The Accidental Lesbian

Chris Gardiner

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The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

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Worgen

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is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
 

AvsJoe

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See, I'm a fan of the second and third options presented in this article. The only character info I like to fill in are the in-game choices I make. I like a story and I want a completed tale, not one I have to add to in order for it to be whole. That's why the Fable and Final Fantasy series' have always appealed to me: the completed (or mostly-completed) stories. Blank slates bore the hell out of me; that's one of the major reasons why I dislike most shooters not called GoldenEye 64.
 

Dirzzit

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Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
 

Worgen

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Dirzzit said:
Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
I think the main page but Im not sure, its the page I go to even when I go there from google
http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/Home/Index
none of the options let me sign up for it or anything
 

BrotherRool

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It's an interesting concept. I'd never really thought about it, because I tend to approach games from a what can they teach me aspect in terms of story, so it's more about games managing to trick the gameplay into revealing things to the player. Which I guess is why FFX works well, because most of the game is about their journey through a receded, problematic world and that's exactly what the gameplay is. In The Company of Myself (the flash platformer) is particularly good at it.

I can see the problem when the purpose of the game is to be the character, I love the approach of writing a game to adapt to a players decisions, it seems like it would solidify the character, as life seems to do, but that must be an enormous amount of work in terms of writing
 

Dirzzit

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Worgen said:
Dirzzit said:
Worgen said:
is there a way to play Echo Bazaar without facebook or twitter? it sounds like a really interesting game but I dont use facebook or twitter and have no intention of getting either one
I signed up without it, are you on the splash screen or the main page?
I think the main page but Im not sure, its the page I go to even when I go there from google
http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com/Home/Index
none of the options let me sign up for it or anything
Dang, thats weird :/

Wish I could help.
 

Dragonrose

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Se she complained that the game maybe possibly made her a little bit almost like a lesbian. And what about the countless games that assume the player's character is either straight or asexual? I wouldn't see her complain then... *sigh* :/

Tis why I love Dragon Age, honestly, no assumptions, plenty of options. <3
 

SageRuffin

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Sweet article. I was never a fan of the "Final Fantasy" approach for reasons that I'll keep to myself, and I never came across the "Diablo" approach.

I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
 

Anachronism

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the identity gap is what gives RPGs their power. It's the space players use to make the game about them, and that's how RPGs engage us so powerfully.
This is exactly my problem with the Final Fantasy method presented here, and with the series as a whole. Now, to be clear, I am not by any stretch saying they're bad games; they are, by and large, quite excellent. Nonetheless, I would argue that they aren't role-playing games; as said in the article, the player is merely along for the ride, watching a role rather than playing it. As Tidus says at the beginning of FFX, "This is my story". He's right. It's his story, not the player's. The player has nothing to do with it. To my mind, this defeats the point of a role-playing game, and interactive storytelling as a whole, because the player has no part in it; story-wise, the average Final Fantasy game is essentially a film that you have to push buttons to watch.

Now, I do think it's important that the game defines a certain amount about the player character in advance, otherwise the actual impact of the character itself is quite limited. In Oblivion, for example, the only thing you know about your character is that they were imprisoned; as a result, I never felt like my character was all that interesting or important, because they were nobody. It's a question of striking the right balance, which is why I think the second option presented in the article is the best one. In Baldur's Gate II, for instance, your character's backstory is already established so that they have a meaningful presence in the world, but how they interact with the world and the characters, and what happens to them as a result, is up to the player. In my opinion, that's the best way of making both the player and the player character feel like they matter.
 

gCrusher

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SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
 

alandavidson

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...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
 

SageRuffin

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gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/
 

gCrusher

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
 

SageRuffin

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gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Stupid demons eating my face! I like my face! I always liked the characters in Diablo because I enjoyed gathering little bits of information from the town and the manual about them. Then, finding out their fates in Diablo II--mind blowing.

I can see why this person would be upset. It's not fun to create something completely your own and then have someone decide something about it without getting your approval first. Always hard finding the right balance for RPGs.
The Warden not talking in Dragon Age Origins has always bothered me. The reason being because of one little choice it gives you when you create your character. Chose your voice. "Oh, okay," I thought, "I'm going with the witty, sarcastic one." I thought all the lines would be said in that voice. Nope. Just a few battle quotes. Why go through all the effort to decide on a voice if you're not going to let me use it?
 

Squigie

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What makes a game an RPG isn't a character sheet or experience points - plenty of genres use those - it's the sense of ownership you feel over your avatar.
Video game genres are defined by gameplay mechanics, not by story aspects. There is nothing preventing a straight platformer or FPS from having a player defined character, and JRPGs are no less RPGs for lacking one.
 

Treblaine

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Chris Gardiner said:
The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

Read Full Article
I don't see the problem, in REAL LIFE people don't get to chose their own sexual-preference, why is it so game breaking for it to happen in game?

You are ROLE PLAYING after all! Play the role!

Though if the game is trying to reflect the GAMER'S preference then it should have taken more explicit clues like which gender you proposition for sex. Anyway, regardless of how you read this, this only indicates transient bisexuality. One lesbian crush does not a lesbian make. It's only official when most of her interest is for females with insignificant interest in males.

As to back-story, I don't think it is fair that the gamer gets to choose what terrible circumstances are befallen on them, whether living as prince or a pauper.

In real life people don't get to chose that, it influences them and changes FUNDAMENTALLY who they are, on such a deep level that it must be left with the player. The player must EXPERIENCE what their character has gone through and either emphasise with them or actually feel they are in the role like an actor really living their role.

But people DO have a choice every day what to do with their experience.

Are YOU seeking revenge for their murdered parents? Or are you seeking Justice? Or Do you just want answers and reconciliation? That is your dynamic decision that is entirely in your head and only works if you live the role. You have to know and experience the loss of your virtual family and then the decision is not what you "plan" to do, but what you do do.

You cannot simply have the situation: "Yeah, my brother got murdered, I just remembered that now. I have no memory of the circumstances or even what my bother looked like nor any memory from my life... but it happened and I think I am supposed to care about this..."


I have a very good mechanic for this: Dreams

Sleeping is a vital element of RPGs, almost universal. And every time you do, you remember, you remember what happened. See to give a back story you don't need everything, you just need the important bits, stylistically presented the important parts. Enough to give you drive for your quest. This can also be done with flashbacks, hallucinations and vitrual reality constructs. You could even use de ja vu mechanics (who knows how).

Ever notice how in a dream you can't control yourself. Especially vivid memories, this can be so effective in game.

See from day-to-day moment-to-moment people don't remember all the events of their life, but when prompted they will remember. When left alone for their mind to wander.

Say your character is wandering through the woods from one quest to another then you hear voices - memories of poignant conversations. Relevant to your mission. Say perhaps a memory of an argument with your character's father such as:

"Son! Though shall not kill!"

"But Father, if I am being attacked, or I must help..."

"Killing is a Sin, boy... never forget that..."

For your character to 'recall' that memory as a disembodied conversation, just before he goes on a mission to avenge his father's murder, that I think works far better. I doesn't force you to do anything, nor make decisions for you, it does however force you into the role, be as conflicted as the character you are playing.

YOU make the decisions. You decide who to kill, who not to kill, who to sleep with and who not to.

