Rare but Expressive: Queer Content in Computer Games
Children of the 80s and 90s grew up with the first video games. Here, they had to fight against enemies or find a princess (in the pink dress!) can be saved.
Over time, the video game industry has adapted to society. For a long time now, the boundaries between "male" and "female", especially in fantasy, are no longer as strict as they once were.
Or in other words: not all characters in video games are necessarily heterosexual. Admittedly, sometimes a little interpretation is required with regard to gender or sexual orientation. But that's exactly what makes the gaming world - in the truest sense of the word - "colourful", isn't it?
We live in the 21st century - why aren't there more "queer heroes"?
Although the main characters are still mostly heterosexual, characters with a different sexual orientation already appear in the early video game era.
How about a look at an old classic, for example? In "Super Mario Bros. 2", the player meets an intermediate boss who - obviously - feels more like a girl and prefers "Birdette" instead of using his real name ".Birdo"to be addressed.
Also later - in Mario Party 7 - she/he can be unlocked as a character and consistently wears a bow on her/his head. Whether the transformation from Nintendo was planned in this way is still a bit of a secret or a taboo subject to this day?
Sometimes it really does feel like the video game industry is afraid to let queer heroes take on quests or even introduce sexual content.
And if the game designers do get over themselves, sex - as exemplified by "Grand Theft Auto" - rather negative connotations.
Caper in the Castro - a classic of the LGBTQ scene
Published in 1989, it is likely that "Caper in the Castro" about THE video game of the LGBTQ Scene act. As a lesbian detective, the player tries to solve various crimes in the gay and lesbian district of San Francisco.
In the course of the story, the various sexual orientations of the individual characters are openly discussed. Through this natural way of dealing with diverse sexuality, exactly THAT becomes normality in the course of the game. The focus shifts so that "only" the case to be solved is in focus. Actually, just as it should be in "real life", right?
World Of Warcraft - a modern example of more diversity in gaming
World of Warcraft is one of the current examples that the video game industry will probably continue to focus on queer content - albeit in a limited way. Because: here, too, there are first characters with a different sexual orientation.
In the various levels, the player encounters trans- and homosexual characters. In the past, there have even been official gay and lesbian Pride Days within the online community.
How open is the gaming community?
Certainly, it would be wrong to hold the game developers exclusively responsible for the lack of queer content. Because: a look in forums and co. unfortunately shows again and again that many players also seem to be unwilling to allow more diversity on their server.
One thing is certain: the video game scene is still dominated by heterosexuality. Be it out of habit or fear of being in the red. Some people in charge and also some gamers do not yet dare to touch this - still - sensitive issue. Topic approach.
It remains exciting to see when the industry will dare to address this topic openly and as a matter of course, and not just set accents.
Addendum: The games mentioned are, of course, only a few examples. If you take a little time, you will certainly find more hidden references to queer video game heroes.