Last year when Nintendo released its role-playing video game Fire Emblem: Fates in Japan it was applauded for its LGBT inclusion when players found out that along with choosing a character’s gender or physical appearance, they could also select sexual orientation. But soon afterward the applause turned to anger after it was found out that players can also opt to drug one of the game’s lesbian characters and transform her into a straight woman.
The interaction in question occurs between Soleil, a lesbian character who gets nervous around women she meets. If the player chooses a male avatar, he can choose to slip Soleil a magic potion without her knowledge. The potion makes her see men as women. Soleil then falls in love with the man who drugged her and remains attracted to him even after the magic potion wears off—a first for her, as she has only been attracted to women.
Responding to complaints that the game promoted drugging of woman and gay conversion therapy, Nintendo executives announced this week that the company will alter the game for its release in the United States and Europe.
In the version of the game that ships in the U.S. and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters,” a Nintendo of America representative told Nintendo World Report.
Japanese gamers claim that they don’t see the scene as a form of gay conversion therapy. Japanese commenters point to inherent cultural differences as the culprit for Western outcries, according to gaming site Kotaku. There’s little information on gay conversion therapy in Japan and the horrors behind it.
The company will still continue to sell the original version in Japan.
TheMortal Kombat video game franchise has come a long way since it’s creation 1992. The series is known for its high levels of bloody violence, including, most notably, its Fatalities (finishing moves, requiring a sequence of buttons to perform).
Now with the release of Mortal Kombat X,NetherRealm Studios includes the franchises first gay character Kung Jin.
And its done subtly.
Kung Jin’s place in Mortal Kombat X’s plot isn’t as the “gay character,” he’s a character that just happens to be gay
Jin’s sexuality isn’t a major part of his story; in fact, it’s only alluded to twice. The first time, thunder god Raiden briefly tells Kung Jin, “Self-loathing has always been an unfortunate part of your make-up.” Later, when Kung Jin says that he can’t join the Shaolin monks because “they won’t accept” him, Raiden answers, “They care about only what is in your heart; not whom your heart desires.”
Jin’s character is a reformed thief, an archer, a monk, and a member of the Special Forces Unit.
With LGBT representation so lacking in the gamer world I applaud NetherRealm for the inclusion and the fact that his sexual preference is a part of his character and not the only thing that defines him.
Mortal Kombat Xis the sequel to Mortal Kombat’s 2011 release and takes place two years after the defeat of Shao Kahn.
Nintendo is apologizing and pledging to be more LGBT inclusive after being criticized for not recognizing same-sex relationships in English editions of a life-simulator video game. “Tomodachi Life.” Nintendo said that while it was too late to change the current game, it was committed to building virtual equality into future versions.
“We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life,” Nintendo said in a statement released Friday. “Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch.” Earlier in the week Nintendo tried to cover itself by stating that. “The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation.” adding that they “never intended to make any form of social commentary”.
The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters — Nintendo’s personalized avatars of real players — living on a virtual island. Gamers can do things like shop, play games, go on dates, get married and encounter celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Tomodachi Life” is set for release June 6 in North America and Europe.
Gaming In Color the Kickstarted funded full-length documentary that explores queerness in games, such as the LGBTQ presence within the games industry and is now streaming online over at VHX.
The documentary celebrates gaymer culture and events as well as LGBTQ themes in video games. In addition to giving a voice to people who experience discrimination, Gaming In Color also speaks to people who may not consider gaymer culture to be important.
A lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer gamer has a higher chance of being mistreated in a social game. The power dynamic of a geek society tips against them. Diversive queer themes in storylines and characters are still mostly an anomaly in the mainstream video game industry. However, the gaming community is far more colorful than one may expect. Gaming In Color shows that there is a full spectrum of gamers picking up their controller to play.