Almost every role playing game demands the character start with amnesia - with no memory of past events - as it's the only way to put them in the same position as the gamer. Either that or you ease the player in slowly, giving them an entire introduction of their life to actually BE them... not merely impersonate them.

Same reason they make them either mute or of very few words... it prevents them breaking the character mould as in the accidental lesbian.

But I wouldn't say the "accidental lesbian" thing is so awful, it's the way you approach it.

Say for examples you are a female character and you hear the mention of a woman's name: Sarah.

This triggers a mechanic called "nostalgia" when unless you fight it with willpower (tap X for willpower) you will flashback to your time with Sarah. The flashback frames her romantically, your time together which is more than friendship. It is special and intimate but then it falls apart and stylistically the breakup is shown the cutting remarks and regrets.

You can't change this, the past is the past, those are your memories. It did happen.

But it doesn't matter what happened in the past, it is significant for how she will react to you and what kind of relationships you can pursue now but the decision you make now 100% yours. YOU the gamer could just decide you are not interested in her. Was your lesbianism just a phase? Was it just she was the one exception and it is over now? Or do you regret it all, do you want to restart what you had - that you the player only had a fleeting glimpse of as a memory.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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alandavidson said:
...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.

Treblaine said:
In response to your post I tend get annoyed by games that let you play a woman but assume you are male in real life resulting in these kind of lines in dialogue. It's just really depressing. That's the impression I get if they make your female character a lesbian without any input from you.
 

Thaluikhain

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Eh...don't see the issue. All sorts of assumptions are made about the character you play, and you're stuck with it. That's part of the game. Possibly, though, they could tell you all these things straight up (no pun intended)...if you'd been playing Mario as a lesbian electrician, finding out he's a straight plumber might be a bit odd.
 

Iron Lightning

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Ugh, seven words in a game of (I presume) millions of words can apparently truly offend someone. Most reasonable people probably just read it as a cute little quip with the possibility of being misinterpreted and didn't think much more of it. It's not like the game opens up a big quest chain that involves rogering this young lady.

Additionally, I could see this going the other way too if those last seven words were omitted. "How dare you assume that my character is not a horny lesbian by not allowing me to attempt to tap that ass."

I haven't really played Echo Bazaar but is anyone else put off by your character's apparent inability to truly fail? That seems like really terrible design. How can a character have any humanity if they are infallible? they seem more like gods than people.

gCrusher said:
Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
I've been to Fort Urag before. It was pretty fun until the Confederate Hobgoblins attacked, then it was REALLY fun.
 

trooper6

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
It isn't actually a misnomer, it was a euphemism. Lesbian...woman from the Isle of Lesbos...which is where the Poet Sappho lives with her female friends. So Lesbian and Sapphic are actually from the same cultural root.

But back to the original post...the character you are playing and you the player are not the same. I remember playing through Dragon Age: Origins and my Dwarven Noble was totally smitten with Morrigan...and I kept thinking...that is such a bad idea. She is bad news. I would not be dating her at all. But my dwarf and I are not the same person.
 

SageRuffin

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
alandavidson said:
...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.
But the text simply said:

What was the young lady's address?
Even with the context of the rest of the quote, that's incredibly ambiguous, and it baffles me how the player even came up with her assertion in the first place. Suppose the NPC just wanted to personally say thank you? Maybe she wanted to drop off a small gift as an alternate means of gratitude? Maybe she wanted to warn the player of the old man, like the article suggested? Maybe the NPC had an ulterior motive and the player just made herself a target for an assassination, and put up a facade so no one would get suspicious of her asking for a stranger's address?

My point being, unless future dialogue with or from that same NPC implies that she really does intend to "part the waves", you can't really say that that particular quote - especially as vague in tone as it is - intrudes on the character's sexuality. And even if the player was 100% accurate in her assertions, unless the game outright forces her character to do some kind of lewd act with the female NPC, there still wouldn't - or shouldn't, rather - be much of a problem as she could have her character say some variation of "no". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's not very difficult.

Hell, this almost ranks up there with the one guy asking for a "No Gay" switch in DA2.
 

SageRuffin

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trooper6 said:
SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
It isn't actually a misnomer, it was a euphemism. Lesbian...woman from the Isle of Lesbos...which is where the Poet Sappho lives with her female friends. So Lesbian and Sapphic are actually from the same cultural root.
Eh, close enough. You and I both know the basic etymology. In the end I think that's all that really matters.

But let's move on, shall we?
 

Treblaine

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.

Treblaine said:
In response to your post I tend get annoyed by games that let you play a woman but assume you are male in real life resulting in these kind of lines in dialogue. It's just really depressing. That's the impression I get if they make your female character a lesbian.
[EDITED FOR CLARITY]

There is more to lesbians than that, they aren't males in female's body - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman (or man) is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way they (or us) go about getting things.

The thing about a role playing game is the player - either male or female - can be a representation of themselves.

And anyway, you have to admit that most games with male protagonists are exclusively intimate with females, and most female protagonists have exclusively male partners. Think Samus Aran, Lara Croft, Jill Redfield, Faith (Mirror's edge).

Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?

Games need to take a more flexible approach to sexuality considering that your character is in such a weird state of essentially two people in one:
(1) The fictional in-game character
(2) the real person at the controls trying to fit in the role.

Really you can't say "oh, I'm a lesbian now"

Lesbian means far more than "female with fleeting crush on another female". It is indicated by ongoing actions that ultimately depends on the player DECIDING to follow through with.

Of course there are those who "know" they are gay, just the same as I have always "known" I am straight, that is simply because one can only imagine having partners of a certain gender.

But at the end of the day, you CANNOT really get into a relationship that does not resonate with your own sexuality, it breaks the immersion too much. But I think it is all right to give someone gay history, for either gender, and let them either pursue or leave it.

So I suppose Half Life 2 screws over Straight Females and Gay Males with the very personal interactions and relationship with Alyx. Though purely platonic at the moment, there are undercurrents.

Now if Half Life 2 had been about Gina Freeman... would that have really changed anything?
 

Treblaine

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I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.

But more than that, it's the attitude that a lesbian relationship is nothing more than a gender swap, swapping some pronouns and that's enough.

No. That is treating lesbians as men who happen to be in women's bodies.

Femaleness is far more than physical or sexuality, it is fundamental to ideals and approaches.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.
Treblaine said:
I didn't mean to say lesbians were men in womens bodies. I guess my point of view harks back to the time of games like Morrowind and Arcarnum where they decided to have romances but didn't think any women would play and so made the love interests female and gave both characters access to the dialogue.

To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting straight love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...and compare Kaiden to Liara (yes I know she's technically not female but come on...)

I try not to think about Anomen :< the horror.

Everytime a female character of mine is flirted with by another female character, which seems to be a favourite of Bethesda, it just reminds of those past examples and makes me shake my head.

Treblaine said:
That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring.
They are using the same files. Which just goes back to my point that the default player for most video game writers is a man.

It only goes to prove my point that romances that are lesbian are made for a male voyeuristic audeince not for gay women. It is grating on both straight and gay women just from different angles.
 

SageRuffin

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Treblaine said:
I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.
To be fair, there is a such as a "handsome" female who indeed isn't masculine in any way.

