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LGBT representation in Gaming.
Posted 7/11/14

themeliorist wrote:

I don't think there's anything wrong with there being evil, villainous, or insane LGBT characters in games. I think there is something wrong with there being only or mostly evil, villainous, or insane LGBT characters. It can create the impression in players (many of whom are young and impressionable) that LGBT means sick, dangerous, immoral or hedonistic. I'm all for there being heroes and villains of every kind. It keeps things interesting. But having an industry-wide resistance to certain groups being protagonists while letting them be antagonists isn't "politically incorrect." It's simply bigoted.


To claim bigotry is to say that the whole industry is intolerant of LGBTs in general, but seeing as they have been represented (though clearly not in ways that everybody can agree with), I can't really agree with that claim. I think it's a matter of simply sticking to a formula that always works and guarantees the highest profits. It is, after all, a business. I don't think the gaming industry harbors any hatred for LGBTs. I think they're just trying to make as much money as possible. I think that's usually something that gets skipped over in these discussions: the fact that companies make games to make money, not to make statements about society or attack specific groups of individuals. Indie games, perhaps they do sometimes. But big name titles? I highly doubt they care more about genders and their political correctness over how to make the game as fun and challenging as possible to get good game reviews and attract a bigger player base. That's just how I see it though, hence why I find the topic quite trivial.
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Posted 7/11/14 , edited 7/11/14

demongurrl13 wrote:

To claim bigotry is to say that the whole industry is intolerant of LGBTs in general, but seeing as they have been represented (though clearly not in ways that everybody can agree with), I can't really agree with that claim. I think it's a matter of simply sticking to a formula that always works and guarantees the highest profits. It is, after all, a business. I don't think the gaming industry harbors any hatred for LGBTs.


Cynically catering to bigoted attitudes in order to sell a product is no less bigoted than having those attitudes one's self. Claiming bigotry doesn't say that it's the entire industry. A single product can be bigoted (including racism, sexism, intolerance of a religion, etc.) But it is a trend across the entire industry, and it's most prevalent with the money people who tend to veto positive LGBT characters out of games when developers want to include them. It would be "politically correct" to never have any LGBT character portrayed in a bad way. But I don't think that anybody is arguing for that, just for reasonable balance like with any other people.
Posted 7/11/14

themeliorist wrote:

Cynically catering to bigoted attitudes in order to sell a product is no less bigoted than having those attitudes one's self. Claiming bigotry doesn't say that it's the entire industry. A single product can be bigoted (including racism, sexism, intolerance of a religion, etc.) But it is a trend across the entire industry, and it's most prevalent with the money people who tend to veto positive LGBT characters out of games when developers want to include them. It would be "politically correct" to never have any LGBT character portrayed in a bad way. But I don't think that anybody is arguing for that, just for reasonable balance like with any other people.


In my opinion, it's not the companies and game developers who need to change, but the consumers or the general gaming community. You're right in stating that they are merely catering to their consumers to sell their product, therefore it's the consumers who really dictate what kind of games are being created. A game that doesn't sell is a game that's not worth producing. If we really wanted them to change the way they create characters and storylines in games, I think the best we could do is to reject the current products they are putting out. If no one buys them, then they will be forced to rethink everything and cater to the demands of their consumers. Now if there are only a handful of people demanding such changes while the rest of the gaming community is still happily throwing money at the companies for the current stuff they're selling, then I couldn't really blame them for not bothering with changing their products just so they can appeal to a minority of the market. It's not "right" but that's how it is to be in business.
Posted 7/12/14 , edited 7/12/14

What I would like to hear about are your views on how the community is represented in the gaming industry.


Well, being a casual gamer and one who exclusively sticks to Nintendo but only plays a few series from that company, I actually haven't encountered any LGBT+ characters in my games and I'm sadden by that. I realize through the internet that there are some games that have bisexual/same-sex options like I think Bully and one of those shoot-em-up games that escapes me.

Either way, I saw that Game Theory video and the LGBT+ representation in games is very similar to LGBT+ representation in other mediums like cartoons, anime, and TV shows. They rely exclusively on stereotypes for laughs, and often times they're villains. Now, like themeliorist said in one of his posts, this is okay, but it becomes a problem, however, when this is the only time LGBT+ characters tend to show up.

