222: Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

For straight gamers, videogames can often be an escape from a painful reality. But for gay gamers, videogames offer little respite from prejudice and homophobia. Robert Yang recalls his experience developing a Half-Life 2 mod featuring gay characters and the response it provoked.

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Angerwing

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Jun 1, 2009
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That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
 

Sebenko

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I played Handle with care when if was first released.

Good fun, and doesn't make that big a deal of the whole gay thing, really.
Honestly, it felt about as gay as my gay relationship. Which, from my point of view, doesn't feel that gay. It's just love.

Although really, I don't see a need for gay characters in games. If a character is revealed to be gay in a game, it evokes about the same response from me as an easter egg with some cultural reference to, say, a band I like.
 

bobknowsall

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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man.
Took the words right out of my mouth there, mate.

Articles like this are one of the things that makes me damn proud of the Escapist. Mature and frank discussions of subjects like gender and homophobia on a gaming site? Say it isn't so!

While I doubt that the gaming community will become truly acceptant (as opposed to "tolerant", which seems to imply that gays are a nuisance) of openly gay people, it'd be great to see less hate speech while playing online.
 

Fithakk

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I find nothing wrong with having gay characters in games, and I wish gamers in general could be more tolerant. Hell, I wish people were more tolerant.
As a straight guy, I still find homophobia one of the most disgusting things in the world.
 

Valkyira

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Fithakk said:
I find nothing wrong with having gay characters in games, and I wish gamers in general could be more tolerant. Hell, I wish people were more tolerant.
As a straight guy, I still find homophobia one of the most disgusting things in the world.
Well said my friend
 

TheRealCJ

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You lost me at 'Weird, prentious Art-House mods for Half-Life 2'.

But seriously, Counter-Strike is the Halo of the PC. I'm suprised you didn't get a face full of terrorist crotch and a carefully worded (yet appalingly spelled) essay on why you're gay, who you're gay with, and the precise details of your sordid affair.

As for that postman, well, you're always going to get nutjobs. I personally know quite a number of people (not all old men, mind you), who think Women's rights are a joke, get back in the kitchen etc.

In fact, I get the feeling that as a gamer, you're more likely to be accepted as Gay: the majority of 'hardcore' gamers are in the 18-24/30 bracket, and as such are all memebers of Gen X/Y; the most accomodating and accepting western generation to date.

The point is, you're just as likely to get called a 'retard' as you are a 'fag'. I should find this offensive (I have Asperger's syndrome, quite acute-bird............................), but it's just part of the background noise when you're playing online. Usually nothing is meant by it, and (unless you're playing on that hive of idiocy, Xbox Live) if you explain that you take offence, most people will try to avoid using certain words and phrases.

A problem I have is that often, in game, a gay/lesbian/furry/woman/scatologist/all-of-the-above etc. will muscle their way in, and demand that we walk around of eggshells in the off-chance that we say something even slightly offensive. Not to mention they usually get huffy when we don't treat them with the utmost respect because "I'm gay, damnit, look at how brave I am to come out to people on the internet". But, I suppose the G.I.F.T. works on everybody, regardless of sexual preference.

... Bloody hell this is turning into an article all of itself, so I think I'll stop no, the hole is plenty deep already.
 

high_castle

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Great article. I've long said games should incorporate more gay characters, especially RPGs that love to go on about the player's freedom to choose (everything but romantic partners, apparently). My family has quite a few gay and lesbian members, and growing up we were all very close. It's probably why I'm so passionate about gay rights. I also you to game with my cousin when we were kids and teenagers. He happens to be gay. It really made the lack of gay characters in commercial games a very glaring oversight. For those of you without exposure to the gay community, you might not have noticed it at all. Or it might not seem like that big a deal. But it is. Because the undertone it sends is one of a lack of acceptance at the gay community.

Television and film have been opening the doors for more nuanced gay characters in stronger, more important roles. But video games are lagging behind. I've said it before, I don't know how an inclusion of a gay character could possibly be a bad thing. It would attract another fan base, and even if it did generate controversy (a la Bully), controversy tends to sell units. And anyway, I haven't heard anything negative about The Ballad of Gay Tony thus far. So perhaps we as a society are growing up. A girl can dream, anyway.
 

Ryokugax

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I'm gay and that end paragraph using suggestive imagery based around modern male protagonists getting it on fills me with no end of horror and dread.

Gay main characters or just general gay characters knocking about in the background fixing things, operating computers or possibly beating the shit out of something, whatever, there's always going to be a paranoid closet-case freaking out because they fear that the gay character will come out of the screen, The Ring style, and dress them in pastels, make them wear a beret and stuff quiche down their throats.
 

k-ossuburb

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You say that games wouldn't sell if they had gay characters but what if they were lesbian? Just plucking the most obvious example from the air here, but look at the porn industry, the most common male fantasy is the "threesome" and it's most accessible form is in lesbian porn (you + two girls behind a glass screen= threesome in your brain since it's too lazy to make much of a distinction anyway).

Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying that all women are sex objects and we should exploit a profitable sexual orientation (lesbianism) for the benefit of making a quick buck, but if a game company were to make a game with a lesbian character I'll bet you that that's there area they'll focus on the most just to lure in the majority of the demographic (males between the ages of 16~30). Look at any other game with a female protagonist if you don't believe me.

I would like to see a game that merely suggests that your character is a lesbian and uses the stronger aspects of it to make her character a little less one dimensional. If the developers are smart they'd have just as much profit from it by making it a cult classic instead of a simple male fantasy. For example, imagine that the female (lesbian) character is a kick-ass bounty hunter, her sexual orientation would come in handy to suggest how she got into that role as one of the contributing factors, you could even have her girlfriend as the geeky character who handles all the tech, maybe the geeky girlfriend gets killed in a dramatic explosion and that's what powers the story into the rest of the game.

What I'm saying is, how is a straight relationship any different than a gay one? Pick up the comic "Love And Rockets" if you want a better understanding of it (which I recommend because it's really good) the only difference is superficial but if used in the right way can be a lot more effective in giving a more emotionally gripping storyline than the same old straight characters can.

If the female bounty hunter's other half was a guy it would have much less of an emotional effect than the geeky girlfriend since we've seen guys in games die all the time (and probably killed a few ourselves) but the happy, geeky, loving and friendly girlfriend would have more emotional impact because it's the whole "aww she's so cute" thing (obviously she'll be a cute, happy character, it's just basic character dynamics to balance a strong main character with an "innocent" secondary character, take Earthworm Jim and Peter Puppy for example).

What I'm mainly waffling on about is that the emotional ties between the main character and her side-kick cum girlfriend would be strong and easily explainable to allow for a smooth and uncomplicated storyline gumming up the game play, the main character can be female, therefore she'd be more awesome than your average male character because it's more exciting to have a female lead in an action game (look at the success of the first three (good) Tomb Raiders) and you can get a lot of mileage out of her back story to boot. But if she were straight and her secondary character were male you'd feel like you've seen it all before and quickly get bored no matter how well it's written.

(For the record, I was a pink-haired lesbian in Fallout 3, I dated Butterkip in Little Big Town, I was still the baddest mofo in the Wastelands and my dad loved me until the day he died. The story works no matter what sexual orientation you are, but doesn't it make it so much more interesting to add your own little twist?)
 

Swaki

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despite my 3 month relationship whit a guy i wouldn't call my self gay, gay means that i was physically attracted to him, which i wasn't, i was only whit him because he was sweet, smart, funny guy i had allot in common whit and could spend 20 hours talking whit and every second of would be heaven for me, but i am asexual and have no sexual desires (which was why he broke up whit me, perfectly understandable) and as such every sexual relationship in games annoy me, it wouldn't matter if the kickass awesome superhero fell in love whit a female whit close to no shirt that revealed her tremendous boobs or whit a male whit close to no shirt that revealed his amazing 6 pack at first glance, it makes no sense to me and annoys me.

if the game developers need their character to fall in love for them to live happily ever after, then they should give us a reason, and as long as they refuse to give us a reason to fall in love beside "boobs are awesome" its a long shot to hope for a gay hero, but who knows, maybe in the future we will see main stream games where the hero falls in love because "six packs are awesome".
 

Hyetal

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I found your game pretty damn interesting. I still couldn't play more than 20 minutes. It was just so g--eh, gelatinous.

That was a poor joke, I admit. I just couldn't find a word that started with G and also meant really shitty gameplay. Nah, that's unfair too. I guess you said it yourself. Frustrating. I would've liked to finish it, actually.
 

SnowCold

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The only thing that pissed me off about his game is that someone would put their time to use the source engine for a FREAKING MARRIAGE SIM! Gay or not!

...Unless, it's the story of a man with such a bad marriage life, that he kills his husband/wife and goes on an office shoot-out...

...I would play that...
 

Uncompetative

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Characters and Story have almost no place in games. Maybe in twenty-years time the technology will be there to simulate interpersonal drama in the form of a kind of improvisation theatre, where theme and character biographies can be leveraged off of the back of sophisticated AI and the graphics can animate the subtlest, half-suppressed, human hurt - but the phenomenal expense of creating an interactive Ingmar Bergman whilst ordinary, passive, Cinema already satisfies audiences, makes this seem unlikely to ever happen.
 

BuggyBY

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Ryokugax said:
I'm gay and that end paragraph using suggestive imagery based around modern male protagonists getting it on fills me with no end of horror and dread.