But that's another subject. Let's move on, shall we?
 

zedel

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Treblaine said:
Lesbians are more than just males in female bodies - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way we go about getting things.
Now, I doubt you are intentionally suggesting this, but the term "more" used when comparing lesbians and transgender people seems to be insinuating that transgender individuals are somehow lesser than lesbians. As someone who is myself genderqueer, I was originally offended by this, but I realize that wording things can be difficult.
 

SageRuffin

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...
Nah. The main problem with Jacob is that his dialogue is set up in such a way that FemShep might as well be holding a fucking neon sign saying "FUCK ME NOW!". I always imagined my FemShep to be paired with Ashley, which made those scenes of interactivity all the more jarring when those sultry lines came out into the open.

That's not to say Jacob doesn't suck - as a character and in terms of gameplay - but simply saying that he's bland is just scratching the surface.
 

Chris Gardiner

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-'Another little, under-the-radar title called Dragon Age: Origins , from plucky Canadian underdog BioWare, does something similar'-

Isn't typing this the same thing being complaining about in this Echo game?

Failing to find humor in something, then getting upset over it, is rather silly.

So is basing an article around 'forced lesbianism'.

Otherwise, this was a good read.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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SageRuffin said:
xXxJessicaxXx said:
To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...
Nah. The main problem with Jacob is that his dialogue is set up in such a way that FemShep might as well be holding a fucking neon sign saying "FUCK ME NOW!". I always imagined my FemShep to be paired with Ashley, which made those scenes of interactivity all the more jarring when those sultry lines came out into the open.

That's not to say Jacob doesn't suck - as a character and in terms of gameplay - but simply saying that he's bland is just scratching the surface.
I would agree with that my femshep seems to turn into some sort of sultry abomination when she goes near Jacob when he is in no way likable.

I have played his romance just for the sake of it and I still found him to be very bland, even his loyalty mission is uninteresting.

I would go for Joker over Jacob a million times over. Bioware like to keep all thier funny and interesting characters single, like Varric and Joker and give the female player bland meatheads like Jacob and Kaiden. Meanwhile the male player gets really interesting people like Jack and Tali.
 

Treblaine

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zedel said:
Treblaine said:
Lesbians are more than just males in female bodies - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way we go about getting things.
Now, I doubt you are intentionally suggesting this, but the term "more" used when comparing lesbians and transgender people seems to be insinuating that transgender individuals are somehow lesser than lesbians. As someone who is myself genderqueer, I was originally offended by this, but I realize that wording things can be difficult.
WHOA! I didn't even notice that mistake.

I meant to say "there is more to lesbians than that, they aren't males in female's body"

I believe the consensus is "male in females body" is in the same area as LGBT, but is quite distinct from actual lesbianism, someone who is sure in their gender, just their sexuality does not conform with that [EDIT CONTINUE] which is typical but not absolute.

God dammit, the English language makes talking about sexuality and gender a minefield.

So many gendered pronouns, so many phrases based on presumptions. I have to read everythign through twice
 

Treblaine

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SageRuffin said:
Treblaine said:
I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.
To be fair, there is a such as a "handsome" female who indeed isn't masculine in any way.

But that's another subject. Let's move on, shall we?
Maybe it's a cultural thing.

There was a time in English that words like "handsome" were not gendered and could be applied universally, like "cute" is today i.e. my cute boyfriend, my cute girlfriend, my cute dog, my cute daughter, etc depending on appropriate context, of course.

But today handsome really is a gendered compliment.

Just like describing a man as beautiful, even if he is (literally) it doesn't seem appropriate and to an extent challenges his masculinity.

I think it's just the most tangible part of how the game feels like it was designed around a male protagonists and they just dropped in a female character model in as an afterthought, it doesn't feel like real inclusion. It's obvious how easy it is to code in new textures, that doesn't show any commitment.

I put this in a similar vein as the Bechdel Test, women are present but not in a significant way. Bechdel test is 3 fold:
(1) are there 2 or more Named female characters in the film (nameless extras do not count)
(2) do they even talk to each other?
(3) is the subject of their talk about ANYTHING other than a male character?

The majority of films fail this test, and those that pass it pass often only with a single fleeting scene.

This isn't about positive or negative depiction of women, just that they are actually truly depicted AT ALL! If they can't verbally interact about something other than men then the women are hugely denigrated in their depiction.
 

Unesh52

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I really enjoyed this article, which is no surprise considering what the author writes for. Man, I would've really liked that game more if anyone I knew would've played it with me.

Sober Thal said:
So is basing an article around 'forced lesbianism'.
Why was that silly? After all, the article wasn't "about" that player being upset. It was about the "identity gap." The incident was just an anecdote used to introduce the larger topic.
 

Yal

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I had a similar experience with Baldur's Gate (unwelcome intrusion by the writer, not surprise gayness). It really is jarring. That unassuming little gnome thief I created back at the beginning, mostly useless all game, is suddenly a demigod? WTF? That just didn't work for me. I think that's part of why I never got into the sequel, and apparently I really missed out there.

And if Echo Bazaar ever gets a real login system, someone do please let me know.
 

Cavouku

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Hmm... no, I can see why the player might be upset about this. And let's not try and be high and mighty; we can all easily read that the same way she did. It very much sounded like an implication to pursue romance, there's not two-ways about it.

I liked how... Jessica (had to scroll up) put it, it sounds like something that was designed for straight men, and was then plastered on for any other kind of character.

In an RPG, you make a character. Sure, it doesn't have to be like you, and most people don't want it to be, but she seemed to want her character to be straight, and that is perfectly fine. I can see why, in a Role Playing Game, she would feel like the London Master took a liberty that was to be left to the character. I would be equally upset if my DM said that my character wanted to shag the studly elven soldier boy, because I was playing Kalet as a straight male tiefling, and he was mine, not the DM's.

That being said, I think sexuality should be one of those things the game asks you at the beginning. Do you want this character to be straight? Gay? Bi? Transsexual (though that's a bit less about sexuality and more gender identity)? Asexual even? What?

It takes more writing, but I think that it would be greatly appreciated by people who want to play all types of characters.
 

Benjamin Moore

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/

Isn't sapphic an adjective? It's only a noun when referring to poetry of Sappho, poetess form the island of Lesbos c.600, i.e. a Sapphic verse:

Sapphic (`sæf&#618;k)

-- adj
1. prosody denoting a metre associated with Sappho, consisting generally of a trochaic pentameter line with a dactyl in the third foot
2. of or relating to Sappho or her poetry
3. lesbian

-- n
4. prosody a verse, line, or stanza written in the Sapphic form

EDIT: Fell right into Muphry's Law! Ouch!
 

samsonguy920

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To really get into the meat of the matter, what I would like to see is a game done in the Hard Rain style which is written by a collabration of both a homosexual man and woman. I think this might be one way to really understand and know how it would be to get into such a character. To roleplay them. It doesn't mean you have to change your main life sexual choices. No way. But it will give those of us who are clueless a better understanding, so we can explore our gaming choices, as well as being able to find new friends to have in our lives.
We only fear what we don't understand.
 

