glory.

Having attended the first two GaymerX conferences, and looking forward to number three later this year, I found the portrayal to be pretty spot on. The spirit of the con, the variety queer identities and types of booths present, was perfectly captured for the few brief scenes of the con we got. Even the extras were authentic! During filming the crew reached out to local Bay Area gaymers, and actual GX attendees, to make sure the background players weren’t just random people but actual gamers. (There were even a bunch of GayGamer writers that you could spot.)

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The show, now in its second season, has really been upping its gamer-cred with much more screentime given to Patrick’s career as a developer. He even dressed up as Half-Life’s Gordon Freeman for Halloween, a stroke of genius that signaled a major shift for his character. This season has also really picked up its narrative pace (thanks to a wonderful new assortment of writers) making for a much more satisfying program to tune in to each week. Last week’s episode 7, Looking for a Plot, was a hands-down series standout with its focus on Lauren Weidmann’s character Doris.

Looking airs Sunday nights on HBO. The third GaymerX will take place this December in San Jose, CA. You can get your tickets and book your rooms at the official GX3 website.

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(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, Gamezone, Kinky, and TeamBackpack. 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

Korrasami artwork to support LGBTQ suicide prevention

Bryan Konietzko, creator of Avatar the Last Airbender and its sequel The Legend of Korra, took to his tumblr to share a glimpse at a piece of artwork he is contributing to the The Legend of Korra / Avatar: The Last Airbender Tribute Exhibition at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA.

The piece features the pairing of Korra and Asami, a relationship made canon during the series’ groundbreaking final episode. While the series’ only ‘official’ demonstration of them as a couple was a hand-hold and a longing gaze, this piece from the show’s creator shows them cuddling up while on a date.

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Konietzko had this to say about the turtle-duck date night:

This is my piece for the upcoming The Legend of Korra / Avatar: The Last Airbender Tribute Exhibition at Gallery Nucleus, opening this Saturday, March 7th, 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Mike and I will be there doing a signing for the first half of the reception (there are a limited number of spots in the signing line, but I’m not sure how they are working that), and hanging out for the rest. I think there will be a raffle, and plenty of cool stuff to purchase. A bunch of the crew members from the production will be there too (hopefully including some ATLA folks), so it is going to be a fun family reunion for us. I can’t wait to see all of the incredible artwork.

As for this piece, I used and modified Emily Tetri‘s production painting of Harmony Tower (designed by Lee Jung-Su). Otherwise, I drew and painted the rest of it. I based the turtle-duck boats on the charming swan boats I saw while visiting Ueno Park in Tokyo. Gallery Nucleus will be selling the above artwork as an exclusive print, in a limited edition of 100, to be released on opening night (and I’m pretty sure I’ll be signing them). I will be donating 100% of my share of the proceeds to an LGBTQ suicide prevention hotline.

I hope to see you Saturday! Get there early, as the lines for these Gallery Nucleus openings wrap all the way around a city block. If you can’t make it to the opening, the show will be hanging for two weeks. There is an event being planned for the closing as well. More on that later.

If you’re a fan of The Legend of Korra, and aren’t far from Alhambra, you won’t want to miss this exhibition. If you can’t make the opening night festivities don’t worry as it runs until March 22nd.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stare at this piece and tearbend some more.

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(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, Gamezone, Kinky, and TeamBackpack. 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

Meet Zarya, Overwatch’s answer to more diverse body types

The first person shooter genre isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of ‘diversity in games’ but Overwatch, Blizzard’s upcoming multiplayer FPS, is making a name for itself with its ever growing cast of diverse playable characters.

Since the game’s initial unveiling at BlizzCon in late 2014. The game’s developers have gone on record that one of their goals with Overwatch is to create a shooter experience that was accessible to as wide an audience as possible. On Polygon Jeff Kaplan and Chris Metzen shared how their colorful cast came about,

“We’ve heard [from] our female employees and … even my daughter tools me out about it,” he said. “We were looking at old Warcraft stuff on YouTube, a cinematic … and my daughter is like, ‘Why are they all in swimsuits?’ And I’m like ‘Ugh, I don’t know, honey.’

“I think we’re clearly in an age where gaming is for everybody,” he continued. “We build games for everybody. We want everyone to come and play. Increasingly, people want to feel represented, from all walks of life, boys and girls, everybody. We feel indebted to do our best to honor that. There’s a lot of room for growth, but specifically with Overwatch, over the past year we’ve been very cognizant of … trying not to over-sexualize the female characters. I don’t know that we’ve over-sexualized the male characters. But it’s something that we’re very sensitive to.”

