Asexual Representation in Video Games


#1

Lately I’ve been trying to find how asexuality is represented in video games, and from what i’ve found most of the representation is either an emotionless human, non-human, or a headcanon of some sort. Dear Waypoint people, do you know any examples of a better representation of asexuality in video games, and why do you think they are doing a good job?

P.S. I highly recommend reading this piece on the matter


#2

It hard to find characters like that in games, at least that are human. From what I read Master Chief is asexual due to his mods but that through the books and not seen ingame. I do say Pokemon series show asexual representation as well as other progressive moves like equal representation, caring for nature, etc.


#3

I remember reading an interview with a writer from Borderlands or tales of the Borderlands a few years ago saying one of the female characters was ace, but I’ve never played those games so I can’t remember a name. Maybe someone else can say who?


#4

That’s a really good article (with, sadly, all of the examples that come to my mind when I think of (the lack of) asexual rep. Josie headcanoned ace 5ever). This line especially stood out: “creating older asexual characters that are intentionally treated in a regressive manner does little to combat the idea that asexuality is part of an infantile mindset.” Because boy, is this true, and hurtful, and ugh.

That article talks about Cole from Dragon Age, and what it doesn’t even mention is that there is a joke about Cole having sex if he is made more human by the Inquisitor. An ‘it will all make sense now you’re more human’ kind of joke. Also he will start a relationship, though we don’t know whether the relationship involves sex or not, but I imagine this is hurtful to aro spec folks.

I’ve seen a Dragon Age dev (I forgot which one) say that they would like to create asexual characters but that the demands of actual ace people vary too much. The idea of hiring an actual ace writer apparently didn’t cross their mind. But really, is it that hard? Start with ace characters not being villains, or robots/aliens, or autistic (signed, an autistic ace).


#5

You’re thinking of Maya.


#6

That’s a really… patronizing and insulting excuse for not having any ace characters. Like. “Oh, we would love to give you some representation, but you’re a group of multifaceted people with different believes and desires, rather than a singular hive-mind we can easily appease, so we can’t do it”. It also kinda frames us ace people as being in the wrong here, like? We’re just sooooo mean and demanding. And maybe said dev didn’t explicitly say it like that, but I see enough creators pull that card wrt to any form of LGBT rep, or even having characters that aren’t straight and white, saying it’d just be to hard and scary for them. It’s gotten pretty old.

And, like you said, they could always hire an ace writer, or even a sensitivity “reader” of sorts. People talked about this in the LGBTQ rep thread, but a big source of a lot of flawed representation in games is because devs never seem to consider the possibility of like… hiring an LGBTQ+ writer to write those characters… or even getting a consultant.


#7

Seriously? Woaw. OK.

Just Googled a bit and found some info on it. This written piece has most of the info on it: https://www.themarysue.com/borderlands-and-asexual-representation/

I remember having heard all those lines and never thought much of it.


#8

That’s a great link, Rezzi! I hadn’t encountered most of the ace terminology being used there, so I followed their link through to the AVENwiki and I spent several hours digging through definitions, symbology, and associated Tumblr blogs. I had encountered the term demisexual several years ago and while it felt like it might apply to me, it never felt like it captured the entire picture. Now that I also have demiromantic in my vocabulary I feel like I can finally understand and articulate the vast gulf between the way my friends discuss relationships and my personal experience with them.

Bringing it back to games, no I don’t have any better examples of asexuality. (I probably wouldn’t be so late to the party finding labels for myself if there were any.) Even today video games still have such a difficult time depicting believable human sexuality that it doesn’t feel like we’re anywhere close to having asexual characters positively represented.