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Homophobia in The Gaming Community?

Critically Acclaimed Mass Effect 3 sees its Metacritic score tanked by Homophobes.

Many of us in the gaming community see the expanding roles of video games and their impact on popular culture. The gaming industry is, capital wise, as big as the movie industry. With the greater amount of investment cash poured into gaming, I feel that better products are being created to reach a more diverse audience. Videogames are fast becoming much more that mindless diversions; they are becoming art and excellent story telling vehicles.

But the gaming community has a lot of maturing to do.

When the original Mass Effect came out, there was a hoopla manufactured by Fox News about how the game allowed players the opportunity to pursue a lesbian relationship…with an alien if the player decided that their Commander Sheppard was a female. The horrific culmination of which was a harmless make out scene prior to jumping into the bitter fight that was the awesome finale, which according to Fox News would have destroyed society instantly. But all the scenes of humans being impaled on spikes while alive, having to leave a good friend to die, full on genocide, shooting civilians, and the wall to wall gunfights were never an issue. Even though Fox caused a fuss, the gamers were mum. I can only assume that most of them were all for a little girl on girl action.

In response to requests by fans of the series, Mass Effect 3 now allows for both gay and lesbian relationships. And now parts of the gamer community are up in arms, hypocrites.

Ticked off gamers are now tanking the games’ score on the popular critical site over the possibility of a LGBT relationship (among other things). Which is stupid, the player is not forced into a gay relationship. The choice is simply there for one to pursue if interested, and only if.

I for one probably won’t pursue that relationship since my incarnation of the Commander, Fuzzypants McSheppard, has being going steady with Liara since the first game and way before Avatar made blue skinned people all the rage.

 

The RAGE!!! Going on at Metacritic is doing nothing but reiterating the idea of the stereotypical gamer. An elitist with no right to be, narrow minded, and petty. (Not to mention being a pimple faced tween who somehow beats me in military shooters, even though I do this shit for a living)

Not all of the low scores going on at Metacritic are about the homosexual issue; some are just people who are butthurt about the game’s ending. But after reading enough of the “reviews”, I feel that gamers need to grow up. Because one day, I guarantee that the badass man or woman that you fight the undead hordes as, will be other than straight.

In a related note, Mass Effect 3 is amazing. Play it meow.

Comments

  1. Robert B. says

    Because one day, I guarantee that the badass man or woman that you fight the undead hordes as, will be other than straight.

    “One day?” What do you mean “one day?” Haven’t you ever played Kingdom Hearts? :-D

  2. The Lorax says

    I can’t help but wonder if there’s an age difference here, where the younger players are getting pissy about it because they’re just kids, whilst the older gamers are fine with it, since they know it’s optional.

    Also, My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic. Deal with it.

  3. Steve says

    Weirdly, the reaction wasn’t this bad about “Dragon Age”. DA1 has both gay and lesbian relationships, you can buy time with prostitutes of both genders, DA1 has both a threesome and even a foursome (though it happens off screen). The surprise option in the brothel includes a dwarf transvestite and even animals. And there are pages over pages of sexual innuendo in the conversations between party members. Some of them take immense delight in teasing others about their lack of sexual experience and their relationships. That teasing includes jokes about masturbation, sex and sadomasochism.

    Though I guess “Mass Effect” is somewhat more popular than the “Dragon Age” franchise so it gets more attention.

    That said, on the Bioware forums, such stuff gets shot down pretty quickly. The regulars are pretty civil about it over there. The same-sex romance thread there has over 700 pages.

    • Sas says

      I think it’s because a large part of the particularly hateful homophobes in gaming love first person shooters, and Mass Effect probably has much more of an overlap with that type of game than Dragon Age does.

      • Steve says

        Probably true

        But anecdotally: I used to run an “Unreal Tournament” clan years ago. We had one transwoman who was in a relationship with another clan member, although I didn’t know about her being trans for a long time. She only told me when we planned a real life meeting. I don’t know who else knew, but I didn’t hear any comments about it.
        And there was another member who seemed to be trans or somewhat confused about his/her gender, identifying as male one month and as female the next. Some people found at a bit weird in a “What’s up with that?” kind of a way, but no one ever said anything negative

        • Sas says

          Oh, I’m sure there are a lot of people who love FPSs who aren’t awful homophobes/transphobes/sexists, they just got saddled with more than their share of the bad ones as well. If it wasn’t FPS, it would probably be some other genre.

