222: Straight and Narrow

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I would just like to add that Baldur's Gate 2 also already included same-sex relationships.

Mimsofthedawg:
Frankly, I don't care much for a characters orientation in a mario game. I would argue that when the "apparent" orientation of Birdo was hidden from the public in America, they did it because Mario is (or was perceived as) a childrens game . It wasn't so much for the homophobia of the idea, but rather that belief that any talk about sexuality with children is inappropriate. To a large degree, I agree. All that kids need to understand about sexuality is that some children ahve wee-wees, and others don't. Anything else is simply irrelevant in a child's world (my friends and I sure as hell had no idea what a "homosexual" was, nor would we have given a damn if you attempted to explain).

Depends on the child. Some children already have transsexual urges at that point in life, and the sooner parents are aware of it and start talking about it, the better for them.

Mimsofthedawg:

Now, I know that example was taken from another article. So to come back to this one, I simply want to say that, sure, it would be interesting to have homosexuals in video games as characters, but I don't understand why there needs to be an EFFORT to do so. First of all, in many games (like halo (not ODST) and Resistance), any mentioning of homosexuals would be out of place. Particularly in Resistance, which takes place in hyper-conservative America that's being undersiege by an alien invasion force. In my opinion, there aren't a lot of games on the market where it would be logical to put in a gay character. Other games (Left 4 Dead anyone?) make me wonder why they exclude such an obviously simple integration of the character. It wouldn't have to be forced. You could add a scene with a guy (or girl) morning his/her same sex lover.

Having said that, I'm sick of a lot of the media and entertainment industries shoving down our throats the idea that we MUST HAVE GAYS IN OUR SHOWS!!! I have nothing against having homosexuals in shows, but many of the shows that incorporate them do it as a PR stunt. I remember a BBC special (I think it was called Wormwood). It was supposed to be about aliens taking over children and invading the world. But half of the show was devoted to two "detectives" and their gay relationship. Why the FUCK do I care about two guys making love when the worlds about to end? I wouldn't care even if they were a guy and a girl. It distracted from the main story so much that I stopped watching. I was here to watch aliens, not a romance story.

Other shows do it right. House has a bisexual woman in it. Granted, she is in a heterosexual relationship at the moment, but they made her bisexual because it fit the character so well. It was interesting and entertaining. brilliant I'd say! It wasn't forced at all! It was natural for the show and character. I loved it.

People hear "there should be more gay characters in games" and tend to think of shoehorning them into existing games. No one's suggesting that openly gay characters can and should fit into every game. You're more likely to end up with stereotypes doing that anyway. What we want to see are more characters like Thirteen (the chick from house) in games, where the sexuality fits and is a natural part of the character.

Mimsofthedawg:
I wish all sources of media would stop discriminating against homosexuals but would also stop trying to force homosexual characters in their mediums of entertainment where they don't naturally seem to fit. Just let developers make the stories they want to make, and don't bash them for either desiring to put in a well thought of gay character nor bash them for excluding them. The fact is, only 5-10% of the population is gay. logic would have it only 5-10% of characters should be gay, at the most. I don't expect nor necessarily want every game to have a gay character. Then again, I'd be very upset if the next installment of Super Smash Bros. took a great deal of time explaining to me that DK and Diddy Kong were actually lovers. I just don't give a damn. I wanna beat the shit outta Mr. Game & Watch!!!

i'd be very surprised if the percentage of gay characters in any form of media was even close to 5-10%.

Pyre00:
If you have the choice to, go on and play as a carbon copy of you. If not, learn to deal with it like the rest of us have. Racism and homophobia will only die once no one gives a damn.

i don't think that's true. Antisemitism has existed for thousands of years, and i don't think it's because too many Jews still "give a damn."

I also think you're assuming racism and homophobia are conscious attitudes, when most of the time they aren't.

mattcruise:
Also the thing with gay culture is it is rarely handled with any degree of subtlety. There are rare occasions where a character in some medium where he happens to be gay, and they don't make a big thing about it. I'm fine with that. But even within the culture itself, and i'm talking real life, its treated like the only thing that defines a gay person is that they are gay. I mean I've been to gay pride, and there is so much shirtless men, thongs, drag queens, buttless chaps, men in their underwear. Its like if I went to a hetro pride parade and saw women dressing like sluts, and men acting like macho douchebags I think the same thing. It doesn't treat the sexuality with any amount of respect, it comes across as attention seeking.

what makes homosexuality different from other minorities is that its completely invisible. when gay "culture" is handled subtly, it often doesn't stand out at all. in some ways i feel the same about pride parades but then again, these people are so used to repressing their sexuality and remaining invisible, that i can't really blame them for being... overexuberant when they have the chance.

mattcruise:
For homosexuality to work in art it has to be treated with respect for both hetrosexuals and homosexuals. The characters that are gay, but the relationships that spawn from that have to be real, have actual emotional depth, and not just flamboyant 'hey look I'm gay' characters.

i agree 100%.

Okay. I, like warrenEBB a few posts up, am treading dangreous waters by saying this but...

Arn't gays getting prefferential treatment just 'cause people feel that they've been harassed enough in the past? I mean I like the idea that there was a mission in GTA where you saved the gay guy. But what if the game had included a multiple choice mission where you could also tag up with some homophobes to beat the guy up and finish him off with a brutal shot to the neck? The outrage would've been equvalent of a supernova. And some of the queens I know could deffinately skate down the sidewalk wearing pink tights (or whatever). I know that most gays do not look like that, but there are some, and they do make a splash when they go out. The problem then lies not in the representation, but in tha fact that it's the only representation. And I don't think all games have the time to show every side of the spectrum. So as a games designer I can understan you not taking the gey-friendly way since whatever you do, you'll be missrepresenting someone.

