LGBTQ+ rep in video games


penetrate into spaces


Oh don’t get me wrong I am all for critiquing Atlus’s handling of queerness. You don’t get to make games like P5 and BOTW with just the sales you will get from Japan so it is more then fair to expect them to meet western standards of basic human decency. I just don’t think you can make assumptions about rather the main character is gay based on appearances and a scene in a library that may or may not have been run through google translate based on the rest of the localization. And I never once saw in option in that game that ever implied to me that the MC was gay and I was looking. Granted there’s a lot of stuff I’m sure I missed and they are most certainly trying to imply things with Yuske. The rest of the game felt like a giant no homo to me though

My point is I don’t know what queer looks like in Japan the way I do homophobia and transphobia and while your welcome to your interpretation judging these things off of looks and subtext in something as large and messy as P5 is not something I am entirely comfortable with


Japan actually just became the first country in the world to elect a transman to office!


Yeah, I was real happy to see that, going off on a slight tangent as well… like, LGBTQ peeps exist in Japan, that’s why when a lot of people go “oh Japan” I’m like… it’s more like… “oh shitty mainstream media” which… we may also have a kinship with, lmao, but just in different ways.


Consumption of media is not a substitute for actual immersion in a country itself, yeah.


To be clear: the library scene I speculated on is entirely fictional. Not a part of the game. Just taken from the bookish style and presentation combined with knowing a lot of “definitely not gay” people who absolutely get to self-define their own experiences (here I draw a clear line between actual people and fictional characters - the latter being open to deconstruction) but possibly in a society with less biphobia would maybe not be so attached to the straight description.

In media where we are denied queer representation then I think we must be free to build it, even when it doesn’t appear in the text. Especially when media (thinking here of how more all-ages media is allergic to representation but loves to queer-code characters to imply deviance or evil - we should absolutely push back and find the positive roles where even the faintest glimmer may exist in he actual text) is weirdly straight.


Since playersexuality has come up as a term - I’d like to say I consider playersexuality very different from canonical bisexuality (or pansexuality). Playersexuality is a meta, player-driven mechanic that allows an NPC romance option be in a relationship with the PC regardless of gender, but this relationship is defined in that moment based on that gender and may have quite a few readings within the canon. A canonical bisexual character would be one, in my opinion, is bisexual regardless of whether the player romances them or not, regardless of PC gender, and expresses this concept within the narrative somehow.

The problem with games, is I feel they would have more time/space to flesh out characters with harder-to-express sexual orientations than say, movies or TVs, that typically have to flatly express this via corny dialogue and yet they rely on including it as a purely mechanical feature that isn’t actually bisexuality vs. narrative feature. There’s still very few Canon Bisexual Characters in gaming.

Also what they keep doing with making women with coded butch features be really surprising “straight only” relationship options is why I keep not playing Bioware games.


Sure but asking [quote=“Shivoa, post:93, topic:2611”]
Also… just look at the protagonist from Persona 5. Like, (as noted about Bioware’s straight female romance options recently) sure he’s straight?
[/quote] implies that you’re making a statement about what the character as presented in the story is, not just that you’re interpreting it as such. At least to me

But whatever I don’t want or mean to argue about this and I don’t really disagree with you on your other points anyways


Right, like I said I could be wrong in many places in my statement. It just a matter of making sure doing romances is believable and not just let it happen.


Akira has some really good heels, is all I can say about Persona 5 one way or the other.


Also, speaking of Atlus dropping the LGBTQ+ ball, Erica is too good of a character for the people around her and the game she is in.

Give me a Catherine spin-off that’s all about Erica.


right, simply letting the player’s interest define a character’s sexuality isn’t going to make that character an example of queer representation. I wanna be v limited in the scope of what I’m trying to say about this concept, which is only that it can serve a good purpose for queer folks (fantasy romance/wish fulfillment) too if used well. it can’t replace an honest depiction of my life as a queer dude but I don’t necessarily want that level of honesty from everything I play. sometimes I just wanna move to a farm and kiss the sad goth boy

although yeah, to be fair, we’re woefully short on games that truly serve queer players on either end of this spectrum


oh yeah I totally married Maru in Stardew the second I could. Ha!


Chiming in to say I’m also happy about Tracer, but that isn’t going to stop me from pinging Micheal Chu every once in a while to ask if her girlfriend has a last fucking name. I’m also glad we got a Lunar New Year event rather than a Valentine’s one, because I know for a fact that Blizzard would have cowarded out.


I was waiting to bring the latter point up until I got home because phone typing sucks but like… Yes. That. People saying that making Cassandra straight or making Zarya straight would be mold-breaking are just like… What world are you living in???


I feel like there’s no end of positive examples of queer representation in indie games these days…what a time to be alive.

I adore Hustle Cat, which I’ve seen very few people talking about, even though it was published by the same folks as We Know the Devil. It definitely takes the playersexual approach, but I still feel like there’s a thoroughly queer lens on the whole game. It’s also not primarily about being queer, unless you want to get metaphorical about the events of the story.

I also like all of Nami’s games (on here), which are generally fairly light and fluffy, but always about girls loving girls.


Looks like @AppleCider clarified a lot of what I wanted to about playersexual stuff.

My intent also wasn’t to say it’s bad and shouldn’t be used ever. For certain games, and Stardew Valley is a solid example, it can work great.

