[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.
GayGamer vet Christian takes a deeper look at gaming mechanics and shares some of his thoughts about interactive design in part one of a two part piece. Originally posted at The Christian Write.
One of the goals of a good video game is to immerse the player in the world that s/he is playing in, to feel connected to the events on-screen, and as if the world is not only real but one that they have their own unique impact on. This was harder to do in the older days when the technology was new and interaction was limited to pressing one or two buttons, but as consoles and computers have become more and more powerful the capabilities for immersion have grown. The Oculus Rift as well as Sony’s Project Morpheus immediately come to mind by providing enhanced visual immersion, but before quality stereoscopic technology video games tried other methods to get the player more absorbed into the world.
Harassment seems ubiquitous, inevitable and inescapable in the world of videogames, and targets of harassment run the gamut from folk who show the slightest interest in games, to folk who regularly play and write about games as a career, all the way to folk who create games – and that harassment can come from folk in those roles, too.
People from any given group of people has experienced some form of harassment in videogames if they’ve spent any time playing with other people; women, however, experience far more harassment than men do, especially in the form of sexual harassment – suffice it to say, it’s not necessary to be a woman to be targeted for harassment, but being a woman is apparently a sufficient reason to be targeted for harassment.
Folk of other sexes and genders don’t fare much better, nor do gay gamers, or indeed, folk from any given group of people that aren’t the “straight white middle-class cis male” profile that’s continually reinforced as the norm.
Ever get the feeling that, despite your pectoral girth, silken pelt, and display case full of PS3 trophies you’re just not quite manly enough? Are Commander Badass and Canada Guy of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things the epitome of machismo you just can’t quite reach but don’t know why? NFL punter, ally, and GayGamer bestie has got you covered. In an essay he wrote for Esquire, he offered an array of tips, including:
- Sleep by “nesting in a pile of bearskin rugs”
- Plastic cannot withstand a manly grip; carve your 360 controller out of mahogany
- Beta males, poser gamer girls, and weakness are never to be tolerated
- Own a pet crocodile, preferably named Frederick
The whole piece is giggle-inducing, so go give it a read. If you really like it, or just want to support an amazing ally, he wrote a book called Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities that can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and probably you local bookstore if you ask really nicely, and comes in digital and dead-tree editions. Or, if you really need more Kluwe, you can get the audiobook version narrated by Kluwe himself from Audible.
Check out his new book: Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies
And while you’re here, don’t miss our very own interview with Chris Kluwe from earlier this year: Ally Spotlight Chris Kluwe.
What would a queer Silent Hill look like?
It’s probably a pretty odd question, but it’s one I kept brushing up against while I was brushing up on my Francis Bacon know-how for a previous article on Silent Hill right here on GayGamer.Net. Bacon had a massive influence on the artistic direction of Silent Hill, and his work often contained themes of sexuality and/or violence. As a gay man, however, most of the paintings that were explicitly sexual in Bacon’s work were focused on the male form – but as a whole, the Silent Hill series is very much a negative heterosexual male perspective on sexuality (particularly female sexuality).
This may not necessarily be as oppressive as it might sound, given that the narrative of Silent Hill goes to great pains to demonstrate that its protagonists have very problematic, negative ideas about sexuality. In fact, the narrative makes it pretty clear that any representation of human life the player comes up against (from sexuality to family, from guilt to being teased at school) are by definition the protagonist’s own profoundly negative ideas.
That doesn’t change the fact that most of Silent Hill‘s representations of sexuality come from straight male characters and their attitudes to female sexuality, whose perspectives can pretty much be summed up with “women’s bodies are mysterious and foreign and sexy and scary.”
[Trigger warnings for discussion of sexual abuse from here on out, and spoiler warnings for the main themes of Silent Hill 3, as well as bosses in Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: Homecoming].