A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise $125,000 to create a documentary about the "queer side of gaming," or the LGBTQ presence in the game industry and in the gaming community. The documentary is called "Gaming In Color: Queers and Gaymers of the Pixelated World" and hopes to expose the masses to another side of gaming culture - a side that is often hidden among the dudebros and gamer gurls of the community.
After announcing that it would launch a planet in Star Wars: The Old Republic where players could engage in same sex relationships with NPC's, the gaming community's reaction has been mixed. The new planet, Makeb, will be launched as part of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion pack to be released later this year.
But the LGBT community is not happy with the relationships being isolated on one planet or the fact that they will have to buy an expansion pack in order to use it. Some are calling this little wrinkle "pay-to-gay."
Update: An earlier version of this story erroneously named Chris Vizzini (who own Gaymer.org) as a party in a licensing negotiation related to GaymerCon. The rights holder in question, who Gamer X organizers do not wish to name, was not Vizzini. We apologize for the confusion and have rewritten the story below to reflect the facts.
In a six minute interview with Joystiq, Irrational Games boss and lead on BioShock Infinite Ken Levine talks about why it is important to not be afraid of using topics that some might consider controversial as vehicles for a story. In BioShock Infinite, Levine has weaved a narrative around a number of belief systems and ideals, and all of these things come together in the floating city of Columbia to create tension and drive the narrative.
A new Kickstarter campaign aims to fund the development of a gay/lesbian dating simulation called Coming Out on Top. A demo version of the game is already available here if you want to get a feel for what this game is all about. The creators of the game were looking to raise $5,000 to fully develop the game for Windows, Mac, and Linux. As of this writing they have raised $7,845 and have added a stretch goal of $8,500.
In a lengthy interview with GamesIndustry International, executives from Zynga and Electronic Arts talk about how publicly opposing the Defense of Marriage Act has impacted their businesses. Earlier this year Chick-Fil-A came out publicly to say that it supported traditional marriage between a man and a woman. This set off a firestorm of protests and boycotts for the restaurant chain.
With a little under two days of activity the Kickstarter campaign for GaymerCon has managed to raise $14,192 of its $25,000 goal from 246 backers, with 28 more days to go. As we mentioned yesterday, GaymerCon is a two-day event set to take place in August of 2013 in San Francisco.
In Episode 5 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, James Fudge talks to GaymerCon organizer Matt Conn about the first-of-its-kind LGBT-focused gaming event (find it at 12:36 mark - you can also find a transcript here). Meanwhile hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk way too long about E3, Nintendo, the Wii U and the Game Genie (the segment begins at 25:48 mark).
As part of Episode 5 of the Super Podcast Action Committee we sat down with Matt Conn, the founder and key organizer of GaymerCon – the first of its kind fan-focused gaming event that caterw to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community.
Electronic Arts announced that it will take part in Pride Parades in both Seattle and San Francisco to celebrate global diversity and the LGBT community during the month of June. They have also declared June 'LGBT Pride Month' at the company, though how they will celebrate it beyond joining in on the marches remains to be seen.
AllOut.org, an online advocacy group representing the LGBT community, issued a press release last week announcing an online petition with over 60,000 signatures supporting Electronic Arts' and BioWare's inclusion of same-sex relationships in its games. Last week EA responded to a flood of letters and emails from two family advocacy groups haranguing them for "exposing children" to same-sex relationships in games like Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic and accused them of giving in to pressure from LGBT advocacy groups.
According to a GamesIndustry International report, Electronic Arts has become the target of a letter writing campaign by family advocacy groups who are upset with same-sex relationships in several of its games including Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
In a Quarter to Three article called "BioWare plays the gay card," Tom Chick explains why having same sex relationships in games like Mass Effect 3 is the right thing to do in this day and age. He also takes a few shots at the clumsy relationship mechanics and writing in the game. First he offers some examples of how male Commander Shepherd doesn't flinch when a crew member on the Normandy talks about his husband.
Destructoid's Jim Sterling detailed last week what he calls "a Mass Effect 3 gay love story" on Destructoid. This week as part of his Jimquisition show on The Escapist, he offers a sultry reading to make the whole story come alive. This also marks the first time that the show has been age-gated. Does that mean it is too saucy to be posted without a warning? I doubt it. Here's what Jim had to say about it on Destructoid:
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has taken Star Wars: The Old Republic to task for allowing gay relationships in the game. Anyone who isn't in a special interest group like Family Research Council and has paid attention to the way BioWare does things, knows that this is nothing new, of course. In one of his recent daily radio broadcast Perkins attacked the option for same-sex relationships, saying "in a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!"
Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime has apologized for the video clip that ran during the final performance at BlizzCon. That video clip featured comments from George Fisher of Cannibal Corpse talking about the game, and using a number of homophobic slurs. He also performed at BlizzCon as part of the Blizzard rock group Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. Morhaime, who is also a member of that group, threw himself on his sword in a letter to GayGamer.
The closing performance at BlizzCon 2011 by Level 90 Epic Tauren Chieftain has drawn strong criticism from gay and lesbian advocacy group GLAAD. The performance featured an opening video from guest singer George 'Corpseater' Fisher of the metal band Cannibal Corpse. In the video he talks about how much he hates Alliance using strong anti-gay language that we can't repeat here. While most of the foul language was censored in the video, those who saw it knew exactly what he was saying.
New research efforts at MIT explore how games handle gay, bisexual and transgender characters and storylines... badly. Inspired by the lack of serious LGBT characters in mainstream video games, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab has developed a game called “A Closed World,” which hopes to answer straightforward questions such as "How can video games present LGBT content and what are the challenges that a development team faces when trying to include content about someone different from the perceived norm?"
One gay gamer has put together an online petition asking BioWare to fire Dragon Age 2 lead writer David Gaider. The same guy that vehemently defended BioWare's decision to include same sex encounters in its games has become the target of gamers who are upset with the portrayal of one gay character in the game. The unnamed complainant calls it a disrespectful stereotype of homosexuals.
An online petition, found here, lays out the case against Gaider:
Dragon Age senior writer David Gaider and author of the prequel novels, defended BioWare's decision to include same-sex romances in its fantasy RPG. Posting in the BioWare forums, Gaider said that romances are optional content, so it did not make sense for players to rail against content they would not see unless they actively pursued it. In other words, unless you are seeking a gay relationship, you will not see it in the game.
"I would hope that some folks could be sensitive enough to be happy for those players [pursuing same-sex romance]," added Gaider. "..at the very least out of the selfish notion that they may one day end up in the minority of some content issue and receive the same consideration if nothing else."
You can read Gaider's comments here.
While watching a GiantBomb Video of some upcoming features in S2games's Heroes of Newerth version 2.0, Gay-Nerds.com heard something it found to be a bit insensitive. An upcoming announcer pack adds a number of new announcer voices that say certain things when you have success in the game. One such pack, called "flamboyant," features an effeminate male voice saying things like "cherry popper" and "it's a three-way."
When Gay-Nerds.com contacted S2 Games, they said the following:
June is Gay Pride Month in the U.S. and the LGBT community in World of Warcraft marked the event with a large-scale celebration on the Proudmoore server.
GayGamer reports that this year's event was the fifth such gathering:
There were a variety of activities including Pre-Parade Festivities, March, Meetup with Alliance, Nude Duel Championship final round, March to Ratchet, Dance Boat Party to Booty Bay, Azeroth's Next Top Model Competition, Crafting Faire and Post-Parade Dance Party in the Bay.
It's great to see events like this happening in WOW and City of Heroes.
Jamie Durrant, a gay graphics designer whose credits include AAA titles such as Fable, Black & White and The Movies, has settled a harassment complaint against Microsoft.
As GamePolitics recently reported, Durrant, formerly of Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios, claimed that Xbox coworkers targeted him with abusive comments and notes.
Pink News cites a Microsoft statement on the settlement:
We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution to this matter with Mr. Durrant. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but we can confirm that Mr. Durrant will not continue his employment at Lionhead as part of the agreement.
Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to diversity. We attract, recruit and respect diverse talent and we have included sexual orientation in our anti-discrimination policies for 20 years.
Our efforts have been recognised by a wide range of groups, including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in its 2009 Corporate Equality Index. We do not tolerate breaches of our code of business conduct and take any complaints extremely seriously.
Game publisher Electronic Arts, Xbox maker Microsoft and leading retailer GameStop are among 259 corporations that have been awarded perfect scores for their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.
The 2009 Corporate Equality Index shows that corporate America understands that a diverse workforce is critical to remaining successful and competitive. In the absence of a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, it is up to employers to take the lead and implement policies that ensure all their employees are protected.
Game-related companies which also received perfect scores include retailers Best Buy and Target; PC manufacturers Dell and HP; chip maker Intel; online auction site Ebay; and search companies Google and Yahoo. Also on the list, Apple, increasingly seeming like an up-and-coming game biz player.
GP: We've been beating on EA and Microsoft of late over a couple of (well-deserved) issues, but must give credit where it is due. Well done!