08 Jun 2021
Video game representation
We’ve come a long way since the days of LGBTQI+ characters in video games being represented in a negative light or having smaller cameo roles which played on the stereotypical traits portrayed in the media.
Things have since changed. Not only are LGBTQI+ characters playing major roles, having their own storylines and (drumroll please) we now are in a place where we have complete games created with refreshing messaging of accepting individual sexuality!
Unlike other forms of entertainment, video games are able to present a powerful message when highlighting ‘minority’ characters and their sexuality. Rather than being an observer in other media such as film, tv or radio, in video games, the user is able to become the character, making it easier to identify with the characters struggles, angst and celebrations. Not only does this aid in promoting tolerance, but it also promotes empathy towards the character and their individual needs. Highlighting that the day-to-day requirements are no different to any other.
The change in awareness has come a long way since the earlier video games when most characters were represented as predominately gay men. Recent years, alongside the rise in gaming communities, we’ve seen LGBTQI+ groups represented across the full spectrum of sexualities, which we only expect to continue rising!
As mentioned, one of the most powerful things that have come into play, is the ability to play the character and get to imagine themselves as a member of the LGBTQI+ community, regardless of their own sexual preferences. This awareness and accessibility will allow for younger players who may be experimenting or further understanding their own sexual identity to experience different experiences.
Genre specific inclusion
Since the earlier video games, the LGBTQI+ community has historically been represented in Action, Adventure, Fighting and Interactive novel games.
There has been an outstanding amount of representation of the community within interactive story-led games, which approximately contain 64% of LGBTQI+ characters. Games such as ‘Life is Strange’ and ‘Detroit Beyond’ fit into such category.
Whilst things have undoubtedly got better for representation in games, there is still a lot of work to be done in regard to opening the flood gates to include LGBTQI+ characters in other genres.
However, more work needs to be done. LGBTQ+ characters have appeared in no fighter, puzzle or strategy games so far this year, and made up a very small proportion in previous years too.
It’s clear that video games are becoming open to the broad spectrum of sexual identity in a much more sophisticated way, whilst allowing players to really delve into the characters and understanding the complexity of some of the struggles faced. The exposure and further understanding of the wider world on people’s preferences has allowed studios to provide a platform to include characters and storylines which highlight the matters perfectly.
We hope this is just the beginning of the inclusion of LGBTQI+ characters and storylines and cannot wait to see more!
If you want to be part of the future of video game creation, why not head over to our jobs page today.
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