Gay main characters or just general gay characters knocking about in the background fixing things, operating computers or possibly beating the shit out of something, whatever, there's always going to be a paranoid closet-case freaking out because they fear that the gay character will come out of the screen, The Ring style, and dress them in pastels, make them wear a beret and stuff quiche down their throats.
That description of closet-cases' fears was hilarious, and I am now hoping someone uses it as inspiration for a flash animation. You may want to suggest it to Landover Baptist or other satire sites - but then, their party line would be that most if not all computer games are for wimpy godless gays who will surely burn in hell for all eternity.
 

p1ne

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Well, everybody else has already said "great article", but... it is!

(Plus, if I had wanted to complain about gay rights and the pervasiveness of homophobia, I wouldn't bother with building an entire videogame to send a message; instead, I'd write a long-winded article and publish it on a well-trafficked online website about videogames ... well, all hypothetically speaking, of course.)
^hehe.
 

Pink_Pirate

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Good article. I think that as soon as we stop main a big deal out of putting gay characters in games its going to stop being an issue. Characters in games should not be gay for the sake of being gay, or to promote gay rights or to piss people of, they should be gay if it fits with the story. Simple as that. I think people will find it much easier to accept a character if he is gay because it's just who he is, rather than a flamboyant queen who is just there so some gay developer can give the finger to bigots. Am I making sense here?
 

RooftopAssassin

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It's not just gamers that have problems with homophobia, I think some of the people that make ratings for games are the same people who would put "Gay sexual content" on a game rather than "sexual content" and they'd probably make a whole other rating for it too. Homosexuals are the least of my worries, I'm more concerned with my AP World History homework.

I guess what I'm saying is that, I could really care less if you are gay or strait as long as you don't sound like an annoying 9 year old through my headset.
 

flatten_the_skyline

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It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?
 

Korey Von Doom

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TheRealCJ said:
You lost me at 'Weird, prentious Art-House mods for Half-Life 2'.

But seriously, Counter-Strike is the Halo of the PC. I'm suprised you didn't get a face full of terrorist crotch and a carefully worded (yet appalingly spelled) essay on why you're gay, who you're gay with, and the precise details of your sordid affair.

As for that postman, well, you're always going to get nutjobs. I personally know quite a number of people (not all old men, mind you), who think Women's rights are a joke, get back in the kitchen etc.

In fact, I get the feeling that as a gamer, you're more likely to be accepted as Gay: the majority of 'hardcore' gamers are in the 18-24/30 bracket, and as such are all memebers of Gen X/Y; the most accomodating and accepting western generation to date.

The point is, you're just as likely to get called a 'retard' as you are a 'fag'. I should find this offensive (I have Asperger's syndrome, quite acute-bird............................), but it's just part of the background noise when you're playing online. Usually nothing is meant by it, and (unless you're playing on that hive of idiocy, Xbox Live) if you explain that you take offence, most people will try to avoid using certain words and phrases.

A problem I have is that often, in game, a gay/lesbian/furry/woman/scatologist/all-of-the-above etc. will muscle their way in, and demand that we walk around of eggshells in the off-chance that we say something even slightly offensive. Not to mention they usually get huffy when we don't treat them with the utmost respect because "I'm gay, damnit, look at how brave I am to come out to people on the internet". But, I suppose the G.I.F.T. works on everybody, regardless of sexual preference.

... Bloody hell this is turning into an article all of itself, so I think I'll stop no, the hole is plenty deep already.
This a million times over, people are way too sensitive these days, I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins, but that doesn't mean I'm need to go postal over a zombie Jesus joke, infact sometimes I laugh myself if its actually funny and not just done out of hate.
 

Kollega

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Well,i would like to see more games with homosexual protagonists. I fail to see what's so wrong about *fingerquotes* "alternative" sexuality (fingerquotes are there because i consider homosexuals/bisexuals completely normal).
 

Robby Foxfur

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Its awesome to see this article and everyone's comments are some fresh re-spit from the world of people you sometimes meet on the internet.

personally from a gay gamer's view, it doesn't matter to me if the characters are gay or not in a game, 99.9% of the time that's not why i bought a game. sure there are some characters that would be fun to see as a gay guy *couch* SPY .... *couch couch* but that wouldn't change the game play AT ALL!!

I don't think things will change soon and if they do i will take it very slow in seeing if things really have changed or its just a guise.

But thank you all at the escapist for renewing my faith that not everyone has totally lost their sense of brotherly (humanly?) love.
 

Macar

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I'm sorry that you or anyone else has to live with prejudice and abuse.

And by the way there are straight white males out there who are interested in playing games where they get to explore other people's perspectives: I think in this video games have a tremendous potential to be a force for good. I think getting a chance to walk an interactive mile in someone else's shoes could be a great way to bring awareness to issues that minorities (including women, GLBT, ect.) deal with every day that "privileged" white males never even have to think about.
 

GonzoGamer

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Gays need to take back the f word but in a different manner than the way blacks took back the n word: which hasn't exactly diffused the word.
I think gay people should start referring to lame homophobes as "fags." Really overuse it too so it loses all meaning.

It won't stop the real hard core right wing homophobes from coming up with something new (or more likely, recycling another old term) but I think anything that follows wouldn't be as strong.

You want to make a popular gay game, make it an exclusive. All the homophobes on xbl are salivating for Gay Tony.
 

Orange Monkey

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I'm gay and a gamer so i've had to put up with all the comments and jibes throughout my life, but I've found that gamers are actually some of the most accepting people you could find, even the ones that shout fag and teabag your corpse probably at that moment forgot what the word actually ment, their's no real hate behind it, so escapism has never really been unattainable for me.
 

squeakthedragon

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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
It's in part because there's a lot of stigma and culture baggage loaded into homosexuality. And also, a lot of men in society are themselves more sexually insecure and busted up than they understand or would ever admit, since traditionally, society has conditioned men to be "tough" and closed, and made them just not talk about a whole range of things.

In short, gay people make a whole lot of straight men feel confused just by existing, and they hate that.

For the folks downthread who think gay people are just oversensitive and whiny:

It is quickly becoming a new straw man, this image of the flowery, delicate, politically correct gay advocate who squeals at the slightest imagined offense. And yes, there are some ultra liberal, terribly shrill GBLT crusaders out there who help prop up this straw man.

However, as a gay male, here's a different perspective. The vast majority of gay men I've ever known who do not come from the background of what are really only a couple major pools of concentrated gay culture in the usual suspect cities, hardly fit the shrill and delicate stereotype. In reality, off the Internet and off of network television, the insidious thing about the Gay Male is you cannot tell what he looks like! Oh my.

But here is a slice of life for the actual, authentic, average gay male who is not made of straw.

I live with my partner in a pleasant college town. It's not overly whitebread. It's quite used to a rainbow coalition of ethic types due to the college campus; students of every stripe fill the town half of the year.

However, homophobia is quite rampant in America, and deeply ingrained. It is also quite hostile and threatening when you're the target. Things /always/ look different when you're the target; they can look very different indeed.

See, the road that we live on happens to be a popular route for students at the uni to take on the way to a town park where, to be frank, they meet to get laid, sell dope and meth. The favorite American pastimes. My partner and I have learned to be very wary on the road where we live, because if we happen to be in front of our house, or walking on the road, when carloads of students pass by - not the same few troublemakers, but a random and ever changing variety of people - they typically swerve at us, wave bottles out the windows, honk constantly, and roll down their windows to scream "FUCKING FAGGOTS" before speeding off again.

It's not that we're walking down the street in leather chaps, folks. We most insidiously look like everyone else. However, the key is, there are only two of us; not a group of four or five college buds. Two men alone? This is America. They're probably gay, so the wisdom goes. Ironically, in this case, the average students guess correctly.

Now, let's be realistic here. Hormonally overloaded 18 year old male Americans, drunk, constantly going back and forth with carloads of meth. Yes, this is not at all a recipe for disaster if they see a couple of faggots on the street one evening. We're not even in the deep south or anywhere stereotypical like that. We're in one of the "good places".

We don't have to do anything to feel threatened or get people to scream at us and serve their cars within inches of us every day. We look "normal". But Americans are well trained to smell the gay at this point. All you have to do is stand outside. That's about it.

This is a bit more of the reality of the situation. It's not about people being "too sensitive" when someone tells a stupid joke in his office cubicle. There are actually reasons why gay people are /slightly concerned/ about homophobia than mere foppish sensibilities. You might want to forgive them if, having to live with this all the time in real life, they're just kind of tired to hear more of it when they log on to Xbox Live. It's just a little matter of saturation. Silly I know!

Well, I'll shut up now.
 

GrinningManiac

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The internet is a mixed blessing, on the one hand, it's the INTERNET

On the other, I bump into a lot more bigots, as we're all in the same "space", as it were, rather than spread across the planet.

Thank heavens for the rest of us,

Good article, very meaningful
 

Angerwing

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Jun 1, 2009
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squeakthedragon said:
That's unfortunate that you live in such an intolerant place. I have a good friend who is gay, and at our school that's fully accepted. A bit of background: Our school is a Catholic private school with one of the best schoolboy rugby teams in Australia, and we have a lot of country boys and generally rough guys. Yet not one of them appears to have a problem with my friend, or has ever said anything harsh against him. He's just one of the boys. And that is what I am damn proud of.

