Shadow Complex Boycott a Non-Starter?

August 26, 2009 -

Calls to boycott Xbox Live Arcade offering Shadow Complex because it is based on the works of anti-gay rights author Orson Scott Card may be falling on deaf ears, reports gamezine.co.uk.

Card is part of the National Organisation for Marriage: founded in 2007 to act as an organised opposion against same-sex marriage. Card has personally campaigned against gay marriage, which he believes would mark an end to democracy. He further argues that homosexuality is a dysfunction...

Whatever the case, it looks like the boycott didn't work. Following rave reviews, Shadow Complex has romped to the top of the most played Xbox LIVE Arcade titles, even entering the top ten of all Xbox 360 games played online.

90 comments

Gamers Propose Shadow Complex Boycott Over Orson Scott Card's Involvement

August 25, 2009 -

Shadow Complex, an adventure game in the vein of Castlevania or Super Metroid, became available for sale last week on Xbox Live Arcade. While the game has garnered impressive reviews, some are upset by the fact that its plot has been derived from the fiction of Orson Scott Card, a known campaigner against gay rights.  Gamers upset by this news are suggesting a boycott to ensure their dollars don’t end up funding Card's political agenda.

In an opinion piece for Gamasutra, Christian Nutt sees the idea of boycotting a game based on the political views of one of the creative influences as a sign that video games are growing up:

When Shadow Complex was announced, I personally was torn. I'd already long since made the conscious decision to not support Orson Scott Card directly with my money...

 

What bothers me is people who suggest that it's a non-issue because the topic of discussion is a game... "Remember back when we were kids and we just enjoyed games?" asks Wizman23.

Yes, I do. But we are not kids anymore... I was 32 on the day [Shadow Complex] became available for download on Xbox Live... I can't approach things the way I did as a child. That's not me being self-righteous; I mean that I literally cannot do this...

 

And that's why it's acceptable to talk about this... If we can have meaningful political discussion in other media, we can have it in games.

From all accounts, Shadow Complex looks like a very fun game.  For those who are put off by Card’s involvement, Nutt points to a suggestion offered up at GayGamer: buy the game and make a donation to a gay-positive charity to offset any profit Card may see from the sale.
 
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Senior Correspondent Andrew Eisen...

135 comments

Gamer Imagery Used in Campaign to Discourage "Gay" as an Insult

August 12, 2009 -

The sorry history of homophobia in gaming is pretty well documented, so it's probably not a coincidence that a campaign to discourage anti-gay remarks includes a gaming piece among its poster ads.

ThinkB4YouSPeak, which hopes to raise awareness about anti-gay bias in America's schools by reducing the use of homophobic language, explains its mission at its website:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard; these slurs are often unintentional and a common part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.

The poster at left substitutes the commonly heard "That's so gay" with "That's so gamer guy who has more video games than friends." Stereotypical? Of course. But that would seem to be the point. Other posters include jock and cheerleader themes.

289 comments

Old Gay Bashing Game Resurfaces, Sparks Eastern Euro Controversy

July 20, 2009 -

A Flash game in which players must shoot naked men in order to avoid being sexually assaulted has sparked controversy in Eastern Europe.

As reported by The Observers, Watch Out Behind You, Hunter! was originally released in 2002 on the French Uzinagaz portal, but subsequently banned following protests by gay rights advocates. More recently, the game has surfaced on a site hosted in Georgia.

Gay Armenia writes:

This is totally disgusting. The website has to be shut down unless they take this game out of their server... I wonder, where are the voices of those religious-minded people in Tbilisi, Georgia, who swear in the name of Georgian patriarch and constantly cite Bible to ‘justify’ their homophobia and hatred. Is this their (un-)‘orthodox’ way of bringing up children by creating an image of enemy (=gays) and teaching how to deal with it (=kill them)?

Jean Christophe Calvet, who operates Uzinagaz, defended the game:

We launched this game [in 2002] and it worked very well. It was only a few years after it came out that a gay rights association took legal action against us. So we withdrew the game. It's no longer available on French sites, but it's impossible to wipe it from all foreign sites too.

I have to say that at the beginning, we really didn't understand why the association was attacking us. The guy who came up with the game... wanted to mock hunters and red-necks, not gay men.

Our games are not politically correct. They're aimed at teenagers (12-18) and it's true that they're of a juvenile humour. I realise now that this one in particularly could be found shocking, but I believe that you should be able to make this kind of joke in the name of freedom of speech...

