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July 20, 2014 | by  | in Bent Opinion |
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Welcome back all!

Gaymers and geeky gays are found everywhere; sure, you can find a gym bunny or someone who’s into fashion, but nerdy cute guys are by far the best. I’m not going to talk about these nice nerds, but rather video-game characters and representations of LGBT in the virtual world. The video-game industry appeared in the 1970s with classics such as Pong (okay: so a queer pong, not really needed). The first queer character appeared in 1986 with a lesbian couple in Moonmist, with the next famous queer character coming in 1988 in a Mario game. Birdo is a pink creature who looks feminine, but is in fact referred to as both male and female depending on what games they’re in. A pink dinosaur is obviously a great choice for a queer icon, but since then, video games have obviously improved in their representation, with The Sims allowing a choice over sexual preference. This has continued into games that allow you to play as a character you make, such as Fable, Skyrim and Dragon Age, all having queer-relationship options.

By the 2000s, same-sex couples were normalised in games, with Fable being the first game to include proper same-sex marriage. This would prove to be so successful that by Fable 3, gay adoption would be included in the game too. Games such as Mass Effect included gay relationships too, not even changing how the character acted: literally, just making them have a same-sex relationship. This is really how they should be handled a lot of the time, in my opinion.

It’s great to see game developers’ increasing awareness. These characters pop up more and more, with this year even Nintendo (who have proved their progressiveness about M/M and F/F relationships, even in kids’ games) offering a public apology for not adding same-sex couples in one of their games, and then promising to allow these couples in any sequel that could potentially be made.

This article is obviously pointing out the pros of the current systems, but don’t get me wrong: there’s still a lack of diversity in characters, with companies such as Ubisoft not even remotely diversifying from its white male protagonists because it’s “Too hard to render”, and then other games with queer characters just using negative stereotypes for these characters. However, in a world where one of the three largest game companies is apologising to the queer community, it’s a good start if nothing else.

Representation is something we have to create ourselves, and not just sit on our butts and do nothing about. We have to be the role models and create equality in media, because if we don’t, no one will.

Jonny Abbott.

PS Queer board-gaming night at Ivy on Sunday nights. Drink and crush the competition, or just meet your one true love over a reverting game of Scrabble.

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