Edit:
swaki said:
despite my 3 month relationship whit a guy i wouldn't call my self gay, gay means that i was physically attracted to him, which i wasn't, i was only whit him because he was sweet, smart, funny guy i had allot in common whit and could spend 20 hours talking whit and every second of would be heaven for me, but i am asexual and have no sexual desires (which was why he broke up whit me, perfectly understandable) and as such every sexual relationship in games annoy me, it wouldn't matter if the kickass awesome superhero fell in love whit a female whit close to no shirt that revealed her tremendous boobs or whit a male whit close to no shirt that revealed his amazing 6 pack at first glance, it makes no sense to me and annoys me.
With. With. WITH.
 

initialdelay

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Interesting concept! Not really my kind of thing but that's more to do with the genre of the mod than anything else. The sad fact is that the media of a society is mostly a charicature of that society's views - and homophobia is very much prevalent in Western culture still.

I'd like to think that my generation has made some progress... However the internet is where viewpoints are polarised and made more extreme apparently as a result of the human lust for taking sides in any area of conflict. It's way to easy nowadays to sit smug in anonymity and make hateful comments. Or write a stupid article in a tabloid newspaper.

As for my own behaviour, I'm guilty of occasionally using inappropriate words as insults. But I like to think I can justify that by saying that I'm not homophobic/racist/generallyagainstanyparticulargroupunlesstheypissmeoff in the slightest, and that these terms are more the result of negative historical use rather than today's societies in general. I've used some terms occasionally for shock comedy value. Still I feel a bit guilty.

At least homosexuality is being taken in a more sympathetic and reasonable direction by some makers of TV programs/films and this seems to be filtering through to previously ignorant people (like my grandmother).

If any of this doesn't make sense I apologise as I'm very tired and seem to have contracted verbal diarrhoea :p
 

Eldarion

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*Claps hands*

Good for you.

I read and enjoyed this article. Discrimination against gay people needs to stop.

One thing though, why does being effeminate seem to be a gay stereotype? They are two different things.
 

occamsnailfile

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Sep 10, 2008
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I love the response to the not just request but demand that the author release their own work "without the gay."

"Why should we?" is the most common response to the question of "Will you release a game with a gay protagonist?" put to most game developers. Usually it's followed up with "it wouldn't sell," but the truth is that they don't know that. They've never tried. A "gay protagonist" doesn't need to be a limp-wristed caricature of course. Marcus Fenix could easily be gay and have a picture of his partner in his wallet that he shows to someone just to dare the plot gods to try and kill his invincible badass self. That small a gesture is all it takes. A short conversation with a marriage counselor, playing on some of the jokes of the "mute protagonist" is all it takes. It's not so hard.
 

wolfy098

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Because gay people would rather be your friend than your enemy. (And don't worry, we won't try to seduce you. The sex would be awful.)

owch dude i'm not worried about homos if they asked it's a "no i'm not gay sorry"
But that burns you don't have to hurt me like that
 

vxicepickxv

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Sep 28, 2008
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The problem is not the audience. The problem is the old people who think that the audience are still THEIR 10 or 11 year old children. The problem is the parents of the now adult gaming groups, who ARE old enough to think for themselves, yet don't have the connections or ability to defend themselves when the shock and outrage bring hearings up to those in power.

The biggest problem we have right now is that our generations don't have enough voice to fight back against the types of people in power, the ones who are not the target audience for the game. This is the biggest problem we have right now. This is one of the reasons there's limitations on gays in gaming. All the eyes are on gaming, because music was the last generation's war.
 

Yukichin

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I really do enjoy this article! The unfortunate thing is, some people still DO oppose gay people in games, regardless of whether or not they're fine with gay people. "I don't want to play as a gay guy!" seems to be common (despite the fact they don't always mind playing as a girl), stuff like that. But I really did like this articles.

The one thing I dislike, though, is the word "partner". I don't know why; it just sound really sterile to me.
 

Disgustor

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Jan 2, 2008
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It's great to see any article that pans the incessant male bravado that dominates today's games - it really is time for a paradigm shift away from the teenage cynicism that seems to have pervaded gaming ever since the 128-bit transition. Hopefully we'll start to see a treatment of sexuality that isn't painfully stereotypical for a change, and I won't feel nearly as alienated by gaming as I do today.

By the way, I've been treated like that on the backward British island I live on when my (now ex-) boyfriend and I decided to hold hands in public ? but I've never cared what other people think, because their small-minded prejudices will always exist and they are never going to make me feel guilty for how they feel about my sexuality. I'm heading to the "mainland" soon anyway, to more tolerant places ? to read English literature, as it happens. Thank you so much for putting this article up. I'll stop gushing now, I promise.
 

Gyrefalcon

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RooftopAssassin said:
It's not just gamers that have problems with homophobia, I think some of the people that make ratings for games are the same people who would put "Gay sexual content" on a game rather than "sexual content" and they'd probably make a whole other rating for it too.
I think you have nailed it on the head here. It's rather like hearing that the Avatar: The Last Airbender doing its casting call for "caucasian or any other ethnicity" instead of "open to all people". But it isn't whether or not someone is gay in a game, it is how it is handled. Gay people are JUST PEOPLE. Stereotypes aside, most of their day is filled with work, school, errands, deciding what to eat, etc.

I want to see gay people represented in games because they exist in reality. But I want them to be people not caricatures. I like how Jade Empire and Fable I and II handled the issue. The main character's sexuality wasn't pre-set. It was whatever you chose to pursue. Likewise, just like real life, some people would like you and some people wouldn't based on their OWN sexuality.

Something I haven't generally seen are children who are SMART in video games. (Okay, and not evil.) Children can be quite industrious and clever, yet games usually portray them as helpless lumps. I don't expect rocket scientists, but I DO expect them to be able to throw rocks and run from an enemy. Perhaps, just better writing and fewer stereotypes in general would be good in the gaming world. Reflections of reality allow us to slip into the state of disbelief easier. (As would more variety in voice actors on some of these games.) :)
 

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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k-ossuburb said:
You say that games wouldn't sell if they had gay characters but what if they were lesbian?
I should've clarified - by "gay," I meant primarily gay men - the fetishization of lesbian women deserves its own article. (And typically, as in "LGBT," "L"esbians get their own letter instead of being included under "G"ay, I find)

Are there any games actually ABOUT the experience of being lesbian though - dealing with female body image, masculinity, and facing the simultaneous worship / disdain of straight people? (The stereotype of the strong-willed lesbian biker versus a metropolitan lipstick lesbian, for example.)

Dark Templar said:
One thing though, why does being effeminate seem to be a gay stereotype? They are two different things.
I agree wholeheartedly - in fact, I'd even go as far as saying the trend in gay communities now is to be more masculine. As for myself: I enjoy MMA / hurting people, drinking cheap American beer, and dressing like a slob. (Plus, the rainbow flag is ugly and Will & Grace is the most formulaic sitcom ever.) ... I just happen to like dick too.
 

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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Oh, and I agree that the petty individual cases of homophobia aren't representative of society - and they're easily ignored. I'm more about the institutionalized cases: governments selectively not recognizing gay marriage, or the death-grip of only straight male preferences depicted in video games, etc.
 

SharPhoe

The Nice-talgia Kerrick
Feb 28, 2009
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I feel this guy's pain, I really do. He did a great job with this article, and particular parts of it nearly made me want to tear up and cry and little...

All in all, it was an excellent and enlightening read.
 

Actual

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Hmmm I was about to say "where on Earth does the author live that he still gets treated like this?!" then I realised it could be where I live if you consider random scum bags on the street.

My work has four gay people that I know of out of about 40 people (no idea if this is a fair percentage of the population) and they're treated no different than anyone else. I'm sure they also are treated no different by their friends and family, apart from the initial, painful, coming out stages.

So yeah, random scumbags may insult/attack them on the street, but they'd do that to anyone. Have done to me, and I'm pretty certain I'm straight.

I think we're not dealing with homophobia and just shitty people.

Cool article btw, gets the brain juice flowing.
 

Sanaj

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I played the Handle with Care mod after reading Anthony Burch's indie nation article on Destructoid.
http://www.destructoid.com/indie-nation-handle-with-care-140298.phtml

I understood that it was about a gay relationship, however that wasn't what stood out the most for me while playing it.
I felt that the box stacking which was how your character was dealing with an uncomfortable situation (the marriage counselor)
combined with the short video sequences (memories) to be much more compelling.

You can download Handle with Care on ModDb.
http://www.moddb.com/mods/radiator1/downloads/radiator-1-2-handle-with-care
 

LavaLampBamboo

King of Okay
Jun 27, 2008
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As much as I agree with the ideas raised in an article, there is one thing that interested me. You said that if a game was made with a gay protagonist, nobody would buy it.

As far as I am aware, there haven't been any games with gay protagonists, so theorectically, it could be a smash hit. If the game interested me, then I wouldn't care whether or not the lead character was gay, transgender or whatever. If I was interested in the game, I'd buy it. The problem is that if a game was released with a gay character, it would be NEWS.

Game websites would report it as the main character being homosexual, because it hasn't really happened before, and of course, some idiots on the internet would respond with "OMG I AINT PLAYIN AS A FAG!", and the game would see some reduced sales (although hopefully some people would be able to get over their issues).

If a gay protagonist was featured in a game and it wasn't shouted about on the box or the trailers or the press releases, then it might work. Obviously, this can't be proven until it happens, but I believe that there is a place for a LGBT character in games.
 

Slayer_2

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I read some of the comments of his website and I am really amazed that people care about the players sexual orientation. You never see any naked men, gay sex or even hand-holding as far as I know. And yes, I am a straight guy who doesn't care what gender you like your partner to be. The author of the article makes a good final statement when he points out how most games already feature manly men shooting... firearms into each others faces :p
 

RebelRising

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Wonderful article; it's so very relevant as I observe society loosening up in certain ways yet tightening up in other ways about homosexuality. You communicated an admirable combination of both seriousness and tongue-in-cheekness. I hope to see you write for the Escapist again.
 