There's rarely if ever LGBT+ protagonists or heroes/good guys. If they are it's subtext or revealed post-production. But as villains, they are often hypersexualized and queer-coded. I can think of an endless list of male villains that come to mind that fit this (Naraku, Orochimaru, Hisoka (but don't quote me on this one cause I haven't seen the anime), Disney villains, etc. as effeminate men). And often times it's implied, at least to me, that we're suppose to think they're evil because of their mannerisms being queer-coded. Tropes called "depraved bisexual," "depraved homosexual," and "depraved lesbian/psycho lesbian" and the characters listed there didn't just pop up from thin air.

Writers wrote them that way.

The gaming industry, like many others, are primarily dominated by white cishet men so it's really no surprise that game after game, story after story, we continue to get that, "the default." I saw a meme about the gaming industry and people said that white cishet males with stubble are the lowest difficulty setting. And I personally believe that is true. Until we get other people with varying backgrounds into not only the gaming industry, but many other industries that cater to our entertainment, this pattern will undoubtedly continue and has.

I'm reminded of Avatar (not either movie) and how radically different it was pre-production. How many characters were male and lots of other changes. But once women writers and some male writers (like Aaron Ehasz) who saw this problem became co-writers of the series we were able to get girl!Toph, Ty Lee, and Mai, and no love triangles. I don't know what the series would have been if they hadn't tried to change the script.

This also reminds me of the Legend of Korra. Once the creators were in complete charge of where the writing went you could see a stark difference. But nevertheless they had to fight with Nickelodeon in order to keep Korra a girl. I think Nick said it wouldn't sell or people wouldn't watch it or something like that, but in a testing (I don't know the exact term) with some kids, they found that no one really cared that Korra was a girl, especially with the boys.

So I think people within the industry needs to push for more representation (I don't know the gaming industry well, so I assume there's lots of people in it trying to make that happen) because most are reluctant for various reasons, mostly bigoted ones thinly veiled in the "It won't sell" or "That's not what the people want" argument.

I also think we should look into some gaming companies that also take out bisexual/same-sex options from games overseas. I know in one of the Harvest Moon (one of my favorite game series!) handhelds they took out the option for the female protagonist to marry another female character. They kept all the wooing scenes but you just couldn't marry her and have her bring home a child one day (the main function of the series is to raise a farm and family). And I was so mad and upset. It was beyond cruel to do, and they tried to not speak on it even though we all know why they did it.

I've always wanted a game where I wasn't limited to just male love interests if I was female and female options if I was male (I know they're out there though; I just haven't played them). And I always found it strange--well maybe I'm being homophobic here and I apologize for my ignorance--if they have a clearly queer-coded bachelor, why can't my male character marry him and start a family? What's so wrong with that? It's an option, not an obligation.

But I don't think excluding LGBT+ characters (and other marginalized people for that matter) should be an option. There should be some serious effort by everyone involved to include them. It's not "taking diversity too far," whatever that means, it's about inclusiveness not exclusiveness. And besides, what's the purpose of always having white cishet people so much so it's the default like in many TV shows and other mediums? To me it's only to preserve the ugly status quo, and I don't want that.
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Posted 7/12/14
I disagree with it being "fantastic." Video games don't need to add token representations from every group or race in order to be good or inclusive. There are groups and types of people more poorly neglected than homosexual characters at this point. What is the primary point of a video game? it isn't story, it isn't theme, it's entertainment and that's all that matters.

Not saying you can't have a cast or a narrative based game which includes these various different types of people, but they aren't ever necessary, they are only a means to complete a narrative.
Posted 7/12/14 , edited 7/12/14

Iconodule wrote:

I disagree with it being "fantastic." Video games don't need to add token representations from every group or race in order to be good or inclusive. There are groups and types of people more poorly neglected than homosexual characters at this point. What is the primary point of a video game? it isn't story, it isn't theme, it's entertainment and that's all that matters.

Not saying you can't have a cast or a narrative based game which includes these various different types of people, but they aren't ever necessary, they are only a means to complete a narrative.


What makes a good or great game is the theme, story, character design/development, and so on. That is what makes a game entertaining, for me anyway. I agree that each and every game doesn't has to make sure that they cover every single demographic that's out there. LGBT characters can be evil or antagonists, there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is that it seems the majority of LGBT characters that are created generally are cast as such characters. Is this just an unfortunate oversight by the gaming industry or intentional discrimination? I'd say that it's some of both.

