Hopefully it is tasteful
Why Games Need Gay
How Gays Fill the Cracks in the Video Game Industry
WHY GAMES NEED GAY
It’s time to be more than “politically correct” or “tolerant.” The gay community doesn’t have to prove they deserve recognition and respect or that they are valid and real- those debates need to end even if not everyone having that discussion is in agreement lets the other side’s crazy be heard again. We are a culture, we exist, and being seen should not just be in pride parades and public service announcements we need to jump into the flow of the greater culture, we need to take our place, and not ask for permission, or wait until we are universally loved. We need to get into the conversation.One place queers have been flitting about the edges is video games, which is unfair to everyone because we have much to offer to invigorate gaming and drive it forward.
Gays can add sparkle to the clichés in gaming. There are themes that are universal and very much part of the human experience, love, friendship, a hero’s journey, individualism versus collectivism, and there are well-used tropes of “the outsider” and “the chosen one.”These are great and very much a part of why we play games, unfortunately they have been used again and again in almost exactly the same way each time so that story becomes,” plug in visually interesting hero into conflict, fight this, that the, kill boss, rejoice.” Romance has been added into games to try to add an extra facet and motivation, but those are simplistic, hot girl is either helpless and busty and in need of saving, or she’s a hard ass who melts for you when you find her lost locket. Gay can turn these tropes (maybe even recruit these tropes), so that they can be read with a different eye and restore power to these themes which have turned into something like a great song we’ve heard too many times so that now it becomes background and rote. Who better embodies the theme of outsider than a young gay trying to come out, or find a community, or of a transgender person struggling in a culture running opposite of your experience? How about navigating bisexuality when the fags want you to admit to being gay and the straights are waiting for your “phase” to end? These can be presenting in a straight forward way with overtly queer protagonists or supporting characters, or in a Star Trek-y metaphor type of way. We gays understand these things in a way straights can not and our perception can illuminate a different facet of human experience that makes the picture more complete. Romantic gay subplots don’t have to just swap out genders, but can explore awkwardness and indecision, polyamory, relationships beyond their initial stages, the search for connection, platonic relationships between genders, objectification and fantasy. While love comes, goes and moves in similar ways be it gay or straight, there is a difference, and bringing our experience in not only shows who we are, but allows nonqueer folks to have a different way of looking at themselves beyond the conversations, expectations and stories they usually tell.
Gravelly voiced, hard bitten heroes, hypermasculine, with angry catch phrases and sour attitudes are ubiquitous and stale, along with busty, hippy, and flirtatious, women. Bring in the bitchy queen, the smiling and sarcastic queer, the take-no-guff tranny, the no- nonsense, all-woman lesbian who gets shit done and doesn’t need man’s attention. Bring in that attitude and strength of a community almost destroyed by AIDS, but found laughter, beauty, strength, and community, and would NOT be victims. Redefine what a hero looks and sounds like, create a new attitude of hero.
We gays got style, and games need it. How many gray postapocalyptic landscapes, dark stoney dungeons, and generic jungles can one withstand? Plus, who is dressing these characters, one look at any Final Fantasy game and it is clear these characters need a new stylist. Games could use a broader color palette and a bit of whimsy. Check out some screenshots of El Shaddai: Ascension of Metatron, and one can see how far bold style choices go (although I don’t know if any of those designers were gay, but I’d have trouble believing they weren’t). Look at Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw, orPsychonauts and you will see how refreshing these things can be (again, I don’t know if any of these designers are gay). Let’s play with shape and color, let’s free them from sterile, gritty, and “real.”
Games need gay to challenge and reveal us. Games need gay to broaden and evolve them. Queer characters, experiences, and sensibilities can invigorate games and rocket them into fabulousity. All gamers deserve it, and c’mon, you know they secretly want it.