Chipperz

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Ryokugax said:
Gay main characters or just general gay characters knocking about in the background fixing things, operating computers or possibly beating the shit out of something, whatever, there's always going to be a paranoid closet-case freaking out because they fear that the gay character will come out of the screen, The Ring style, and dress them in pastels, make them wear a beret and stuff quiche down their throats.
I have, before now, brought games to support the ideals that they espouse, whether it be ideological, stylistic, or just to support a developer that I like. If someone made a game that could do this, I would buy it. I wouldn't play it though, I fucking hate quiche.

OT - I've never understood homophobia. Of course, I've never understood the idea of hating someone for something they can't change. When I insult my gay mates, it's 'cos they're a bunch of wordy twats, not because they like sleeping with guys. Maybe one day, someone who is homophobic will be able to string together enough words without calling someone a cigarette (the word fag. It does not mean what you think it means to anyone outside of the US.) to let me know WHY they think like that in a manner that makes sense, but, just like around cigarettes, I won't be holding my breath...
 

Arbitrary Cidin

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I was half expecting the first comment to read "Re release the article without gay!"
Well put, man.

It's a shame about the unwanted focus on your mod. I'd try it, if I was a PC gamer (360 for me, seeing as how this computer would lag on Runescape). For me, gay people aren't discomforting so much as homophobia is. If someone tells me they're gay, or introduces me to their boyfriend, it's no big deal. Sure I acknowledge it and it's different, but Not That There's Anything Wrong With That (See what I did there?). It's like if someone tells me they're Jewish.
Whenever someone starts ranting about how they "Aint want no homos or queers comin' around on their watch" (I live in the South and have seen my share of Rebel Flags and white sheets) makes feel like I am gay, and suddenly have a dangerous secret. To put it in gaming terms, it's like when you think somebody's going to try to spycheck you. Just call me homophobephobic?
 

CplDustov

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Sebenko said:
Which, from my point of view, doesn't feel that gay. It's just love.
I'm surprised The Longest Journey hasn't come up. That game spends a good chunk of time developing characters at the beginning and your landlady is gay. I remember hearing the way she talks about Mickey, her girlfriend, in a way I could imagine of any adult in a loving long term relationship. I just thought they seemed really cute together. For me it was so well done that I didn't really consider them gay so much as in love. What you said really brought that feeling back up. Man I miss those games.
 

Kiutu

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flatten_the_skyline said:
It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?
Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.
 

LadyZephyr

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I salute you for this article, fellow queer. I couldn't agree with it more. I love escapism and gaming, and yanno, sometimes I like my escapism to be easier to relate to like that. I go out of my way to play games with homosexual or bisexual subtext (or text, when I can get it). A good amount of my enjoyment of Saints Row 2 kicked in when I realized playing a woman in that game paints your character as pretty gay. Same with the Metal Gear Solid series and it's gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships. Both are great games on their own, but that little extra made them purchases instead of rentals.

Kiutu said:
Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.
Uh, speak for yourself there, please. I know.... seven gay people I'm close to. Only one is anywhere near a stereotype, and even then she's not enough that you'd be able to pick her out.
 

The Youth Counselor

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Hi Robert,

I played the Radiator mods when they were first released and I found it's quirky gameplay quite interesting. It was far from perfect and definitely frustrating, but it was a deep breath of originality out of the masses of multiplayer mods of two teams fighting against each other in a post apocalyptic world.

And I'm pleasantly surprised it was done by the same man who wrote the Escapist article on the gaming course he taught at Cal. The mod's minimalist look was a fine example of what you were trying to teach your students who were crashing their game just by having a player look at part of the level.

Much like James unpacking and storing away his memories that he was trying to repress to escape the pain and boredom of the marriage counseling, I just had a random memory break free. A few months ago, I was playing Insurgency [http://www.moddb.com/mods/insurgency], the popular Half-Life 2 mod. On a well liked and respectable server, we were playing an intense game with a bunch of very competitive and angry gamers. Suddenly one player sprays a tag on the wall of two men kissing.

It wasn't extremely explicit. Both men were fully clothed, the kiss was chaste but passionate. There was no tongue involved, no pulling the other's head in for a strong embrace.

Still the chatlog and voice channel exploded.

"WHO THE FUCK SPRAYED THE GAY TAG?"

"Uggh...that shit is nasty!"

"Who's the homo who sprayed that!"

"Those fucking faggots make me sick!"

"Yo, that's wrong!"
Since, I was in a maelstrom of hate I didn't want to do anything that would too outwardly show my true orientation. I just chimed in reasonably and half jokingly:

"Dude! They're just two guys kissing. Big fucking deal, get over it!"

"What they're doing is hardly explicit, and even if so, there's nothin' wrong with a little buttsex!"
Of course, for advocating for the spray, the hate turned towards me.

"Yo Juba! You a ******?"
Shortly after someone censored the tag with their own, the admin tracked down the originator of the spray and promptly kicked him. Right next to the kissing tag, and pasted over it were a bunch of images of explicit hardcore sex. The one pasted right over was of a young woman being penetrated from both ends. A few feet away was a picture of two barely legal girls engaging in cunnilingus. How were those images okay? How is hardcore sex and imagery of lesbian activity deemed inappropriate but an innocent kiss between two men offensive? I checked the rules.

The only things forbidden were spamming the voice channel and decoy tags. So I brought up the hypocrisy in this.

"I don't care," said the admin, "I just don't want to see that."
What about what others want to see and not see?
 

Deleted

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Homophobia = FEAR of gay people.

I hate the people who use 'homophobia' excessively like they just learned it almost as much as the people who say gay like its the 'F' word. I'm not supporting anti-gay behavior I just want you to know there's a difference between being afraid of something and staying away, and hating it enough to abuse it.

Some kid called me gay on Xbox live, I asked him how he knew (I'm not really gay), he said because he fucked my mom. This lead me to the conclusion that he is my father who left when I was a kid. Man he sounds young, but I was so glad to see him I sent him tons of messages asking him to come back home and he never replies ;_;
 

mcgooch

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Damn good article. This is the reason I love the escapist. Real problems discussed frankly using video games as common ground.
I regret getting the orange box for my PS3 as I can not play any of the mods. In my defense it was on sale for half the price of the PC version.
 
Sep 17, 2009
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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
Yea i agree with that.
 

Kuchinawa212

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If you have to be a jerk to play a simple online game then your not very good. That's what I always thought. Too bad gay is an insult now
 

Stakhanov

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Great article, couldn't agree more. Very heartening to read this comment thread and see lots of other people taking a more mature attitude to games and sexuality than we commonly see.
Just for the record, I'd buy a game with a gay protagonist, if it was good. Does anyone really use that as a criteria for choosing their entertainment?
 

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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Douk said:
Homophobia = FEAR of gay people.
Fear = disdain, distrust, nervousness, anxiety, irritation, intolerance.

... or, perhaps you have a better word to describe it when a homophobic person says "I don't hate gays; I just don't want to talk to them or associate with them or do business with them or befriend them."

It's not exactly a KKK member setting my roof on fire, but it's still discrimination that I otherwise wouldn't have had to face.
 

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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I'll be perfectly honest, gay men make me uncomfortable. I don't know why and don't really care but they do. So what do I do? I don't bring up sex when I'm talking to a gay guy. if relationships come up by happenstance I won't steer the topic away however. I guess you can say I am homophobic because I am irrationally bothered by gay men. I am however working on that and I still support full rights for gays, but I feel that it's still important to know that some people aren't homophobic because they're ignorant fucks, they just are. anyway nice article and good luck with the whole gay rights thing :p.
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I think the main reason we dont have more gay chars in games is that games are bairly mature enough to have straight chars in them, I mean here in the states we are perfectly fine with violence but really any sexuality is seen as something to shy away from. I mean if your looking for a war game we will tend to do it better then a japanese dev but if you want to have chars that are more then cardboard cutouts you really need to look to japan or one of very few western devs such as bioware. (I mean they are trying)

But Ive always been suspect of the numbers of gay and straight people, I mean Ill bet the number of gay people are under represented by the fact that since its taboo a good number who are gay are hiding it and a good number who say they are straight are really bi. I would love some hard numbers on this but its one of thoes things that till sociaty isnt afraid of it, you will never get honesty with it.
 

MajoraPersona

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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
I'd like to make an ammendment to that: I have slight homophobia as a direct result of other guys approaching me in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. Ranging from 'getting a little too close' to 'offering credit card numbers'. I'm not exaggerating either.

I am amongst the group that "doesn't really care". As long as they're not specifically trying to come onto me in Florence during what I'm treating as my graduation trip with people my little brother's age and the last days where (to my knowledge) my whole family is still technically together and I'm looking sharp in my lambskin jacket and genuine Roman-bought and over-priced 20 euro Fedora (though I'd give my life for one of those hats), I can deal with it. No judging of the person as a whole, either; I'm fully capable of dealing with someone I'm afraid tried to violate me in the past in a friendly manner.

Keeping in mind that I'm paranoid, have difficulty with social situations, and have raised the question of my own sexuality in the past (answer = straight), I may have blown each situation out of proportion.

TL;DR: I blather on about things I don't care about to make points I don't have.
 

Andronicus

Terror Australis
Mar 25, 2009
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Sorry, but I don't really have 2 cents to contribute to the conversation, but I wanted to thank you for writing this article all the same.

I'm not a fan of tags like "gay" or "straight". They say love is unconditional, but then people add "as long as your not gay", which makes no sense to me. If love is real, then who am I to question where you find it?