“A lot of the film’s message is aimed at people who don’t understand the need for queer characters or the fight against bigotry, so we’d also hope to have a lot of straight people seeking to learn in our audience,” Gaming In Color director Philip Jones said to Polygon. “The queer gaming community has always existed, and it’s only been getting stronger as the years go by. This film has been a long time coming. The eloquence of our cast members and the demand from our fans really shows that this film needs to be made. This is a story that deserves to be told.”
Check out the trailer below and head on over to VHX to watch. It’s pay-what-you-want, so you can watch it for as little as $1. (But more would be nice)
This years 27th annual Game Developers Conference held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco is full of panels with titles like “The Sound of Grand Theft Auto V” and “The Art of Reanimating Plants vs. Zombies 2.” but also this year the GDC will delve a bit deeper into social issues and discuss problems game issues such as misogyny, racism, homophobia and designing for gamers with disabilities.
The conference, sponsored by UBM Tech Game Network last year added a new “advocacy track” of panel discussions about wider social issues, to stimulate discussions about how developers can influence and change the community and culture of both games and the $93 billion industry that creates them and make it more diverse.
“The goal of GDC is to help developers make better games,” said GDC General Manager Meggan Scavio. “Making games more acceptable to everyone is also a way to make better games. How do you make minorities want to play games more?”
“It’s really important to think about how the games we play influence and reflect our culture,” said Ashly Burch, a game voice actor who will host the panel along with author Rosalind Wiseman. “Games are a huge opportunity to change how both boys and girls are socialized.”
One panel will discuss how to “subversively queer your work” – advice for game developers on how to, in small steps, start adding queer characters and content to games, such as gender-neutral characters. We’re not content with this kind of world where there are mainstream games and then queer independent games,” said Samantha Allen, a panelist and Emory University gender and sexuality researcher. “We want to deliver a message that mainstream developers can take and say, ‘Why can’t we make a supporting character that’s LGBT?’
The inclusion of such topics at the weeklong conference is an indication of how the gaming industry – and its players – are changing.
“Our panel’s mere presence at the GDC says a lot,” said Todd Harper, a scholar at MIT’s game lab speaking on the panel on making games more queer. “I feel like before the advocacy tack started, our panel wouldn’t have made it into GDC.”
Supporting LGBT characters? How about LEAD LGBT characters?
Reddit “gaymers” – members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community who have an active interest in videogames have kicked the ass of a blogger who has surrendered his bogus trademark claim on the word ‘gaymer,’ freeing online forums, conventions, and indivuals to use the descriptive term without fear of legal threats and interference.
Chris Vizzini, who started a website called gaymer.org in 2006, had registered a trademark on ‘gaymer’ even though it had been in widespread use long before Vizzini started his website and had until recently threatened lawsuits against people who would use the term. With the help of EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the law firm Perkins Coie the Reddit gamers asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to cancel the trademark in January of this year. Vizzini ultimately decided to surrender the mark, which was officially revoked this week.
“Trademark is supposed to protect consumers from confusion, not to shut down discussion spaces and the names they have rallied around,” said Zack Karlsson, the r/gaymer community’s representative in the trademark challenge. “We were shocked that anyone would try to assert ownership rights in ‘gaymer’ and felt the term belonged to the public, not Mr. Vizzini.”
So GAYMERS, (Hear that Chad?) grab your joysticks and game on loud, and proud!
Just when you think games can’t get any stranger, you fiddle around the Internet and find stuff like this.
Les Misérables is known in Japan as あぁ 無情 or Ah Mujou, which is where the play on words “Arm Joe” comes from.
Arm Joe is another game made by Takase using ASCII’s Tsukuru series “Fighter Maker” engine that is based off of the French “Les Misérables” musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, which in turn is based off of Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name that originated during the 1860s. Being a very successful musical Internationally, it was also popular in Japan, and we all know fighting games are also popular in Japan, so it was only a matter of time before the two came together. It features generally all the important characters including older Éponine and Cosette, a smackdown matchup for the ages but also gives the characters that Japanese touch and super powers.