    • kirk says

      But there still was a similar blow-up about Dragon Age II, though. It was the same sort of crap, with an epic post by an entitled dude who’s panties were in a bunch because the game seemed to include options to appeal to gamers who weren’t exactly like him.

      In this case, a writer on the game jumped in quickly and called the poster out. The writer pointed out that the poster was in a position of privilege, a member of the majority:

      “They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, and everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”

      The whole thread became a lengthy discussion on the issue, and many straight boys remained pissed about it, so threatened that Anders might think their male character was cute.

    • Besomyka says

      Seriously, I think I laughed the hardest when my female dwarf noble warrior (who kicked some ass in the tournament supposedly in my honor – showed those punks!), having discovered the brothel, is asked which I preferred: men or women.

      My character’s response: “Suprise me.”

      Between that at the female city elf origin story, the game had be hooked.

  4. Ramel says

    Homophobia in The Gaming Community?

    Most superfluous question mark ever. Seriously, there isn’t a community in fracking Saudi more homophobic (See also racist and misogynist) than the gaming community.

  5. michaeld says

    I’m unfortunately not surprised. Gamers as a whole have some growing up to do and the sooner they do it the happier I’ll be.

  6. sumdum says

    Saw the video linked through Penny Arcade I think. There’s two guys, who share a kiss. Next scene, they’re lying in bed in their undies. Where’s the gay sex ? I didn’t see any. Such a fuss over nothing.

  7. Zugswang says

    If there are two groups that still hold a significant minority among the gaming community, it’s sexual bigots (I lump homophobes and misogynists together, here) and children/man-children who cling to an undeserved sense of entitlement. When these two overlap, and anything they don’t like happens without their consent, prepare to deal with a salvo of anonymous, impotent, and surprisingly focused anger.

    • Robert B. says

      We can hope it’s a minority. I know lots of gamers who are excellent people (indeed, I’m a gamer and I think I do pretty well) but I’m not at all confident that the excellent people outnumber the jerks.

    • Anonymous Atheist says

      As demonstrated in the lack of uproar about the first game’s lesbian option.

      I’d say that for a male of the type of mindset to complain about this game, generally he views the idea of lesbians as an exotic curiosity, to fantasize about having a threesome with, only used as an insult to women who demonstrate that they aren’t sexually interested in him; while references to gay males and associated sexual acts are used as widely-flung insults and trash-talk constantly, reinforcing the disgust/hatred feelings of himself and his friends.

  8. Steve says

    Apparently people on 4chan planned to troll Metacritic. That certainly explains some of it.

    A lot of the negative scores are about the Day 1 DLC “From Ashes”. That’s EA’s nefarious doing and has happened before. They cut out content developed for the game and then sell it separately. It gets even worse when they sell weapon/clothing/armor packs

    • Sheesh says

      This doesn’t bother me so much when the items are cosmetic and equivalents exist in the game.

      I get enraged though at these anti-resale market ploys (including on-line passes). Like here with Mass Effect, but one that’s worse imho was Castlevania:LoS. In that case the last two chapters of the game are DLC, and their cost evens out a used purchase to full-price (i.e., it’s not some $3 weapon). People that payed full-price must have been apoplectic.

  9. unbound says

    Learned a long time ago not to take metacritic user ratings seriously. There have been a number of games and movies that get very low ratings by the users there for some silly reason or another.

    Same band of yahoos that SWTOR because it is too much like WoW (because all MMORPGs are copies of WoW in their opinion).

    There is a reason they aren’t paid for their reviews…

    • karmakin says

      Pretty much all MMOs out there ARE copies of WoW to some degree right now. There are some exceptions. But it’s pretty much true. Most MMOs are “Holy Trinity” based themeparks.

  10. Inflection says

    I’m pleased to say that I’ve done a very small part to counter homophobia in my own gaming writings. In the currently-under-editing “Dark Roads, Golden Hells” fantasy supplement coming from Paizo under the Open Design system, where patrons can write portions of the material, I submitted a pair of celestials called fideles. The idea was to play up the theme of “love beyond death.” I know, horribly nonskeptical, but hey, actual deities run around these games, and for some reason that’s the kind of RP I gravitate to. (Clerics? Heck, I’ve GMed In Nomine, which is about angels vs demons. Oddly, I personally know a RedState editor who did the same…)

    Anyway, to get to the point, I realized that the first draft was heteronormative — always a mated male and female. The second edit, which is at least in the current working draft, mentioned that same-sex fideles have also been known.