My point though is that as much as I'd love to have some same sex options of both kinds in games (there are cute guys and girls...and I want them all). I don't like the thought me me having to play a nice loving character all the time. Just as games are violent, but everyone knows that they are games, I want games to be homophobic and heterohating at the same time. I want to be able to both play an average Joe who likes to chat up guys in bars as much as I want to be able to wreak bloody havoc in a pride-parade. I don't dislike gays, heck allow me to indulge in my bi-sides, but that does not mean that I don't appreciate the fact that I can play as someone who is not me. Such as a violent gay-hating biker, or a biggot of a grandfather. Okay, those games don't exist but you get my point...maybe?

Also, Bloodlines only had F/F pairings. I remember how pissed I was when I found out I could play a dyke (which I did) but not a gay.

LadyZephyr:

MikeOfThunder:

Main characters being (usually) Either-
*Male, strong, funny, confident and successful.
OR
*Female, strong (Not looking it though...), confident and sexy.

If male gamers have no qualms playing a straight woman who is attracted to guys, they shouldn't have problems playing a gay man who's attracted to guys. The player character is not an exact representation of the player and isn't meant to be. (Outside certain sandbow games that allow total character customization, I suppose.)

Well playing a straight woman is different, due to the sex appeal of the character. A 'kickass' sexy female character will appeal to the majority. Also the player character is barely ever like the real person playing them... otherwise it would be boring: People want a character that they can both relate too, but is also someone they admire and have a certain 'wish-I-was-him' about them.

Take 'Gears of war' Marcus Fenix:

*Strong; confident; powerful; physically imposing; fearless; very masculine; carrys a chainsaw gun.

By making the character gay, he suddenly becomes alot less masculine, even if he is basically the same character! I don't quite know why really, i think its a poor steriotype. (Let me make it clear that i don't think that gay people are any less masculine, its just in games it can seem the case). Also sex sells, sexy men are not going to appeal to a majority hetrosexual gaming population.

I don't care if you're gay. I wouldn't care if anyone was gay. But you wanna know what? I (as a heterosexual male) would not want to be forced to play a game with a gay protagonist and HAVE to be him. It would be terrible. Game developers are just playing to the largest demographic. Stop whining.

I don't know...an openly gay protagonist?

I think it would be too distracting to players.

Don't get me wrong, I myself am gay, but I just think it'd be a bit silly.

It doesn't matter anyway. Regardless of how manly and girl-crazy a video game character is, there'll always be the fangirls and gay gamers who'll insist the character is gay anyway.

And how many guys just love the idea of their favourite female character being a lesbian?

In a game where you choose your character; fine, make one or two of them gay if you like. I'll probably pick them (provided they aren't really weird =P)

But in your standard action adventure, I don't want to be playing as a flaming homosexual.

I'd much rather rescuing a princess than a prince.

Susan Arendt:

The_ModeRazor:

Ok I guess.
But I think the way Lionhead pulled it off was just fine. (well except it wasn't because marriage in Fable means friggin nothin, but still)
I might be a homophobe for this, but I really can't see the reason behind making the gamer control a gay protagonist.

Well, let's try it this way - can you see a reason why NOT to make a protagonist gay? Besides things like whether a game would sell, I mean.

Although sometimes a game's story requires the protagonist to be something specific (you're probably not ever going to play as a woman in a WWII game, for example), most of the time there's no compelling reason it needs to be anything in particular. Could be a guy, a girl, black, white, straight, gay, whatever. Take Dead Rising as an example (simply because I happened to just look at the poster for it above my desk.) All the main character really has to be is someone that could legitimately be a photojournalist, so probably not a kid. Other than that, it's wide open. And yet, it's a white guy. Now, there's nothing wrong with the hero being a white guy in and of itself - after all, why shouldn't it? - the problem is that it's so often a white guy. Variety would be great and variety includes minorities -- including homosexuals.

Actually, I can see a reason behind not making the protagonist gay:
Either it's part of the story, so it is expressed, and THAT is somewhat disturbing.
Or he just says "Yo I'm gay", and that's almost as bad as the first one.
I really couldn't be bothered about sex in games, but if its gay, it would definitely creep me out.

occamsnailfile:

squid5580:

occamsnailfile:

squid5580:
They can't even work out a way to have hetrosexual sexuality in games without starting a huge controversy. Seems to me that the discrimination flows pretty equally. Especially when most characters aren't given enough personality to really define thier sexuality.

WTF? Are you insane? Heterosexuals are not discriminated against in games. Most particularly heterosexual males. The characters who aren't shown as having an overt sexuality are assumed by pretty much everyone except people who pause to think for a second that they are straight.

Visibility is a problem for gay people in general, as they have to assert that they are gay in order for it to be apparent, generally, and then they get accused of "throwing it in people's faces," by, apparently, asserting their own existence. It doesn't have to be huge, as noted in some games the characters are very subtly indicated.

I wish that Nico in GTAIV had been able to actually date one of the male options on the dating websites. Just one. The straight boys got like five.

All this saying 'gay hurts sales' is like saying 'black hurts sales' when the possibility of making a lead character non-white is introduced. It's crap and we can do better than that as a society. I think the straight-white-males out there can be big enough that not everything has to be all about them, all the time, right?

I didn't say hetrosexuals. I said hetrosexual sexuality. Did you forget the Mass Effect controversy? They completely glossed over the fact that you could have a semi lesbian relationship (the blue alien who has both organs or something but she looks like a girl) but focused on the fact that OMG THEY HAD S E X. So if that is the reaction of a hetrosexual relationship that was done in very good taste what chance is there of having a homosexual scene? Would you be happy with a character who announces "I'm gay" at the beginning of the game and that is it? How about some shoehorned in romance that means nothing because game writers can't write? Maybe you would be happier with a God of War style comic minigame that is just there for silliness?