Avistew

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Treblaine said:
Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.
In the Mass Effect games, whether you pick a male or a female character, all your potential partners are female. There is zero male options, meaning zero male gay coupling (or female straight coupling). I remember it annoyed me when I realised that, because I had spent the whole game so far deciding which male character I liked best (because I knew you could end up with a NPC but wasn't aware of the limitations).
In a game like that, it would make more sense to have options for both, meaning that you can decide to play a straight, gay, bisexual or asexual character depending on your decisions.

Anyways, I agree female homosexuality is usually under-represented except as a fantasy for straight males (mostly). It's also the case elsewhere, studies about homosexuality seems to be only about males. Similarly you hear the "Adam and Steve" argument, but no "Ada and Eve" one. It's like lesbians are invisible sometimes.

Like some other people, it bobbles my mind that the player interpreted it that way. I'm also surprised that so many comments say "she". Does it say in the article that the player was female?
At any rate, I think I'd be fine with playing a character of any orientation provided it's established early on, either through an early cutscene or written when creating the character. Having the illusion of choice only to see it's been taken away from you is annoying. In Mass Effect, I had considered a few females as options too, but knowing I wasn't allowed to pick a male made me lose any will to keep playing the game. I felt cheated, and upset with myself. I had bought something and got something different, and I would have liked to know beforehand.

Anyways, the article's title is misleading. I was expecting a bug in which you could pick a female character but the game thought they were male so you'd marry a female and have kids with her and stuff, due to the bug. That would have been much more interesting of a bug (especially the baby part).
 

Spector29

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Treblaine said:
Chris Gardiner said:
The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

Read Full Article
in REAL LIFE people don't get to chose their own sexual-preference,
Did anyone see that, or was that just me?

OT: Ehh, a mild mistake in a great game caused a huge fuss. Be glad the ensuing conversation didn't go insulting adopted kids, or the media might begin to care.
 

GrizzlerBorno

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I was wondering when that obscure, under-the-radar game by that small, underdog canadian game developer would feature in this article.

I think Dragon Age: Origins did it best. Your choice of dialogue in your Origin story clearly set up the moral codes, and personality, of your character.

Is the City Elf (rightfully) bigoted against the Humans who raped and killed his mother? Is the Dwarven noblewoman a self-centered, snooty prick? Is the plucky Dalish girl torn asunder for being dragged off to serve the Grey Wardens against her wishes? Is the mage being cast out off the circle, vengeful of her failed charges?

You can answer the most important questions yourself and thus get a good handle on how your character WOULD act in any given situation. It must have taken a LOT of effort from those Bioware kids, working out of their mom's basement.....but it was completely worth it. ;)
 

UnravThreads

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Avistew said:
In the Mass Effect games, whether you pick a male or a female character, all your potential partners are female. There is zero male options, meaning zero male gay coupling (or female straight coupling). I remember it annoyed me when I realised that, because I had spent the whole game so far deciding which male character I liked best (because I knew you could end up with a NPC but wasn't aware of the limitations).
You didn't play Mass Effect all that much, did you? ME1 has Kaidan as a male LI for female characters, and ME2 has Garrus, Thane and Jacob. That's four male romances (Five if you include Kaidan continuing in ME2 if you romanced him in ME1).

Cavouku said:
Transsexual (though that's a bit less about sexuality and more gender identity)?
Transsexuality has nothing to do with sexuality. It's about gender only. You have straight transsexuals, gay transsexuals, bi transsexuals, etc.
 

Avistew

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cairocat said:
Untrue. The female player characters have male and female romance options.
Really? I was told they didn't so I stopped playing. If you're telling the truth maybe I'll pick it up again.
The male one doesn't, though? Now that's still a double standard, with female homosexuality possible and not male homosexuality.

EDIT: two people have now said so, so I assume that's true. I guess the guy who told me that meant when playing a male character.

It still counts as an example of a game that allows relationships between females and not between males, though, right? So I maintain it as an example for the specific thing I was responding to. The fact is that as fem Shepard you can be gay, straight, bi or ace and as male Shepard only straight or ace.
 

Treblaine

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Spector29 said:
Treblaine said:
Chris Gardiner said:
The Accidental Lesbian

RPGs use different methods to avoid falling into the identity gap ? that space between the developer?s game world and the player?s vision of it.

Read Full Article
in REAL LIFE people don't get to chose their own sexual-preference,
Did anyone see that, or was that just me?

OT: Ehh, a mild mistake in a great game caused a huge fuss. Be glad the ensuing conversation didn't go insulting adopted kids, or the media might begin to care.
I don't know what you mean. I know real life and virtual video games are different.

You do know that sexual preference isn't a conscious choice?

What point are you making?
 

Deathlisk

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Dragonrose said:
Se she complained that the game maybe possibly made her a little bit almost like a lesbian. And what about the countless games that assume the player's character is either straight or asexual? I wouldn't see her complain then... *sigh* :/

Tis why I love Dragon Age, honestly, no assumptions, plenty of options. <3
Of course she wouldn't complain if it assumed she was a heterosexual woman! That was the sexual preference she imagined her character with in the first place.
Someone did say that just because this had to do with homosexuality someone would rush to it's defence for some unknown reason.
And I think she would have complained about asexuality too bro.
 

mjc0961

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Eh. Sounds to me like the player started assuming things that weren't written in the dialog and them blamed the game developer for it. It never said what the motive for wanting the address was. This player incorrectly assumed it meant it the character wanted to hit on this woman, and then blamed the game. Not the game's fault though. That identity gap thing makes sense, but that line of dialog clearly did not intrude on it. The player just started reading more text than what was presented and got offended at her own assumptions. Shame on that player for filing a bug report for that.

cairocat said:
Untrue. The female player characters have male and female romance options.
What you said is untrue. The female player does not have female romance options.

ME1 has Kaiden, a male, and Liara, an Asari which is a mono-gendered race that is not male or female.
ME2 has Jacob, a male, Garrus, a male, and Thane, a male. The closest it gets is Kelly, which isn't actually a romance option, just some dialog that barely even qualifies as flirting. Certainly not a romance option, as evidenced by that and by not getting the romance achievement for "flirting" with her.

No female romance options for a female Shepard in either currently released Mass Effect game. So far, both male and female Shepard are straight. They're supposed to allow more choices in that department for #3 though.

Avistew said:
Really? I was told they didn't so I stopped playing. If you're telling the truth maybe I'll pick it up again.
The male one doesn't, though? Now that's still a double standard, with female homosexuality possible and not male homosexuality.

EDIT: two people have now said so, so I assume that's true. I guess the guy who told me that meant when playing a male character.

It still counts as an example of a game that allows relationships between females and not between males, though, right? So I maintain it as an example for the specific thing I was responding to. The fact is that as fem Shepard you can be gay, straight, bi or ace and as male Shepard only straight or ace.
Nope, don't worry. There's no double standard in there. Just people not paying attention to what an Asari is.
 

kingpocky

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Ah, Echo Bazaar. It's one of those games where I like to select options either at random or for what I think will benefit me the most, and then retroactively come up with justifications for why my character did it. As a result, my character is in denial about his possible bisexuality. He insists that he and the Revolutionary Firebrand are just friends, and that the night he spent with the Once-Dashing Smuggler (another tomb colonist, someone who is so badly scarred that they have to keep themself wrapped up like a mummy) doesn't count - after all, he's not really human, so he doesn't count as a male.
 

Strazdas

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on a totally different note (i like to see the little things in articles) the best games end up those where you dont actually speak, anyone notice?
 

