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There is a certain Mad Libs quality to evangelical concerns about pop culture.  My entire conscious life, spanning the 80s to now with only the occasional brownout during the college years, there has always been a demon hiding behind something.

And never behind what you'd expect, such as poverty, prejudice, illiteracy, malnutrition, yadda yadda yadda.  No, demons, it turns out, are a bit craftier than that.

For quite a while they hid in witches and warlocks.  They moved on to alcohol in the 19th century, and from there to drugs, pornography, and comedians in the 20th.  Really, things couldn't be simpler for parents to keep a handle on up until thirty years ago.

Since then, demons have been scurrying all over the place.  You've got your Ouija Board possessions for starters.  Then all those kids that Dungeons and Dragons turned to murder or a mental institution.  Heavy metal subliminal messages inducing suicides and devil worship.  Goth music and the computer game Doom laying the groundwork for the Columbine tragedy.  Spongebob and the Teletubbies turning your kids gay.  

(To that last point, I've always found it odd that pro wrestling never gets even an honorable mention, but I guess it just goes to show how subtle demons will be.  A year of WWF magazine and five Wrestlemanias under my belt during my formative years, I'm quite surprised to have made it through with my heterosexuality intact, brother.  Though it was the Andre the Giant years, so obviously well worth any risk.)

Good clean fun? Or secret/phantom menace?

Anyway, the family values machine now focuses its insatiable concern upon Bioware, makers of the long anticipated and allegedly quite fun MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, which already commits the sin of allowing at least two great Daily Kos guilds to exist on its server.  Beyond that, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council warns us of a new and looming threat to the children.  

As things stand, if you play the video game you can have "companion characters", basically computer-generated, computer-operated in-game people that talk to you, help you fight, or whatever.  Part of this interaction, in this role-playing game, is that the character you control in this fictional computer universe can have "romance" options with companion characters of a different gender.


This is already a bit bizarre.  We have well-defined gender roles in real-life relationships, going so far as to defend marriage by describing in law who may marry whom and fully respecting and honoring the marriage vows binding one partner to another for life.  But how are we supposed to feel about a male graphic and a female graphic expressing feelings for each other in fantasyland?


Well, hang on to your virtual hats, people, because it gets worse.  Bioware has said that, while at this point, only male and female graphics can, uh, "romance", it will be rolling out new content where male and male graphics or female and female graphics can "romance" too.  This is actually, in Perkins' words, "the biggest threat to the empire" in the game!

Who wants to see a Star Wars where the Empire loses?  And more than that, where does it end if you allow same gender "romance"ing in a completely made-up setting?  (Don't show the guy Second Life.)  We are completely at risk of losing our real values within this interactive toy and don't even realize it.  Hey, Bioware, instead of wasting all your time on this "romance" nonsense, maybe you should give everybody a REAL character companion that constantly tells them why they and their lifestyle are wrong while they're playing an online video game.

To further drive the point home, I conclude with a cautionary tale from personal experience, not two nights old.

Cautionary tale

I was playing another long anticipated and extremely fun game called Skyrim.  Unlike Star Wars: The Old Republic, this game is played entirely offline with computer characters and is thus free of wickedness, or so I believed.  Through toil, dedication, and a seemingly endless quantity of soft drinks, I managed to carry my swarthy Dragonborn character to level 31, when he encountered in his wanderings a gentleman forbidding him access to a mine.  

With some convincing, my character agreed to clear the mine of monsters and with my steady leadership and quick wits managed to accomplish the task.

Upon emerging from the mine and informing the aforementioned gentleman of the completion of the mission, a new option appeared in the dialog menu for my character to ask him: "Are you interested in me?"  I clicked it.  Who wouldn't be interested in the Dragonborn on his quest to crush badness into the ground one skull at a time, I reasoned, especially if this was some sort of spy upon whose traits my character pounced with some sort of mental radar-like impulse.

The man then said, "Why wouldn't I be?  Are you interested in me?"  I was, indeed.  A prelude to treachery surely forthcoming, as already I'd slain a number of assailants seeking to prevent my character from saving the world.  Was this a Thalmor agent?  A member of the Dark Brotherhood seeking to fulfill a contract, perhaps?  I licked my lips and hovered my hands over the keys that would deliver this man to his final, magically produced icicle-pierced fate.  I clicked "Yes."

