The Accidental Lesbian

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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!

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.

Treblaine:

cobra_ky:

Treblaine:

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:
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:

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."

cobra_ky:

Treblaine:

cobra_ky:

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:
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:

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.

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:
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.

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!"

lol cod doesnt have a problem becouse their arnt woman in cod.

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.

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

Iron Lightning:

gCrusher:

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.

image

Lissa-QUON:

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:
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?

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.

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.

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.

Iron Lightning:

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.

daftalchemist:
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?

Avistew:
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. 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.

Avistew:

daftalchemist:
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.

daftalchemist:
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.

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

Dragonrose:

Deathlisk:

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?

Deathlisk:
Are you?

No.

Dragonrose:

Deathlisk:
Are you?

No.

Ok. Ehm... this message feels short. Ehm... Weeeeeeeeee!

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 :(

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]

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

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