Avistew

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mjc0961 said:
Nope, don't worry. There's no double standard in there. Just people not paying attention to what an Asari is.
Well, it was described to me as a race in which there are no males, only females. And while I can understand they concept that since there is only one gender, it's neither male nor female, if it looks like a female human it makes sense that people will be attracted to it if they're attracted to females, not males. And considering I first heard about the game because of all the "hot lesbian action" people were talking about, I'm going to assume it looks like a female.
And well, saying "it's not a female, just an alien in which the only gender looks like a female" is similar to the technique in manga in anime that goes "yeah, this female having sex is over 18! She only looks like she's eight!" In other words, tiny veiled fanservice.
But I could be wrong about that, since I haven't completed the game and probably wouldn't have any interest in that specific character if I did.

But thanks for clarifying the whole thing. So in your opinion the game isn't double-standard as much as it's heteronormative then?
 

unwesen

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DA:O suffers from a more subtle invasion of the identity gap: the choices the game presents you are very black or white. That's not necessarily in the sense that you either do the good thing or the bad thing (although it quite often is), but that there never is any middle ground you can choose. The writers must assume my character is unable to see false dichotomies and inhabits a world where that is the norm.

Ironically enough, they call that "making moral choices".

Ah well, it was still a fun game.
 

PlasticTree

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Great article, and nice to see from someone who actually is close to the fire, instead of from a journalist who talked about it with people like you. But as said by someone on Facebook: lame, cheap title. Sure, it works and all, but you totally insult the nourished image of my own intelligence.

:(
 

Treblaine

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Strazdas said:
on a totally different note (i like to see the little things in articles) the best games end up those where you dont actually speak, anyone notice?
or at least speak very little.

I think the old maxim about conversational advice applies doubly for characters:

"Never be afraid to be stay silent and have everyone suspect you are stupid, far better than opening your mouth and Removing All Doubt"

It's tempting to developers to make their character chatty, but why? Why is the game better off with your character going off on long soliloquies that most likely don't line up with the player's own position?

The way I'd have it is characters would never verbalise their intentions, emotions or preferences, but have that entirely determined by DEED. The games should never make assumptions about the character, so you sleep with whoever and whatever you like without the game trying to pigeon hole you. Labels like gays, straight or lesbian are based on assumption and only possibly work with self-identification.

Like for example in Bioshock (minor spoiler) the way you react to little-sisters affects the ending. But the way you treat little-sisters should not force your decision at the end, in other words you can be bad all your life you can still be good at the 11th hour.

Alternate Endings should only be how the OTHER CHARACTERS treat you, so if you have been bad then you will be punished, and if you are good you will be rewarded.
 

Jachwe

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Chris Gardiner said:
What makes a game an RPG isn't a character sheet or experience points - plenty of genres use those - it's the sense of ownership you feel over your avatar. Maybe you have to build it from statistics first, give it a class and a name, or just pick from a handful of archetypes. But the process doesn't stop when play starts: Every time you make a decision about who your protagonist is, you're creating. [...]
For this to work, RPG designers have to leave a hero-shaped hole in the middle of their fiction. We'll call it the identity gap. That's the space that's left to the player [...]

[...] this becomes a [...] way to tackle the problem [of making a decision; of a RPG not being about experience points; of the sense of ownership over the protagonist; of the identity gap]. The Final Fantasy Solution: the game tells the player everything about their character. Who they are, where they've been, what their relationships are. This changes the character of the game - the player's along for the ride, only rarely allowed to take the wheel.
Is he not contradicting himself? Oh yes he is. This guy just is not worth his two cents.
What he basicly says is this: RPGs are not about experience points but the control you extend over the protagonist´s person. Well, why is Final Fantasy a RPG then? Following your explanation of Final Fantasy´s method you have no ownership of the characters, they are a predetermined lot. There is no identity gap. Thus Final Fantasy not having an identity gap and solving the problem of the identity gap is contradicting your argument. Thus the identity gap is not the core principle of a RPG like the author claims but something else. How about experience points?
Someone try to explain that to me. It did not take me two seconds to recognize how stupid this article is the moment the author said RPGs are not about experience points. RPG is per definitionem statistical grwoth of your character through repetitive action.
Go watch the RPG Fanatic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTjJTfJgwM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfom6Yb6NaI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L86X5_SQrU he usually has a very good method presenting this argument.
 

Dragonrose

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Deathlisk said:
Of course she wouldn't complain if it assumed she was a heterosexual woman! That was the sexual preference she imagined her character with in the first place.
Someone did say that just because this had to do with homosexuality someone would rush to it's defence for some unknown reason.
And I think she would have complained about asexuality too bro.
Not defending anything but the player choice. It would be the same with any other type of player choice. Personally I wouldn't like it for a game that leaves it open to me to assume I'm black or white, religious or not, male or female, pancake or crepe lover.

The point is, if you're leaving it all up to player on character creation you shouldn't assume later on, that's just common sense, imo.

And "bro"? Why are you assuming I'm male? ;)
 

Cavouku

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coldalarm said:
Avistew said:
In the Mass Effect games, whether you pick a male or a female character, all your potential partners are female. There is zero male options, meaning zero male gay coupling (or female straight coupling). I remember it annoyed me when I realised that, because I had spent the whole game so far deciding which male character I liked best (because I knew you could end up with a NPC but wasn't aware of the limitations).
You didn't play Mass Effect all that much, did you? ME1 has Kaidan as a male LI for female characters, and ME2 has Garrus, Thane and Jacob. That's four male romances (Five if you include Kaidan continuing in ME2 if you romanced him in ME1).

Cavouku said:
Transsexual (though that's a bit less about sexuality and more gender identity)?
Transsexuality has nothing to do with sexuality. It's about gender only. You have straight transsexuals, gay transsexuals, bi transsexuals, etc.
True. I still think that would be an interesting aspect to an RPG character though. It's kind of interesting, because an RPG character can be whoever you want them to be, whether or not they want to be that...

...There's a word for that, and it's not irony, despite the fact I want to say it is... it's not irony, right?
 

armpit

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Bioware? Underdogs? I don't know the numbers, and you may be right as far as they go, but Bioware has been the king of RPGs since I was just a wee little lad. If I'm thinking about RPGs I'm either thinking about Bioware, Black Isle, or Square Enix.
 

cobra_ky

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Treblaine said:
Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?
I assume you're talking about a serious treatment of homosexual relationships, because i could list a whole pile of games where lesbianism exists solely for the titillation of men.

Treblaine said:
Games need to take a more flexible approach to sexuality considering that your character is in such a weird state of essentially two people in one:
(1) The fictional in-game character
(2) the real person at the controls trying to fit in the role.

Really you can't say "oh, I'm a lesbian now"

Lesbian means far more than "female with fleeting crush on another female". It is indicated by ongoing actions that ultimately depends on the player DECIDING to follow through with.

Of course there are those who "know" they are gay, just the same as I have always "known" I am straight, that is simply because one can only imagine having partners of a certain gender.

But at the end of the day, you CANNOT really get into a relationship that does not resonate with your own sexuality, it breaks the immersion too much. But I think it is all right to give someone gay history, for either gender, and let them either pursue or leave it.
<a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/8768-Extra-Punctuation-Roleplaying-Homosexual-in-Dragon-Age-2>Yahtzee didn't seem to have a problem roleplaying a homosexual relationship..