I admit that I have never played your mods, but I shall definitely put it on my "To Do" list for when school exams finish. But it's a nice article all the same, so thankyou for taking the time to write it.
 

Lorechaser

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occamsnailfile said:
Marcus Fenix could easily be gay and have a picture of his partner in his wallet that he shows to someone just to dare the plot gods to try and kill his invincible badass self.
*That* would make me play Gears.

I can only imagine the shock to the average tough guy when he finds that out. Would he, in fact, cease playing immediately?

Happily, it seems that "Noob" is far more pervasive that "Gay" or "******" in all the online shooters I play now. I suspect it's because, for the most part, teens could really care less about someone's sexuality. Judging by the people my daughter knows, somewhere around 70% of high school kids identify as gay or bi. But then again, they still have pride rallies and put up posters, so mebbe it's just who she hangs with.

I've found saying things like "No, I'm straight, but thanks for asking!" confuses the hell out of the people that throw out gay as a random word.
 

jymkata

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I have a confession to make.
One of my friends (who apparently had forgotten that I came out to him a week ago) was complaining that there was no 'straight' option in your (fantastic) game.
Without knowing anything else about it, I instantly downloaded it.
Sorry for being such a philistine
 

SoullessSolace

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I must say i loved the article... while i differ on a few small points none of it is big or important enough to warrant a rant. I am part of the 18-35 heterosexual white male gamer demographic but even i have wondered about when games will add homosexuality into a game, not as a mechanic or plot point, but rather as a part of everyday "life" inside the game. While i have not played "Handle with Care" the way it is done is perfect in my opinion.
 

Samurai Goomba

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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.
 

The Youth Counselor

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Samurai Goomba said:
Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.
In Spartan culture the relationship between males, specifically between a man and a boy [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartan_pederasty] were considered the most sacred of all. It was legally instituted and men of eligible age were actually fined for not engaging in a pederast relationship.
 

Samurai Goomba

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The Youth Counselor said:
Samurai Goomba said:
Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.
In Spartan culture the relationship between males, specifically between a man and a boy [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartan_pederasty] were considered the most sacred of all. It was legally instituted and men of eligible age were actually fined for not engaging in a pederast relationship.
Oh, THOSE Spartans. The ones that actually exist in real life.

Okay, well... Those Spartans did some crazy stuff. Not the gay part, the bit about pedophilia.

I think the samurai had a similar thing going, but it was more situational. I'm not entirely sure.
 

Knight Templar

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I never got what the issue was with having a homosexual protagonist, but then I didn't really see the need for one either. I understand now of course, moving the medium forward as an art form and all that, but most gamers seem to still think along lines of "why should we?" or as I did, which is not thinking about it at all. I think thats very sad, that an entire demographic of possable protagonists is shuned not because it has any problems, but because people have a problem with it for not real reason.
 

oathblade

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you have a number of amazingly good points and insight and then..

"Because if I can't escape from reality through videogames, you shouldn't either. "

Hateful intolerance as a joke...the thing youve been arguing against...

"Because games about gay people are unpopular and unprofitable, and thus no one else will make them."

Not in America land founded by people who thought married couples should sleep with a board between them. When you found a country like that things are slow to change its true.

There are other things, but I just want to say you had a wonderful article and then shot yourself in the foot in the last few paragraphs. I hope that was supposed to be some sort of ironic message.
 

DaBozz

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May 27, 2009
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You know I personly am straight, however I for one would welcome more games where you can play as gay-bi-lesbain, because it's different if games are truly about escape why can't I escape and do things I would not do in real life, prance around naked or chat up male NPC's with welsh voices. for example in any game where I have a choice I play as a girl, why?
not because I tranny or anything like that, its because you ALWAYS play as a man in other games its boring, and given the choice would you rather stare at a male bum in fallout3 or a woman in a sexy nighty.

this is why I enjoyed fable2 so much, in terms of gameplay it sucked, however you don't have to follow the mold of playing straight male ALL THE TIME.

so yes, its time devolpers say "STFU" to the US market and gave poeple more choice.
just Imagine a gay kratos, or master cheif in a mini-skirt. :D
 

EmeraldGreen

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Mar 19, 2009
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Robert Yang said:
Douk said:
Homophobia = FEAR of gay people.
Fear = disdain, distrust, nervousness, anxiety, irritation, intolerance.
Phobia isn't just fear - it's irrational, petrifying, panic-inducing fear. Not what "homophobia" generally refers to.

(I had altophobia when I was a kid. I remember once being taken to a museum and having to crawl up the stairs because I was too frightened to stand on them. Even though I was really embarrassed about it, I couldn't bring myself to stand up on those stairs. Fortunately, I grew out of it - mostly. I'm still not comfortable with heights, but I couldn't call my fear a phobia any more.)

That said, "homophobia" means what we use it to mean, and nitpicking about its roots achieves nothing.
 

Dcill

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I really liked this article. I liked the point you had about playing videogames doesn't really allow you to escape reality but to see it much clearer. That's a really good point, and thinking about it. I think videogames, like a movie or book with a good story could help more people empathize with characters that are not them. Nice work.
 

Eicha

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I've been a long-time watcher of videos on the Escapist and this article finally got me to register.

To mention something k-ossuburb said on the first page, on lesbianism in games. That too is horribly censored; my girlfriend and I LOVE the Harvest Moon games and have played as either gender in every game possible. I play DS and she plays DS Cute mostly, and I have no qualms about switching. I'm confident enough in my sexuality to play as a girl and flirt with guys. Hell, if there was more of an emotional component to the relationships in the HM games I wouldn't mind having the male character marry a dude (though the men in HM games are for the most part not particularly attractive, but that's not the point.)

Anyways, the thing I was going to bring up before I started rambling is something that really pissed me off. My girlfriend informed me that in the Japanese version of DS Cute the female main character could marry another female character and on a random day after that she comes home with a kid. You can't do that in the American version, of course, cause OMIGOD IF KIDS SEE THIS THEY'RE GONNA MARRY KIDS OF THE SAME SEX AND ADOPT KIDS AND CORRUPT THEM TOO *WHINE WHINE WHINE*. The more I hear about this issue the more my faith in humanity and equality keeps slipping away.

Aversion to homosexuality is basically racism, in a sense. I'm Jewish, and can understand completely how it is to be hated for being who you are. It would be great to see homosexuality, whether it be between men or women, in media in a more mature fasion. Maybe someday American culture can evolve to be as tolerable and free as Japanese.
 

Hamster at Dawn

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Mar 19, 2008
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I think it would be good if there were more games with gay protagonists. There would probably be some controversy over it but hopefully it would lead to a decline in homophobia. Well there is the new DLC chapter for GTA IV that comes out later this month but I'm not sure if that will put a positive light on the gay community or not.
 

Foolish Mortal

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Ryokugax said:
Gay main characters or just general gay characters knocking about in the background fixing things, operating computers or possibly beating the shit out of something, whatever, there's always going to be a paranoid closet-case freaking out because they fear that the gay character will come out of the screen, The Ring style, and dress them in pastels, make them wear a beret and stuff quiche down their throats.
That is easily one of the best sentences I have ever heard in my life. Bravo, sir.
 

Ryokugax

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BuggyBY said:
That description of closet-cases' fears was hilarious, and I am now hoping someone uses it as inspiration for a flash animation. You may want to suggest it to Landover Baptist or other satire sites - but then, their party line would be that most if not all computer games are for wimpy godless gays who will surely burn in hell for all eternity.
I have no intention of doing so but thanks for the appreciation of my humour. And as for godless gays who are sure to burn in hell, I'll be burning in hell if there is one but it certainly won't be for being gay...

It's for my advocation of Satanism.
 

Angerwing

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Jun 1, 2009
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Samurai Goomba said:
Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.
It sort of goes back to the question of whether or not it's genetically acquired, but the Spartan society had homosexuality as a social norm. They did MATE with women, but they did that because it was their duty to make babies, but they had sex with guys out of choice. They also believed that homosexual relations would strengthen the bonds between soldiers (note, Spartan men lived in barracks until they were 30).
 

Azahiel

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That reminds me:

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3316

Yeah...

Great article btw.
 

theultimateend

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I've never seen being gay as a special thing. Which always makes it hard to understand the struggle. To me being gay is no more wild or extravegant than being straight. It is just another biological direction that organisms (and indeed more than just humans) take.

With that said I do get pretty irate when people badmouth or abuse homosexual folks because it is so utterly stupid. There is nothing wrong with homosexuality, anyone stating such things is working entirely off of opinion. Because once we slip even harmless biological differences into "wrong" we enter a pretty nasty world that I doubt many people want to ever live in.

Hamster at Dawn said:
I think it would be good if there were more games with gay protagonists. There would probably be some controversy over it but hopefully it would lead to a decline in homophobia. Well there is the new DLC chapter for GTA IV that comes out later this month but I'm not sure if that will put a positive light on the gay community or not.
It wouldn't.

The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).

Education leads to many good things. Far more than lying or propaganda.

Basically if the character in a game is gay because that's who they are, then fine. If the character in the game is MADE gay because someone is trying to get a message across, it is going to result in nothing positive (or little positive).

It is a difficult line to define but it is obvious when experienced.

