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March 6
2014

Applause for Pokemon in this Lady Gaga vs. Pokemon Mash-up

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In case you hadn’t heard, the original Pokemon tv series has finally made its way to Netflix. Now you can relive the classic adventures of Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu…back when Pikachu was a ketchup-loving ball of sass, Ash couldn’t catch a Pokemon to save his life, and Misty was still sans bike. Each week they wandered the Kanto region, blissfully unaware that their journey would never end. Ash would never catch ‘em all as the catchy theme song puts forth. Rather he would continue walking around the world for the better part of two decades.

The ever-wandering hero could use a show of support, couldn’t he? Perhaps even a little…..Applause? I’m sorry.

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March 6
2014

Gender and Sex fluidity: Digital Extreme’s Warframe’s unintentional queer commentary

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Digital Extreme’s MMO third person shooter Warframe has been in open beta for several years and has garnered a large fan base since then. As an avid player  myself, I’ve begun to look deeper into the lore and basic premise of the game, beyond the action-packed sci-fi space ninja fighting that Digital Extremes uses to advertise the it. I have not been alone in this respect, and the game’s forums house players tired of its open beta stage and looking deeper into a variety of aspects of the game- one of those aspects being gender.

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March 6
2014

Review: The Walking Dead: Season Two – Episode Two: “A House Divided”

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The theme for the second season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead is clearly trust. Yes, there are still shambling undead monsters craving living flesh, but now the other humans can prove just as dangerous, if not more so.

In the recently-released Episode Two, “A House Divided,” Clem’s adventure continues with a brief moment of joy before everything takes another turn for the horrible. There’s also some gay characters this time around. My spoiler-free review is after the jump!

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March 5
2014

Earth Defense Force 2025: Not For Gaymers

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Video game companies just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that the word “gay” is not foul language. One gay gamer had his experience with the brand new Earth Defense Force 2025 cut short due to this antiquated attitude when he attempted to join an online match but was kicked out for his player name containing “words that cannot be used.”

That word, of course, is “gay.”

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March 5
2014

Real-Life Master Sword Delivers Pointy Reckoning

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A man was stabbed with a replica sword earlier this week. But this was no ordinary sword replica; we’re talking about THE Master Sword. All this time we thought the fabled Master Sword was lost in a forest, you know, stuck in a tree stump or something. Actually it was just in a man’s home in Texas waiting to be loosed upon any and all evil forces…or just a crazy ex or two.

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March 4
2014

Let’s Play Grand Theft Auto V With Coco Peru

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We’ve spent plenty of time with Grand Theft Auto V, from playing tennis with it, to critiquing its story “about masculinity”, to addressing its use of pervasive transphobic stereotypes. In spite of the game’s offensive content the controversial title was met with near unanimous praise for its revolutionary gameplay by critics, including Gamespot’s own Carolyn Petit who received backlash from fans for calling out the game’s misogynistic elements in her otherwise glowing review.

So what happens when a legendary drag queen like Coco Peru, a major voice in the LGBT community, plays the controversy-laden Grand Theft Auto V?

Magic. Pure magic.

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March 3
2014

Queer Mechanic #5: Queering the Male Gaze

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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.

The concept of male gaze as we know it now was formulated by Laura Mulver in her 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, and has since been diffused throughout the fields of media critique and analysis, in particular that of film.

Finally Feminism 101 has an excellent FAQ on the male gaze over here, which is well-worth reading so that most of what follows makes sense, but, in summary: the male gaze is the name given to the idea that scenes in media are often constructed from the perspective of an assumed straight-male viewer and his (often, but not always, sexual) interests.

We’ve probably all seen movies where a female character takes a shower, and the camera takes its time to hover over her body, lingering at her hips, her ass, her breasts, perhaps a close-up of her lips, half-opened, or her eyes, closed as though in pleasure.

MadisonShower

Boom. That’s male gaze. The camera “stands in” for the straight male audience, watching the woman in a way that would probably seem jarring and unusual were it to be done to a male character. Not because male characters aren’t nice to look at – but because we’re so used to seeing only women framed as sexual characters (or objects).

Male gaze is an interesting topic to discuss in the medium of games, because video games in particular have borrowed a number of techniques, concepts and vocabulary from film that make it ripe for exploration – the most obvious of these are Quantic Dream’s games Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, but really, any game with characters moving around a scene and followed by a camera will inevitably borrow filmic techniques. And, as the concept of “male gaze” has similarly been applied to other non-film media, so to can we discuss the theory with regards to concepts unique to (or most prevalent in) games.

For this month’s Queer Mechanic, we’re going to take a look at ways of toying with, subverting, destabilising and queering the concept of the straight male gaze. So let’s jump right in!

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