Your solution seems wholly unrealistic. Very few people would ever reflect on their heterosexual history, chooses to reject it, and become gay. It just doesn't work that way.

Really the issue isn't about sexuality so much as the extent to which the player is designing or discovering the character. The problem here was encouraging the player to define their character, but then force-feeding them a line that seemed to contradict the player's self-constructed backstory. That's what breaks immersion.

Treblaine said:
So I suppose Half Life 2 screws over Straight Females and Gay Males with the very personal interactions and relationship with Alyx. Though purely platonic at the moment, there are undercurrents.

Now if Half Life 2 had been about Gina Freeman... would that have really changed anything?
Half-Life 2 doesn't make any assumptions about Gordon Freeman's sexuality, because he never interacts with anyone. Other characters will interact with him, and Alyx clearly demonstrates some level of attraction, but it's up to the player to decide how Gordon reacts to her, and the player's means of expression are limited to jumping, strafing, shooting and ducking.
 

Avistew

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Spector29 said:
Treblaine said:
in REAL LIFE people don't get to chose their own sexual-preference,
Did anyone see that, or was that just me?
I saw that, but it seemed like a silly point. Of course it's true, but same goes for sex or general appearance. If you can pick for a character to be male or female, tall or short, that's also things people don't get to pick in real life. And while they are imposed at times in games, you're usually aware of it from the start so it doesn't come up as a bad surprise later on.

Although I've had text games that said "you" all the time and it became frustrating when it became obvious that the "you" wasn't me at all like I had assumed it might be at first.
 

FallenTraveler

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so.... they wrote echo bazaar so that it could apply to both types of avatar but made a slight mistake in the writing of this particular quest... and some got all up in a tizzy over it?

Either way, great article on narratives and roleplaying structure.
 

feycreature

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Here is a prime opportunity for a roleplaying CHOICE. Option one: read the little flavour text as your character having less than honourable intentions toward the lady him or herself. Option two: read it as a non-romantically interested party who simply likes the lady. Neither choice is automatic or required, but you do have to actually pay attention to make it. So here is a point where the player, rather than DECIDE the interpretation most accurate to the character she had chosen to create, got tetchy because it allowed the possibility of her character being a lesbian. That's not a bug, just poor reading and reasoning skills.
 

cairocat

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Avistew said:
cairocat said:
Untrue. The female player characters have male and female romance options.
Really? I was told they didn't so I stopped playing. If you're telling the truth maybe I'll pick it up again.
The male one doesn't, though? Now that's still a double standard, with female homosexuality possible and not male homosexuality.

EDIT: two people have now said so, so I assume that's true. I guess the guy who told me that meant when playing a male character.

It still counts as an example of a game that allows relationships between females and not between males, though, right? So I maintain it as an example for the specific thing I was responding to. The fact is that as fem Shepard you can be gay, straight, bi or ace and as male Shepard only straight or ace.
I was under the impression that it was more a matter of time budgeting and statistics. BioWare didn't have the time to finish all their romance options and figured out that their smallest demographic of player characters was going to be homosexual males, so that's what they chose to cut. Regardless of the validity of that, I do know that they're making it a point to include homosexual male relationships in ME3.
 

Avistew

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cairocat said:
I was under the impression that it was more a matter of time budgeting and statistics. BioWare didn't have the time to finish all their romance options and figured out that their smallest demographic of player characters was going to be homosexual males, so that's what they chose to cut. Regardless of the validity of that, I do know that they're making it a point to include homosexual male relationships in ME3.
It makes sense, certainly, although while gay males might a small demographic, I don't think gay females are much bigger, and well, I'm a straight female, not a gay guy.
What I mean by that is that in my opinion it's more of a matter of demand than matching the person's orientation; in other words, straight males are their main audience, and they're more likely to be interested in playing a female and hitting on what looks like another female than playing a male and hitting on another male. Just like I'm more interested in playing a male and hitting on another male than playing a female and hitting on what looks like a female.
But I realise straight women and gay guys are considered a much smaller audience than straight guys.
 

cairocat

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Avistew said:
It makes sense, certainly, although while gay males might a small demographic, I don't think gay females are much bigger, and well, I'm a straight female, not a gay guy.
What I mean by that is that in my opinion it's more of a matter of demand than matching the person's orientation; in other words, straight males are their main audience, and they're more likely to be interested in playing a female and hitting on what looks like another female than playing a male and hitting on another male. Just like I'm more interested in playing a male and hitting on another male than playing a female and hitting on what looks like a female.
But I realise straight women and gay guys are considered a much smaller audience than straight guys.
That's exactly what I meant. They probably asked 1000 testers to submit their sex and sexuality choices and budgeted focus accordingly. That being said, I'd be thrilled if there was a whole slew of sexuality choices in RPGs from now on (mainly because that's a choice and, well, more choices are sorta what RPGs are about). I think we're in agreement here.
 

Zoe Castillo

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LESBIANS !!!11!!!1!!!!!!...... Now let?s discuss narrative structure =)

OT: That was fun, but i don?t really have anything insightful to add since the article was basically just an explanation of different approaches narrative design
 

Treblaine

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cobra_ky said:
Treblaine said:
Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?
I assume you're talking about a serious treatment of homosexual relationships, because i could list a whole pile of games where lesbianism exists solely for the titillation of men.
You could start by naming at least one. I don't mean a throw away reference or bit character, I mean a protagonist.

Apart from Rain in Fear Effect 2 I can't think of a single lesbian protagonists. Not surprising considering how female protagonists are fairly rare and when they are depicted their relationship status is never covered. Like for example:

Chell (Portal)
Claire Redfield (RE2/CV)
Zoey (left 4 dead)
Lara Croft
Bayonetta

All have a blank or ambiguous sexual relationship status. Jill Valentine passes BARELY with a throwaway reference to her shacking up with some guy called Carlos.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, expecting a proportional representation of lesbian relationships when there seems to be such a lack of acknowledgement of even female heterosexuality. Plenty of male protagonists have female partners.

Mind you, when developers do try to give females protagonists a relationship and fuck it up so badly you see why so many don't bother:

Metroid: The Other M

Oh god, just recalling the game gives me a migraine.
 

UberNoodle

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"What was the young lady's address?"

I read it to mean that my characters was into Amway sales on the side, for extra gold, and thus she networks whenever she can.

What? You saw sexual innuendo in that line? Where? I know that people are down on the game for its many allusions to Amway, but lesbianism? LOL!
 

Lissa-QUON

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I am a bit baffled by how the woman interpreted that line as sexual in nature. Echo Bazaar tends to make it fairly clear (if delicately phrased) when sexual events are going down.

The whole bit looking for her address could be anything from wanting to talk to her, warn her, rob her, sleep with her, file it away for later usage etc etc.

Though I will admit MY Echo Bazaar character would be after the woman for sexual reasons. She is a hedonistic individual who is best friends with devils from the Brass Embassy, enjoys stealing from people and taking any opportunity to add another notch to her bedpost.
 

cobra_ky

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Treblaine said:
cobra_ky said:
Treblaine said:
Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?
I assume you're talking about a serious treatment of homosexual relationships, because i could list a whole pile of games where lesbianism exists solely for the titillation of men.
You could start by naming at least one. I don't mean a throw away reference or bit character, I mean a protagonist.
oh, well if you're just talking about protagonists then you're right, they're very uncommon. The only one i can think of offhand is GrimGrimoire, which had some fairly obvious sapphic undertones.