PS. I too look forward to the Ballad of Gay Toni, if I'm not mistaken that was one of the only characters I really liked in GTA IV. Had very little to do with his sexual persuasion and tons to do with his copius level of character (just a smidge below outlandish).
 

temguru

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Maybe its some kind of "Feminising" of the common male that turns poeple off of the idea, but as a bisexual, I obviously find homophobia unprovoked and just outright immature. I consider every person on this earth equels, no less. Media reinforcement of the stereotype doesnt help either, as I actually dont really fit the stereotypes. I dont act very feminine, I curse like a fucking sailor, and I dont spend hours fussing over what to wear. But, overall, poeple are afraid of things out of the norm, and afraid of things they dont really understand. Im lucky to live in a relativly progressive nation, and most of my friends and family have no qualms with my bisexuallity, so as long as I have the poeple that care about me, and who I care about, Ill be happy.
 

flatten_the_skyline

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Kiutu said:
flatten_the_skyline said:
It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?
Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.
Sure, there are some characteristics many homosexual men share, and some people I know fit into the stereotypes just right. But I think what happens in movies (and some games) is that the homosexual character is limited to shallow stereotypic features. The first gay person in a game that came to my mind when I read this article was "El Burro" from GTA 1, who, in the end of the chapter, is dressed in latex and offers "to reward you personally". Sure GTA is satire, and celebrates political incorrectness, but...

I've seen few good movies where there's been put some effort in character development of the homosexual protagonist. A deep, gay character. That's what Im looking for. Not just some sidekick who's gay to be funny.
 

Kiutu

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flatten_the_skyline said:
Kiutu said:
flatten_the_skyline said:
It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?
Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.
Sure, there are some characteristics many homosexual men share, and some I know fit into the stereotypes just right. But I think what happens in movies (and some games) is that the homosexual character is limited to shallow stereotypic features. The first gay person in a game that came to my mind when I read this article was "El Burro" from GTA 1, who, in the end of the chapter, is dressed in latex and offers "to reward you personally". Sure GTA is satire, and celebrates political incorrectness, but...

I've seen few good movies where there's been put some effort in character development of the homosexual protagonist. A deep, gay character. That's what Im looking for. Not just some sidekick who's gay to be funny.
Maybe they just need some help from the writers of Queer as Folk. Sure, half of it is practically graphic gay porn, but the non porn parts I think do a good job of making realistic gay characters without making em all straight acting, but not making them all characatures, though some pop up, but some are exactly like that shallow stereotype sometimes.
 

cobra_ky

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theultimateend said:
The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).
I'm by all (well, most) means liberal, but i recognize that blind hatred of homosexuality isn't a guiding principle of the conservative movement.

unfortunately i think you're overestimating the number of moderates in this country, especially since our political system is designed to marginalize them.
 

jjofearth

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I played that game. It was fucking amazing. So yes, you can have gaymes, in fact, should have gaymes.
 

theultimateend

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cobra_ky said:
theultimateend said:
The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).
I'm by all (well, most) means liberal, but i recognize that blind hatred of homosexuality isn't a guiding principle of the conservative movement.

unfortunately i think you're overestimating the number of moderates in this country, especially since our political system is designed to marginalize them.
No it may not be. But by definition of the term conservative you have to be conservative in mind to act in such a manner.

It would make no sense to be liberally minded (again I'm working off definitions I have NO idea what it means specifically in politics) and hate homosexuality. Though you could be a moderate and manage it.

Overall every single person I know well enough to have the name of in the non internets says they are moderate. Likewise most polls that I've seen on your various non 24 hour news shows (like the daily show) show a large number of people are moderates.

But again, moderates don't have the ideological drive and thus they don't get things done. At least that is what I'm observing...I'm cool with being wrong :).
 

Blondegoth

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The vast majority of "straight" men and women (I have seen more than a little homophobia from women) have been brought up in a world where exploring your sexuality is concidered a baaad thing. Liberal, moderate, conservative whatever, there are very few people (statistically speaking) who have fully explored what their sexuality is.

I had homosexual feelings, it took exploring them to realise that i am straight. I am now comfortable in my sexuality and in others. Even if you are straight you can have feelings or urges and it is from here that I belive that a lot of homophobia arises. Not "closet-cases" but people that are unable or unwilling to explore themselves.

Any examples of homophobia I have witnessed have been from either immature individuals or people who were insecure about their sexuality.
To feel better about themselves they put people down. Its also part of clannish behaviour, people will clan together against the "Outsider" to feel more secure together.

There is more than a little truth to the phrase
"Me against my brother, Me and my brother against our father, Me, my brother and father against the outsider"

Now im not excusing anyone, I think that people who refuse to better themselves and remain ignorant are repugnant. In all honesty sexuallity should not be a big thing, the same as race or religion. There are better things to be prejudiced against, Like spiders (too many eyes and legs!) or Dolphins (never trust anything that smiles all the time)
But thats just me and what do I know?
 

Florion

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Three pages of "YESSSSS" makes anything I say redundant about how awesome that article was. But it was awesome.

What surprised me was that The Escapist told you to put your sexuality under wraps in that other article! I guess the alternate outcome would be too predictable: the community would automatically home in on even a passing reference of homosexuality and the comments would be significantly diverted from the actual focus of the article; however, I think the answer isn't to suppress every reference, but to make more references until it becomes accepted and commonplace enough to be ignored the way a straight reference would be ignored. Surely you aren't the only gay person writing for The Escapist, yes? I'm fairly certain that offhand references to male writers having girlfriends generally go without especial scrutiny.

On the whole, I'm proud of how socially progressive The Escapist is. I was particularly happy that this issue is all about LGBT in games, since homophobia is such an issue there. But I hope it commits to supporting LGBT at all times, and not just most of the time.

(Disclaimer: I haven't memorized every article and comment on The Escapist verbatim, so if there are offhand homosexual references that weren't dissected in the comments section, hooray. <3)
 

Robert Yang

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May 22, 2009
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Florion said:
What surprised me was that The Escapist told you to put your sexuality under wraps in that other article!
Err, perhaps I should've allotted a few more words to that sentence in the article... To be specific, an editor brought up the concern of homophobia and gave me the choice to censor it or not. The recent comments on my mod convinced me to heed their advice, so I explained that to them and agreed to change it... Then they suggested I channel that frustration into another article, which is what's here. So actually, I think it was oddly more productive in the end.
 

LewsTherin

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Meh, as long as a gay character in the game isn't it's selling point (something along the lines of look how PC we are!) as a straight male I don't mind.
 

Blow_Pop

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Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
I made this argument last night while on the phone with one of the guys I work with. Me being a bisexual female in a workplace of straight men.....I think we were talking about something different and differences between gays and straight people came up.

I loved this article.
Ignorance is bliss to some(as far as the Spartans go) and intolerance is a way of life for others. I don't agree with either but really its that persons loss to not see how amazing of a person someone else is just because of them being gay or female or what not.

Video games should incorporate female main characters and gay main characters. I fully stand by that. And make them good games not just random crap to shut people up.....
 

Lorechaser

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This might be of interest to people reading this thread:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2fP2WcAxrvVMICvq4ZM9KsA_3d_3d

"This survey is designed to learn more about video game players. If you decide to participate, you will be asked several sets of questions asking about your opinions, your video game use, and your basic background information. The survey is targeted to people who play videogames. If you are not a video game player, do not take this survey. Additionally, this survey asks questions about sexual identity and gender orientation. If you are uncomfortable with these topics, do not take this survey. It is perfectly ok to quit taking the survey at any time."
 

Booze Zombie

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The whole saying "******" thing in online games annoys me.
I know the meaning of the word, the homophobic meaning... and the online meaning is quite obviously derived from that version of the word.

But people seem so ignorant of what they're actually saying, they think they're just yelling retard, it seems.
I find it very annoying.
Not to mention the use of the word "gay" in place of "stupid" and "strange".
Even less people notice that one, mostly 12 year olds to dumb to even care anyway.

Racism is now considered bad by most people, yet this underlying harassment of people for their sexual choices remains... and don't for a minute think I'm so naive as to think that all people who use these words are ignorant of their meaning, there's a good chance a fair few of them are homophobes on the side, too.

I just can't "get" the mentality behind it all, it's not how I work.
 

ICanThinkOfAName

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I made an account when i read your article. I am i straight gamer but unlike most of those people, i dont cuss using words like gay and all that, i actually support the whole thing because everyone wants to escape and even not develipers should embrace different factors of different ppls lives and cultures
 

Space Spoons

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I'm still waiting for the day when a mediocre, derivative, totally mainstream and completely overhyped game gets released that features the big, burly Space Marine running off to fight aliens so his husband and children can live in the Earth Colonies of Saturn without being processed as alien foodstuffs.

If in all the media blitz surrounding the game, all the "EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK!" articles in magazines, all the "Hands-On Preview" articles on Kotaku and Destructoid and all the other video game websites, if throughout that entire maelstrom of coverage, the Space Marine's sexual orientation isn't mentioned at all (except maybe as a passing reference to his husband, the same way any article might refer to a game character's love interest)... That's how you'll know it's not a big deal anymore.

Probably isn't gonna happen for another few decades, but a guy can dream.
 

Angerwing

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aprilmarie said:
Angerwing said:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.
I made this argument last night while on the phone with one of the guys I work with. Me being a bisexual female in a workplace of straight men.....I think we were talking about something different and differences between gays and straight people came up.

I loved this article.
Ignorance is bliss to some(as far as the Spartans go) and intolerance is a way of life for others. I don't agree with either but really its that persons loss to not see how amazing of a person someone else is just because of them being gay or female or what not.

