Now straight women, gay women, and gay men (and those inbetween), I challenge you to do the same. Write about what you aren’t. Draw comparisons and withhold conclusions. Find out what the “other side” is like. It’s easy to be in a perceived minority and think of yourself as better than the other guy, but I’ve often found the same stereotyping exists.
What does this have to do with gaming? A lot. Sexual stereotypes are something we frequently stumble over in games. As much as I want to think of Duke Nukem Forever as simple parody, recent revelations about its gameplay have really begun to worry me. It’s emerging less as a comedy, and more as the “straight male gamer” escapist fantasy. One which has no respect for women, or anyone else for that matter. Only a handful of games have offered us genuine insights into character sexuality (Persona 4 comes to mind), and an even smaller handful has made those insights meaningful through gameplay. No, The Sims doesn’t count.
Sure, the “straight male gamer” is still the largest demographic for non-casual gaming, but that shouldn’t dictate what a game can and cannot say. Further, it shouldn’t dictate who the game is for. The developer is under no obligation to create content that only caters to a singular demographic, especially when said demographic’s most vocal section is rooted in an extremely narrow-minded opinion.
And heck, if you do the above exercises out of curiosity, I’d like to hear about your results. It’s always encouraging to see fellow gamers who’re willing to think outside the box. We need more of you.