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Thread: LGBT Issues and Vidja Games

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byronic Man View Post
    Erica is frequently the butt of the joke among her mates and is outright dismissed as a woman on the basis of her birth sex. They're never called out for their treatment of her, as it is. Also "lol Toby sleeps with her but she's a man lol."
    To be fair, Vincent, Johnny and Orlando grew up with her since childhood. That's why they see her as Eric first. It takes an outsider like Toby, who doesn't have that knowledge, to see her as Erica. You also have to remember that Eric vanished for years and came back recently as Erica. That's a huge shock to the system for a bunch of guys on the road to settling down.

    As for being the butt of the joke - it's actually quite tame to the shit Vincent gets from Johnny and Orlando. They don't bully her, nor is joke on Erica when she sleeps with Toby. You actually laugh at Toby's predicament because everyone throws hints his way, but he's too naive to get what they're talking about. Not once do they say, "HA! HA! YOU FUCKED OUR FRIEND WHO USED TO BE A GUY!" In fact, when it happens, they avoid the subject.

    And honestly, it would be an awkward subject for them to discuss because of the history involved. At the end of the day, she's confident in her own skin - unlike her schoolfriends. That's sort of the point.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    To be fair, Vincent, Johnny and Orlando grew up with her since childhood. That's why they see her as Eric first. It takes an outsider like Toby, who doesn't have that knowledge, to see her as Erica. You also have to remember that Eric vanished for years and came back recently as Erica. That's a huge shock to the system for a bunch of guys on the road to settling down.

    As for being the butt of the joke - it's actually quite tame to the shit Vincent gets from Johnny and Orlando. They don't bully her, nor is joke on Erica when she sleeps with Toby. You actually laugh at Toby's predicament because everyone throws hints his way, but he's too naive to get what they're talking about. Not once do they say, "HA! HA! YOU FUCKED OUR FRIEND WHO USED TO BE A GUY!" In fact, when it happens, they avoid the subject.

    And honestly, it would be an awkward subject for them to discuss because of the history involved. At the end of the day, she's confident in her own skin - unlike her schoolfriends. That's sort of the point.
    The fact that Toby's getting with Erica is framed as a predicament is itself a problem. The fact that it's played for laughs is another. Whether it was funny is another matter - personally, I didn't think so.

    With regards to the first paragraph, be that as may it still constitutes transphobia, just as if Orlando were to come out prior to the game and the characters would give him hassle over his orientation, feel themselves uncomfortable over it, or dismiss him as not counting on the basis of their outdated familiarity, that would constitute homophobia.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinobi13 View Post
    As a straight man, I see no LGBT issues.
    Now if they decided to trash heterosexuals...Then I still would see no issue. It's a fucking video game.
    Yes, they are video games, a medium which (for the most part) strives to be taken seriously as a way to convey a narrative. That means it's pretty important how they deal with, ya know, actual things? It's easy to say, "I wouldn't care if they bashed straight cisgendered people," because they're not the ones being marginalized on a daily basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    To be fair, Vincent, Johnny and Orlando grew up with her since childhood. That's why they see her as Eric first. It takes an outsider like Toby, who doesn't have that knowledge, to see her as Erica.
    Not really. If you can't look past your history with your friend and see them for who they are, you're not a very good friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    As for being the butt of the joke - it's actually quite tame to the shit Vincent gets from Johnny and Orlando. They don't bully her, nor is joke on Erica when she sleeps with Toby. You actually laugh at Toby's predicament because everyone throws hints his way, but he's too naive to get what they're talking about. Not once do they say, "HA! HA! YOU FUCKED OUR FRIEND WHO USED TO BE A GUY!" In fact, when it happens, they avoid the subject.
    Okay... It seems like this character is a lot more problematic than I thought. The main plot point of this character is her having sex with someone. She's practically there to ask the player "OH MY GOD! What would you do if you fucked a trannie?!" That's the kind of shock value bullshit that trans* people always get thrown on them by media.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Byronic Man View Post
    The fact that Toby's getting with Erica is framed as a predicament is itself a problem. The fact that it's played for laughs is another. Whether it was funny is another matter - personally, I didn't think so.

    With regards to the first paragraph, be that as may it still constitutes transphobia, just as if Orlando were to come out prior to the game and the characters would give him hassle over his orientation, feel themselves uncomfortable over it, or dismiss him as not counting on the basis of their outdated familiarity, that would constitute homophobia.
    You. I like you. Let's be friends.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Analoge View Post
    Not really. If you can't look past your history with your friend and see them for who they are, you're not a very good friend.
    Well, there's acceptance and then there's the period of adjustment. It's not a cut and dry situation when someone comes out. And throughout the game, it's clear that Erica has long since drifted from the group. They don't shun Erica, at all. Nor do they go to the bar to bash her.

