Homosexuality’s Role

When you think of a gamer girl, you probably think of a chick who has played games her whole life and can probably kick your ass at Call of Duty or Halo. I am neither one of these, but discovered the world of video games five years ago. This column is a collection of my observations, research, and educated opinions regarding the games industry and its appeal to women. Welcome to Garters & Games -Nikki

We grew up with Disney stories of a princess yearning for her prince to rescue her, that they may live happily ever after. The fact of the matter is, in real life, romantic relationships have become so much more than a man of stature courting a woman in need of rescue. So why is it that a vast array of current video games still have strictly male and female relationships and old-fashioned romance storylines? Does the girl have to fall in love with the male protagonist?

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) characters in video games has always been a controversial topic, from the basic act of including a homosexual character in a game to how much sexual content is shown (or implied) in a scene. With the rise of tough chicks in video games and the acceptance of same-sex relationships, there should be no shortage of gay romances appearing in games, yet this option was taken out of Mass Effect 2. A female Shepard is not able to have a homosexual relationship with any of the other female characters, and the same goes for a male Shepard with any male characters. Maybe the writers didn’t want the Shepard character to swing that way, but isn’t the person playing the game and their experience what’s most important when creating a game? It becomes the fine line of making a romantic relationship fit the era and feel of the game, but at the same time, appealing to the player’s sensibilities. I believe that the more options available, the more unique and tailored the experience will be for the player, strengthening the narrative and moving the medium forward.

Dragon Age: Origins is one game that has impressed me when it comes to options for romantic relationships, heterosexual and homosexual. You could easily have played the game without any sort of romantic or sexual interaction with anyone, but you could also romance just about any main character in the game, regardless of your gender choice. You could even engage in a threesome or foursome, given you had selected the right conversation options. I believe that DA:O should be an example of how games, or at least RPGs, could (and maybe should) mature to embrace the world we live in.

Games are becoming more and more social each year. Gamers who are gay have endured ridicule and embarrassment from other hateful players. The comment, “Why don’t you just be quiet about your preference and nobody will bother you?” is commonplace and tiresome. Nobody should feel forced to hide who they are, even if they are behind a computer screen. As a newer medium and one that is at the forefront of technology, why not use this to help discourage negativity and bullying? Wouldn’t more gay characters in games help with our generation’s overall acceptance and respect towards the homosexual community, and more specifically, gay gamers?

Video games have already caused controversy with their gore, language and violent scenes. Should romance options and sex scenes be any more dangerous to embrace? I believe that showing basic human emotion, like a romantic sex scene, should be encouraged, regardless of whether the scene involves the opposite or the same gender. What is so dangerous about showing a part of life that exists and can bring some beauty and emotion to a game? I’m not saying that an explicit sex scene should be plastered at the beginning of a game where the player has no option to watch it, and I don’t encourage this for a video game that is marketed towards children. Consumers should be aware that these real-life simulations exist in the more teen- or adult-marketed games. This is the same for other media types, such as books, movies and music. I feel that if a person wants to purchase a game for someone, their responsibility lies in paying attention to what they are gifting that person. There are plenty of video games available on the shelves that do not have any gore, foul language, crude violence, or relationships whatsoever. Personal beliefs and tastes should not determine how an entire medium is censored.


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Author: Nikki Lee View all posts by

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