Not only that what about you the player? Do you need them to tell you every little detail about your character? I remember back when I first started playing games we had to use this thing called imagination. White squares floating on the screen we imagined were grenades. A green rectangle was GI freakin Joe man. SO why do they have to tell you that your character is gay or straight? Is Mario straight because he is always rescuing the princess? Maybe Luigi is his life partner but Mario is in the princess rescuing business. Who is to say one dark night in the foxhole Marcus and Carmine didn't get a little closer than needed to "keep warm" and the only reason they went after his wife was for repopulation. Unless the character comes out with the stereotypical clothes and lisp no one really knows what most characters are. Everyone just assumes they are.

Oh, great, one incident where straight sexuality draws a tiny bit of finger-wagging (versus the specific singling out that the lesbian 'scene' got on national television, rather than being "glossed over" as you try to claim) and clearly discrimination against heterosexual sexuality is equal to that experienced by gays. Good night.

I'd be content with any one of several of those options of representation--so long as it fit the game it was in. Why don't you use your "imagination" to envision a world where not all games are always about straight white males. I mean one of the reasons they have such a big demographic is that all the marketing is to them, all the games are written for them, and everybody else just has to take whatever scraps they can get--including female leads with enormous breasts "for the men" even if the game is supposed to attract female gamers, even though there are huge numbers of women who play now, even though there are a lot of very vocal gays, and even though of course not all gamers are white straight males.

They know they can just ignore everybody else because everybody else is used to having to pick up the leftovers, while the second you move the camera away from the "majority demographic", they set up a hue and cry about how gays should "just use their imagination."

Right because only gay people would ever have to use thier imagination. Why the writers hold everyone else's hands here and produce amazing characters every time. The bottom line is we are all getting leftovers here. In a 10 hour game you get what 3 hours of story? 2 hours of which is some ass kicking scenes which do nothing for the character development. So then what you want them to proudly announce they are gay? Maybe go for the whole stereotype that way the gay community can bitch about that. Maybe when there aren't shenanigans like Mass Effect, RE5, Shadow Complex and Scribblenaughts and we can convince them we are mature enough to handle mature topics then the industry might follow.

Sorry, the sexual orientation of a video game character is NOT IMPORTANT.

The_ModeRazor:

Susan Arendt:

The_ModeRazor:

Ok I guess.
But I think the way Lionhead pulled it off was just fine. (well except it wasn't because marriage in Fable means friggin nothin, but still)
I might be a homophobe for this, but I really can't see the reason behind making the gamer control a gay protagonist.

Well, let's try it this way - can you see a reason why NOT to make a protagonist gay? Besides things like whether a game would sell, I mean.

Although sometimes a game's story requires the protagonist to be something specific (you're probably not ever going to play as a woman in a WWII game, for example), most of the time there's no compelling reason it needs to be anything in particular. Could be a guy, a girl, black, white, straight, gay, whatever. Take Dead Rising as an example (simply because I happened to just look at the poster for it above my desk.) All the main character really has to be is someone that could legitimately be a photojournalist, so probably not a kid. Other than that, it's wide open. And yet, it's a white guy. Now, there's nothing wrong with the hero being a white guy in and of itself - after all, why shouldn't it? - the problem is that it's so often a white guy. Variety would be great and variety includes minorities -- including homosexuals.

Actually, I can see a reason behind not making the protagonist gay:
Either it's part of the story, so it is expressed, and THAT is somewhat disturbing.
Or he just says "Yo I'm gay", and that's almost as bad as the first one.
I really couldn't be bothered about sex in games, but if its gay, it would definitely creep me out.

That's a perfectly honest reaction. So you wouldn't play that game, that's fine. But what about folks who are gay who would appreciate being able to have a love story that they can relate to?

Ok, I don't mean to sound like a dick or anything, but the game creators not offering gay choices in games isn't homophobia. Homophobia is a fear of homosexuals. Game companies do not exhibit this word at all, they merely are marketing to a majority population. Considering that the majority of most (if not all) cultures are heterosexual, marketing an item that limits the perspective to a homosexual one would be a bad idea profit wise. They don't fear homosexuals, they just don't see marketing directly to them as a profitable way of selling a product.

Now, I do understand the desire of these minority populations wanting inclusion in the Halls of the Heros where the main gay hero doesn't speak in a lisp, wear loud colored clothing, while indiscriminately feeling up every male or female character (depending on preference). It sucks to be left out of being the major role in any form of art, and I think that the suggestion of offering a choice in games would be feasible. However, in order to add this sort of preference, there would be extra costs that go into voice acting and creating alternate lines of story, creating a greater expense for the gaming companies which may not ultimately increase game sales.

I think it's unfair to label game companies as homophobic for following the trends that would make them profitable in their endeavours. If anything, this is just capitalism, or a system of greed.

Now Xbox Live. Remember that many of the players on Xbox Live are insecure teenagers who are stuck in that phase of life associated with identity crisis. However, this is no excuse for slurs against people for their race or sexual preference. But once again, this is the trend of the time and of the people. Education would be the best option, but if people wish to choose ignorance and narrow-mindedness, it would be imperative that we allow them to do so. Considering most of them make asses of themselves when they're arguing based on Pathos anyway, there shouldn't be too much of a fear that their chosen retardation (in the form of denial of empathy and scientific evidence) will be passed on too far when the society as a whole starts to move forward.

But if you disagree, just quote me and reply.