    Fundamentally, they treat her as someone they know. Nothing more, nothing less. Much of the game deals with these people drifting apart in many different ways.

    And if we take that, and theorise a little, there's obviously some hint of them wondering if they really knew Eric in the first place. But that's not ever stated in the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Analoge View Post
    Okay... It seems like this character is a lot more problematic than I thought. The main plot point of this character is her having sex with someone. She's practically there to ask the player "OH MY GOD! What would you do if you fucked a trannie?!" That's the kind of shock value bullshit that trans* people always get thrown on them by media.
    No, that's not her main plot point, at all.

    She's another character representing the duality that runs through the game, and as it progresses, she's also affected by the nightmares. If I remember, she doesn't end up being one of the sheep, because ultimately, and quite rightly, she sees herself as a woman. It's part of why the Toby/Erica one night stand happens. She's completely comfortable with being a woman and taking his virginity. But that is NOT the major arc of her character. She's very much a mirror to what's going on.

    There's also a sub-plot about rumors, where she's trying to figure out the origins of each bar story, only to find that she started the most important one. But that's not really relevant here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byronic Man View Post
    The fact that Toby's getting with Erica is framed as a predicament is itself a problem. The fact that it's played for laughs is another. Whether it was funny is another matter - personally, I didn't think so.
    Toby was thinking with his dick and desperate to lose his virginity. It's your basic Porky's gag. She could have been a chick with herpes and the punchline would have been the same. In the end, his ideal woman is not exactly his ideal woman - the perfect first that we all hope for, and usually, don't end up having.

  5. #25
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    That's really interesting. I'm definitely going to replay Catherine. I played it in it's entirety at a friend's house over the course of a day, so I obviously missed some important stuff.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    Toby was thinking with his dick and desperate to lose his virginity. It's your basic Porky's gag. She could have been a chick with herpes and the punchline would have been the same. In the end, his ideal woman is not exactly his ideal woman - the perfect first that we all hope for, and usually, don't end up having.
    Again, you've hit the nail on the head without realising it. The game phrases the punchline as if being trans is a Bad Thing, which is bad of the game. The fact that the subplot between Toby and Erica is designed with that punchline as its endpoint reinforces this - it's not as if Toby is chastised or corrected for his reaction.

    Also, I may be misremembering but isn't Erica given out to for being dishonest with Toby? Not positive on that one.

  7. #27
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    Yeah, but if she was a chick with herpes, then she wouldn't have much of symbolic role outside the one night stand, so whatchyagonnado, huh?

    Look, the focus is ultimately on Toby's arrogance of youth, and how it stares the others in the face, mistakes and regrets all in tow. It's another reason why they make him their punching bag. The game never says banging a tranny is bad, nor does it even draw attention to it, and if it happens, that's not the intention. That really is all theory on our part. I know we both believe that Atlus didn't go that in-depth!

    I believe the guys say something about her one night stand, because it ties in with the truth/lies aspect, but she doesn't break down and apologise (pretty sure she calls them out for being no different). She has nothing to apologise for, anyway. Which is healthy because I'd rather have my video game characters talk like normal human beings than have a stilted conversation that panders to the PC brigade.

  8. #28
    I never mentioned anything about one night stands... I don't see what one night stands have to do with the pc brigade, either, unless you're suggesting one night stands are bad.

    This business that conversations need to be offensive or problematic in order to be believable is a premise I reject. It would have been very easy for Atlus to not be transphobic without detracting from the game in any way. (It's also problematic if you're identifying transphobic behaviour as normal and therefor acceptable so as to deny it's transphobic.) Appealing to intent doesn't fly, btw, as what something was intended to be and what something is are usually two different things.

    Going back to the herpes analogy - great, Erica's treatment is thematic. It's also transphobic. The point still stands.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    tranny


    Don't say that word, please.

    Anyway, I really wish I'd caught all of this the first playthrough. I feel like I can't contribute to this conversation.

  10. #30
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    I really don't get why they have to limit same sex /emotes to a single planet. Seems like constructing a LGBT ghetto planet for this purpose is pretty much the worst way they could go while trying to be inclusive.

    Since I haven't played the game, I'm a little confused. Can you currently have relationships with opposite-sex NPC companions? Why is it so difficult to allow the same thing no matter which gender the characters are? Is there specific dialog they'd have to re-record, or what?