    • Gregory says

      If you are looking for examples, consider Saints Sergius and Bacchus, two Roman soldiers executed for refusing to offer incense to Jupiter because they were Christians. Bacchus was beaten to death, then appeared to Sergius as a ghost and told him that if he remained faithful, his reward would be their eternal reunion in Heaven.

      Along with their traditional role as patron saints for Christian soldiers, in recent years they have also become (unofficially, of course) the patrons of same-sex devotion and marriage.

    • Dalillama says

      If that’s the same guy I’m thinking of, he also wrote some really great fan supplements. I haven’t seen him on the In Nomine discussion boards in ages, though. I’m currently playing in no less than three separate IN games, actually.

  11. F says

    I can’t imagine why anyone pays attention to generic user rating scores ever. People who want the game will buy it anyway. And maybe this “bad rating” will just be advertising for some gamers.

  12. noastronomer says

    As PZ has repeatedly demonstrated, online polls should never be taken seriously. Doubly so for anything even mentioned on 4chan.

    Sadly my FemShep had the hots for Tali. A romance destined never to bloom.

    Mike.

  13. noastronomer says

    Incidentally the hoopla created by Fox around the original Mass Effect really had little or nothing to do with the possible lesbian scenario involving a female Shepherd and Liara. Can a relationship between a human and an alien even be categorized as gay or lesbian*?

    Rather Fox marketed, another word that springs to mind is ‘lied’, their coverage of Mass Effect as a expose of full frontal nudity and sex in video games. When the scene in question was beyond tame even by American TV standards. Which just goes to show that some people still like to bitch about nothing.

    Mike.

    * and completely ignoring the biological impossibilities of such relationship.

  14. meanmike says

    Nice post. As a gamer myself I am daily disappointed with gaming community. I am always rushing to click the mute button when I enter a pre-game lobby to avoid hearing any number of slurs directed at any number of targets.

  15. says

    I for one probably won’t pursue that relationship since my incarnation of the Commander, Fuzzypants McSheppard, has being going steady with Liara since the first game and way before Avatar made blue skinned people all the rage.

    Ditto that.I always thought she was hands down the most interesting in ME1. I didn’t get in a relationship in ME2 because, I think, my character was still pining for Liara.

    Speaking of though…isn’t it interesting/sad/frustrating how the media jumped over the Liara/FemShep relationship for being a lesbian relationship, but ignored the fact the Asari often don’t enter into committed relationships with their partners?

    OT, I am completely unsurprised at the reaction (which is depressing in and of itself) because we saw the same reaction on a smaller scale with DA2 (as others have pointed out). This and the Aris Bakhtanians situation shows just how much growing up the gaming community has to do.

  16. says

    One of the most interesting things I noticed in Mass Effect 2 was Legion’s Loyalty mission [Spoiler Alert]

    It basically examined the human idea of free will. The Geth gain collective sentience the more of them they are in a construct.

    So the Geth don’t see brainwashing as bad since that’s how they actively learn from other programs. When one program experiences something another does not it overwrites information.

    So you are given a choice. Delete the “rebel” geth faction (since they are software) or rewrite their software (brainwashing).

    To a human there are no right choices. To the Geth the brainwashing is not only humane (Gethesque?) but the correct thing to do.

    Now this is a pretty hefty topic for a videogame. In fact they point out that thinking like a human is the “Wrong” choice because it’s a choice biased by your own species and race.

    And they are worrying about the morality where you can theoretically be gay in a game? Not when there is this stunning piece of commentary?

    I give this advice to all people. If you don’t want to have gay sex, don’t have gay sex. I am surprised the KKK didn’t come out by saying that the game encourages you to have sex with aliens. Blue aliens… Who are bisexual women.

    I am waiting for the Elcor and Krogan sex add ons. That should cause some real complaints… Or maybe the collectors… ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL could take on a different meaning.