Via: GameCulture

30 comments

EA to Host Panel on Homophobia in Gaming

July 15, 2009 -

Anyone who games online knows that negative comments about gay people are all too common. Compounding the problem, even game companies who treat their GLBT employees well seem to be wrestling with the notion of how deal with the open expression of sexual orientation in games.

The good news is that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) plans to hold a panel discussion in homophobia in videogame culture on Saturday. EA will host the event, which is open to the public, at its Redwood HQ. Other noteworthy organizations which will participate are Microsoft, Second Life publisher Linden Labs, GayGamer.net and the ESA.

Shacknews reports on the agenda:

Topics will include "how to provide safe spaces for LGBT people online, how to ensure the best policies are in place to prevent virtual attacks against LGBT people and how to educate the users of online communities about the effects of homophobia.

The GLAAD website reports that the panel will be composed of:

  • Flynn DeMarco (Alias: Fruite Brute), Founder of GayGamer.net
  • Dan Hewitt, Senior Director of Communications & Industry Affairs for the ESA
  • Caryl Shaw, Senior Producer in the Maxis Studio
  • Cyn Skyberg, VP of Customer Relations at Linden Lab
  • Stephen Toulouse (Gamertag: stepto), Program Manager for Policy and Enforcement on Microsoft's XBox LIVE
  • Moderator: Justin Cole, Director of Digital & Online Media, GLAAD
134 comments

Radio Alert: Game-Bashing Eagle Forum Schedules Game-Bashing July 4th Guest

July 3, 2009 -

Last week, GamePolitics broke the news that the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum had filed a "friend of the court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Calfornia's bid to have its 2005 violent video game law reviewed by the justices.

The rambling brief sought to link video games with everything from school shootings to poor grades to sudden death.

The group, founded by conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, wades back into gamer space tomorrow when video game critic Arthur Ally appears as a guest on Eagle Forum Live, a radio show hosted by Schlafly.

Ally bills himself as a morally-responsible fund manager. In December his Timothy Plan investment fund issued a list of 30 "most offensive" video games, including the likes of World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Halo 3.

Ally also rather famously criticized Army of Two for "somewhat homo-erotic undertones between the two main characters."

Ironically, the conversation between this pair of would-be censors airs at 11:00 a.m. Central Time on Independence Day.

60 comments

Ars Technica Examines Industry's Struggle to Deal with Gay & Lesbian Gamers

May 28, 2009 -

The debate over gay marriage is raging in California and elsewhere, but the video game industry has its own gay rights issues to address. From Xbox Live's banning of certain gamertags to Bioware's recent Star Wars: The Old Republic forum flap, the game biz has handled its relations with its gay and lesbian customers ham-handedly at times.

Over at Ars Technica, Ben Kuchera surveys the situation and talks with, among others, Flynn DeMarco (left), editor of GayGamer:

Being able to identify as gay or lesbian in an online gaming perspective has its positives and negatives. The negatives being obvious in that they face endless harassment. The positives are that maybe you can connect and play with someone else without having to listen to a litany of gay jokes and 'fag' insults...


...repressing GLBT visibility in forums, even with good intentions, only makes it safer and more acceptable to use hate speech. Visibility is key to equality...

 

I definitely feel that the LGBT issues are part of the larger issue of gaming's immature treatment of sex...

ESRB spokesman Eliot Mizrachi offered the perspective of the video game industry's content rating organization:

We've encountered the issue of same-sex content before—the boy-boy kiss in Bully being one example...

 

While there aren't any content descriptors that specifically identify same-sex content, our raters are trained to consider these types of elements within the context of the overall game, and to weigh those factors, among others...

32 comments

BioWare Locks Out Discussions of Gay Characters on SWTOR Forum

April 28, 2009 -

The video game industry continues to struggle with how it deals with issues surrounding the open discussion of homosexuality in its online venues.

In the latest flap, Eurogamer reports that a forum mod on BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic banned users from discussing potential gay character relationships in the upcoming game:

The threads have since been locked, and the words "homosexual", "lesbian" and "gay" are censored on the forum.

Even discussions of the ban are being locked. At the bottom of the thread "GLBT discrimination in forums?", community manager... wrote, "As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. Thread closed."

It appears, however, that a thread entitled GLBT Discrimination in Forums? has been re-opened. A user named Elikal (forum avatar at left) writes:

I am grateful Bioware has opened the thread again, and allowed the words gay and lesbian now. Though I can't hide that I am quite disappointed. Bioware games had always been about complex ethical questions, about vast, diverse realities, and as such I had never expect Bioware of all companies to be so... narrow in this question. I was a Bioware fan so long... it was really a shock to see the thread closed.

Thanks to all the supporters, and even those who in civilized words disagreed, since debating things is what makes a modern society work.