Susan Arendt:

The_ModeRazor:

Susan Arendt:

The_ModeRazor:

Ok I guess.
But I think the way Lionhead pulled it off was just fine. (well except it wasn't because marriage in Fable means friggin nothin, but still)
I might be a homophobe for this, but I really can't see the reason behind making the gamer control a gay protagonist.

Well, let's try it this way - can you see a reason why NOT to make a protagonist gay? Besides things like whether a game would sell, I mean.

Although sometimes a game's story requires the protagonist to be something specific (you're probably not ever going to play as a woman in a WWII game, for example), most of the time there's no compelling reason it needs to be anything in particular. Could be a guy, a girl, black, white, straight, gay, whatever. Take Dead Rising as an example (simply because I happened to just look at the poster for it above my desk.) All the main character really has to be is someone that could legitimately be a photojournalist, so probably not a kid. Other than that, it's wide open. And yet, it's a white guy. Now, there's nothing wrong with the hero being a white guy in and of itself - after all, why shouldn't it? - the problem is that it's so often a white guy. Variety would be great and variety includes minorities -- including homosexuals.

Actually, I can see a reason behind not making the protagonist gay:
Either it's part of the story, so it is expressed, and THAT is somewhat disturbing.
Or he just says "Yo I'm gay", and that's almost as bad as the first one.
I really couldn't be bothered about sex in games, but if its gay, it would definitely creep me out.

That's a perfectly honest reaction. So you wouldn't play that game, that's fine. But what about folks who are gay who would appreciate being able to have a love story that they can relate to?

They need to realise that video games are usually not there to deliver a deep and touching love story.
I didn't say I wouldn't play it because the protagonist is gay, (because hell, they might make a great game) but it would be just somewhat disturbing.

I'm a gay gamer but i'm not all that bothered about the lack of representation in games. I mean it would be brilliant if their were protagonists who were homosexual or bisexual, and playing Fable II was a really fun experience, i just understand that the general population needs to mature a bit more.

If you're not there yet in the Harry Potter world, be warned.

Did this impact Harry Potter fans in any way, shape or form? No.

Without being told, would you guess that they were? Probably not.

I thought this was one of those weird cases where it was fine that this was the case (it's difficult to write this without spoilering the whole thing) and it made jack all difference to the character AND proved that you don't have to be sparkly and camp etc. but at the same time, did it really need saying at all? Was there anything to gain other than a bit more airtime?

I guess I'm trying to make the point that shoving homosexuality into a player's face in a game doesn't serve any purpose. It doesn't promote tolerance or anything like that - it just makes sexuality an issue where it doesn't need to be.

wordsmith:

Ok, someone less creepy then... I don't know, Barney?

I would have no problem with it whatsoever. Simply looking at you means nothing.

wordsmith:
So if I call someone a Jew in a derogatory way, that's not racist? Just because something might be taken to mean one thing doesn't mean it loses it's original meaning.

I never said that. I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at by saying it, but... while homophobia DOES indeed mean "same" and "fear", that's not the vernacular it's used in, and chances are even if you argue to try and change it, it's the same as the phrase "that's so gay": I doubt it'll ever change. Besides, (and this isn't meant to be rude or anything like that) what else would we say? It's the best we can get with what language we have.

ashiii:

I'd much rather rescuing a princess than a prince.

Er... just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to rescue a prince.

Charley:
If you're not there yet in the Harry Potter world, be warned.

Did this impact Harry Potter fans in any way, shape or form? No.

Without being told, would you guess that they were? Probably not.

I thought this was one of those weird cases where it was fine that this was the case (it's difficult to write this without spoilering the whole thing) and it made jack all difference to the character AND proved that you don't have to be sparkly and camp etc. but at the same time, did it really need saying at all? Was there anything to gain other than a bit more airtime?

I guess I'm trying to make the point that shoving homosexuality into a player's face in a game doesn't serve any purpose. It doesn't promote tolerance or anything like that - it just makes sexuality an issue where it doesn't need to be.

1. She didn't reveal it for "more airtime"; she was asked point-blank about Dumbledore's sexuality, and answered honestly.

2. People don't want it shoved in their faces, gay OR straight. I think what is being argued is that we wouldn't mind having a gay character woven into the storyline where it fits and feels natural, like Big Boss in MGS.

The problem with a call to arms like this is that the issue is so much smaller. It's easy to sell the case for a female protagonist (51%) or a non-white protagonist (25% in the US). But only 4% of the US is homosexual, and only 1% of couples!

It takes a lot of time and money to switch around a main character's gender or orientation, especially if it's the player. In fact, it'll pretty much torpedo the chance of your romance mattering to the plot - see Fable and Mass Effect. And when there are likely more homophobic gamers who will avoid your game than gay gamers out there? It just doesn't make business sense. Even if you want your protagonist to break the space marine mold, it's a lot easier to just make him Hispanic (14% of Americans and no backlash).

Yukichin:

wordsmith:

Ok, someone less creepy then... I don't know, Barney?

I would have no problem with it whatsoever. Simply looking at you means nothing.

There's a difference between "simply looking" and a sexually charged look, totally different body language.

Yukichin:

wordsmith:
So if I call someone a Jew in a derogatory way, that's not racist? Just because something might be taken to mean one thing doesn't mean it loses it's original meaning.

I never said that. I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at by saying it, but... while homophobia DOES indeed mean "same" and "fear", that's not the vernacular it's used in, and chances are even if you argue to try and change it, it's the same as the phrase "that's so gay": I doubt it'll ever change. Besides, (and this isn't meant to be rude or anything like that) what else would we say? It's the best we can get with what language we have.