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byronic Man View Post
    Going back to the herpes analogy - great, Erica's treatment is thematic. It's also transphobic. The point still stands.
    So if a guy takes cock and doesn't like it, that's immediately homophobic, huh? That is such a broad generalisation, man. That's not how the world works outside the ideal textbook answer.

    You know, there was a guy in school who got blown by some girl, and she swapped over (all under the duvets) and let her gay guy finish him off. So the guy getting blown and he looks down and sees what's happening, and let him finish. That story got around and we all had a good laugh about it, but doesn't necessarily mean every boy and girl in class was homophobic.

    There really is nothing more to that situation, so I'm finding it bizzare that you're suddenly the only person in the world calling Atlus out for being sexually phobic. We're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, and leave it as that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Analoge View Post
    Don't say that word, please.
    My apologies. It was late and I was rushing out that answer. Didn't need the cheeky gif, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Mxy Yost View Post
    I really don't get why they have to limit same sex /emotes to a single planet. Seems like constructing a LGBT ghetto planet for this purpose is pretty much the worst way they could go while trying to be inclusive.
    I think, in their head, they were going with that community idea, much like where I live, where gay people can congregate at venues like art centres and socialise in a safe environment. I remember talking about this knitting event with the woman who ran it and we got talking about the real reasons behind its creation, and I thought, that's actually quite cool - in that you don't have to go to a gay bar and have to drink in order to have a good time outside and feel safe.

    I'm pretty sure that's what they had going in their heads and on paper, but when you see it in all it's glory, it's the most misguided thing a developer has ever come up with. It's the segregation part that gets me.

    I think BioWare gave too much power to their consumers over the years, and now they've making odd concessions ever since. "Making" someone gay was one such odd thing for me. Kaidan Alenko was clearly straight in the original Mass Effect, it's written into his backstory, then all of a sudden he's gay in the third game - because it was demanded. I always found that unnatural (bad use of a word, but that's how it is).

    Ever since then, they're obligated to chase the pink pound. That's fine, but I dunno, it really jars with Star Wars for me. That was black/white fantasy. There's no LGBT characters, there's no racism, etc. It's family (I don't want to say "wholesome") entertainment about good and bad. It's very weird to put complex adult realities into Lucas' world. I'm not saying they shouldn't, but it feels rather strained.
    Last edited by Stevil; 01-15-2013 at 06:13 AM.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    I think BioWare gave too much power to their consumers over the years, and now they've making odd concessions ever since. "Making" someone gay was one such odd thing for me. Kaidan Alenko was clearly straight in the original Mass Effect, it's written into his backstory, then all of a sudden he's gay in the third game - because it was demanded. I always found that unnatural (bad use of a word, but that's how it is).
    Oh man, what really makes that hilarious is how the change comes about after he gets his ass beat by ED-E. My boy took a hard shot to the head and came back from it making lovey-dovey eyes at Shane Shepard. It was incredibly amusing on one hand and incredibly dismaying on the other. Within the context of that particular playthrough, it was the exact moment when I realized just how fucked humanity really was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Analoge View Post
    Anyway, I really wish I'd caught all of this the first playthrough. I feel like I can't contribute to this conversation.
    I felt the same way until the Kaiden thing came up. Ha!

  13. #33
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    Ha! You know, I never saw it that way. Now you've reminded me of that documentary about the engaged rugby player that had a stroke, woke from a coma, and ended up becoming a gay hairdresser.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ru...ient=firefox-a

    Interesting stuff, actually.

  14. #34
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    Pre-emptive apologies if I say something offensive. As a straight, [half]white male, I'm still relatively ignorant about a lot of this stuff.

    My instinct is that it's difficult-to-impossible to make a game with LGBT content that makes the LGBT community happy. That's not unique to the LGBT community of course, but just human nature in general. Look at Mass Effect, where homosexual romances are not only options, but comprise relatively major plot points. People complain that the gay characters exist as that and nothing else. Look at Borderlands 2, where it's briefly mentioned that some characters are gay but it doesn't make a big deal about it. People complain that it's just shoehorned in by the developers in order to satisfy some nonexistent gay character quota.

    I don't doubt that the intent behind both of those efforts is pure. But it's taken us to a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" territory, where nobody really knows how to handle their gay characters, because regardless of how they do it, they get flack for it.

    I don't know the solution. I don't know that there is a solution.

  15. #35
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    I think what it comes down to is that Bioware simply tries too hard to make everyone happy. It's as though they've learned nothing from their previous debacles. You can't force good writing. You just have to let it come naturally.

