Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category


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January 14
2014

Queer Mechanic #4: Transition

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Queer Mechanic is a regular feature here on GayGamer – each month, we’ll be presenting a new game mechanic that could be used in games that include or focus on queer identity or culture. Queer Mechanic is a thought experiment, to see both what we could add to games, and to recognise what’s been missing from them; it’s a challenge, both to readers, to come up with novel, interesting and effective ways to use them, and to developers, to include them in games; and it’s a discussion for a more inclusive, more varied, and more innovative future for the games industry.

Trans people are rarely represented in games, and when they are, the representation is rarely very positive; given that the vast majority of games fall over this first set of hurdles, it can be hard to imagine what games with trans-ness represented and catered towards would look like.

If I could bet on someone being able to imagine these games, though, it would be Eilidh, Emily Crosbie, and Moose Hale, three trans gamers who took part in this interview to share their understanding with game developers, players, and writers looking to address the massive imbalance against trans people, issues, characters and representation in general throughout the medium of videogames.

While reading, it’s important to note that transitioning is not the be-all, end-all of trans experience, as Laverne Cox recently attested to in an interview (alongside Carmen Carrera) with Katie Couric; it’s one facet of a massive, nuanced set of topics which overlaps with queer-interest games-based discussion, and (hopefully!) one of many more to come.

Enough from me, though: let’s have Eilidh, Emily and Moose take us through Queer Mechanic #4, discussing transition and representation of trans people in videogames!

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January 8
2014

GGOTY 2013: Gayest Games of the Year

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We’re well into 2014 at this point, but who says end of the year lists have to be released before the end of the year? (To be fair: probably everyone)

From controversies to conventions, 2013 was a wonderful year to be a gaymer. The discussion surrounding queer issues in gaming took over the industry. Samantha Allen took gaming journalism to task with her open letter to the industry, inspiring outlets like Kotaku and Polygon to address their community standards. Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games series finally launched, and was met with the unfortunately expected push back though also plenty of support. AAA publishers joined in with EA hosting their Full Spectrum event in NYC, an open forum on LGBT issues in video games. Even NFL players got in on the action, with Brendon Abayandejo leading Full Spectrum, and former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe even doing an interview with us here at GayGamer.

It wasn’t all positive, though. Same sex marriage (and more specifically the lack of it) was by far the year’s hottest button. Games like Saints Row 4 didn’t even shrug at the notion of same-sex marriage, making no big fuss over its inclusion. But many games weren’t so quick to include equality. Fire Emblem: Awakening was a massive hit for the Nintendo 3DS, but despite featuring marriage as a key gameplay feature (not to mention past entries in the series allowing for same-sex, non-married, pairs) same-sex marriage was not featured. In fact it was specifically denied in the game’s manual. Nintendo took more flack by patching a glitch in Japan-only release Tomodachi Collection: New Life that allowed players to bind their same-sex Mii couples. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn saw massive controversy when same-sex marriage was not only left out of the game’s re-release (despite developers claiming they would look into its possibility) but was not even allowed to be discussed on the game’s official beta forums.

We can’t talk about 2013 queer gaming controversies without talking about the entirety of the PAX debacle, sparked this time around by Mike Krahulik’s transphobic tweets and his later apology. Then there’s the newly announced Diversity Lounges that have everybody all a twitter.

There was also plenty of controversy within the gay gaming community itself, as the battle between r/gaymers and gaymer.org finally came to a head. The latter, one of the first of many gay-centric gaming communities, shut down earlier this year alongside an emotional note from its founder Chris Vizzini.

And of course, you can’t talk about gay gaming in 2013 without talking about the first ever queer-centric LGBT gaming convention GaymerX, founded by Matt Conn. Following its massive Kickstarter success in 2012 the gay gaming convention packed the halls of Hotel Kabuki to capacity. With gender neutral bathrooms, panels ranging from indie game devs to BioWare, and an entire sensitivity trained staff keeping watch, the attendees of GaymerX found themselves in a safe space where the focus was on one thing and one thing only: gaming.

GaymerX wasn’t even the *only* queer gaming con in 2013, as Mattie Brice followed it up with QGCon, the Queerness and Games Conference, in Berkeley last October.

But the biggest moments in gay gaming weren’t just in the community, they were happening in games as well. Whether they featured prominent queer characters (playable or not), created opportunities for gamers to express themselves outside of heteronormative gender roles, or otherwise explored non-traditional themes, here is a collection of 2013′s gayest games.

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January 3
2014

GaymerX Talks: GayGamer.net

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If you weren’t able to make GaymerX this past August there’s absolutely no reason to feel like you’ve missed out on anything! The folks behind the first ever queer gaming convention have begun uploading every single panel from the inaugural event, as part of the GaymerXTalks series.

One of the first is none other than our own panel, ‘GayGamer.net: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going’, which you can now watch at your leisure right here:

For those keeping score, there are indeed plenty of changes and new features coming to GayGamer.net soon and they are still very much in the works.