I know you didn't say that, you said that homophobic is used in a way that doesn't literally mean "scared of same sex sexual relations". I'm comparing this to the recent trend (and this might just be locally, I don't know about anywhere else) of anything bad being "jewish", used in the same way as "gay" or "retard" (i.e. "Shut up, Jew!" "Stop being a fricken Jew!" "Damn, that's sorta jewish...").

And on your last point, I'm glad you asked. It should be something closer to Misohomony. Miso- dislike (as seen in misogyny, misocapnic and misopogonistic), Homo- same.

wordsmith:

Yukichin:

wordsmith:

Ok, someone less creepy then... I don't know, Barney?

I would have no problem with it whatsoever. Simply looking at you means nothing.

There's a difference between "simply looking" and a sexually charged look, totally different body language.

I'm going to begin ignoring this because I have a feeling we will never agree on it.

wordsmith:

Yukichin:

wordsmith:
So if I call someone a Jew in a derogatory way, that's not racist? Just because something might be taken to mean one thing doesn't mean it loses it's original meaning.

I never said that. I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at by saying it, but... while homophobia DOES indeed mean "same" and "fear", that's not the vernacular it's used in, and chances are even if you argue to try and change it, it's the same as the phrase "that's so gay": I doubt it'll ever change. Besides, (and this isn't meant to be rude or anything like that) what else would we say? It's the best we can get with what language we have.

I know you didn't say that, you said that homophobic is used in a way that doesn't literally mean "scared of same sex sexual relations". I'm comparing this to the recent trend (and this might just be locally, I don't know about anywhere else) of anything bad being "jewish", used in the same way as "gay" or "retard" (i.e. "Shut up, Jew!" "Stop being a fricken Jew!" "Damn, that's sorta jewish...").

And on your last point, I'm glad you asked. It should be something closer to Misohomony. Miso- dislike (as seen in misogyny, misocapnic and misopogonistic), Homo- same.

O_O;; weird. We don't have anything like that here, for the most part. It'll happen occasionally, but I find it rude.

I see. That makes sense... unfortunately, "homophobia" is what society has decided to use. It will probably stay, despite its misnomer.

Here's the question I want to ask:

At what point does inclusion of a same-sex relationship move from being progressive to being untasteful and tacky? I don't mean in the homophobic sense, I mean in the sense that it's genuinely offensive to homosexuals as an inaccurate depiction of homosexuality, or perhaps a depiction whose intentions aren't entirely honorable or genuine. It's one thing to include a homosexual character if your artistic vision genuinely calls for it, that I think is an ideal that the author of this article would like to see realized. But what about shoehorning a gay character in just for the sake of shoehorning a gay character in? For the sake of just trying to LOOK like you're being progressive, humoring audiences and so forth? To me that kind of superficial placation seems like a disrespectful gesture, as much as if a flamboyant homosexual were employed as comedic relief (okay, sometimes this has worked and worked well and I've actually liked the character a lot, but let's just assume the worst, most tactless possible scenario) or if there were a lesbian scene for no other reason than sheer titillation. Honestly, I think that if developers don't have it in them to really be genuine in the way they portray homosexual characters we shouldn't expect or ask them to force it. 99.999999% of the time I don't think it's a matter of outright avoiding dealing with homosexuals out of fear so much as the fact that it just doesn't occur to straight writers who have half a brain or more to think about it when they write, and if it did it would only occur to them either because someone pointed out they had no gays in their cast or because they're a bigot. Let's face it, if they're intelligent, progressive people they just don't think it's an issue.

The bottom line is, is it really a necessity for there to be a "token gay guy" in every cast? Would we really be satisfied if developers went OUT OF THEIR WAY to include homosexuals and minorities as opposed to being genuine about them? When it comes down to it we're talking about an ideal. Ideals are slow to mature, but maybe it's best that way, if only for the fact that when it does come to pass that every group gets their time in the sun then it'll be truly natural and progressive and not forced. Pressuring it is like trying to push a mule up a mountain. The day both we and the developers, who are driven by marketing pressures, stop worrying about these issues of appeal and simply write what comes naturally to us will be a big step forward. If good characters are written, people don't care if they're gay or straight or black or white or Hispanic or Asian or whatever. Case in point: Samuel L. Jackson, a black actor, playing Nick Fury, who was always depicted in the Marvel comics as being a white guy. You know you want Samuel L. Jackson to play that part and not one of the Baldwins. When he plays a character, it's awesome. You don't think about the fact that he's black, you just enjoy his performance. That's how it should be. It's too bad that it has to be both sides, though, because the day they stop worrying about imposing marketing on creativity is a long, long way off.

Still, I say we wait patiently for that day, and those of us who are ready should do what we can to step forward towards it.

I think games like Fable II show that there is an approach developers could take which would keep everybody happy - let the player decide whether their character is gay or not. Mass Effect did this artfully when they left the option for romance with Liara open to a female version of Shepard. The next step would be leaving the option for romance with Kaidan open to a male Shepard. And why shouldn't it be, anyway? Shepard is the same person. Kaidan is the same person. Regardless of gender, shouldn't they feel the same way? I guess that's the question future developers need to consider.

Rather than defining characters and relationships as being 'gay' or 'straight', video games and their customer base would benefit from taking an open, more fluid approach to sexuality, especially considering that if you write a storyline essentially irrespective of the genders of the characters involved, the story avoids falling into cliches and stereotypes. When you have people who range across all varieties of the gender and sexuality spectrum playing your video games, it becomes more important than ever to make stories that are about the person and not the gender. And I find that, if a character is written with no preconditions of race, religion, gender or sexuality (as all those elements are customisable by player choice) they're automatically going to be written with the same respect that the generic heterosexual white male character template is.