  17. says

    I’ll repeat this everywhere ME3 comes up. I can’t play it because EA is all chapped off at STEAM for some reason, so I can’t buy it it on my preferred platform. ;(

  18. says

    ME3 is a seriously flawed game (as far as I’m concerned, BioWare has lost their way wand seem intent on turning their backs on the the RPGs that got them where they are today), but when Cortez briefly and casually mentioned his husband, I was pleasantly surprised and when he talked about his grief about losing his husband, I was moved. I don’t like shooters (and it doesn’t help that I am very bad at them, at least ME1 helped me aim, now I shoot wildly and hope my team can shoot straight), and BW is finally calling ME3 what it is, but it’s that story-telling that has brought me back over the course of the trilogy.

    Incidentally the hoopla created by Fox around the original Mass Effect really had little or nothing to do with the possible lesbian scenario involving a female Shepherd and Liara. Can a relationship between a human and an alien even be categorized as gay or lesbian*?

    Ugh. This again. I have had this argument so often on the BW message boards… For Liara whose species likely has no words for “heterosexual” or “homosexual”, no, she probably wouldn’t see a relationship with a female Shepard as a lesbian one. For Shepard though? Yes, most definitely. the asari look and sound like human women except for the colour of the skin and the tentacles for hair. A straight human woman would have no interest in a sexual relationship with an asari.

    Ever since I first heard the argument that a relationship between a female Shepard and Liara isn’t gay because the asari are mono-gendered, I’ve wondered if the people making the argument (and from what I could tell were always men) would say the same thing if it was a romance option between a male Shepard and a mono-gendered species that looked like human men.

  19. Steve says

    By the way, the gay male relationships in ME3 are fan service. The only reason they exist is because a significant amount of people asked for it, and Bioware listened and implemented them

    • Josh says

      Which just makes the point that “fan service” is not automatically negative, even if the typical use is.

      • karmakin says

        Much that I’ve played of ME3 is what one could consider to be character fan service. Not in the sexual type way, but in the, we’ll throw in this character who doesn’t REALLY need to be there (and apparently you can do the missions even if they didn’t survive the ending of ME2, they’re just replaced) just to show you what they’re up to.

  20. sailor1031 says

    “the player is not forced into a gay relationship. The choice is simply there for one to pursue if interested, and only if.”

    Wow: these games are getting more and more like real life.

  21. passerby says

    To be honest, the raciest things in Mass Effect were the scenes from the first game, that showed people touching! And removing clothing! How scandalous!

    ME2 and ME3 have become a lot more tame while at the same time making the romances much more believable and deep. ManShep and Tali, for my experience, is both heartwarming and funny (totally worth it). My FemShep went for Garrus (Which was hilarious in ME2, by the way).

    It also explores the non-romantic bonds between characters in great ways, as well. It’s, in my opinion, one of the best examples of storytelling in a game.

  22. yggdrasil says

    I’m sorry but this article is wrong on so many levels and I’m stupid for even coming here and reading it and commenting. though for the sake of making a rassional argument at least. I’ll say why its wrong and explain my reasoning.

    1. there is no such thing as a blanket gaming community.
    saying gaming community in a blanket form to describe gamers is like saying everyone that watches movies is a community, or everyone that plays guitar is a community. saying mass effect is a little better so I’ll give some credit on that. But its still like saying everyone who likes the lord of the rings movies is a community or everyone that plays guitar in the USA is a community.
    a community means they have more in common then just liking the same game a community will be willing to work toward a common goal and help each other to achieve common interest. such as a guild, or clan, or even a group of modders

    2. most people aren’t just “butt hurt about the ending” people are annoyed since they liked the games so much and it was overly monetized, with everything from ios games that effect the game it self to day 1 DLC that was vital to the lore. if u played any of the other games. And the ending was objectively bad. It honestly just wasn’t bad it didn’t even make sense in the least being there. If anything it went against the other 2 games and the game it self and barely changed no matter which ending you got…… I wont spoil it if you don’t already know what I am talking about and want to know look it up on youtube.

    3. even mentioning fox news is stupid. fox news is and has proven time and time again they are extremely bias on issues of that type. and don’t have the qualifications to talk about video games. saying they have the knowledge and insight to report on such things is like saying a Mc Donald fry cook has the qualification to be a 5 star food critic.

    4. lastly the people getting extremely worked up about the gay relationships is the minority. they are a very vocal minority but the minority none the less. just like the people that complain about mmo dungeons being to hard on the fourms when most people doing them have no problem over coming the challenge. its the effect of negatives being easier to notice. like you getting robed and losing 5$ is more noticeable to most than finding 5$ on a sidewalk not that they both aren’t noticeable.

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