Monday, August 31, 2009

The Advocate: Are Video Games Getting Gayer?

Well, it seems 50% (or more) of my posts these days promote articles I've written for The Advocate. Sorry about that. The good news is that I plan to post much more frequently from now on - which should mean that self-aggrandizing additions such as these should be fewer and farther between.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: the article I wrote for The Advocate. The headline - "Are Video Games Getting Gayer?" - says it all, I think. My answer to that question apes the answer given by the folks I interviewed for the article: Sure, but they still have a long way to go.

For example, Brenda Brathwaite, a veteran game designer and the author of Sex in Video Games, told me that while video games have grown up a lot in the last few years, “we still haven’t seen the kind of normalization [of LGBT characters and story lines] that we’ve seen in movies and on TV for some time. We still haven’t had our Brokeback Mountain moment.”

Don't expect that to happen until more members of the LGBT community involve themselves in game design and development, she adds. In the meantime, “a bunch of straight guys will be trying to make games for the gay community, just like they used to try to make games for women.”

Here's a link to the full article - - in case anyone's interested.


Viewtiful_Justin said...

I think it's strange that they say Fable II is "ahead of its time" for allowing players to marry a man, but the scope of the article pushes to notion that video games are BEHIND THE TIMES as far as homosexuality is concerned. It seems sort of confused...I'd think that games showing homosexual characters are with the times rather than ahead.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Justin! I think Fable and Fable II actually are ahead of the times if you think about it this way: In the world of Fable, all players are able to marry someone of the same sex if they so choose. In the real world, only those of us living in certain countries and states can do that. I think that's where David Edison was coming from.

Addressing your other comment: I don't think that a handful of games that feature positive LGBT characters and storylines means the industry is 'with the times' in that regard. They suggest there's hope that designers/developers will someday catch up to the times, of course, but for the time being they're woefully behind, IMO - especially when you consider that games featuring LGBT characters/storylines (in any form or fashion) make up a tiny percentage of the games that appear on store shelves.

Does that make any sense? :)