Rainbow Arcade museum exhibition celebrates LGBTQ culture in gaming

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German exhibit looks at the positive and negative history of the media

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A new exhibition has been installed in the Schwules Museum in Berlin, Germany to celebrate LGBTQ culture and history in video games. Titled “Rainbow Arcade”, the new exhibit was designed by art director Nicolas Simoneau and co-curated by Schwules PR Jan Schnorrenberg, Professor and author Dr Adrienne Shaw, and German gaming journalist Sarah Rudolph.

Described by Schnorrenberg as “a love letter to games”, Rainbow Arcade features a unique colour-coded layout, with each of the rainbow’s colours representing a different facet of LGBTQ gaming culture. From Nintendo’s Birdo to modern indie hits such as Butterfly Soup, the exhibition covers over 30 years of representation in gaming, including titles from as far back as the late ’80s – such as mystery adventure Caper in the Castro.

Of course, it hasn’t been a smooth journey. The exhibition’s “Blue” section covers the more negative representation and stereotyping that has plagued the industry, even to this day. A constant reminder that, although attitudes are improving, supporters must remain vigilant against the barrage of negativity and prejudice.

Obviously, aside from that section, Rainbow Arcade is a wholly positive experience, a celebration of the pioneers of LGBTQ content in gaming’s formative years, as well as the progressive attitudes that have shaped representation in modern gaming today. “Until the archive, there just wasn’t a historical understanding of LGBTQ content in this medium,” explained Dr. Shaw to The Guardian. “It makes it really easy to forget that this kind of content has always been in games”.

If you want to check out the exhibition for yourself, then it is live now at the Schwules Museum, Berlin, until May. You can find out more information at the exhibit’s official website.

Sex lives and video games: Exhibition of LGBTQ gaming history [The Guardian]

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Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse