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Gay publication asks if games are getting gayer

5:00 PM on 08.27.2009

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

Following on from the Shadow Complex debate, the question is being raised as to whether or not games are becoming more accepting of homosexuality and gay issues. Gay publication The Advocate asks if games are getting gayer and decides that some steps forward are still needed, despite positive gains being made.

"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," argues Brenda Brathwaite. "It took them a while, but developers ... eventually got hip to the fact that there are LGBT gamers out there who want to control LGBT characters ... The almighty dollar talks as much in this industry as it does in any other, and we all know the gay market is nothing to sneeze at in that regard ...

"We also have to stop putting things into games that turn off gay players How many games have you played that put you in control of a male character and then asked you to save a princess?"

Maxis game developer Jeb Havens, who happens to be gay himself, adds to the debate: "[Developers are] moving away from the stereotype of the angry, homophobic teen boy ... toward a broader picture of who is buying and playing games... We’re starting to see a willingness to experiment with stories and characters that would appeal to more diverse audiences."

I'd love to see more gay characters in games, provided they're not being gay for the sake of it. Characters that are inconsequentially gay would be brilliant, but I think it will be years before people accept gay elements in videogames without making a big deal out of it. Not even the aforementioned Brokeback Mountain has managed that yet.

Don't show me a gay love story, show me a love story that just so happens to be gay.

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