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 tell you what you can expect from this teaser.
In ROM, you find yourself on the cusp of a story of intrigue and secrets as a cute personal helper robot which has broken into your home informs you that his owner, a former friend of yours, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a journalist in Neo-San Francisco in 2064, you are best placed (according to Turing, the aforementioned robot casually disregarding property laws) to find out what happened to your friend.
Dale Lazarov is a gay comics writer, well known in gay-geek circles as being the smut lord responsible for unleashing hardcover and digital gay comics like MANLY, BULLDOGS and STICKY into our world, available over at http://www.dalelazarov.com/. Since his most recent release “Second Chances” with Foxy Andy and William O. Tyler came out last month, we caught up with him to talk a little about his new comic, his approach on creating comics and the politics involved, as well as getting a glimpse of what Dale’s bringing into being in the near future.
Fair warning: there are some NSFW links and discussion below, as well as some (censored) NSFW images!
[Editor’s note: Given the touchy nature of this article’s subject, and the very real instances of harassment that have been connected to those involved with it, comments will be disabled. While normally we encourage a wide variety of viewpoints, including ones we may not agree with, to be shared on our posts we do not want to risk the safety of our readers, community members, or contributors. However it would be irresponsible of us to not comment on the issue at all, both as an LGBT-focused gaming site and as a gaming site at all. For anyone who has been lucky enough to avoid the GamerGate story thus far, here is a recap via the Washington Post that manages to cover things.]
I want to open with a nice, objective statement that I can be sure won’t dissuade specific groups of people from reading on ahead, taking the time to read what I’m saying, and critically engaging with the points I’m raising: but to be honest, fuck GamerGate, and fuck the people who choose to align themselves with it in spite of all the horrendous things it’s been responsible for.
There is a problem in videogames of LGBTQIA+ characters whose queerness is silent.
This isn’t to say that all LGBTQIA+ characters whose gender or sexual identity is only mentioned in-passing are inherently bad, or are examples of bad writing; sometimes, the most interesting, effective and emotionally-engaging way to state something about a character is to understate it.
The problem is that “invisible queerness” – queerness that is effectively absent in a text except for authors stating it outside of the text (e.g., Dumbledore in Harry Potter), single lines ad-libbed at the end of the text as an afterthought (e.g., Gobber in How To Your Train Your Dragon 2), or going utterly unspoken but hinted at through vague allusions, nudge-wink stereotypes and plausibly-deniable overtones (e.g, most queer characters during the first and second millenium CE).
So long as their queerness isn’t intrusive, or doesn’t require players to talk or think about queerness in any but the most basic terms, they’re lauded as being exemplars of the entire LGBTQIA+ spectrum.