This is why I think that games where you have the option of choosing the gender of the character you play are going to continue to be at the forefront of LGBTI representation. The next step they have to take is simply removing the limitations that prevent characters from pursuing a same-sex storyline, by keeping all romances available to player characters of both genders. It is a shame that more linear, fixed-character stories don't tend to include gay protagonists (with a few notable exceptions), but, without a doubt, it is the best compromise to let the player decide what they see, and what relationships their characters have, since developers don't risk alienating customers if they aren't forcing people to play gay (which I don't necessarily think is a legitimate fear, since socially-conservative groups seem to have it in for video games anyway).

Let's call it a 'blank slate' approach to video games. After all, the characters are supposed to be us, right? What better way to let the player manifest themselves in the storyline than by giving them those alternatives, rather than squeezing us all into the big, square box of genericism?

I just don't see the point in this, how would you be able to know the sexual preference of any given character without them explicitly saying it? There would be nothing to gain or lose in doing so. None of the games I have played (or know of) explicitly stated whether or not a character was gay or not, not because of "homophobia" but because it's not a big deal.

Basically what I'm trying to say is sexual preference is just a small detail that really makes no difference to the character, or the story. Knowing whether or not the main character from the Shadow of the Colossus game kisses boys or not doesn't matter at all when I'm slaying giants does it?

I'm not sure, but when J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore was a homosexual, did that affect the actual Harry Potter story?

Right now I'm imagining a gun-fu game where the plot begins with the protagonist answering a phone call (Much like the opening to Jericho), telling him to get to a crime scene or what-have-you. Someone in bed next to him groans (In a muffled, androgynous tone) "What's up sweetie?" To which the protagonist replies, "The usual: Duty calls, making the world a better place for the people I care about." The protagonist then leans over and gives his lover, now sitting up, a deep kiss, and then leaves. His partner is never seen and rarely mentioned throughout the entire rest of the game, which is all about srs cop business, people getting blowed up, and gun-fu ass-kickery.

He would have to appear with short brown hair, slightly unkempt at all times, a bit of five-o-clock shadow, and normal dress. He would need to be grizzled to a point without being a bear, and girly enough without being a flamer. Just your average Joe personality.

The protagonist will be voiced by Steve Blum.

Anyhoo... I would love to see more gay characters in games, being a "gaymer" myself. I would NOT like to see the writers emphasize the sexuality of the protagonist, that is, if it is a single player game with only one protagonist.

While your doing back flips and stabbing people with bullets John Woo style, sexuality shouldn't really need to be brought up. I mean seriously, what the nelly?

Take this situation for instance: The cop/gun-fu master/White Chow Yung Fat is partnered up with a female cop to solve his case or what-have-you. As she makes advances to him, he politely refuses, only subtly implying that the reason that he refuses her is because of his sexuality.

He would also have to be the best, or at least a very talented cop on the force, meaning that his comrades accept him for his skills and personality. That would also count as an excuse for his protagonist status. I don't want a whole "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE" thing going on where the cast looks like they grew up in the "It's a Small World" ride, but just standard balance.

Sure, you'll see stereotypes in games like GTA, of course. It's fucking GTA for crying out loud! No one cares about those games anymore, really (Please don't respond to this part, I'm being facetious).

As far as discrimination on communities like Xbox live goes, no one will know unless you advertise sexuality.

More to the point of the article however, the various 12 year olds calling people "Fag," "Gay," and "Queer" as insults when they lose, or win, or are just bored because their vocabularies are about as expansive as a Hydrogen atom, I just tend to disregard them. Getting into an argument on Xbox live is like getting into an argument on 4chan's /b/: It doesn't fracking matter.

Oh noes, someone is wrong on the internet!

I'm not saying it isn't a problem, it is a serious one, where people use a slur for sexuality as an insult. I understand it just about as much as I understand why black people who subscribe themselves to the "gangsta" lifestyle tend to call each other "nigger" as a synonym for "bro" or "pal."

I may be a bisexual transgendered gamer, but I don't seem to be taking this as seriously as other people. It is a problem, the lack of gays in games, portrayed correctly, the usage of "fag" and "homo" on Xbox live and the like, and other such issues are as they stand: Issues. Issues that need to be resolved with utmost haste so we can move on and figure out exactly which dimension Mario will be jumping around in for his next wacky adventure.

This article completely disregards Master Chief and Maxwell from Scribblenauts, who are both quite open about their sexuality.

Relatively few games portray the character's sexuality, one way or the other (or even both ways). In most games, it's not even brought up. As someone who doesn't see a problem with homosexuals (as long as they stop invading my personal space; they're prone to do that), I also don't see a big issue for them to be fighting against. It's like environmentalism or intellectualism; so progressive it's shooting right past the realm of sanity (I should know, I've been orbiting sanity for almost 20 years now).

I understand that there are all sorts of restrictions against homosexuality, and I'm not saying that progress is bad. I just feel that it doesn't apply to video games nearly as much as they seem to believe.

I honestly have no qualms with gay men. I even think it would be interesting to play a gay man in a game, even if it was just to see what the writers would do.

I think the problem is that many people don't the flamboyancy of camp, gay men. I'm in secondary school, and all the two or three gays in my year are ridiculously camp. Unfortunately, they are also incredibly arrogant, rude and snobby, which in my opinion, doesn't help them at all. I'd have no problem if they weren't walking around being dicks to everyone.

MNRA:
And some of the queens I know could deffinately skate down the sidewalk wearing pink tights (or whatever). I know that most gays do not look like that, but there are some, and they do make a splash when they go out. The problem then lies not in the representation, but in tha fact that it's the only representation. And I don't think all games have the time to show every side of the spectrum. So as a games designer I can understan you not taking the gey-friendly way since whatever you do, you'll be missrepresenting someone.

unfortunately, the "pink tights" side of the spectrum is what we usually see. resorting to stereotypes isn't just offensive, it's bad character design and therefore bad game design too.

