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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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March 3
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Video Podcast #162

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Last week’s episode was a shortie, but this week I’ve got much, much more to talk about, so it’s a longie!

I wrapped up two games and started another (and sampled yet another)! Make the jump to watch this week’s vidcast to see what I ramble on about this time!

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February 28
2014

Board Game Review: 7 Wonders

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Strategy games that span millennia and have you building up civilizations from nothing—like, say, Civilization—often can be multi-hour affairs. Sometimes they can last days if you want to play an epic multiplayer game. So one can imagine that board games that emulate this genre take an equally long amount of time with just as much concentration and strategy. And, well, you’d be right! Games like Clash of Cultures and Civilization (the board game) can be very long and intensive. However, what if I told you that there was a board game where you could build a civilization in half an hour? Even if you had the maximum of seven players? It’s true! 7 Wonders aims to provide difficult choices and requires flexible planning, all in a sleek, 30-minute package. The question is: does it deliver?

…the answer is yes. This game rocks. Sorry, I’m bad at suspense.

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February 28
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Animal Crossing Diary

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Dear Diary,

Well, everything changed this week! Major change! Nobody moved away or anything like that, it’s just… well, read on and you’ll see!

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February 27
2014

Otome Time: Sweet Fuse

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The amount of women I’ve dated in video games is almost uncountable. On the flip side the amount of men I have dated in games is almost non-existent outside of a few Bioware titles and indie games. There are a number of reasons for this, but thanks to Aksys’s recent localizations of otome games like Sweet Fuse, a genre focusing on romance and usually with a female lead, I am slowly but surely drawing closer parity with dating men in games.

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February 27
2014

Review: Tomb Raider #1

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The first issue of the new Tomb Raider series from Dark Horse Comics is out, and I can safely say that Lara Croft is in good hands with writer Gail Simone. No stranger to penning the adventures of strong female characters, Lara’s character is well-handled here.

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