This Game Designer Is Hopeful About Gay Issues In Video Games

Homophobia and bigotry may run rampant on Xbox Live, but game designer Robert Yang is optimistic about the present and future of LGBT issues in the gaming industry.

Speaking during the Rants session of the Games for Change conference in New York Tuesday, Yang gave a brief talk about the experimental, gay-themed games he's been working on.

"Only recently I've been making games about gay people," Yang said. He's been working on a series of games called Radiator that tackle gay issues in experimental ways. One idea, for example, is all about gay divorce. ("Gay marriage is out of fashion," Yang joked. "So 2011.")

Although it's a first-person shooter, "you don't actually shoot anything in this game," Yang said. "You just kinda sit in a marriage therapist's office in Fresno, California and stare at your husband as he complains about how inconsiderate you are."

Other ideas included a first-person shooter where players would shoot condoms of varying size at mens' "bulges" in order to protect them, he said.

Yang, who calls himself "a game designer and practicing homosexual", points to BioWare as one example of a development studio that supports progressive issues. In BioWare's Mass Effect, your main character, whether a he or a she, can become romantically involved with both males and females.

Yang called BioWare "a really great vanguard" for LGBT issues, perhaps a play on the Mass Effect class Vanguard.

"A more diverse gaming culture is a healthier gaming culture," he said. "Of course we could do better... maybe a triple-A game with a transgender protagonist, or maybe in Mass Effect 4 you'll be able to sleep with like 20 dudes. I dunno."


Comments

    ME3 was very traumatising for me.....the minute I booted up I was overwhelmed by the all erotic gay sex! within the first 15 minutes

    and it didn;t just stop there....the game was full of it...I mean the part with Vega..and..and Widoow sniper rile...

    it was so awful I think I've caught "teh gay"...I can't even look at my girlfreind anymore!..../sarcasm

      If you haven't already, you should check out Jim Sterling's Mass Effect 3 video over at Escapist Magazine. Goddamn hilarious.

        I've heard...avoided it because of spoilers at the time but It might be worth a laugh :P

    Yeah I have no issue with LGBT options in games. Was chatted up by more blokes in skyrim than ME3, I just take it as a compliment (like in the real world) and decline the offer.

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      You're telling me that in your mind, the "nice" thing to do to gay people is spacing them, and the "mean" thing is just asking them to go away?

        i dont think its mean i find that renagade action seem to reflect negativly on your chacracter and letting gay people live reflect negitivly

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        It's funny you say that. A study was done in America which which areas were the most educated to level of homophobia and racism. The more educated the particular town/state meant significantly lower levels of hate crimes etc...

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          dawww...its so cute when he tries to use people words....

          its ok...they won't hurt you..

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            Hey! Why did you delete my comment! It was not insulting to anyone, it just pointed out flaws in his argument!

            Censorship sucks!

          Well, we're not.

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                It isn't true.

                Do you feel better now? Gerneralising a large group of people based on a very small amount at an event you see mere seconds of on a news report isn't a very smart or considerate thing to do. There are PLENTY of straight people who are perverted and do seriously messed up things, just as there are some perverted gay people.

                  the key difference is if u make a comment on perverted staight people its ok if you make a comment perverted gays your a bigot

                  @ Swordoftruth: You're so right. I saw a straight guy being taken away for having committed a murder and now I'm so glad I know that all straight people are killers.

              Bitch please, spend 5 minutes in a heterosexual nightclub. Entirely perverts.

                hey not taking sides here on this my veiw about gay rights is the same as most things i simply dont care but isnt ridaculing and mocking him/her because he has a different point of veiw a bit hipocritical i mean last time ilooked tolerence wasnt selective it means to put with something you dont like whether its homosexuals someone of a different race or in this case someone who is aposed to your veiwpoint

      As a gay guy, I assure you. It's much worse to be patronized for being gay then to be blatantly cast aside.

      The game is set in the future not the dark ages.

      Even though I hate the place where this is coming from, this is a bloody interesting idea. What if I could kick people off the ship for not "fitting in". I mean really, if I was commander of a ship, and one of my crew, of either gender, asked me out, I'd probably ask them to be posted elsewhere.

        You can choose to throw Jessica Chobot (whatever her character's actual name was) off your ship in ME3. Even after shagging her.

          Hey yeah, I forgot about that. I would liked an extension of it.

      Successful troll is successful. Give yourselves a pat on the back, guys.

    "Although it’s a first-person shooter, “you don’t actually shoot anything in this game,” Yang said. “You just kinda sit in a marriage therapist’s office in Fresno, California and stare at your husband as he complains about how inconsiderate you are.”
    Gay or not, that game sounds absolutly rubbish.

      Yeah, I get enough of that shit in real life.

      Hiyooo!

    So trying to shove your gay views down our throats is the best way?
    I like Mass Effect I chose the non gay options.

    I am not a homosexual I therefore have no interest in such matters or entertainment like Brokeback Mountain.

      He's not shoving anything down your throat.
      You're not forced to play/enjoy the games he's proposing, just like you don't have to watch/enjoy Brokeback Mountain.

        Exactly this. If the game contains or is mainly centralised around themes you are not comfortable with, no one is requiring you to play it. :/

      I don't see how making a video game that targets the gay demographic is equivalent to shoving anything down your throat.

      He's proposing to make a product to be sold to parties that are interested. Merely OFFERRING a product on the market isn't "shoving it down your throat."

      There are presumably plenty of products on the market that you have no interest in. Are they being "shoved down your throat?"

