Homos, Fags, Queers, Marys, Butt Pirates
Oh good, now that I’ve got your full attention, in honor of this past October 11 being “National Coming Out Day” I thought it would be a good opportunity to tackle a sensitive issue once and for all- the over-hyped use of ambiguously gay characters in videogames.
And to all you snickering and giggling back there all I can say is “Grow up”!
The game of Wife
The world of games is strongly influenced by Japanese pop culture, where gender is a lot blurrier. Male heroes are often feminine looking, with long hair and soft features.
Sex (there I said it), has often been a touchy subject with critics of video games such as parents, politicians, religious groups, and other “special interest” groups. But rarely will you hear anything said about their depiction of homosexuality. Weird.
This leads me to a little known tale, so gather around boys and girls.
Once upon a time, (in 2003) a struggling little company called Troika Game’s came up with a computer RPG called “The Temple of Elemental Evil”.
Okay so like I said they were struggling and they needed to come up with something that set their game apart from the rest. So they decided to make it their mission to accommodate all types of players to put it mildly. How’d they do that you might be asking right about now.
Well, after several hours (or days) of fairly routine hacking and slashing through giant frogs and bandits, the player is presented with a role-playing scenario that may shock even the most seasoned of gamers- get this-the player is asked to rescue, and given the option to marry, an openly gay character! Go ahead and compose yourself, I’ll wait.
Wow, that’s quite a stretch for role-playing. Clearly if you want to make an impact on the gaming world, show them something they've never seen before. And by god, they sure as hell accomplished that!
So will straight gamers want to play at being gay? Interestingly enough though in a recent poll on some game forum or another, players said that game makers should not include gay characters in videogames.
So why would anyone want to change the status quo? Why incorporate gay characters into a mainstream videogame anyway? Tom Decker, producer of the game, had this to say “During some of the writing for the game, I had a lot of fun with creating some of the characters and quests in Nulb. I particularly felt strongly that since we had several heterosexual marriages available we should include at least one homosexual encounter in the game.”
Unfortunately, Decker does not explain why he felt so strongly about adding a gay marriage into his game, I hope it’s because he wanted to be fair and open to a wider audience, and not purely for shock value.
But the more I think about it –it was a win-win situation either way for the company, because “The Temple of Elemental Evil” will go down in history as the first videogame to promote gay marriages.
SideNote: “The Sims” has allowed same-sex partnerships for some time, even going so far as to let gay couples move in together and raise little Sim rugrats.
And while I would love to be able to say they all lived happily ever after. The End. Unfortunately I can’t. Even with all the hype and brouhaha the game brought them, Troika Games still folded in 2005. Yeah sad I know…but you got the point of the whole story right?
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List of Fruit Brutes
Here are just a few characters that haven’t quite come out of the proverbial closet just yet:
Makoto – Enchanted Arms- There is no question about this one folks. No guessin’, no speculatin’ UbiSoft makes no bones about it, this guy is GAY! In fact they had this to say “Makoto is openly gay and his friends like to call him “yellow otomegokoro.”
I looked it up (so you wouldn’t have to) otomegokoro means “girl’s feeling, maiden’s mind”.
He’s also got quite the fashion sense don’tcha think -with his Kingdom Hearts-like jacket, bare midriff and weird sort of skirt thingy over his pants. And who could miss those lavender Lee Press-On Nails! Even though, most of the guys in this game are pretty girly looking, this guy’s the real McCoy!
Voldo – Soul Calibur- C’mon there’s no denying that Voldo is one kinky fellow! With his leather bondage costume that seems to be made up of leather bits, armor, a codpiece (I do love a good codpiece) to make ol’ Edward Scissorhands jealous as well as his creepy, upside down crab-walk moves and his absolute devotion to his “master”. (Hey, have you ever noticed how many of these game guys have a strange attachment to some sort of “Master”?)
Benimaru Nikaido- King of Fighters- You gotta admit, at first glance this guy looks gayer than sack full of drag queens. The black skin-tight halter top, the fingernails, the earrings, and let’s not even go into that phallic looking hairdo. In fact, in doing some research for this list, I put on Sherlock Holmes cap and I came across this statement from SNK “his speech patterns have led some to question Benimaru’s preferences as far as certain lifestyles are concerned. All we have to say is: think what you will, not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
So there you have it kiddies…SNK officially states that there’s nothing wrong with being gay!
Liquid Snake –Metal Gear Solid- Liquid Snake is Solid Snake’s twin brother, but they couldn’t be any more different. Whereas Solid is a quiet, tough introvert, Liquid is an extroverted flaming fireball of homo-eroticism!
He refuses to wear a shirt, gallivants around in every scene like he’s doing Shakespeare in the park, and finally rips Solid Snake’s clothes off for no apparent reason.
SideNote: And if that’s not enough for you, Liquid Snake’s English voice-actor, Cam Clarke, is a gay-rights activist and lounge singer. Hmm, probably just a coincidence, right? RIGHT?
Birdo- Super Mario Series -While everyone else in my list so far has been human, I think I would be remiss in not putting Birdo on the list.
Birdo's biography in the Super Mario Bros. 2 instruction booklet, it says “he thinks he's a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called Birdetta." Contrary to popular belief, this is not the result of a poor translation. In Japan, Catherine was always male, despite the feminine name. Nintendo of America later labeled Birdo female to avoid controversy. But recently, on the “Mario Strikers Charged” website, Birdo is again referred to as "he". You might say in some ways Birdo is the first full transsexual in the game industry!
Birdo does still retain some of his/her early tranny roots. I mean c’mon look at the size of that rock on her finger! Definitely a drag queen ring if I ever did see one and believe me, living in NYC for the better part of my life and now Philly (the City of Brotherly Love), I‘ve seen plenty!
Psst- Yeah You! Over Here!(looks both ways)- you know I have some friends in the “biz” and for a small fee I might be enticed to hand over some pretty compromising photos of everyone’s favorite Nintendo Bros. Mario and Luigi. I’ve got them right here in my…oh, wait you’re not into that type of stuff right? Sorry. Just forget I said anything okay? (Slinks away)
Zangief – Street Fighter Series-not all gay guys are femmy, limp-wristed pansies, skipping about sprinkling fairy dust everywhere. Now, now before you scoff, I’ll have you know there are quite a few gay character lists out there, and oddly enough, Zangief appears on every single one of them! So there (sticks out tongue)
Is it the speedo? The knee length boots perhaps? Or could it be that in “Street Fighter Alpha 3” listed as one of his dislikes was “beautiful young women.”
I Yam What I Yam
So in conclusion, ladies, gentlemen (and anyone in between), do yourselves a favor, whether you prefer who boys who like joysticks or girls who like rumble packs, in honor of October 11 being “National Coming Out Day” just remember to always be happy, be safe, be loud and be proud!
Now go rescue that handsome prince!