This Game Designer Is Hopeful About Gay Issues In Video Games

Illustration for article titled This Game Designer Is Hopeful About Gay Issues In Video Games

Homophobia and bigotry may run rampant on Xbox Live, but game designer Robert Yang is optimistic about the present and future of LGBT issues in the gaming industry.

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Speaking during the Rants session of the Games for Change conference in New York Tuesday, Yang gave a brief talk about the experimental, gay-themed games he's been working on.

"Only recently I've been making games about gay people," Yang said. He's been working on a series of games called Radiator that tackle gay issues in experimental ways. One idea, for example, is all about gay divorce. ("Gay marriage is out of fashion," Yang joked. "So 2011.")

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Although it's a first-person shooter, "you don't actually shoot anything in this game," Yang said. "You just kinda sit in a marriage therapist's office in Fresno, California and stare at your husband as he complains about how inconsiderate you are."

Other ideas included a first-person shooter where players would shoot condoms of varying size at mens' "bulges" in order to protect them, he said.


Illustration for article titled This Game Designer Is Hopeful About Gay Issues In Video Games
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Yang, who calls himself "a game designer and practicing homosexual," points to BioWare as one example of a development studio that supports progressive issues. In BioWare's Mass Effect, your main character, whether a he or a she, can become romantically involved with both males and females.

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Yang called BioWare "a really great vanguard" for LGBT issues, perhaps a play on the Mass Effect class Vanguard.

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"A more diverse gaming culture is a healthier gaming culture," he said. "Of course we could do better... maybe a triple-A game with a transgender protagonist, or maybe in Mass Effect 4 you'll be able to sleep with like 20 dudes. I dunno."

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DISCUSSION

As a lesbian, I never found this to be an issue.

I don't need a game/movie character to be my race/gender/group/etc to emphasize with them.

I need their behavior to be similar to mine.

For example, Cloud is a whiny little bitch who can't show how much he likes a girl.

Zack in Crisis Core was an awesome person, always happy and happy to help someone.

His death at the end made my bawl my eyes out more than any other game, just cause of how likable he was. And the voice acting, I can't emphasize with a game from just text (Sorry Nintendo)

I also cried at the end of Rhapsody when the girl found out her sidekick living-puppet had been her mother all along and was now passing on to heaven. Lunar 2 when the girl he liked was leaving the planet possibly forever (I may have it a bit wrong, it's been years). Metal Gears 1 (Sniper Wolf's death) 2 (otakon's sister's death) 3 (you know damned well why). Resistance: Burning Skies (it just came out so I won't spoil it)

The people I emphasize most with are Superman (and I'm neither white, male, nor Kryptonian), all the Star Fleet captains, Dr Sam Beckett (coincidentally, also Captain Archer)

Worry about how to tell your story instead of pandering to me. I won't buy your game just cause it has a gay person in it. I will buy it if you can make me care enough to cry.