      Was Brokeback Mountain "shoved down your throat?" Did someone put a gun to your head and force you to watch it?

      The mere PRESENCE of an entertainment product that deals with themes you aren't interested in isn't the same as shoving said product down your throat. If you don't like it, don't watch it or buy it. Simple!

      Sorry I didn't clearly convey my view.
      When I talked about shoving the gay view down our throat, I meant if Mass Effect or similar popular game had only a gay story I would be displeased and I would not buy it.
      I have zero interest in seeing gay acts, I can not relate to such a situation nor do I want to.

      But from the sounds of his ideas I wouldn't be interested anyhow, nor would most gamers.
      So we are safe from lame gay games.

    we need to see an END to the word.

    Homophobia is an oxymoron...... im not knocking gay rights here but the word was invented as a hate inspiring catchphrase to enforce the your with us or against us.

    If you actually loook into the word is doesnt say "hatred of homosexual" it would actually say afraid of things that are the same, therefore if homophobia was a real thing it would be contained to afraid of the same thing.

    Unfortunately a lot of pro-homosexual groups who want to portray everyone against them as evil wanted a buzzword.

    I have several gay friends who are offended everytime this word is used as its not really bringing anything to the table..... its responding to misunderstanding with hatred and labels.

      I agree that "homophobia" isn't the best word for it. "Anti-nonheterosexualism" would be more factual, since "homophobia" is often experienced by people that aren't actually homosexual (bisexuals and transgenders, for instance, are often mistyped as homosexual). Plus, making it an "-ism" rather than a "-phobia" would make it linguistically closer to sexism and racism.

      That said, there are still some people, some groups and some ideologies which are negative towards anyone that isn't 100% hetero, so some sort of label to refer to this is necessary.

    I'm all for gay rights, allowing gays to get married and what not, but I'm sick of video games trying to please the gay community with the over abundance of homosexual options. Half the press ME3 got was due to "gay options" and since when was ME3 primarily about romancing my crew? I don't mind gay characters as long as it fits in with the story and plot of the game and it makes sense for the character. Don't just make characters gay in an attempt to appear "politically correct" and "liberal" and say, "look who progressive and up with the times our video game is!". For example, the amount of gay characters you run into in Fallout: New Vegas. In a post apocalyptic world where most of the population has run out, what are the chances you'll run into a gay person? Homosexuality is a minority, and in a world where almost everyone is dead, most likely the survivors are hetero. Made no sense to me when I found out Veronica was gay. And Arcade Gannon. And what was the point of even mentioning their sexual orientations anyways? Another example, Fable 3. In an attempt to get an achievement, I tried seducing the first few females I saw in the castle. Low and behold, the first two I run into are lesbians. Seriously? What was the point of that? If a lesbian wanted to have their avatar be a lesbian and go around sleeping with women, why not just allow them to? Same goes for gay men. And the same should go for hetero players as well. I shouldn't be forced to check whether or not a person was gay for some non important throw away character who shares the same skin model with a hundred other NPC's and who's lucky to even have received a name. There was no point in letting the player know the sexual orientation of the hundreds of throw away NPC's in that game. Those characters simply existed to populate the game world. And yet for the sake of hopping on the band wagon and being able to say "Look how hip and liberal we are! Gay people in our video game! We don't mind homsexuality at all!" game design suffers. That's what I don't want to see, that's what gamers shouldn't have to see, and the gay gamer community as gamers would agree. Sacrificing core principles of gaming and game design in order to appeal to the homosexual community is just stupid.

    Again, I don't mind having homosexual characters, or giving players the option to play a homosexual character or having romance options that are gay. As long as it fits with the story and it makes sense for the character. Because honestly, when did someone's sexual orientation matter when it came to saving the world/galaxy/stopping terrorists?

      I agree that simply shoving in gay options just to be PC is annoying.

      But are the options really intrusive or over-abundant? I don't think so.

      I can't comment on any other games, but Mass Effect is meant to be a Space Opera. The genre USUALLY has a huge galactic threat and multiple love interests. Look at Star Wars... there was a galactic war going on, but no one said "there's no time for a love story!" when Han and Leia hooked up. Putting in romance options for players is simply a way BioWare is allowing the player to indulge in the fantasy of being the hero of a classic Space Opera, and same-sex romance options exist because many players (of all sexual orientations) wouldn't mind seeing some same-sex romance (yes, this includes straight guys; same sex female romances appeal to many straight men).

      All BioWare is doing is trying to make their games cater to the fantasies of the widest possible range of players. That's a good thing, and it is consistent with BioWare's design philosophy of PLAYER CHOICE.

      I agree with a lot of what you say.

      However, in regard to your last point, "when did someone’s sexual orientation matter when it came to saving the world/galaxy/stopping terrorists?" it's as easy as looking at how the american military has dealt with gay soldiers to know there is a real world impact to being gay, and that gay people have been treated differently and sometimes automatically disadvantaged simply because of their sexual orientation. I agree that it shouldn't matter, but you only have to look at the real world to see that it apparently DOES matter.

    A first person shooter where you sit and watch something is not a first person shooter, it's a TV show or Movie. As such I wouldn't be playing a TV show talking about feelings.

    As for the Shooting Condoms at people, yeah sounds equally terrible. You want me to take you seriously don't make the game about being gay. Make it a cool game and just make the main character gay. And I don't mean one Dimensional always talking about banging dudes which is as inappropriate in my view as a Straight Man talking about always banging chicks. (<- Can't say that can I? It's sexist but the first one is fine because if you don't like it your a Homophobe) Either one is not something I want in a game.

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