Treblaine said:
Apart from Rain in Fear Effect 2 I can't think of a single lesbian protagonists. Not surprising considering how female protagonists are fairly rare and when they are depicted their relationship status is never covered. Like for example:

Chell (Portal)
Claire Redfield (RE2/CV)
Zoey (left 4 dead)
Lara Croft
Bayonetta

All have a blank or ambiguous sexual relationship status. Jill Valentine passes BARELY with a throwaway reference to her shacking up with some guy called Carlos.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, expecting a proportional representation of lesbian relationships when there seems to be such a lack of acknowledgement of even female heterosexuality. Plenty of male protagonists have female partners.
There's dialogue in Portal 2 that assumes Chell is heterosexual. Not sure how reliable that is, but the AIs supposedly have access to her files.

Treblaine said:
Mind you, when developers do try to give females protagonists a relationship and fuck it up so badly you see why so many don't bother:

Metroid: The Other M

Oh god, just recalling the game gives me a migraine.
yeah as soon as i heard they were handing it off to team ninja, i knew we were in for rough times.

but yeah, that's why diversity is so important to the industry. you need enough women around to say "what? that's ridiculous, no woman would would act this way."
 

Treblaine

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cobra_ky said:
Treblaine said:
cobra_ky said:
Treblaine said:
Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?
I assume you're talking about a serious treatment of homosexual relationships, because i could list a whole pile of games where lesbianism exists solely for the titillation of men.
You could start by naming at least one. I don't mean a throw away reference or bit character, I mean a protagonist.
oh, well if you're just talking about protagonists then you're right, they're very uncommon. The only one i can think of offhand is GrimGrimoire, which had some fairly obvious sapphic undertones.

Treblaine said:
Apart from Rain in Fear Effect 2 I can't think of a single lesbian protagonists. Not surprising considering how female protagonists are fairly rare and when they are depicted their relationship status is never covered. Like for example:

Chell (Portal)
Claire Redfield (RE2/CV)
Zoey (left 4 dead)
Lara Croft
Bayonetta

All have a blank or ambiguous sexual relationship status. Jill Valentine passes BARELY with a throwaway reference to her shacking up with some guy called Carlos.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, expecting a proportional representation of lesbian relationships when there seems to be such a lack of acknowledgement of even female heterosexuality. Plenty of male protagonists have female partners.
There's dialogue in Portal 2 that assumes Chell is heterosexual. Not sure how reliable that is, but the AIs supposedly have access to her files.

Treblaine said:
Mind you, when developers do try to give females protagonists a relationship and fuck it up so badly you see why so many don't bother:

Metroid: The Other M

Oh god, just recalling the game gives me a migraine.
yeah as soon as i heard they were handing it off to team ninja, i knew we were in for rough times.

but yeah, that's why diversity is so important to the industry. you need enough women around to say "what? that's ridiculous, no woman would would act this way."
Just compare and contrast with a male protagonist like Solid Snake. He was able to talk intimately with Meryl and come to love her. His namesake clone father was able to have a relationship with Eva. Max Payne had a wife and later a steamy affair with Mona Sax. Nico Bellic had more than girlfriends, even getting married as an integral plot element. The Witcher (undeniably). Nathan Drake I believe even had two girlfriends on the go at one time.

As to lesbianism in games "just to titillate a male audience", fear of that label is not going to encourage developers to include real lesbian relationships, it will cow them into not depicting female sexuality AT ALL! For fear that it will be seen as a gimmick.

Having women around *might* help but nothing compared to all developers regardless of gender stepping back and considering what perspective they are showing.

Just consider how many successful female authors who end up writing almost entirely about males:
-JK Rowling
-PD James
-Cornelia Funke

Stephenie Meyer of course writes of a female protagonist who has an extremely unhealthy relationship with men that is more horrifying and disturbing than anything supernatural - even though the author seems to depict it as the best thing ever.

And in film, one of the most important female directors in Hollywood; Katherine Bigelow, her films have with a few exceptions been almost entirely male focused. So it's no guarantee more women involved will mean more female representation.

To be honest, you don't need to be a woman to tell that The Other M is utterly ridiculous in how it depicted the heroine. You just need someone there who:
(a) doesn't have their head up their ass
(b) has the balls to call the director out on their bullshit

And that can be hard for a woman who may want to have a future in the industry, they don't want an undeserved reputation as a shrew.
 

Kermi

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My 'cameo' appearance is male, but some of the storylets/opportunities have you pursuing a relationship with a male NPC such as a revolutionary firebrand or a dashing ex-smuggler. You can always choose not to pursue these opportunities if you're really concerned about your character's sexuality. As far as I'm concerned, it's not a valid complaint.

It does raise an interesting point - I think this is the main reason many game devs are afraid to make the protagonist gay. If the story includes a love interest, being forced to play a gay cahracter and presumably have gay sex might make some people uncomfortable.

Of course gay gamers are forced to play as straight characters and this is ok (for some reason).

Lissa-QUON said:
Though I will admit MY Echo Bazaar character would be after the woman for sexual reasons. She is a hedonistic individual who is best friends with devils from the Brass Embassy, enjoys stealing from people and taking any opportunity to add another notch to her bedpost.
I'm more or less the same way, except the devils stopped talking to me now once they got ahold of my soul. I should... probably do something about that.
 

Chris Gardiner

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I still remember this one chapter of Dragon Quest where you can choose your gender.

If you choose to play as a girl; The NPCs still refer to you as "My son, my lad and my boy" even the girls of the land find you "ever so handsome" and the princess you save wants to marry you.

It's really funny when your scantily clad valkyrie is given the gracious phrase "Thank you kind SIR!"
 
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That is quite a complex problem, come to think of it. Yet the problem in itself is purely technical in nature. Both the machines (computers) and the programmers can't account for the vast majority of choices and their outcomes in a very limited digital environment. All you can do is create more forks in the road, but there will be only so many of them, where in real life the number of those forks is infinite.

What we need is a game master (in a D&D sense, mind you I never played one D&D game, but I understand its basics). That sadly requires an elaborate AI. I say "elaborate", because a real AI on a Turing machine (most of the computers are of this architecture) isn't even possible theoretically.

I liked the approach of the first "Mass Effect". I always choose a "Jack Bauer" archetype and play accordingly. Seriously, who cares about somebody's precious feelings when the universe's fate is at stake? "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the British" (a YGOTAS quote, don't take it seriously, please, I love the British).

One of the most emotional moments to me personally was during the "Bring Down The Sky" DLC. I chose to kill that bastard at the cost of the lives of the hostages and it shaken me gravely. It had to be done, but it was hard, very hard. That's probably the most powerful emotional moment in a game I had to date, simply because the decision was mine.
 

Uszi

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I came for the provocative title, I stayed for the interesting article.
 

gCrusher

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Iron Lightning said:
gCrusher said:
Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
I've been to Fort Urag before. It was pretty fun until the Confederate Hobgoblins attacked, then it was REALLY fun.
Wow. That was...

