When I left School my first job was at the seaside resort of Felixstowe where I worked as second chef and chief bottle washer at a burger bar called Big Daddies. One of the perks… the only perk of working there was the video arcade next door. Back then the choice of games where limited to pill popping Pacman, the testosterone fueled Donkey Kong and then there was the gallant blonde prince, with a high pitched scream in Dragon’s lair. All these characters I would later find on the gay scene.
As the gaming technology came on in leaps and bounds, such 2-D characterizations got left behind, and so did any hint that there may be gay gamers wanting to see themselves represented in worlds where everything and anything can happen.
For too long there has been this forgone conclusion that the world of interactive gaming belongs predominately to heterosexual men. With this in mind it was great to read Naomi Alderman’s piece in the Guardian and how things are slowly (very slowly) beginning to change.
In 2010, BioWare launched, Mass Effect 2. Here the gamers where given the option of their female character embarking on a lesbian relationship. The same option wasn’t available for the male character; the good news is that has all changed with the launch of BioWare’s new interactive gamer, Dragon Age 2. In this game if you choose the male player (a bearded hunk) other male characters will flirt with you alongside their female counterparts, how cool is that! Of course there have some complaints from the fiercely heterosexual male gamers finding this introduction into the game off putting, with one requesting there be a ‘No homosexual’ option.
What was refreshing was the response from BioWare’s senior writer, David Gaider, who said:
“Privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance . . . And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least.”
How brilliant is that!