A Gay History of Gaming, by IGN

So while IGN opens this by graciously admitting there might be some kernel of truth to the fact that anybody who isn’t a straight cis white dude has had some problematic representation in gaming, the rest of the article is… all right.

I dunno. It could be better. It points out how in Fallout 2 female player-characters can still approach female prostitutes. Awesome. What about male characters approaching male prostitutes? My research has not shown me any indication that prostitutes in this game are anything other than ladies. So, again, we hit that wall of F/F is okay but M/M is squicky and gross and of course men can’t be prostitutes I mean gosh.

Please someone correct me if I’m wrong. That would make me a happy bunny.

It also points out Birdo is listed as being a trans female in the Japanese instruction manual. But not in the American instruction manual. So… not much of a win there, I guess.

They also point out how in KOTOR Juhani is a lesbian, which is great, however, there’s no gay male counterpart, so it again smacks of F/F is okay M/M is squicky gross ew.

We’re all aware of the problem of F/F being okay and M/M being squickygross, right? Why that’s not okay? Why that’s almost a step backwards?

They bring up BioWare’s win of a response to Straight Male Gamer’s whinging about how they’re not being catered to, which I will link to again here, because holy fuck, WIN.

Anyway, while the coverage I think highlights things which aren’t really that awesome as being totes awesome, I do love the parting shot:

You may think, so what? Why should sex in videogames matter any more for gay people than straight? But this visibility actually is important, for the same reason as having believable and relatable female characters is important: because by catering exclusively to straight men, you’re excluding more than half the population, and limiting video games creatively and commercially to a restricted audience. …

It’s also worth remembering that young gay and lesbian people need characters that they can relate to just as much as straight teenagers – if not more so, as they’re more likely to face persecution in the real world.

So, yeah. I think we’re patting ourselves on the back more than we deserve here, but still, the spirit’s in the right place, I guess.

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