Video games should incorporate female main characters and gay main characters. I fully stand by that. And make them good games not just random crap to shut people up.....
Pretty much the last paragraph. I fully support having gay main characters, but the problem is, why should they be gay when being straight changes the story in no way? Wider market from having straight protagonists, and since gaming companies are out to make money, a wider market is more important than individual rights. But in order to make a game with a gay protagonist it has to be irrelevant to the story, as mentioned in the article, otherwise it will just be a gimmick and the game will invariably be bad. But that leaves us with a regular game with a protagonist who just happens to be gay. An then we come back to my previous point; why, without any other agenda, would a video game company make a game with a gay male protagonist, when a straight male protagonist will make more money?

That is the real problem discussed I think, not the lack of gay protagonist games out there, but the lack of acceptance for gayness in games.

By the way, I am a fully straight male, under the age of 20.
 

shMerker

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I'm a little confused as to why you post these news items about your articles. If people aren't reading them maybe it's because they don't realize that they're there. The front page of the site is kind of cluttered. Perhaps the articles would attract more attention if they were given more prominent space on the front page for a longer period of time instead of being forced down as soon as someone releases a video.
 

Jake Lockley

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I have yet to encounter anyone online or off that is homophobic. Bigots, yes. Homophobes, no. I have also never encountered a homo online or offline that was someone to be afraid of. What's to fear? The term 'Homophobia' has simply become the new race card. I'll call it what it is - hedonism (as compared to being interested in the biological purpose of life (procreation) and a greater good (survival of the species)).
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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shMerker said:
I'm a little confused as to why you post these news items about your articles. If people aren't reading them maybe it's because they don't realize that they're there.
You just answered your own question. :)
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Not terribly long ago (in a cosmic sense) I wrote a post [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.96480?page=1] about an issue somewhat similar to this, where a talented Modder was being harassed for posting nude male models and clothing that displays male genitalia for the games Morrowind and Oblivion (for which there are literally tens of thousands of different nude female models and clothing showing off breasts and vaginas). The kicker in my tale, though, was that the Modder is female herself and yet was derided for creating "gay" Mods, as though only those works which cater to heterosexual males should be allowed.

As others have said both here and in my thread, as well as in my own experience, those who complain the loudest about this sort of thing are usually the most insecure about their own sexuality or place in society, and therefore feel the need to object the loudest when anything that might force them to react comes along. "Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much" really comes into play here.

However, another aspect that seriously bothers me is those responses from otherwise well-meaning heterosexuals that basically equate to "Well, I'm okay with how this is set up, so why does it bother you so much?". It's a distinct and disturbing lack of empathy for others who are already struggling to gain acceptance for a way of life that, in its basest aspects, HARMS NO ONE. Seriously, fellow straight guys, let's "man up" and put out a hand to give our gay friends and neighbors some help. If you're as secure in your sexuality as you should be, then Chet in Accounting being gay shouldn't matter any more than him being a Red Sox fan or a collector of prog rock albums. Real men don't let some idiot's biases keep them from doing what they know is right. Right?

On a side note- some in this thread should ask "why should the protagonist be gay?" To that, I respond "why should the protagonist be straight?" If it's some minor blurb in a character bio, then why should it matter? And if it comes up on a more visible level in the game itself... well, come on, Lara Croft flirted at one of the male characters back in the original Tomb Raider, did that bother anyone? Don't be afraid to challenge your head as much as your thumbs.
 

Drakey

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I suppose If I were to make a game, the love interest of the main character would be of same sex origins. I would want them to be a gay couple only due to the fact that I understand it.

That would be why the article was written as a way of saying (to me), just going on this topic seems silly inside, because in another aire this article should have been about the success or details of the game.

cheers to the audiences cheer
 

SomeUnregPunk

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I remember playing doom. A sexless beast of a man.
Now we get games where the sexuality of a character is considered the first and foremost important aspect of the characters. Just look at how some of these characters are dressed. If I'm going into a gun fight, I'm wearing more than shirt that barely covers my chest.

I'm waiting for the day when games will get past this and just use a character's sex or orientation as part of the character history.

I.E. You play the entire game trying to get home to your wife Jackie and when you do finally reach the final cutscene, He is as big as a tub of lard and he's eating donuts while crying over your rumored death. Prior to the ending scene, all you knew is that the character loved his wife and was willing to beat the snot out of everyone just so he go home.
 

shMerker

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Susan Arendt said:
shMerker said:
I'm a little confused as to why you post these news items about your articles. If people aren't reading them maybe it's because they don't realize that they're there.
You just answered your own question. :)
Yeah, it just seems like just making the articles more prominent to begin with would solve the same problem more elegantly.
 

DayDark

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I think we need more gay in gaming, I'm totally straight, but come on, gay people are always under fire, for unfair reasons. Most games are about fighting back, put me inside a gay character (no pun intended), and then hand me a shotgun, let me put down some discriminating pricks. At least it will be original.
 

Kwatsu

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Douk said:
Homophobia = FEAR of gay people.
Some kid called me gay on Xbox live, I asked him how he knew (I'm not really gay), he said because he fucked my mom. This lead me to the conclusion that he is my father who left when I was a kid. Man he sounds young, but I was so glad to see him I sent him tons of messages asking him to come back home and he never replies ;_;
Kudos to you, sir.
 

cobra_ky

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Nov 20, 2008
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Drakey said:
I suppose If I were to make a game, the love interest of the main character would be of same sex origins. I would want them to be a gay couple only due to the fact that I understand it.
that's why it would be great if games were designed by a more diverse group of people.
 

boholikeu

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Aug 18, 2008
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I enjoyed Yang's mod, and I definitely agree with him that there need to be more gay protagonists in video games, but I still don't think that making the player character in Handle With Care gay was a good idea. I realize that part of what Yang is trying to do here is show how little that detail matters, and how it should be a "non issue" when we encounter a gay character in video games. Unfortunately though, the very nature of Yang's medium (small scale first person mod) coupled with his chosen setting (couple's therapy) MAKES it a big deal. Players inevitably want to know as much as possible about the character they are playing, and since the mod gives us very little information about James' background aside from his homosexuality it's only natural for players to assume that that is what the game is going to be "about". If Yang really wanted to play down the importance of his protagonist's sexuality he really shouldn't have included it in one of the first lines of dialogue.
 

wonkify

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Oct 2, 2009
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I'm not sure you're asking for too much. With the majority of hetero interaction in games seemingly locked at the level of sniggering, horny 13 year old boys, getting things right with homosexual relationships seems a little advanced.
Here's hoping for more maturity in the future in all aspects of gaming. Fun and smart go together every time, maturity should make gaming better yet.
 

Robert Yang

Always Gets Everything Wrong
May 22, 2009
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boholikeu said:
If Yang really wanted to play down the importance of his protagonist's sexuality he really shouldn't have included it in one of the first lines of dialogue.
Well, one of the weird paradoxes I talk about in the article is about how "playing down" the importance was my way of "playing it up." It was an important detail to me, obviously, but still just a detail.

Which is why it disturbed me when people critique the "gayness" as the main "flaw," when (a) my mod is riddled with much more substantial flaws, and (b) there isn't even much of this stereotypical "gayness" to speak of, and (c) it's almost like saying casting Lara Croft as a white woman is a design flaw.

PS: what happens when I "play it down" completely, as in Polaris, is that I get accused of tricking people, so I guess I just can't win with some people (though I think of the narrator in Polaris as more of an ambiguous gendered character rather than a man)
 

lostbuthappy

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Sep 30, 2009
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I always wanted to make a game about two men falling in love (oh wait, I didnt mention the word gay in the sentence), and then go on a crowbar-swinging monster-killing ride to brokeba... city 17 where Jimmy T. saves his ex-boyfriend Gordon F. from Alyx V. I obviously never made it.
Now Rockstar Games does it and they don't fuck around: WARNING, this game contains at least one GAY character! GAY TONY! Discuss it in the forums you stupid nerds and do like it cause we define what's cool, got it? (What was I talking about? Oh yes!) Of course this is the real topic as even The Escapist did not only accept but even asked for THE GAY. Yay, thank you so much for a chance to speak out. If you don't mind I'll be going somewhere else now.

{
cobra_ky said:
that's why it would be great if games were designed by a more diverse group of people.
It would help tremendously if they chose to design games FOR a more diverse group of people.
}
 

Sporky111

Digital Wizard
Dec 17, 2008
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DayDark said:
I think we need more gay in gaming, I'm totally straight, but come on, gay people are always under fire, for unfair reasons. Most games are about fighting back, put me inside a gay character (no pun intended), and then hand me a shotgun, let me put down some discriminating pricks. At least it will be original.
I'd play that.

Really well written article. It sucks how the editor actually made the author edit out his sexual orientation in an earlier issue. Even worse, is that it would have largely gone unnoticed anyway. This is just a great issue for breaking down some barriers, because I know that some of those ignorant, loudmouthed pricks are on this site.
 

boholikeu

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Robert Yang said:
Well, one of the weird paradoxes I talk about in the article is about how "playing down" the importance was my way of "playing it up." It was an important detail to me, obviously, but still just a detail.

Which is why it disturbed me when people critique the "gayness" as the main "flaw," when (a) my mod is riddled with much more substantial flaws, and (b) there isn't even much of this stereotypical "gayness" to speak of, and (c) it's almost like saying casting Lara Croft as a white woman is a design flaw.

PS: what happens when I "play it down" completely, as in Polaris, is that I get accused of tricking people, so I guess I just can't win with some people (though I think of the narrator in Polaris as more of an ambiguous gendered character rather than a man)
Thanks for the reply.

Actually, thematically speaking I do think the "gayness" is the game's main flaw, but only because it acts as a sort of red herring for what the focus of the game is going to be. Due to the political nature of the whole issue, making your main character gay isn't so much like making Lara Croft a woman as it is like making your protagonist a Tibetan monk and setting the game in China. James' homosexuality is going to stand out even to people that aren't necessarily homophobic, and when the story of Handle With Care doesn't "follow through" with that detail it can all seem a little distracting.

