A couple of queer video game tidbits

Though I have an entire category dedicated to geeky things not limited to sci fi, technology, comics, video games etc, I don’t get to cover it nearly enough. This is a shame since I’m a pretty out nerd myself. So today I just want to clue you in to two bits of gay gamer news and up the geek cred of this site.

Mass Effect 3's Commander Shepard

Firstly, a new choose your own adventure called Mass Effect 3, has given the player both homo and hetero love options for the main character Commander Shepard, including a  kiss in a nightclub and a topless bedroom scene. You can check them both out below.

The game’s developers told Kotaku that it’s not a political statement, but as part of a role playing game, it makes sense for gamers to choose their character’s sexual orientation.

Ray Muzyka co-founder of Mass Effect studio BioWare, also said, “We let players take on a role and really immerse themselves on how they feel they want to be playing the game. Be true to that. Be true to your ideal of a game of choice.” Fellow BioWare founder Greg Zeschuk added, “If there’s a political bent to it, it’s very Libertarian. It’s like… yeah, we make the choices available. You decide what you want to do. We’re not pushing any particular direction with most of our stuff.”

But Bioware seems to also be taking taking flak for something they haven’t even done yet. The Florida Family Association has started railing against a hypothetical transgender Darth Vader video game.

They are targeting Star Wars: The Old Republic, a multiplayer online game, where players log into a virtual Star Wars-themed world and play characters they customize heavily from a number of species, appearance, class, and alignment options. So far gender options remain strictly male or female and even romances are limited to heterosexual ones at the moment, though BioWare wants to introduce LGBT options before the game’s launch. This is where the uproar is coming from.

The Kokatu article (linked above) has some great commentary on the subject, including,

Everything is wrong the FFA’s claims. Their insistence that BioWare is going to start gender-bending Darth Vader and warping vulnerable minds indicates a bigoted point of view and a complete misunderstanding of how video games work. Their complaint appears to have nothing to do with reality, either in the physical world or in the game they’re panicking over. They insist that, “[I]f BioWare … adds LGBT characters for kids to select as their action figure it could be something like Darth RuPaula, a combination of Darth Vader, one of the most popular Star Wars characters, and RuPaul, the renown transgender cross dresser.” That has no relation to the game or to future changes proposed for it.

3 comments to A couple of queer video game tidbits

  • Looks like a lot of fun at the office there! Glad you guys are rexlead! Did you know that Electronic Arts FORCES all of its employees to dress as Madden players every Halloween? Not very exciting, plus it looks more like an NFL-themed bear convention : (