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Putting the Gay in Games: The Industry’s Changing Attitudes on Sexuality

Posted on | July 8, 2011 | Comments Off on Putting the Gay in Games: The Industry’s Changing Attitudes on Sexuality

Two posts in one day! I know, I spoil you.

I have a new feature up today at Gamespy.com, “Putting the Gay in Games: The Industry’s Evolving Attitudes Toward Sexuality“.

The feature — nearly NINE MONTHS in the making — covers the gaming community and industry’s recent attempts to accommodate LGBT gamers, with varying success. I talked to former Maxis dev Jeb Havens, Denis Farr of Gay Gamer, and BioWare’s David Gaider, all of whom had terribly insightful things to say about player choice, privilege of the majority and Anders/Hawke slashfiction that I wish I’d come up with first.

Here’s a taste:

Compared to the increasing prevalence of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) characters and storylines in other media — from same-sex prom dates on Glee to gay headmasters in Harry Potter — video games remain relatively stuck in the Dark Ages. What little LGBT content does make it into AAA titles often reflects stereotypes and attitudes that would’ve seemed quaint even under the 1930s Film Code (even William Hays would roll his eyes at Duke Nukem Forever’s not-so-clever cigarette brand, “FAGGS”).

“On one hand, it’s justifiable to say that these are games, and not platforms for social causes,” says David Gaider, senior writer at BioWare and lead writer of the Dragon Age series. But, he adds, “being entertainment doesn’t mean you’re absent of responsibility for the message you put out there.”

Still, as the average gamer grows older and the definition of “gamer” changes, we’re starting to see developers experiment with LGBT content in new and more interesting ways. The truth is, games have never been gayer than they are now.

Check it out here: Putting the Gay in Games: The Industry’s Evolving Attitudes Toward Sexuality.

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