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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 8
2014

Next Generation Ripley

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Like the film franchise, Alien has had an equally spotty track record in the gaming world. Actually, spottier. But the recently-announced Alien: Isolation hopes to make you forget all that… while scaring your pants off at the same time!

While Aliens: Colonial Marines was positioned as a sequel to the James Cameron action/sci-fi hit Aliens, Alien: Isolation is instead a spiritual follow-up to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien. (Note the lack of an ‘s’ in the game’s title.) Fifteen years after the events on the ill-fated Nostromo, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, finds herself scrambling to survive as her investigation into her mother’s disappearance puts her in the middle of the terrified denizens of decommissioned trading station Sevastopol menaced by an alien creature.

Without well-armed marines at your side, you’ll need to use your wits to survive by hacking systems, scrounging for supplies and crafting your own homemade weapons. It will be up to you to decide whether to avoid, distract or face your enemies, but developer Creative Assembly promises that the Alien will respond to your actions dynamically, so choose carefully.

“In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead. “Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted.”

It gives my gay geek heart palpitations to see the Nostromo again (even if a little fanwanking will be required to fit this into the movie continuity), and the idea of exploring it fills me with such glee I can’t even express. Especially since this is aiming to be a terrifying survival horror game instead of an action shoot-em-up. So I guess it also fills me with a little bit of dread… but the fun dread! And it’s  great to see that Amanda Ripley is carrying on her mother’s tradition of being a female badass survivor. Games need more strong female leads (even if it does appear she’ll have to grow into her strength as the game goes on). After the jump you’ll find a gallery of screenshots and a trailer as well as a behind the scenes look at Creative Assembly’s process. My fingers were crossed for this game and now that I’ve seen some of it, I’m actually cautiously optimistic Alien: Isolation could be awesome when it releases in late 2014 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Make the jump and see how you feel!
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January 7
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Video Podcast #154

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Well, this week I’m still playing the same games as last week, so expect some more gushing about their awesomeness. But I also finally remember to talk about some holiday gifts I got from Cards Against Humanity that I forgot to mention in either of my two holiday-themed vidcasts. Make the jump for this week’s episode!

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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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January 3
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Animal Crossing Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s the start of a new year in Geneva, and it was off to a terrific start when I got 10,000 bells from my mom with a letter that read: “Dear Chris, I love knowing how happy you must be to get our gift of Bells every New Year’s. A mother likes to spoil her child every now and then! Spend it wisely! -Mom”

But after a spectacular New Year’s celebration in the Event Plaza, 2014 took a decidedly awful turn. Seriously, Diary, this year is off to a terrible start. Make the jump and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Oh, the tears…

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December 30
2013

Wootini’s Weekly Video Podcast #153

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Well, Christmas is over, and I got just what I wanted under the tree, with a bonus game, to boot! Of course, now I have to figure out how to play two handheld games at the same time on my commute…

In this week’s vidcast, I talk about my new acquisitions and then try to make the same New Year’s resolution I do every year… and I guess I’ll keep making it until it sticks! Make the jump to watch!

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December 30
2013

Wootini’s Weekly Animal Crossing Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s official: Toy Day is the best! And so are all the different snowpeople! Basically, I’m going to be super upset when winter is over! Summer just can’t compare!

I also had a change of pace this week when I got a letter from my dad instead of my mom. It read: “Dear sweet Chris, Remember when I dressed up as Santa to give you your Toy Day presents? I always got a kick out of seeing you smile. Happy Toy Day! – Dad” Awwww, right?

Anyway, make the jump for all the holiday action!

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