Sunday, May 16, 2010

Video games: Straight by default

by Shaggy

*the following I originally posted in response to the Kotaku thread A Short History Of Gay in Video Games

Reading this thread, it seems the demand is for a 'normal' gay character to appear, as opposed to a stereotype, but consider this: what defines a video game character as a heterosexual in the first place?

Historically, the only indication of a male video game character being hetero is that his end goal is to save a female character (and if there's a kiss at the end, that usually solidifies they weren't just 'friends', or it wasn't him just following his assignment)

But where there's a video game character that never mentions his/her gender preference, and they just go about the game, who's to say WHAT their sexual preference is.

The problem game writers (and writers in general) seem to have is, like in life, characters are labeled 'straight' by default, and have to activily prove they're gay to be considered other wise, and as such they rely on the stereotypes.

In the Harry Potter universe, the author J.K. Rowling publicly stated that Dumbledore was gay, because as far as the readers read, he never did anything in the book to indicate he wasn't hetero. And honestly, the same could be said about any of the characters who don't openly indicate they're sexual interest.

So right now, think of a video game character (who doesn't romantically interact with the opposite sex) and ask yourself why you believe they're straight or gay.

Unless they did or said something very obvious to indicate it, it's really difficult to know for sure.

(NOTE: this does not make up for the lack of openly gay characters in games, but my point is, not a lot of characters are openly straight either, it's often just assumed).

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