Where it tends to bother me is in games where they’re trying to create characters with a decent amount of depth & history before you meet them…but don’t give them any romance or sexual history outside of clearly being into you right now.


For me, that was actually what turned Cass’s romance in Dragon Age Inquisition my favorite Bioware romance I’ve ever experienced. (Dragon Age Inquisition Cass Spoilers.) I was obnoxious and flirty, (lady inquisitor) and after growing closer, and catching her off guard, we got closer in a way that felt natural. I got to know her less guarded side. As I upped the anti, she very softly, and respectfully rejected me, and it gave the non-player character agency is a way I really liked. That just made the whole thing feel… more real? More honest? I know I land on the wrong side of this one according to a lot of people. I guess this doesn’t really speak to LGBTQ+ representation directly, but as much as Bioware gets shit on for romance in general, it felt worth mentioning as (spoiler continued) an example of specifically non-LGTBQ+ representation, as part of the discussion about playersexual player agency.

I’m still very torn about liking it. Not whether or not I enjoyed it, I did, but enjoying that sometimes feels suggestive of a negative attitude which is all too common, and dumb, and bullshit spouted all over the place by the worst kinds of people. Which is to say, I think, perhaps awkwardly, in a vacuum I’d be more comfortable enjoying it, or admitting I enjoyed it, than in most online discussions. But hey, so far these forums have been real good, so why not take a shot in the dark.


Okay, I said earlier in the thread I’d talk about the Massive Chalice thing, so here goes.


Massive Chalice was a kickstarted Double Fine game where the premise was that it’s a turn based strategy which takes place across generations, and those generations would inherit traits off their parents which would affect their abilities and other things on the battlefield. It was a pretty cool idea and it did well on Kickstarter and on the forums people started chiming in with their ideas for it.

I set up a post where I said that while this is a very cool idea, and while I don’t think that DF were deliberately setting out to exclude, it had the potential to be a very straight game, one where the heroes are defined by their ability to pass down their genes, and one with no room for other kinds of relationship.

Firstly, I want to say that the response from the devs was mostly good. In particular the project lead, Brad Muir was very sensitive to the idea that the game could exclude people and said that he’d definitely look at what could be done about that in a way that fit in with the goals of the game.

The forum post then kinda exploded, and it was mostly fairly supportive, mixed in with a whole lot of ‘I don’t care either way, I don’t see why it matters’ (and I tried to give my best explanation of why to me, this was a thing that mattered a little bit), and the occasional person who was just extremely hostile to the idea that any of the game should be changed for the sake of being inclusive.

All the cliches were hit ‘the world looks a bit medieval, so gay and lesbian relationships would be UNREALISTIC’ came up, of course, and all the sorts of ‘I don’t see why your politics have to get all up in our games’ but amid these is perhaps my favourite bad take on why not to be inclusive of ALL TIME:

Someone actually argued that you should not include LGBTQ+ characters unless the plot specifically needs it because of -drum roll- Chekhov’s Gun.

For the uninitiated, this is the idea from playwright Chekhov that if there’s a rifle hanging on the wall, during the second and third act it should go off at some point, i.e. every plot element should feel necessary. It’s a nice sort of editing rule of thumb to make a story more concise and feel tighter. For a more recent reference (although I guess not that recent anymore… dang) Back to the Future is a film often praised for it’s great editing in that there’s barely a scene or a line in it that doesn’t advance the plot or characters in some way.

So this dude’s argument was basically that if you have, e.g. a gay character, if at some point their being gay isn’t important to the story, then you ought to get rid of that, they should just be straight.

So I sort of did the Drew Scanlon blinky face thing and tried in about 6 different ways to explain where I think he’d misunderstood both Chekhov’s Gun and also made an assumption that straight is ‘default’ unless given a reason not to be, but he wasn’t getting it at all, and then the whole thing spiralled down into this rabbit hole of “isn’t it perfectly natural that I find gay stuff gross, being straight?” (which, as a gay guy who had to fight a lot of internalised homophobia in order to feel comfortable with myself, I took a lot of exception to) and… so, yeah, that was the less fun part of that forum thread.

Aaaanyway, the game came out and they did in fact try to be more inclusive, but the way they handled it was a bit weird.

I think basically they were never quite able to come up with a totally satisfying mechanic to it. In the world of the game you act as this kind of immortal entity who arranges marriages, and if you want you can totally put two guys or two women together, but in those situations they can’t have children (there are also infertile people, or people with low fertility). In those situations you can adopt, but the more you adopt the more it costs, so it’s not a long term strategy. There are some strategic reasons to want to have this arrangement, adoption introduces potential traits that you might not get from normal childbirth, but it’s a bit of a crap shoot. It turns out almost always to be a better strategy to find highly fertile couples and get them having as many children as possible.

So, you can put people in non-traditional relationships, but there seem to be really compelling reasons not to, and only a few edge-case reasons where it could come in handy. And the relationships are always about the player’s choice of who to marry, rather than anything to do with the desires of the heroes. So in the end I’d give Double Fine credit for being the sort of company who will genuinely listen to the concerns of their fanbase, and their staff were constantly great in defending my right to express my concerns… but in this particular implementation it seems like they couldn’t really come up with something that was more than a superficial nod to inclusivity, which maybe just had more to do with how the marriage mechanics of the game were designed in general.

And that’s the end of that.


I’ve heard some terrible fucking reasoning in my day, but that’s a new one. Chekhov’s Gun… Holy shit. That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.