Are there any games out there where the main protagonist is openly lesbian, gay, or trans? I don't mean characters which you can customize with different in game romantic choices, I mean a game where the main protagonist is set that way. Think of if Lighting from Final Fantasy 13 was openly a lesbian. There is a heavily implied romantic relationship between two female characters in the series, but not the main protagonist.

I probably wasn't clear in how I worded it. I simply meant that the acceptance is fantastic and that they are represented more. By no means did I mean to say the community has to be represented in every game from now on. What I would like to see is for these relationships to become a natural variant.


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Posted 7/12/14

-Gothique- wrote:


Iconodule wrote:

I disagree with it being "fantastic." Video games don't need to add token representations from every group or race in order to be good or inclusive. There are groups and types of people more poorly neglected than homosexual characters at this point. What is the primary point of a video game? it isn't story, it isn't theme, it's entertainment and that's all that matters.

Not saying you can't have a cast or a narrative based game which includes these various different types of people, but they aren't ever necessary, they are only a means to complete a narrative.


What makes a good or great game is the theme, story, character design/development, and so on. That is what makes a game entertaining, for me anyway. I agree that each and every game doesn't has to make sure that they cover every single demographic that's out there. LGBT characters can be evil or antagonists, there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is that it seems the majority of LGBT characters that are created generally are cast as such characters. Is this just an unfortunate oversight by the gaming industry or intentional discrimination? I'd say that it's some of both.

Are there any games out there where the main protagonist is openly lesbian, gay, or trans? I don't mean characters which you can customize with different in game romantic choices, I mean a game where the main protagonist is set that way. Think of if Lighting from Final Fantasy 13 was openly a lesbian. There is a heavily implied romantic relationship between two female characters in the series, but not the main protagonist.




I suppose I just don't care because I am not invested in the LGBT cause ( a cause I disagree vehemently with). I don't play games to experience homosexual relationships (or any relationships for that matter), nor do i think the video game industry, which are more liberal than conservative (by the messages I often find in video games I've played at least). So I do not think they do what they have been accused of in a vindictive manner. It seems to me its done more as a joke than anything (the bath scene in FF7 for instance) and that's perfectly fine, how many straight characters are portrayed as a joke as well, the clumsy goof seeking attention from a girl or something? If the the video game industry can be criticized in targeting certain other themes more negatively homosexuality it would be religion for one thing, which is usually portrayed negatively or is just unimportant (Again I can only judge based on the games I have played). But I am not demanding the video game industry get a better grasp on theology because they are free to do the things they want.

I don't consider it an oversight, nor do I consider it anything to be corrected because game makers can make whatever story they want and make whomever they want to be the villain. But why does there have to be a game where a character is openly homosexual? Isn't the game itself more important? You can say you want that, and you can do that and someone will probably hear you and make a game for you. But when we look at the reality of things its more profitable to make a game wherein most people (whom happen to not be gay) can identify with.

Here's the thing, the LBGT movement has won (as far as I can see) so you can expect to see more of these sorts of themes you want, but we don't need it. A story doesn't need any one element, it only needs to be compelling and it can with or without homosexuals.
Posted 7/12/14 , edited 7/12/14

-Gothique- wrote:

Are there any games out there where the main protagonist is openly lesbian, gay, or trans?



Yaoi games. Try them.. Although I have to say, they're really not for everyone.. So I really can't blame game devs for not messing with it.

Also. How does one go about making a game protagonist openly gay? Make him rescue a man instead of a woman? Put in a cut scene of him in bed with another man? Have him flirt with male NPCs? The more I think about this topic and read through these posts, the more my mind gets boggled by it.
Posted 7/12/14 , edited 7/12/14

Iconodule wrote:


-Gothique- wrote:


Iconodule wrote:

I disagree with it being "fantastic." Video games don't need to add token representations from every group or race in order to be good or inclusive. There are groups and types of people more poorly neglected than homosexual characters at this point. What is the primary point of a video game? it isn't story, it isn't theme, it's entertainment and that's all that matters.