Here y'go, one free Internets.

 

Kegluneq

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Lissa-QUON said:
Though I will admit MY Echo Bazaar character would be after the woman for sexual reasons. She is a hedonistic individual who is best friends with devils from the Brass Embassy, enjoys stealing from people and taking any opportunity to add another notch to her bedpost.
I'm fairly sure this is the default storyline for anyone who accepts any storyline as they appear (my male character is flirting with characters of both sexes at the moment). But yeah, if a 'reference' of the strength in the original complaint is enough to offend you, this probably isn't the game for you.
Kermi said:
It does raise an interesting point - I think this is the main reason many game devs are afraid to make the protagonist gay. If the story includes a love interest, being forced to play a gay cahracter and presumably have gay sex might make some people uncomfortable.
Echo Bazaar, being non-graphical, gets round that problem fairly easily. It also has a fairly niche audience that is fairly sympathetic (generally) to LGBT issues.

I have to admit though, I really am having problems thinking of other lesbian videogame characters period. There was that couple in The Longest Journey, but they only got a brief conversation with the player character. Looks like Hana and Rain are going to be the sole benchmark for a while. At least they were pretty committed to each other?
 

daftalchemist

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My character in Saints Row 2 ended up being a lesbian. I discovered that around the time she started talking about how the new hideout needed a stripper pole. I assumed it was because they were just too lazy to write separate dialogue for male/female characters. But considering the only decent looking hairstyle I could even bare to look at on her was skull-short and somewhat spikey, it kind of made the statement a little stronger than just an implication. So I rolled with it, and I love my little lesbian gangster.
 

beefpelican

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Something rather similar happened to me in Mass Effect 1 with the Consort. I was playing as femshep, and had just completed a mission for an assari. She gave me a trinket as a reward, so I asked if that was it, hoping for some cash monies. Suddenly, a sex scene appeared! I wasn't all like "What is this lesbianing doing in my game?" but it still was surprising. Generally I'm at least aware that sex might happen before it suddenly does.
 

Necrofudge

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Devastating Orb of the Gerbil bahahahahahah...
Ah I liked this article. Made me laugh a good number of times.

OT: I don't really think that dialog reflects too much on "accidental lesbianism". It's just a nice way of writing the dialog. Maybe the one who wrote it took one step too far in that assumption, but it does give the story and game more depth.
 

Chris Gardiner

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Iron Lightning said:
I haven't really played Echo Bazaar but is anyone else put off by your character's apparent inability to truly fail? That seems like really terrible design. How can a character have any humanity if they are infallible? they seem more like gods than people.
I havnt played it but I think its more of a you cant fail in the traditional sense which is sorry you failed try again in five minutes and we will act like this previous attempt never happened. Instead even if you fail the quest is still complete but you have a terrible ending to it.
 

Avistew

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daftalchemist said:
My character in Saints Row 2 ended up being a lesbian. I discovered that around the time she started talking about how the new hideout needed a stripper pole. I assumed it was because they were just too lazy to write separate dialogue for male/female characters. But considering the only decent looking hairstyle I could even bare to look at on her was skull-short and somewhat spikey, it kind of made the statement a little stronger than just an implication. So I rolled with it, and I love my little lesbian gangster.
What, did she say it had to be female strippers?
 

Formica Archonis

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Avistew said:
What, did she say it had to be female strippers?
Or that she didn't intend to use it herself?

I'm playing Echo Bazaar and I just roll with the slight asexuality of the environment, like how my male character can go to the Empress's court in drag and Victorian-era combat boots and no one complains. (I do have such a lovely gown.) In fact, I enjoy the little breaks in reality I can make, like using second chances to grind a stat until I'm unlocking things that make references to previous events that I skipped. Mr. Inch, for instance, knows me from a society I'm not a member of. Indeed, how could I be? I've been off hunting bats and lizards with my high society friends, I have no time for dueling!

As to the original complaint of surprise lesbianism, I'm reminded of a crossword puzzle [http://barelybad.com/xwdthemes_110596.htm]. Long story short: One clue on a crossword puzzle could be legitimately answered two different ways. It seemed (from what I saw, anyway) that the majority of people who complained were the people who ended up with the answer they didn't want.
 

daftalchemist

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Avistew said:
daftalchemist said:
My character in Saints Row 2 ended up being a lesbian. I discovered that around the time she started talking about how the new hideout needed a stripper pole. I assumed it was because they were just too lazy to write separate dialogue for male/female characters. But considering the only decent looking hairstyle I could even bare to look at on her was skull-short and somewhat spikey, it kind of made the statement a little stronger than just an implication. So I rolled with it, and I love my little lesbian gangster.
What, did she say it had to be female strippers?
Well, when the male NPC says "we need some stripper poles", and the chick PC agrees with him, one would assume they're both talking about female strippers. Also the fact that the only type of strippers you can get for the poles in the game are the female kind...kind of implies lesbian in my mind.
 

Avistew

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daftalchemist said:
Well, when the male NPC says "we need some stripper poles", and the chick PC agrees with him, one would assume they're both talking about female strippers. Also the fact that the only type of strippers you can get for the poles in the game are the female kind...kind of implies lesbian in my mind.
I don't see why with the first bit: the guy can very well suggest it because he wants female strippers, and the woman agree because she wants male ones, that kind of things happens all the time, people agreeing for different reasons. It's not like they can't hire both... which leads me to the second point: in the game, apparently, they can't, so then that makes sense. But as I said for the first point not so much.
 

ckam

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I did not read this article, but I'll just look into Echo Bazaar later along with reading this topic.
 

Deathlisk

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Dragonrose said:
Deathlisk said:
Of course she wouldn't complain if it assumed she was a heterosexual woman! That was the sexual preference she imagined her character with in the first place.
Someone did say that just because this had to do with homosexuality someone would rush to it's defence for some unknown reason.
And I think she would have complained about asexuality too bro.
Not defending anything but the player choice. It would be the same with any other type of player choice. Personally I wouldn't like it for a game that leaves it open to me to assume I'm black or white, religious or not, male or female, pancake or crepe lover.

The point is, if you're leaving it all up to player on character creation you shouldn't assume later on, that's just common sense, imo.

And "bro"? Why are you assuming I'm male? ;)
No, I just like t throw that in sometimes. But then again..... a good followup question would be... Are you?
 

leevio

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To repsond on the voiceless hero or the voiced hero.

I am awaiting the day where you can "pick" a voice out of a list of 4 to 6 different voices whcih your hero has during the whole game.

although that might be abit too expensive :(
 

Zen Toombs

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M'lady, it is no more wrong to force the player character to be lesbian than it is to force the player to be straight. Or to force the player character to be a redhead. Or to force the player character to prefer to read books alone instead of going to a party.

It may not be the norm, but that doesn't make it wrong.
[/rant]
 

tzimize

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Cool article bro.

Fascinating read. I love RPGs, at least the good ones. Just mentioning Dragon Age: Origins made me want to revisit it. I seldom revisit RPGs though. For example, in Mass Effect, the only "real" playthrough was my first one. The second felt just like an exploration of what I didnt do the first time, instead of a "true" story.

Once the story is done...you cant change it, it stays in your mind. At least it does in mine :p