“We want that to be a part of who we are, what our brand looks like and appears to our community. Mike [Morhaime] talked in a roundabout way to that in his speech this morning. So it’s something we’re very cognizant of. We want girls to feel kick-butt, equally represented.”

The cast of Overwatch, as it was originally announced, included multiple people of color like Pharah, Hanzo, and Symmetra, alongside everything from talking gorillas to robots.

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However there were still complaints about some of the more stereotypical elements Blizzard employed in creating these characters, including how similarly all of the women in the game were built especially when compared to the variety of male bodies offered…..today Blizzard proved their commitment to listening to fans with the introduction of Zarya, a female tank who offers a rarely seen female body type in games.

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Some have expressed concern that the butch Russian strong-woman is as much a cliche as everybody else, while others have expressed joy that this rarely seen archetype is being included in a mainstream game at all. On her creation, Blizzard had this to say about Zarya:

We have been hearing a lot of discussion about the need for more diversity in games,” he said, adding that there are a lot of types of diversity that are being discussed. Among those, he said, diversity of body types. “We’re listening and we’re trying hard. We hope Zarya is a step in the right direction and proof that we are paying attention.

As Patricia Hernandez on Kotaku says, the addition of Zarya shows that the developers of Overwatch really are listening to  and, more importantly, trying to do better for their fans.


What do you think of Zarya? Excited for Overwatch?

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(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, Gamezone, Kinky, and TeamBackpack. 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

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 goes All Star Mode!

So Much Drama! Studios has today released a new update for RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0, their hit mobile game based on the most fabulous show on television. The update celebrates the show’s seventh season premiere and introduces a host of new modes to keep players gagging as they work the runway!

The new All Star Mode offers three different styles of play for the 2.0 version of the game, including Mirror Mode, Hardball, and Shade which casts darkness over all of the preexisting levels.

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Dripping with eleganza, gaymers and gamers alike will sashay through fashion challenge levels inspired by the show, such as the Heroes Ball and Glitter Ball, plus the brand new All-Star Mode that features three gameplay styles: Mirror Mode, Hard Ball and Shade. Players will have a ball perfecting each queen’s look with wigs, outfits, and looks by collecting in-game items and testing their skills in dozens of unique levels. RuPauls Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.1 continues the slick, over-the-top, and high-glam style of the Dragopolis brand for an authentic gameplay dragsperience. Whether glamming up the girls or reading Apocalypstyk to filth, RuPauls Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.1 is a must-have app for America’s next drag superstar.

The endless sashaying Dragopolis and the glitter ball fun of Dragopolis 2.0 (both available in a single app!) are already two of my favorite ways to pass time in between episodes of the show, and now there’s even more levels to unlock and play!

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is available for free on the iTunes App Store and on Google Play. The new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs every Monday at 9/8c on Logo.

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(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, Gamezone, Kinky, and TeamBackpack. 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

David Gaider leaves Dragon Age for new BioWare series

Yesterday popular video game writer (and GayGamer fave) David Gaider, of BioWare’s Dragon Age, announced that after 10 years he will be moving on to a new mystery project.

Gaider leaves the role of Dragon Age Lead Writer in the capable hands of Patrick Weekes, who originally wrote for Mass Effect before moving on to the Dragon Age team, where he has contributed to both games and novels in the series. He notably worked on Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s popular pansexual, the Iron Bull, which gives me hope that even with a new head scribe the series will continue to be as inclusive as its most recent iteration.

BioWare has long been one of the single most inclusive developers, especially when it comes to LGBT content, with games like Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and of course Dragon Age. Gaider, openly gay, has been instrumental in turning Dragon Age into one of the most gay friendly series in AAA gaming. The latest entry, Inquisition, made history with some of the first canonically queer playable characters in AAA gaming in the form of gay mage Dorian and lesbian rogue Sera.  Inquisition won numerous game of the year awards in 2014 and was even our gayest game of the year!

Last year at GaymerX, Gaider held a wonderful panel in which he spoke to how he’s helped bring sexual diversity into mainstream gaming.

Gaider’s new project is currently under tight wraps but we can’t wait to see what it is! One thing is for sure, though: Dragon Age fans will miss him dearly.

 

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(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, Gamezone, Kinky, and TeamBackpack. 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