The Accidental Lesbian

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!"
 
Nov 12, 2010
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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.