Tag Archives: LGBT

Along came Zevran: LGBT characters in modern video games

When the topic of LGBT characters in modern video games pops up, it is not uncommon to hear issues players find in them…

  • They are a minority in real life; therefore, the LGBT representation should stay at an equal ratio. We don’t need every game to have gay characters
  • I can’t relate to a gay character, so why would I play one?
  • Why must their sexuality be shouted to the four winds? You are just pandering to the LGBT community.
  • You don’t need to be straight to identify with your straight character anyway. That’s the idea of a role playing game: You are PLAYING A ROLE!

And I’m sure if I think hard enough, I can come up with a lot more, but these reasons will do for now. Of the four points I mentioned, I suppose I can totally agree with number 4. The beauty of many games is that you get to see how characters develop through the story or as they interact with other characters. You get to love them or hate them, based on their personalities and you get to understand them as you know more of their background story. Just like a book.

The way I see it, that is the point: to understand the character despite their origins, actions, or sexuality. Then, why is it so important to people like me to see more LGBT characters in game? The reason didn’t hit me until I began playing Dragon Age: Origins.

Typically, when I had the chance to create my own character, I made a female character. My Dreamcast memory cards were full of Phantasy Star Online female characters with monosyllabic names like Jay, Jo, Jess and Jinx. I couldn’t relate to them, but it didn’t matter at the time. I just wanted to live the game’s story through my avatar. Some of these characters became favorites that I tried to recreate in every other game.

Fast forward several console generations, I found myself trying Dragon Age: Inquisition. Jess, my lovable chubby mage was going to make the jump from Pioneer 2 to Thedas, and I was ready to make her a kick ass Grey Warden, and romance Alistair and all that jazz. That was until I learned there was an elf named Zevran that could be romanced by any gender. That was an option I never had in a video game, and I got curious.  Jess got shelved, and a male elven mage named Guarionex took her place. For the first time, I could identify with a character I created, and it felt nice. I wasn’t aware I wanted that; it just happened. Dragon Age is the kind of game that gives you the liberty to do what you want, and it’s these kinds of games that benefit from having more diversity for the players.

It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant that part of the population seems to the majority, the feeling of inclusion is awesome. It’s not a matter of pandering a sector of society, but of including them. My character creation process PDA (Post Dragon Age) now consist of mainly male characters, because  now I can imagine some part of myself in them.

Also, if we can just play along the role of a straight main character, we could do just the same for an LGBT one, no?

 

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The Power of a Kiss

March 4, 2014

After several weeks fighting Scarlet minions and rescuing civilians from Lion’s Arch, our heroes managed to bring the fight directly to the maniacal Sylvari. After a long battle, and a final attack from Scarlet, the player finishes her off with the help of the Mesmer Kasmeer. What happened later is something I’m sure upset quite a few people. Kasmeer runs to check up on her partner Marjory Delaqua, who was badly injured and presumed to be dead. Marjory was alive, however, and Kasmeer was so overjoyed that she kissed the necromancer.

 

Curiosity got the best of me, so I quickly checked the Guild Wars 2 forums to see what people thought of this, and expectedly, there were people that felt this was forced into the game and having a lesbian kiss on the game was unnecessary. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t this what many people said when Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend after getting drafted?

“But Aster” you might be saying, “why are you talking about this NOW? The Marjory/Kasmeer kiss was a couple of months ago!”

Not too long ago, I learned of a video uploaded by The Game Theorists on youtube titled “Are Video Games Anti-LGBT?” in which they find that most of the LGBT characters presented in video games tend to be either villains, non-human, or just pure comic relief. We do have Bioware games in which we can opt to follow same sex relationships if we wish, and while it is a step into the right direction, we still don’t have a main character that identifies as part of the LGBT community.

 

“But Aster,” some of you might argue, “I don’t want to see my main dude doing GAY stuff!”

Here is the thing: Yes, I can understand that point. I could say “I have to see my main dude doing STRAIGHT stuff! Ew!” but I want to try a different approach. The idea of having an LGBT main character is not to see them in same sex relationships, the idea is,or should be to portray them as people as capable as any other person to complete whatever task you need to complete in that game. And if we do get to see a kiss like Marjory and Kasmeer, then so what? Why must we see it as a lesbian kiss and not just a kiss? Why must Michael Sam’s kiss be seen as a gay kiss and not just a kiss? If you look at it this way, very few people saw it as an interracial kiss. At least I don’t remember anyone on the news talking about it.

It’s just not putting stuff there to make people talk about it in shock, but to show other parts of the gaming community that they are acknowledged and they can have decent representation in games too. To me, Marjory and Kasmeer aren’t just two lesbian characters. They are two human beings that are in love. And I know that someday, people will be able to look past the “gay/lesbian” part of a kiss and just see it as what it is: an expression of love.