Don’t miss the rest of the GaymerXTalks series, featuring Pandora Boxx, Mattie Brice, Ellen McLain, and many more, over on the official GaymerX Youtube Channel. More panels are being uploaded regularly.

And if you haven’t already done so be sure to head on over to GaymerConnect.com and get registered for GaymerX2, coming July 2014 in San Francisco! As always, readers of the site get a 15% discount on registration by using the code ‘gaygamer’.

 

 

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December 20
2013

PAX “Diversity Lounges”

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Back in November, I suggested the word ‘xbroglio as a catch-all term for the many-and-various ways that Microsoft have messed up with regards to creating and marketing the Xbox One. This week, thanks to a leaked (and now, officially confirmed) document regarding the addition of “Diversity Lounges” to future Penny Arcade eXpo (PAX) events – ostensibly areas for people interested in games and social consciousness, but which comes across as the Designated Diversity Zone of PAX – I’m forced to think of new nomenclature for Penny-Arcade related mishaps.

The best I’ve got thus far is “PAXccident”, although I’m willing to bet there’s a better one out there; hit me up if you got one!

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According to the document – which was originally posted up on IndieStatik – the “Roll for Diversity Hub and Lounge” will be a fixture within the PAX convention itself, dedicated to providing a space where attendees can “find out about all the different diversity related things happening in and around PAX”, “learn about diversity in the gaming industry”, “learn about diversity in general”, and “learn about geek businesses that cater to diverse communities”. On paper, this sounds like a great idea – a dedicated zone inside one of the biggest games conventions in the world, where folk interested in social awareness in games can find like-minded folk, listen to panels and speakers on subjects relevant to them, and check out games that cater specifically to them. Indeed, with some reading-between-the-lines (and divorced of additional context), this seems to be what the folks at Penny Arcade intended all along.

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December 6
2013

The Young Bubby’s Club, A Reason Why We Haven’t Had Final Fantasy VII HD Yet

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Remaking Final Fantasy VII in HD may be the most common sense decision that a gaming company has ever ignored. A revolutionary title in its day that has dug a comfortably nostalgic place in most gamers’ hearts, the relatively cheap process it would take to polish up the texture work and put Uematsu’s score to a symphony seems like a no brainer. Hell, they’ve pretty much done it already through the years, with touring Final Fantasy concerts and a series of game spinoffs that sold far more than they deserved. But if there is one thing those in the internet trenches love to do more than bemoan the lack of a Final Fantasy VII re-release, it’s theorizing why it hasn’t happened yet.

While I can’t pretend to have the answer, I stumbled along a factor that could be contributing to Square Enix’s reticence. In a story filled to the brim with corporate overreach, grandiose environmental messages, and clones, we take a bit of a detour in the first act to dress the game’s spiky yellow haired male lead Cloud as a woman to try and seduce information out of a gangster. It’s played off with a lot of sitcom-esque humor, but this mission takes a few turns that could be problematic if bumped to HD.

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December 2
2013

Ultimate Gay Fighter: The Good, The Bad, The WTF?

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I first heard of Ultimate Gay Fighter through a friend’s Facebook post rather than any gaming news outlet, because do you really think that mainstream gaming outlets are going to bother with anything like this? I gave the trailer a look-see, wrote up a quick “this is a thing” post for Towleroad, and then forgot about it.

Except I didn’t. It stayed in the back of my mind, and the more I thought about it the more I realized that while this is a project with its heart in the right place, its execution is horrible. Offensive, even, in cases that can’t be defended with the whole “it’s a tongue-in-cheek satire.” The characters can be broadly categorized into “Good”, “Eh” and “Bad.” Let’s take a look…

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November 27
2013

XBROGLIO: Xbox One’s “We Got Your Back” Letter

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I’m coining the word “xbroglio” as of today. It means, “any incidents occurring as a result of Microsoft assuming players to be heterosexual dudebros”. It’s quite a flexible concept, too – in fact, I’d argue it’s characterised most of the Xbox One’s life thus far, considering the previous discussion we’ve had over whether or not the Xbox One requires an always-on connection, what’s going on with its policy on used games, the shoddy treatment of trans folk at corporate events for it, not to mention that rape joke at E3how anti-consumer Microsoft’s policies about it seem, and how ambivalent most of the folk here at GayGamer felt about it - none of which seem to register as issues for a lot of hetero dudebros, it seems.

Well, today’s contribution to the continuing imbroglio can be found over on the site for the Xbox One – in the form of the “We Got Your Back” email template provided courtesy of Microsoft, replete with mad-libs style fields where you can customise a desperate e-plea for an Xbox One to a co-habiting human being and email it off. Which sounds fairly innocuous – if a little obnoxious – were it not for the weirdly gendered and heteronormative format of the entire letter itself.

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