Not saying you can't have a cast or a narrative based game which includes these various different types of people, but they aren't ever necessary, they are only a means to complete a narrative.


What makes a good or great game is the theme, story, character design/development, and so on. That is what makes a game entertaining, for me anyway. I agree that each and every game doesn't has to make sure that they cover every single demographic that's out there. LGBT characters can be evil or antagonists, there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is that it seems the majority of LGBT characters that are created generally are cast as such characters. Is this just an unfortunate oversight by the gaming industry or intentional discrimination? I'd say that it's some of both.

Are there any games out there where the main protagonist is openly lesbian, gay, or trans? I don't mean characters which you can customize with different in game romantic choices, I mean a game where the main protagonist is set that way. Think of if Lighting from Final Fantasy 13 was openly a lesbian. There is a heavily implied romantic relationship between two female characters in the series, but not the main protagonist.




I suppose I just don't care because I am not invested in the LGBT cause ( a cause I disagree vehemently with). I don't play games to experience homosexual relationships (or any relationships for that matter), nor do i think the video game industry, which are more liberal than conservative (by the messages I often find in video games I've played at least). So I do not think they do what they have been accused of in a vindictive manner. It seems to me its done more as a joke than anything (the bath scene in FF7 for instance) and that's perfectly fine, how many straight characters are portrayed as a joke as well, the clumsy goof seeking attention from a girl or something? If the the video game industry can be criticized in targeting certain other themes more negatively homosexuality it would be religion for one thing, which is usually portrayed negatively or is just unimportant (Again I can only judge based on the games I have played). But I am not demanding the video game industry get a better grasp on theology because they are free to do the things they want.

I don't consider it an oversight, nor do I consider it anything to be corrected because game makers can make whatever story they want and make whomever they want to be the villain. But why does there have to be a game where a character is openly homosexual? Isn't the game itself more important? You can say you want that, and you can do that and someone will probably hear you and make a game for you. But when we look at the reality of things its more profitable to make a game wherein most people (whom happen to not be gay) can identify with.

Here's the thing, the LBGT movement has won (as far as I can see) so you can expect to see more of these sorts of themes you want, but we don't need it. A story doesn't need any one element, it only needs to be compelling and it can with or without homosexuals.


I never said a story couldn't be compelling without it.
Posted 7/12/14 , edited 7/12/14

demongurrl13 wrote:


-Gothique- wrote:

Are there any games out there where the main protagonist is openly lesbian, gay, or trans?



Yaoi games. Try them.. Although I have to say, they're really not for everyone.. So I really can't blame game devs for not messing with it.

Also. How does one go about making a game protagonist openly gay? Make him rescue a man instead of a woman? Put in a cut scene of him in bed with another man? Have him flirt with male NPCs? The more I think about this topic and read through these posts, the more my mind gets boggled by it.


I've clearly started off this topic wrong and have lost complete interest. I didn't mean for this to be some rally call for the community at large. See op post. It seems that only the second poster got the point.

I was thinking more just in the character description and most I like it because I like detailed character descriptions and deep stories in games.

I'm not into Yaoi and don't even know where or how to download VN's
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Posted 7/13/14

Iconodule wrote:

I suppose I just don't care because I am not invested in the LGBT cause ( a cause I disagree vehemently with). I don't play games to experience homosexual relationships (or any relationships for that matter), nor do i think the video game industry, which are more liberal than conservative (by the messages I often find in video games I've played at least). So I do not think they do what they have been accused of in a vindictive manner. It seems to me its done more as a joke than anything (the bath scene in FF7 for instance) and that's perfectly fine, how many straight characters are portrayed as a joke as well, the clumsy goof seeking attention from a girl or something? If the the video game industry can be criticized in targeting certain other themes more negatively homosexuality it would be religion for one thing, which is usually portrayed negatively or is just unimportant (Again I can only judge based on the games I have played). But I am not demanding the video game industry get a better grasp on theology because they are free to do the things they want.

I don't consider it an oversight, nor do I consider it anything to be corrected because game makers can make whatever story they want and make whomever they want to be the villain. But why does there have to be a game where a character is openly homosexual? Isn't the game itself more important? You can say you want that, and you can do that and someone will probably hear you and make a game for you. But when we look at the reality of things its more profitable to make a game wherein most people (whom happen to not be gay) can identify with.