MNRA:
My point though is that as much as I'd love to have some same sex options of both kinds in games (there are cute guys and girls...and I want them all). I don't like the thought me me having to play a nice loving character all the time. Just as games are violent, but everyone knows that they are games, I want games to be homophobic and heterohating at the same time. I want to be able to both play an average Joe who likes to chat up guys in bars as much as I want to be able to wreak bloody havoc in a pride-parade. I don't dislike gays, heck allow me to indulge in my bi-sides, but that does not mean that I don't appreciate the fact that I can play as someone who is not me. Such as a violent gay-hating biker, or a biggot of a grandfather. Okay, those games don't exist but you get my point...maybe?

i think i get where you're coming from, but if we're going to have a serious and meaningful exploration of homophobia in games, we need to have an honest representation of homosexuality first.

Mrsnugglesworth:
I don't care if you're gay. I wouldn't care if anyone was gay. But you wanna know what? I (as a heterosexual male) would not want to be forced to play a game with a gay protagonist and HAVE to be him. It would be terrible. Game developers are just playing to the largest demographic. Stop whining.

You know what? a lot of homosexual males hate being forced to play hetero protagonists. And catering solely to the largest demographic isn't how you run a business.

RexoftheFord:
Ok, I don't mean to sound like a dick or anything, but the game creators not offering gay choices in games isn't homophobia. Homophobia is a fear of homosexuals. Game companies do not exhibit this word at all, they merely are marketing to a majority population. Considering that the majority of most (if not all) cultures are heterosexual, marketing an item that limits the perspective to a homosexual one would be a bad idea profit wise. They don't fear homosexuals, they just don't see marketing directly to them as a profitable way of selling a product.

They're fear losing money if they make a game with gay characters in it :p

Marketing to the majority is a naive and stupid business plan. As a company, you want your products to apply to as broad a market as possible; and there are far more gay people out there than there are people who would refuse to buy your game just because the main character's gay.

RexoftheFord:
Now Xbox Live. Remember that many of the players on Xbox Live are insecure teenagers who are stuck in that phase of life associated with identity crisis. However, this is no excuse for slurs against people for their race or sexual preference. But once again, this is the trend of the time and of the people. Education would be the best option, but if people wish to choose ignorance and narrow-mindedness, it would be imperative that we allow them to do so. Considering most of them make asses of themselves when they're arguing based on Pathos anyway, there shouldn't be too much of a fear that their chosen retardation (in the form of denial of empathy and scientific evidence) will be passed on too far when the society as a whole starts to move forward.

Why is it "imperative" that Microsoft indulge ignorance and hatred? Their goal is to produce and manage an online community that their customers will pay to be a part of. Hateful speech ruins that experience and Microsoft loses customers because of it.

/sigh. i'm gonna have to double post or this is going to be impossible to read.

NickCaligo42:
The bottom line is, is it really a necessity for there to be a "token gay guy" in every cast? Would we really be satisfied if developers went OUT OF THEIR WAY to include homosexuals and minorities as opposed to being genuine about them? When it comes down to it we're talking about an ideal. Ideals are slow to mature, but maybe it's best that way, if only for the fact that when it does come to pass that every group gets their time in the sun then it'll be truly natural and progressive and not forced. Pressuring it is like trying to push a mule up a mountain. The day both we and the developers, who are driven by marketing pressures, stop worrying about these issues of appeal and simply write what comes naturally to us will be a big step forward. If good characters are written, people don't care if they're gay or straight or black or white or Hispanic or Asian or whatever.

of course we shouldn't have "token gays", and good characterization is good characterization. but there are plenty of stories that are influenced by the characters cultural background. Roots had to be about a black man. Desperado had to be about Mexicans. The Last Samurai had to be about Japanese.

the point is, there are plenty of potentially great stories about LGBT characters, and it's foolish to ignore them.

NickCaligo42:
Case in point: Samuel L. Jackson, a black actor, playing Nick Fury, who was always depicted in the Marvel comics as being a white guy. You know you want Samuel L. Jackson to play that part and not one of the Baldwins. When he plays a character, it's awesome. You don't think about the fact that he's black, you just enjoy his performance. That's how it should be. It's too bad that it has to be both sides, though, because the day they stop worrying about imposing marketing on creativity is a long, long way off.

actually the Ultimate version of Nick Fury is lack and was create as an homage to Sam Jackson:

image

MajoraPersona:
Relatively few games portray the character's sexuality, one way or the other (or even both ways). In most games, it's not even brought up. As someone who doesn't see a problem with homosexuals (as long as they stop invading my personal space; they're prone to do that), I also don't see a big issue for them to be fighting against. It's like environmentalism or intellectualism; so progressive it's shooting right past the realm of sanity (I should know, I've been orbiting sanity for almost 20 years now).

the problem is, when sexuality is portrayed, it's almost always heterosexual. and when homosexuality is portrayed, it's often stereotypical and poorly written.

Yukichin:

ashiii:

I'd much rather rescuing a princess than a prince.

Er... just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to rescue a prince.

In games where you rescue one single person, it's nearly always a member of the opposite sex, and they're always an object of attraction to the main character.

Regardless, I was just using that as a figure of speech.

Like I said, I'm gay (so you know I'm not being biased or homophobic), I can't imagine playing a good game as an openly gay character at the moment. I think it would be weird.

Evil the White:
I honestly have no qualms with gay men. I even think it would be interesting to play a gay man in a game, even if it was just to see what the writers would do.

