If you have a few minutes this morning, and if you're at all interested in the subject of gay characters and storylines in video games, you may want to check out an interesting article that was published at 1up.com yesterday.
The article in question, which was written by Cassandra Khaw, focuses on how designer, developer and writer Robert Yang thinks the "gay experience" can be translated into the gaming sphere.
A few choice quotes for those of you who may be unsure as to whether or not you want to click on the link above:
* Yang says one reason developers should include gay characters and storylines in their games is that "if I can't escape from reality through video games, [heterosexual people] shouldn't either."
* While talking about BioWare's games in particular, Yang quips that "sex is the result of talking to an NPC, saying pleasant things to them, then watching some barely PG-13 dry humping. I doubt that's how most people think of sex. Sex is one of the most compelling interactions in the realm of human experience, and the best we can do is a cut scene that you get by (easily) manipulating others?"
* As for how Yang would like to see developers deal with this topic: He shares, at one point, that instead of saying "this is how [LGBT] relationships are," game makers would say something like "this is how a transgender person dealt with body image at this particular time and place." A good game about relationships or sexuality, he adds, "will actually question how it goes about abstracting it."
Do I agree with the assertions Yang makes in this article? For the most part, yes. Although I can understand, somewhat, why many developers and publishers continue to shy away from making games that feature, say, openly gay protagonists, I think only the most disingenuous person would argue that's the only option for the folks interested in creating more LGBT-friendly titles.
Personally, I'd be happy if developers began by spending a bit more time thinking about who will play the games they make. Maybe if they realized that some of the people who buy and enjoy their products are gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender--or, hell, even straight women or folks of either gender who aren't white--they'd find it much easier to make all-inclusive games.
Those are just my thoughts on this topic, though; what are yours?