Monday, 13 February 2012

Sexuality and Gaming

Over the years there have been a handful of games that have allowed you to play as a gay or bisexual character and even fewer that actually feature such as characters at all. In this day and age I'm not really sure that this is acceptable. Are gamers so backward that we can't even tolerate homosexuality? I thought this was the 21st century?

Mass Effect and Dragon Age:Origins are the two most obvious examples of games that feature gay or bisexual characters. They allow the player to determine their own sexuality but it is such a minor part of the game, one that doesn't really alter anything or any discernible impact, that almost no attention is drawn to it. What needs to happen is developers need to begin featuring characters of different sexualities in their games and doing it clearly. The player needs to be able to play as someone with a different sexuality the characters around him/her need to represent other sexualities as well.

We need to be careful to avoid stereotyping or depicting different sexualities as garish or weird in any way, they need to be depicted sensibly, responsibly. Games are supposed to be set in a world of their own or in a depiction of the real world, in either case surely a true world would feature people from all walks of life and not just straight, largely white, largely male characters?

I'm not saying I want Nathan Drake to come out wearing makeup and playing tongue tennis with Sully anytime soon, I just think its high time that the gaming world grew up a bit, caught up with the times and, in the process, set a bit of an example. Gaming is meant to be a communal and inclusive experience so why exclude a massive chunk of the population by not representing them? Surely they should be represented? After all, the more people can relate to a game world the deeper and therefore more captivating/real it becomes.

It would be beneficial on several levels, it would make gamers and game developers seem like the supposedly fun, sociable people we are supposed to be and would improve games whilst also bringing in a whole new audience.

4 comments:

  1. "It would improve games whilst also bringing in a whole new audience"

    Hey that is one for the game developers to certainly think about. More bucks, more choice,more games. Could be a win win situ all round.

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  2. Sensible and responsible are the key words here. I feel sure it can be done, whether it will remains to be seen. Watch this space.

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  3. "They [Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins] allow the player to determine their own sexuality but it is such a minor part of the game, one that doesn't really alter anything or any discernible impact, that almost no attention is drawn to it."

    This is, I believe, as it should be. For the most part, I don't care about my character's sexual orientation. Unless you're playing a Japanese dating sim, there's really no point.

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    Replies
    1. It's just that gamers are stereotyped as males who are intolerant of other races, sexual standpoints and the opposite sex and this bad for us and the industry and needs to be changed.

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