Wednesday, October 07, 2009

'Why on earth would I do that?'

The latest issue of The Escapist features one of the most interesting articles about homophobia among gamers I've read in a long time.

"Not That There's Anything Wrong With That" is the headline of the article, and it was written by Robert Yang, an undergraduate English student at UC Berkeley who "designs levels and weird pretentious art-house mods for Half-Life 2" in his spare time.

In the article, Yang discusses the homophobic reactions he received after releasing one of those aforementioned mods, called "Handle With Care," which "tricks" gamers into playing as a gay male. One offended gamer, for instance, responded by demanding that Yang "re relese [sic] the game without the GAY!" Yang's reply: "Why on Earth would I do that?"

"In a way, 'Handle With Care' isn't really about gay marriage at all," he writes in the article. "With only one casual mention of a word, the significance of which was likely lost on many players, it's hardly anything to talk about. 

"What about the mind-bogglingly frustrating gameplay, the inconsistent implementation of physics or the esoteric in-game "visions" that resemble mediocre video projects cobbled together by art school dropouts? I expected criticism of my work," he adds, "but to me there were far more pressing issues than the player character's sexual orientation."

Yang makes many more insightful, intelligent and interesting observations in his article, so please head over to The Escapist and read it in its entirely when you have a few minutes.

Also be sure to check out the other articles that make up the magazine's "Queer Eye for the Gamer Guy" issue.

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