And, as GayGamer points out, there has been at least one gay character in the Star Wars gaming universe. That would be Juhani of Knights of the Old Republic:

If you choose to kill [Juhani], a female Jedi at the temple will lambaste you for murdering her beloved one—stating that she and Juhani spent many nights under the stars together. Later on Korriban, that female Jedi will confront you and attempt to murder you for the love of Juhani. If you choose to take the other approach and save Juhani... Later on, if your main character is female and you have opened up all coversation lines with Juhani through the game, Juhani will confes her love for your character...

57 comments

Xbox Live in Discussions with Gay Rights Activists

April 14, 2009 -

Xbox Live has had a rocky relationship with its gay and lesbian users in recent times, but there are signs that things may be improving.

Gay Gamer reports that Stephen Toulouse, who polices the XBL community, recently met with members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation:

I can't talk about what we discussed specifically except to say that we provided them with a lot of information about what we do today, why we do what we do and how we do it. And then we asked them the question, 'How can we do this better?' And we have some ideas. Here are some ideas. That dialog was super, super helpful. I think it was a great engagement. Justin and Jeffrey who came out from GLAAD really appreciated the effort that we're putting into it - and had great ideas, like they brought up some stuff we hadn't thought of.

We'll plan to say something about [GLAAD and Xbox LIVE policy] in the future.

Via: Kotaku

29 comments

Xbox 360 Graphics Designer Sues MS Over Alleged Homophobia

March 24, 2009 -

U.K. newspaper Telegraph reports that a veteran graphics designer employed by the Xbox side of Microsoft's house has sued the company for £45,000.

Jamie Durrant, 38, claims in the suit that he was harassed for an extended period by coworkers who indulged in name calling and nasty notes. Durrant worked with Lionhead for more than a decade until MS acquired the Peter Molyneux studio in 2006. His design credits include AAA titles Fable, Black & White and The Movies.

The Telegraph also notes that Xbox has seemingly had difficulty coming to grips with Xbox Live users who self-identify as gay.

Of his situation, Durrant told the newspaper:

I have never hidden my sexuality from the office and I felt this could be targeted at myself. This was not the first time there was homophobic content in the office. Previously, I had tried to deal with it myself. This time, I did not feel that I could.

I was very surprised that Microsoft did not have any policies relating to this sexual orientation harassment... I feel like they're making out that I'm the one with the problem and not the homophobic aspects of the company.

Durrant's situation notwithstanding, Microsoft earned a perfect score from U.S.-based gays rights group the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in 2008.

23 comments

MMORPG Will Offer Same-Sex Marriage Option

March 20, 2009 -

Aeria Entertainment has announced that it will allow same-sex avatars to wed in its Dream of Mirror Online game.

The MMORPG is free to play. Aeria's revenues are based on micro-transactions for in-game items, including virtual wedding rings.

According to Massively, which tracks all things MMO-ish:

The same-sex aspect of this marriage system is simply one of the many [new] features, but it hasn't been added as just an afterthought. It's been a popular topic of discussion among DOMO players since the game's launch in Fall of 2007.

This marriage system allows couples to embark on a series of challenging quests where they can plan their in-game wedding, complete with dream locale, wedding outfit and even a perfect set of rings. Once married, the couple will be granted unique features which include the ability to summon their significant other to their location, as well as special healing abilities during battle.

15 comments

Conservative Christian Site Slams Same-Sex Couple Option in Game of Life

March 13, 2009 -

The Christian conservative website WorldNetDaily has got its undies in a twist over an option that permits same-sex couples in Hasbro's The Game of Life.

The downloadable PC title is an update of the classic board game of the same name. WND writes:

The online version of a popular board game from many Americans' childhood includes an option for players to choose homosexual marriage and child-rearing as a way of life... even children can download and play a free trial version of The Game of Life, the first game ever created by Mr. Milton Bradley in 1860.

The player's first option in the online version is to choose a persona based on pictures that clearly depict men and women. Shortly thereafter, the game invites players to choose a spouse, regardless of the potential spouse's sex...

But, as WND notes, the modern version of the board game, created in 1960, allowed for gay unions as well:

The board game did not prevent players in any way from placing two pink or two blue pegs in the front seat [of the playing piece representing the family car], thus depicting a homosexual couple.

GP: Got this tip from none other than Jack Thompson during the course of seeking comment on last night's passage of the Utah video game bill.

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MaskedPixelantehttp://i5.minus.com/iN5o9iu1ON2NG.jpg "It cursed my gear? WHY WOULD IT DO THAT?! THIS GAME IS BUGGED!"04/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
 

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