    Of course that's speaking in regards to this gay planet of theirs lol. As far as LGBT issues in general, yeah Dex, those are truly good points. I can understand how people in their position would become overly defensive. It happens.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
    So if a guy takes cock and doesn't like it, that's immediately homophobic, huh? That is such a broad generalisation, man. That's not how the world works outside the ideal textbook answer.

    You know, there was a guy in school who got blown by some girl, and she swapped over (all under the duvets) and let her gay guy finish him off. So the guy getting blown and he looks down and sees what's happening, and let him finish. That story got around and we all had a good laugh about it, but doesn't necessarily mean every boy and girl in class was homophobic.

    There really is nothing more to that situation, so I'm finding it bizzare that you're suddenly the only person in the world calling Atlus out for being sexually phobic. We're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, and leave it as that.



    My apologies. It was late and I was rushing out that answer. Didn't need the cheeky gif, though.
    As far as I know Erica is post-op, Toby's remarks on sex with her was "it was a bit off" not that she had a dick - it's a world of difference between a heterosexual guy stumbling into (or BEING DEVIOUSLY TRICKED if you prefer to view it that way) a homosexual encounter.

    Judging by your careless use of "tranny" to describe trans people and your inability to see the very obvious problems with the treatment of Erica, I'm guessing you don't now very much about this subject matter. Incidentally, there were a ton of people not long back talking about this exact subject - remember Boycott Atlus? It's not just me, unless you've blinkers on. The fact that you compared Erica being trans to Erica having herpes shows that you're within a hair's breath of getting it without having actually reconciled the knowledge that Atlus is using trans to mean Bad Thing, even though you're saying it yourself.

    I'd recommend you look up Boycott Atlus for another example of a character's being trans as the butt of a joke.

    And no, before anyone jumps to conclusions I'm not saying everyone should boycott atlus, just that we shouldn't let our enjoyment of a game or fandom of a company prevent us from seeing them as less than perfect when warranted. This isn't Console Wars.

  17. #37
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    I don't think one careless use of slang means I don't entirely understand or I'm less tolerant of a subject.

    Again, broad strokes.

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter345 View Post
    Pre-emptive apologies if I say something offensive. As a straight, [half]white male, I'm still relatively ignorant about a lot of this stuff.

    My instinct is that it's difficult-to-impossible to make a game with LGBT content that makes the LGBT community happy. That's not unique to the LGBT community of course, but just human nature in general. Look at Mass Effect, where homosexual romances are not only options, but comprise relatively major plot points. People complain that the gay characters exist as that and nothing else. Look at Borderlands 2, where it's briefly mentioned that some characters are gay but it doesn't make a big deal about it. People complain that it's just shoehorned in by the developers in order to satisfy some nonexistent gay character quota.

    I don't doubt that the intent behind both of those efforts is pure. But it's taken us to a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" territory, where nobody really knows how to handle their gay characters, because regardless of how they do it, they get flack for it.

    I don't know the solution. I don't know that there is a solution.
    I'd honestly not heard about people complaining about the gay characters in BL2. You wouldn't have a link handy by any chance?

    As for a solution, I think the best bet would be to just make a ton more LGBT etc characters so that there's such a healthy spread that not every instance feels like a novelty. Framing it as "trying to please an entire community" is a problem of perspective - not every sports fan likes every sports game, for instance, but nobody would call that a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for devs. We shouldn't view LGBT portrayals as holistic representations, either.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byronic Man View Post
    As for a solution, I think the best bet would be to just make a ton more LGBT etc characters so that there's such a healthy spread that not every instance feels like a novelty. Framing it as "trying to please an entire community" is a problem of perspective - not every sports fan likes every sports game, for instance, but nobody would call that a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for devs. We shouldn't view LGBT portrayals as holistic representations, either.
    Not to dumb the conversation down but I'm confused by your terminology here. Wouldn't you want LGBT representations to be holistic (or rather, holistically included), seeing as how they are indeed part of a greater whole? I think I'm probably misreading this part.
    Last edited by Sir Legendhead; 01-15-2013 at 09:32 AM. Reason: added full paragraph for context

  20. #40
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    It's not really a developer's obligation to include gay characters in everything, though. I don't see the need to flood the industry with characters centred around sexual orientation. If that was the case, then they're just characters defined by being gay, than you know, normal human beings.

    Like that time I lived with a gay couple for a year, where...shockingly...they were more than just two men in a relationship. Wow, isn't that amazing? Of course, I wouldn't know such things because I once wrote the word "tranny" at 3am.

    Joking aside, when we do have predominently gay characters in a game, we have moments like in Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, where a minor gay character suddenly gets up on a soapbox and starts pendantically talking down to the audience about gay characters in the media. Probably one of the most awkward moments I've ever had in a video game.

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