More and more I've noticed that gaming articles or blogs, particularly any I've written seem to stream into this area of human psychology and sociology, focusing on the influence games have on us or vice versa or how communities and individuals evolve or in some cases devolve.
The trend at the moment has moved on slightly from the feminism debate and meandered to the debate of gay gaming conventions. How this happened I'm not entirely sure but I'm glad Jim Sterling's article was spread around.
There are pros and cons to having a convention or banner dedicated to one fringe of many, but shouldn't the overall goal in the gaming community be to unite and just play the game, instead of infiltrating serious issues and letting the absence of catering to everybody as much as possible be rectified?
I just hope this isnít the logo because if you canít see the images itís causing to go through my mind, then youíre brain isnít working right.
The more the years go on and the more games that are produced, the higher the chances are that some subculture, orientations, ethnicity or mindset is implemented in a games story.
Sometimes though it seems like it's an easier time to just have a game that focuses on nothing, that it stays firmly footed in the non reality it was birthed in. Pokťmon is a game about roaming a land, collecting multi coloured, multi named creatures and battling them against other would be collectors and adventurers. Race, sexuality, opinions on the world around us and all the varying factions we've broken into either by our own choice or by force don't really come into it. Unless you focus on Jynx and how wrong Jynx is. Good lord.
Super Mario is about a little red capped moustachio, jumping on platforms and angry looking mushrooms, the goal always being the same - get to the end alive and save the princess.
Minesweeper is a game about trying to make you get as angry as possible and putting your foot through the computer...ok that's not the best example for something that doesn't effect our psyches.
My point is that up until a certain period, the majority of games that came out didn't cause a stir, weren't ladened with controversy and never made you think of anything other than the enjoyment of the game. It truly was a era were the essence of gaming was simplistic and a nice little escape from reality.
You would still suffer the absurdity of games like Custers Revenge or the strange Atari Porn line that was pointless and just of no substance, but for the most part everything was cool yo.
Games evolved, the means and methods to create games, to expand and detail worlds and to integrate reality with fiction came about and we are still living in a time where that process continues to drive forward. As more gamers existed, more needs had to be met.
Gamers were predominantly male, so their needs seemed simple; more images of exposed female flesh, then stereotypes of gamers and yet again sadly male gamers primarily began to root in the ideas of this hobby and the advertisements. This meant that MMO's wouldn't just let you create a fantasy character and give you the ability to loot and kill, it would give you functions to interact with others, gluing those people who felt like the gaming world was their only happiness.
Violence always existed in games, the pixels just made it more graphic over the years, but sex, sex was a new thing to work with and there were so many ideas of how to implement it and weave it into games, whether it was needed or not.
Duke Nukem had its strippers, waving their nipple tassel boobs, whilst grinding and moaning on a pole. Leisure Suit Larry came along and probably made a lot of people ashamed they waste their money on something so poor, Tomb Raider introduced us to Lara Croft and then the bandwankwagon went into full effect, and so on and so on.
I know thereís some triangular boobies out there but COME ON PEOPLE THIS REALLY?
Peoples cravings, needs or idiocracies were what would sometimes effect their purchasing decisions and gaming developers knew this. If you were someone in what seemed like or is a minority or degraded subsection, subculture subwhatever in life, a game that does the opposite, however light in subtext or extreme context, would be attractive.
Now we start to simmer down on the overall branches that exist in the great gaming tree and focus on the current issue, sexual identification in games and gamers.
The world is more accepting these days than it was in the past of what has always existed and should never be ostracized because it was there before bigotry was born. That's not to say that separation, degradation and feeling plain uncomfortable isn't still prominent for millions of people all over the world, it's just these days people can rise up, make a complaint and be heard, others are more willing to stand beside them and not drop into the consensus out of fear.
Games that cater for one side should make a decent effort to cater for the other. Now if a game gives an option of you participating by choice in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship, then the homosexual relationship must also include both gay and lesbian options. How Bioware thought that it was fair to have straight male/female shepard and then just gay female shepard, I donít know. They made up for that, but why it took 3 games is perplexing.
Dragon Age did itÖright Iím not sure, because dem character mods you guys
Now even then I suppose it is fair to say that people will still feel left out when it comes to the issue of sexuality. I read some posts by people who are furs claiming that not many games have options for them. Well if you donít think Garrus or the Khajit in Skyrim are options then I think youíve missed out.
Fur is not sexuality in the same sense as homosexuality, from my understanding. I may get a backlash or labelled hypocritical for this, but no one was born fur. This is relevantly new thing and one that hits people late on and can sometimes be forced. This is simply my observations from meeting in the last few years a lot of people that classy themselves as furs. Furs to me seems more like a fetish or taboo than it does a sexuality and while the internet is a place of sheer hatred for furs, theyíve a long way to go before they suffer half the indecencies that homosexual people have for such a long and present time. Not that bashing on general furs is right either.
There are other sexualities out there Iím sure that wonít feel catered for either, but I think the reason why homosexuality should be highlighted is because it is a dominant and prominent as heterosexuality, it has always been there and It covers a wide spectrum, where as nitty gritty aspects of sexuality canít necessarily be implanted in games, because a lot of people simply donít understand them, so an injustice would occur no matter what way you look at it.