Here's the thing, the LBGT movement has won (as far as I can see) so you can expect to see more of these sorts of themes you want, but we don't need it. A story doesn't need any one element, it only needs to be compelling and it can with or without homosexuals.


"I suppose I just don't care because I am not invested in the LGBT cause ( a cause I disagree vehemently with)."
What part do you vehemently disagree with? Marriage equality? The wish to be able to walk through the streets with your partner and not be subjected to hateful comments or sometimes even violence? Or just the wish to be portrayed in video games as anything other than a demon/villain/freak?

"I don't play games to experience homosexual relationships (or any relationships for that matter)"
This is not the point. Game settings and characters are fleshed out to make the world seem more real, to make the characters more believable. Perhaps you personally only care about gameplay mechanics and lack of bugs/glitches, but these elements exist in games already, deliberately. The problem here is that some developers seem to think that in order to make an LGBT character believable, they have to be a villain, or have various other issues. The problem is systemic. Developers portray this is a reasonable representation, and consumers eat it up.

"It seems to me its done more as a joke than anything"
Yes, and sometimes jokes are fine. Funny. Other times they are just offensive. I won't give an example for obvious reasons. Besides which, a joke at somebody else's expense is not very funny unless that person is also in a position to laugh about it. LGBT people are not in a position to laugh, as many are still demonized and victimized around the world today. And sure, LGBT jokes are often funny, but it sucks to always be the butt of the joke, if you are even included at all.

"the video game industry can be criticized in targeting certain other themes more negatively homosexuality it would be religion for one thing"
I agree that the good side of religion is perhaps not shown often enough in video games. There's a lot of resentment towards religion from certain groups of people (either atheists, or people who have, historically, been systematically repressed by religion in the past, as well as its links to major wars etc.). That said, a tight-knit local religious community can be a wonderful thing, and it would be nice to see that occasionally.

"But when we look at the reality of things its more profitable..."
[citation needed]

"Here's the thing, the LBGT movement has won (as far as I can see)"
You need to look a little further.
I've been bullied my entire life for being too feminine. And I'm one of the lucky ones who lives in the ~progressive~ ~liberal~ west.
And if the LGBT movement has 'won', then why was my friend forced to undergo treatment to 'cure' his homosexuality? Trust me, there's still a long way to go.

"but we don't need it. A story doesn't need any one element, it only needs to be compelling and it can with or without homosexuals."
YOU don't need it. Kids need role models. As a gay person, when you see a homosexual villain, or 'freak', it makes you feel small. It makes you wish you were somebody else. But when you see a positive representation of a homosexual character, it gives you hope. You start to think 'maybe I am allowed to just be me.' That is why everybody needs representation in the media, and video games is another part of the media. Yes everybody, not just LGBT, but men, women, and people of all races and creeds. We need to see that we count as valid human beings, that we can be who we are and we don't have to pretend to be someone else just to be accepted.

Apologies to OP for continuing this line of conversation, but I wanted to try and get some sort of point across...

If I'm honest, my favorite LGBT representations currently are the ones that are sort of just hinted at. Because I am free to assume my own head-canon. Is Joshua from 'The World Ends With You' gay? I don't know, but the way he acts makes you think that he might be, and that's enough for me.
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Posted 7/13/14
I remember reading a statistic that said 3% of the human population falls into the LGBT umbrella. Not sure how accurate that is but if that is the case representation should be proportional to population. But it's also dependent on the game's theme. How they are portrayed is another question. Games can be a reflection of the team making them, or more likely whoever is in charge of the project. Since the majority of developers are white heterosexual males you usually are going to get only one point of view. I don't really expect it to change as long as the big guys rake in billions while catering to their usual fanbase.
Posted 7/13/14
only games i've played are call of duty 2 and old gta . no romance in there... i don't think
Posted 7/19/14

severticas wrote:

only games i've played are call of duty 2 and old gta . no romance in there... i don't think


No, you cannot call what happens in GTA romance, not even close.
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Posted 7/25/14 , edited 7/25/14
Don't care if 'representation' is there, don't care if it's not.

I suppose that's not overly progressive, but if it's a forced sort of representation (kinda like Cortez in Mass Effect 3) it just feels out of place. Kinda felt like he was there for the sake of being there.
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