Gay men are often stereotyped as being promiscuous, camp, Kylie lovers misrepresented in TV and movies. More often than not, you’ll find being gay is just a preference, we do have individual interests and don’t all conform to the stereotype (though, I do love Kylie) and the same goes for gaming. Here I look at pride in games.
In videogames, relationships have been included since the very birth of gaming (looking at you Ms Pac Man). Though sex has been a bit of a taboo. In other forms of media, different forms of sexuality is depicted explicitly in music, films and books but again not as much in video games. And even fewer gay / lesbian sex or relationships have been portrayed in videogames. Few can spring to mind yet with leaps and bounds gay rights have made recently (we can get married now you know) why the lack of pride in gaming? Its 2016, gay people should be presented in videogames, here are the stand out games I could come up with that feature either gay characters or story. Wave that virtual pride flag high!
Fear Effect 2
This game doesn’t represent gay women positively at all. Fear Effect 2’s advertising campaign heavily alluded to the fact two main characters Hana Tsu Vachel and Rain Qin are lesbians and I feel this was done to sell more games rather than make waves in the gay rights movement. It’s more socially acceptable for two women to be together rather than two men. As the majority of gamers are perceived to be young males, this game was an obvious ploy to ensure sales were good. Still, it’s a game to feature women in a same sexual relationship for the Playstation.
In The Sims, you can pretty much do anything. Including have your sim in a same sex relationship – studio Maxis included same sex relationships in the game and even featured it heavily throughout the advertising campaign. The Sims is renowned as one of the first games to feature gay relationships. Interestingly, Nintendo removed same sex relationships in their Game Boy Advance and DS versions. Why is this?
If you choose to be a female character, one subplot involves a sex scene with Dr.Liara T’Soni an alien of an all female race able to reproduce with each sex of any species. The game was criticised for the explicit scene though sequels have gone a lot further.
Grand Theft Auto: Ballad of Gay Tony
It’s an expansion pack for Grand Theft Auto IV that follows Luis Fernando Lopez, bodyguard of Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince, who also appeared in missions of GTA IV. Sure Luis describes himself as Tony’s “business associate” but this is a stand out game in the Grand Theft Auto series to feature a gay lead character. It represents gay men in a different light (who knew they could be involved in crime) and was unleashed to millions of fans who loved the game along with critics alike.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
A very small mention must go to Vamp – one of the villains of the game was revealed to be bisexual in this 2001 sequel. Solid Snake told this through conversation but the rest of the game didn’t dwell on the fact. Metal Gear also features bisexual characters in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater too.
Similar to The Sims, Fable allowed gamers the option to have relationships with either men or women. Though, it didn’t really feel equal as if you chose to marry a man, you weren’t paid any “dowry” whereas the women did.
For the homophobes out there, saying why are gay people needed in gaming you need to ask yourself, why do you play games? Is it just for escapism from real life? Or is it so you can play as characters you feel you could relate to, through story and their journey? Then this is why gay people should be represented in gaming. Younger players who could be struggling with their own sexuality should be able to play games with positive representations to show them it’s ok to be gay and do what you enjoy.