I always say that gaming should be simple, it's a hobby for all and all who play and create games or even those who don't, should respect each other.
Clearly there is a lack of respect and common sense or we'd have no need for the slew of campaigns, articles and movements that have arisen lately in the gaming world.
There is no difference between gay people, those in between and people who are not gay. Who someone kisses, holds hands with or fantasises over has no bearing on the way they walk, whether they are a good or bad person, a poor or excellent gamer, a fun kind individual or a pain in the neck.
Having conventions for people of a certain sexuality is going to cause a stir that I can see from many sides, I can list my own ideas of the pros and cons that are there, but I can't comprehend for any reason (other than fear or loathing) why anyone looking in and not part of any grievances would feel put out or obligated to throw derogatory statements at anyone.
If we wish to meld with others, include and involve ourselves in vast and variable experiences, why would we cut ourselves off from other people. If we're not gay, why would we push away from gay people and deny them the means of celebrating something that they'd been led to believe was abhorrent all their lives.
But if we're gay and want to just all be treated the same why would we have to have a specific event that while not excluding any other sexuality, is for all intents and purposes for gay people and to support the gay cause or name.
Both statements are showing a pro and con to the ideal of a singular somewhat exclusive idea for a convention. But neither are wrong nor bashing the basic intent and right of the mandate.
Personally I see a gay gaming convention coming together, because it would help people meet others like them. We all benefit in the heart and mind from making friends with those that are different from us, in culture, skin, shape and who they like to cuddle in the night, but we can't begrudge ourselves meeting people we have an affinity with.
Being gay isn't exactly simple. For one thing, there are many little nigs of classification and what 'title' befits you is up to you no one else. But it is very hard for some unknown reason to explain your personal preferences to people and a lot of the time it's hard to see a reason why you should have too. It's not always easy to meet people in a romantic manner if you're gay and not in some sort of group or capacity where you can come across others, especially those that share a similar hobby to you as gaming. Girls particularly, who are gay or bi, will be assumed to be straight or what their actual sexuality will be sometimes met in a misinformed and derogatory meaning. If they are good looking in any manner it is more likely that they will gain the attraction of male gamers and if they don't reciprocate can sometimes be at the end of negative backlashes.
Some people use the term gay to simplify, for the benefit of others, their sexuality, but that does not mean that they practise it in an exclusive manner, yet many people will assume and critique without actually knowing what goes on in the bedroom or camper van roof of that individual.
Naysayers to specifically geared areas in gaming are usually people with a chip on their shoulder, people who think itís cool to mock other people and yet canít handle the same retorts or people themselves who donít know much about suffering abuse because of who they are and canít even sympathise with their fellow man being subjected to such horribleness, especially in this day in age. I swear I see the term ďfagĒ used more often in gaming culture than I do any other medium.
Women have it harder in life, people of different ethnicities have it harder in life, people of faith are mocked more openly than those are none and gay (for the sake of simplifying categories of sexuality) people suffer stereotyping, bullying and being left on the outside. These are all facts. Theyíre not negating the issues that everyone else or opposites have, but no one denies that, whereas people roll their eyes to the above list. For some reason game creators still have a lot of mistakes to fix and easy options to give in their works.
I think the very gist of the GayGamerCon was simple enough. A convention of rainbow awesomeness and just a place where anyone, no matter who they slept with or not, could gather and have a good time, just giving it the heading of being for gay people primarily is a way of showing gay gamers out there, that there is a place they could go to where the chances of meeting likeminded people or those they could possibly form something deeper with. It's also a way of showing the growing support there is for gay issues. As I've said, life isn't as bad as it use to be for gay people, black people, people of different religions ect, but it still isn't perfect or even close to perfect.
People have specifically labelled events and congregations to support those who have no had that support and to (while at the risk of seemingly trying to segregate themselves) integrate what people seem as uncommon and abnormal with what people deemed by the masses as being normal.
Arkham City was pretty normal and boring wasnít it
A rally or convention for people who suffer abuse in facets of life that a lot of white straight (yes male too) people, do not, is causing no harm to anyone. Depending on your reasons for thinking it's a bad idea, could though. Everyone in the world is susceptible to grief, burden and aggravation, possibly in just their everyday lives. But there are certain people who were born the way they were and are bashed and suffer for simply living.
Gamers come in all shapes and sizes now that even marketing and people who throw their noses up haven't even a scabby leg to stand on and wean us all into one subgroup. We're male, female, transgender, straight, gay, whatever sexuality you say you are, we black, white, yellow, brown, blue and sadly...orange. We're thin, curvy, big, short, tall, got two legs, got one leg, have a love interests, foods and styles that cover every spectrum.
Everyone would change their sexuality to be with these two. Don't bluff it!
We should all be able to get together and share our connecting love of games and what should be a universal love of everyone just chilling out regardless of who they are, when no harm is being done and there are forums in which we can do that. Most mainstream major gaming conventions are about the games alone and we all go to them. But there's no harm in having one that wants to have signs, talks and messages pertaining to their particular lives and struggles.
At the end of the day we all need to get over it, mingle and enjoy good company and play games. If thereís a convention happening near you itís up to you if you go to it or not. But I suggest you do, especially if its gay centric, because you know thereíll be cake there. Delicious unicorn cake and thatís something that God created for everyone to enjoy!