I think the problem is that many people don't the flamboyancy of camp, gay men. I'm in secondary school, and all the two or three gays in my year are ridiculously camp. Unfortunately, they are also incredibly arrogant, rude and snobby, which in my opinion, doesn't help them at all. I'd have no problem if they weren't walking around being dicks to everyone.

Unfortunately, that comes with age. When I was 16, I was actually far more feminine and obviously gay than I am now. Now, I almost got beaten up for saying that someone looked gay at a party and had to explain that I am also gay and all's hunky dory. Technically speaking.

I don't think that a lot of people here understand that it's not like a bunch of gay people are whining to get representation in a video game. The point is, a lot of us play as characters in a game and to be honest, just like you don't particularly want to play as a gay guy, I'm not always thrilled to be playing as a straight guy. For example, in GTA3, you have to pick up female hookers if you want to gain energy. Although I did as a gameplay element, it would have been nice to have an option.

Now that games are moving to being more sandboxy, it's not fun to play in the sandbox by someone else's rules. If I'm forced by the game to only have a girlfriend, it takes me out of the game. That's why I like the Sims 3 but not GTA4. I hate that I don't have control over that element of the game. My character should be whatever I want him to be, at least in a sandbox game. If it's a game with narrative and there's a reason why the character you control is the one you control, that's a different story. But if it's just an open-ended explore your ass off game, let me be me.

By the way it is the most hilarious thing in the world to slaughter a whole group of people in Halo with a pink suit. Oh my god.

ashiii:

Yukichin:

ashiii:

I'd much rather rescuing a princess than a prince.

Er... just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to rescue a prince.

In games where you rescue one single person, it's nearly always a member of the opposite sex, and they're always an object of attraction to the main character.

Regardless, I was just using that as a figure of speech.

Like I said, I'm gay (so you know I'm not being biased or homophobic), I can't imagine playing a good game as an openly gay character at the moment. I think it would be weird.

I can think of a lot of things that you or I probably do on a regular basis that we once thought were weird. I'm pretty sure a gay video game character wouldn't be that big a stretch.

I hate it when idiots say things like this. How is there not being any gays in any way shape or form homophobic? How do you know there's no gays in it? There's only three ways to know for sure if someone is gay 1)You see them have sex with their own gender. Doesn't happen either way in games. 2) They say theyre gay. In nearly every game I've played it's not the time or place to say really. If you're going to tell someone you're gay you'll tell them in a normal situation not in a warzone. 3) They're incredibly camp e.g. wear tight leather clothes. The person in this article complains about that himself.

How the fuck could you call this homophobic?

Not every gay guy is insanely camp and flamboyant. Honestly, the more visible ones are, sure, but the majority aren't, from what I've heard.

I can think of a lot of things that you or I probably do on a regular basis that we once thought were weird. I'm pretty sure a gay video game character wouldn't be that big a stretch.

This. How would it be weird to play as a gay character, anyway? I honestly don't understand. You're gay yourself... so why would it be weird? You'd just happen to like guys.

I hate it when idiots say things like this. How is there not being any gays in any way shape or form homophobic? How do you know there's no gays in it? There's only three ways to know for sure if someone is gay 1)You see them have sex with their own gender. Doesn't happen either way in games. 2) They say theyre gay. In nearly every game I've played it's not the time or place to say really. If you're going to tell someone you're gay you'll tell them in a normal situation not in a warzone. 3) They're incredibly camp e.g. wear tight leather clothes. The person in this article complains about that himself.

How the fuck could you call this homophobic?

Well, you're polite.

Anyway. It's not homophobic, people just want a bit more representation. The majority of straight people in games are obviously straight: they have romantic tension with women, and in cases like GTA4, you're forced to pick up female hookers as a male character to gain energy. It could be subtly included (a romantic plot that is only part of the overarching plot, or backstory) without being forced in.

Pardon my rudeness, but what is it that you play? Only Halo? Go figure.

helloeveryone:
I hate it when idiots say things like this. How is there not being any gays in any way shape or form homophobic? How do you know there's no gays in it? There's only three ways to know for sure if someone is gay 1)You see them have sex with their own gender. Doesn't happen either way in games. 2) They say theyre gay. In nearly every game I've played it's not the time or place to say really. If you're going to tell someone you're gay you'll tell them in a normal situation not in a warzone. 3) They're incredibly camp e.g. wear tight leather clothes. The person in this article complains about that himself.

How the fuck could you call this homophobic?

I think the point is that there are not enough gay people identified in games and done well. Sure there are identified gay people in games, but they tend to be flamboyant and stereotypical. To see one done well i.e. Simply fitting in to the plot like everyone else, while still making a point that they are gay.

Some companies may think of their characters as gay, but you don't see them as gay because sexuality is not elaborate on.

Representation is what is really being looked for, that, and more acceptance within the gamer community.

It's a shame that in a society which considers itself to be progressive, that this kind of censorship still occurs. It's just not fair that gays, women, virtually anyone who isn't a straight white male, is underrepresented in a media which is so widespread.
I think we'll look back on these times oneday and shake our heads in disappointment that people were so close-minded.
If only America would take the lead in this battle for equality, rather than be a barrier.

Perhaps this is just me, but would it be possible to just leave sex and sexuality out of a game that isn't about sex, sexuality, and/or the interactions between them?

The main character of a single-player game isn't openly gay.
Oh well.
I'm not playing the game to hear about his or her personal life, I'm playing to get from Point A to Point B in the most violent and spectacular way possible.

If the main character IS openly gay, it won't take away from my gaming experience except when its rather blatant and not worked into the game or storyline very well.
Again, I really don't care if you're gay or not, just let me play my game and get my sense of achievement.

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