Anyway, that's just my ivory tower critique of it. I realize that the complaints on your forums (especially the one quoted in your article) are based on discrimination, which is why people complained about Polaris too. Thanks for writing such a great article about this on the Escapist, and I can't wait for your next mod!
 

snownd

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May 10, 2008
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Thank you for this view point. I honestly have been trying to use gay phrases less when I play video games because I know that there are people out there that dislike it,mabey even loath it, when people like me do such things. So in short I want to say that your thoughts words and actions, I believe, are a step in the right direction.
 

tehwalrus

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Sep 3, 2008
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As a white male bisexual from Canada, who has spent alot of time at 4chan(where every insult is appended with -fag, and gay people have to be insulted as gayfags) I really cannot understand why this is something that matters so much to gay people, but the author of the article definately has the right idea: if you really think there should be more games with gay protagonists, go out and write some. Break the ice so the big companies can do it after all the stigmatism is gone, because if that sort of hatemail he's getting for his mod is what to expect, they're right for sticking to straight protags and not losing the sales.


As a sidenote, why is it that everyone's okay with being hateful to ignorant people? They can't help it, it's just how they are.
 

MrJohnson

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May 13, 2009
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Man I feel bad know. I use the "f" word all the time, and I'm bisexual. Actually, I've been using it less since it lost it's originality. I suppose I should move to somewhere more tolerant too though. Not that Iowa is bad.
 

UnSub

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Sep 3, 2003
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because we need to evolve past the same male power fantasies, those same damn games with big-muscled, half-naked men shooting their big thick ... railguns ... all over each other's faces.
I understand the correct response in this situation would be BOOM! HEADSHOT!

An interesting article - hopefully the situation will change over time (not that I'm thinking GTgAy: The Adventures of Gay Tony, Who Is Totally Gay is going to improve gamer perceptions in the US about gay characters).

Off the top of my head I can only think of one lesbian character - from the Fear Effect games on the Playstation. That's a while back too.
 

Sypher2

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Oct 15, 2009
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Has anyone else noticed this is NOT a counter strike mod?

It REQUIRES HL2:E2.

The magazine on the table in the little room you start in is very phallic. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

As I was playing I noticed my characters name was James and that the person I was in therapy with was a male, But I didn't really care, I was busy being inside a mind trying to store memory's and learning that I get paid shit wages as a worker in James' brain.

The Therapist gives negative responses to the events that end the game with James and Their partner remaining married
and Positive responses when you destroy a memory create and you end up getting divorced

Yes I thought he was gay, no I'm not gay, but I enjoyed this game Regardless, What are the real messages anyway?
The ones we decide we've received
 

srpilha

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Dec 24, 2008
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The sex would be awful.
why on earth?? seems unfair to assume I couldn't get any better through practice... :)

great article, and a good issue of the newsletter altogether
 

Hulyen

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Apr 20, 2009
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Lorechaser said:
occamsnailfile said:
Marcus Fenix could easily be gay and have a picture of his partner in his wallet that he shows to someone just to dare the plot gods to try and kill his invincible badass self.
*That* would make me play Gears.

I can only imagine the shock to the average tough guy when he finds that out. Would he, in fact, cease playing immediately?

Happily, it seems that "Noob" is far more pervasive that "Gay" or "******" in all the online shooters I play now. I suspect it's because, for the most part, teens could really care less about someone's sexuality. Judging by the people my daughter knows, somewhere around 70% of high school kids identify as gay or bi. But then again, they still have pride rallies and put up posters, so mebbe it's just who she hangs with.

I've found saying things like "No, I'm straight, but thanks for asking!" confuses the hell out of the people that throw out gay as a random word.
Same way people responded when they found out that Samus Aran was *gasp* a GIRL!

....huh. There's some interesting allegories to females in gaming and gays in gaming to be made there (hurrah, people think they're still minorities!) but I'm not talented or sleep....filled enough to do it.
 

Fullforce

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Aug 27, 2007
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Fantastic read. Really enjoyed reading it, and I always love a bit of self-deprecation!

The argument about the lack of gay guys in videogames comes with the implication that there are an overwhelming amount of straight guys in videogames. I disagree with this. For example, at no point (that I can recall!) in Gears of War was it ever established or made a point that Marcus Fenix is straight. Or gay. Or anything. It's irrelevant to the storyline. It's a game about cutting people up with chainsaws, so it doesn't really matter. But of course it's assumed he's straight, which I suppose is fair enough.

And of course, more relevantly, Gordon Freeman. Freeman's never shown as gay or straight and like James, he doesn't talk. So what's the real difference?

I suppose my point is that there isn't a majority of straight characters in videogames, just an implied majority. The only games I can think of that go out of their way to establish the sexuality of the characters involved is GTA (Notably GTAIV, The Ballad of Gay Tony) which helps flesh out the characters and give them a more convincing aura.

By including a LGBT character, you are making a point about that character and your videogame. But by including a straight character, surely you are making the same point?

(On a side note, I find it interesting that in GoW, Marcus Fenix's sexuality is never defined but Dom's is. And while Dom isn't the main playable character, of course if you're playing co-op, he becomes that main playable character for one of you.)
 

Patrick O'Leary

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May 25, 2010
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'When a gay person hears "******," they hear it as a question'

E-fucking-xactly. I've recently been trying to describe the source of that burning sensation I feel when it's said, and this the perfect phrasing. Great article.
 
Aug 25, 2009
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Bizarrely enough I think Star Trek summarised the problem of homoesexuality in any media a while ago. They were criticised for not including any homosexual characters in ST: TNG, and their response was 'the only characters we showed in relationships just happened to be straight, and what do want the background gay characters to do? Should we have them prance around the ship?'

Maybe the first bit is a bit of a copout, but seriously, if a character's sexuality isn't either being overblown (Will and Grace) largely ignored (Dumbledore) or being used as the central point of a developing relationship in which the homosexuality is the entire point of the story (can't think of a well known example), then what exactly is a gay character supposed to do to make the audience very aware that 'THIS ONE RIGHT HERE IS GAY!'

People don't go around loudly announcing that they're heterosexual or homosexual in real life (except for a few examples, but there's nutjobs everywhere in life so...) but for some reason we expect for homosexual characters to be very clearly identified, and if not then a whole host of moral conservatives crawl from the woodwork declaring they were tricked into watching/reading/playing a gay character.

If only we could treat homosexuality in media the way it is in real life, some people live utterly normal lives and go home to a partner of the opposite gender, some people live utterly normal lives and go home to a partner of the same gender, and it's no one's business or concern which group you fall into.
 

DoomyMcDoom

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Jul 4, 2008
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it is interesting how some people can be so senselessly hateful in this world, of course where I live, I've never seen such hatred for the most part against homosexual people outside highschool, and about a year after I left that god forsaken hellhole, they started expelling people for hatespeech and all sorts of stuff... it's actually harder to go through school here as an average heterosexual white male than it is anyone else... but hey, I'm a heterosexual white male, but I also have friends from all walks of life, from all sorts of cultural backgrounds all different colours, all sorts of sexual alignments, I'm not one to judge, of course I also react the same way to ALL forms of unwanted advances, be it from a guy or a girl who I ain't into, I've been called everything from gay to homophobic in so many situations I must be the gayest homophobe in existence! :p but seriously, intolerant people will be intolerant, haters gonna hate if you will... I was picked on bullied and treated like shit by everyone around me including my family until I nearly killed myself to escape it, and was medicated to hell and back then story of my life blah blah blah... you get the picture.

AND I'M THE AVERAGE one, I'm white, I'm average height, lil hefty but almost average weight, I'm smart and stuff, but I don't think much of it, and I get shit on by people for it, and they're white and hetero too, so if yer gay, join the club friend, people would hate on you either way, you don't even gotta give em a reason.
 

Grey Day for Elcia

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I wish people would stop talking about homosexuality in games like it's a big deal. Who gives a shit? I have yet to see an article about the sexuality of Link from The Legend of Zelda. Or are we just going to assume he is straight and pour on the hetero-guilt? I'm bi, I guess (it's a long story) and I couldn't give a flying turd who or what the people in video games want to love and/or get under the covers with. If you're spending enough time thinking about it, you're the one with the problem--the rest of us are busy not caring.

It seems the more people pretend it's an issue, the more it becomes on. We go out of our ways to invent sexuality where there isn't one. It's a video game, for Christ sake. How many times do we have to hear people say "Oh but there aren't any gay characters in video games." Says who? Crash Bandicoot from the game of the same name is now gay. There you go.

P-lease.

The article wasn't about that and it was actually well written. But I wanted to get that out there. So there you go, lol.
 

Grey Day for Elcia

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Patrick O said:
'When a gay person hears "******," they hear it as a question'

E-fucking-xactly. I've recently been trying to describe the source of that burning sensation I feel when it's said, and this the perfect phrasing. Great article.
It's entirely misplaced anger. ****** doesn't refer to a homosexual in any way and if you let it, you've only yourself to blame. It sounds absurd, but hear this out: klihobop--I invented that word just now and it means heterosexual person, especially in a negative context. From now on, I will shout it at straight people and try to make them feel bad about it. Do you think they will care? Of course not. You know why? Because who gives a shit what I think and who cares what words I want to use to express my thoughts.

If you get angry over a sound, you let them define a word and have power over you. In other words (/pun) they succeed at getting you down because you let them.