Saturday, April 7, 2012

Conservatives Freak Out Over Depiction Of Homosexuality In Video Games

Courtesy of
From the FFA website. Actually,
this is pretty funny although they
were going for insulting. They
can't even do THAT right!
Video games are not terribly progressive and that is putting it mildly. For an industry that is over thirty years old, it is still primarily a boys’ club. Its protagonists are macho and bulging with muscles. They get the babes and drink the beer while tossing out one-liners. The few female characters are invariably sexy and well endowed or cutesy and cartoonish. Some games almost literally drip testosterone.

With that being the case, it is a sign of the times that even this somewhat immature industry has begun to introduce a broad range of realistic relationships to its games. Specifically, homosexual relationships. The pioneer in this field is Electronic Arts who has allowed same sex relationships into its games as far back as 2000 with the introduction of the best selling The Sims. While the relationships were completely nonphysical aside from some awkward smooching, the fact that any character could flirt and fall in love with any other character caused a bit of a stir. This outrage didn’t last long as the overwhelming popularity of the game and its dollhouse-like nature drowned out whatever opposition there was. The offended parties might as well have complained about little girls making their Barbie dolls kiss each other.
Since then, EA has continued to incorporate the option for same sex relations into its open world games. The key word here is “option.” It is rare that a video game with a scripted narrative will introduce a realistic (as opposed to comedic or stereotypical) gay character. Rather, in games where the player is free to make their own choices (like the Fable series), EA has wisely included homosexuality as part of the virtual world.

Unlike previous attempts to market “titillating” sexuality as a selling point, like this:
Graphic courtesy of
Advertisement from Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix circa 2001
Electronic Arts has mostly downplayed this particular aspect simply because, to them, it is just a part of the game world, no more controversial than having aliens or monsters running around. Matt Kane, Associate Director of Entertainment Media at GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), had this to say about the “controversy”:
“A lot of game makers are realizing that in order to create a believable universe it has to be a universe that is very diverse, and in some ways it sort of reflects the make-up of the culture we live in as well. I think it’s very logical that you’ll start to see more LGBT characters appearing in games.”
This is the essence of the current campaign against EA by the Florida Family Association. The FFA, coming off of its “triumph” in getting Lowes’ hardware to pull its advertising dollars for the terrifyingly normal All American Muslim, has decided that just including the option of homosexuality is somehow “trying to capture the minds of our children through the intense emotions children encounter when playing video games.” Of course, this ignores that fact that these games are rated “M” for mature and require an adult to purchase them. This means that these “vulnerable” children have been allowed, by their parents, to play games with potential homosexuality in it. While it is true some parents don’t pay attention to the ratings or content, many do and for a group that claims to venerate “the family,” the FFA sure is intent on taking away the power from parents to decide what is best for their children.

But then, these groups are never about “family,” they’re only about spreading hate and intolerance under the guise of religion.

Justin Rosario has been playing video games since he was 5 years old and you can have his controller when you pry it from his cold, dead fingers. He has never stared for an indecently long time at Lara Croft’s assets and resents any implication to the contrary.

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