I see the reply.  "It's settled then.  Brief as life can be in Skyrim, at least we'll have each other."  Wait, what?  This wasn't coup de grace, it was tête-à-tête!  The game snuck me into turning gay, and I guess French, somehow?  Thanks a heap, Tony "Too Late" Perkins, for your belated warnings about the hidden threat of video game homosexuality.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Gamers on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women, Angry Gays, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey, won't be around until later (70+ / 0-)

    And I apologize because I normally prefer to be around to respond to comments in my diaries when posting, but thought it might be better to schedule this diary earlier for your Saturday reading.  I will be in this evening to respond though.

    Thanks for dropping by, and to bhfrik for the notice about the original story.

  •  They're Taking Over Pop Culture (13+ / 0-)

    along with everything else.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:03:59 AM PST

    •  From A Gaming POV I Am More Of A Puzzle (7+ / 0-)

      and fantasy guy. Not much into FPS. However about a year ago a new game was about to come out. I think a zombie FPS. They found out they were going to get a "Mature" rating, which means Wal-mart wouldn't carry it, the #1 seller of video games.

      So they changed the game so it wouldn't get that rating, cause not being in Wal-mart and Target is almost a death sentence.

      Look stuff like this isn't my cup of tea. I mean I don't have any desire to play Grand Theft. Pay a hooker for a blowjob and then cap her in the back of her head to get my money back (yes you can do that).

      But if some other adult finds enjoyment in doing this, like I find enjoyment in Little Big Plant or conquering the world In Civilization Revolution, more power to them.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:51:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm (16+ / 0-)

        In Tony Perkins world, one of these things seems to be OK, and the other is not.

        Pay a hooker for a blowjob and then cap her in the back of her head to get my money back (yes you can do that).
        "It's settled then.  Brief as life can be in Skyrim, at least we'll have each other."  

        I guess I'm just out of step with "mainstream America."  Sex (in all its variations) seems far healthier to me than violence.  

        Jon Stewart did a funny clip on this theme the other night:

        •  Oh I Am w/ You I Think (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mungley, elmo, Dirtandiron, ER Doc, kyril

          some of the violence in these games isn't to my liking. I mean I blow up a lot of stuff in Civilization or Final Fantasy. But it is kind of "different" at least for me then using a sniper rifle to kill a Muslim in something like Call of Duty.

          Now I want to stress I don't have an issue with the FPS game if that is what you enjoy. I just don't like them that much myself.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 07:19:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There actually is evidence (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron, Calamity Jean

            that intensive exposure to violent images changes the behavior of children. Whether we ought to do anything about as a society (vs. as a parent) is a whole different subject.

            I do find it strange the Perkins and his ilk seem to get all (ahem) worked up about gay themes, since there is absolutely no evidence that these can change sexual orientation.

            Go figure.

            •  There is no evidence. (5+ / 0-)

              The studies that "prove" this are scientifically worthless, and are mostly endless copies of the same flawed methodology.

              If there were an influence, you would expect violence among young people to go up as video games became popular, no? Instead, it took a nose dive around 1994, which coincidentally is the year that the first of the super-popular FPS games, Doom, came to market. Correlation does not prove causation, that is true. But the drop in the youth crime rate as violent games became more popular is a hard thing to explain for those who are paid to puff the possibility of such a link.

              When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

              by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:05:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Short term impact (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sagesource, kyril

                The studies that I've read about showed that exposing kids to violent games had a short-term impact, meaning that the kids acted more violently right after playing the game, but no long-term impact.

                So, as is often the case, reality turns out not to work as some suppose it does.

                How can this be? While there could be some kids who could be encouraged to be more violent by violent videogames, there could also be some kids that get violence out of their systems by playing the game, and thus act less violent in real life.

                •  If I recall correctly.... (7+ / 0-)

                  ....the "violent" effect when measured properly is simply excitement. The whole conclusion could be summed up as, "when people do exciting things, they get excited." Well, duh.

                  I think we underestimate the ability of kids to separate fantasy and reality. I remember how my older son reacted when one of his aunts asked him, while playing Doom, "would it be more fun if it were real?" He looked at her as if she were out of her mind and said, very slowly and carefully, "If it were real, it would be No.Fun.At.All."

                  Of course a few will act out fantasies, but to stop that, we'd have to begin our banning with the Bible, wouldn't we?

                  When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

                  by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 04:19:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, I wasn't thinking of video games only (0+ / 0-)

                I was thinking of TV and movies.

            •  the reason is it "changes" them (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron, Calamity Jean

              They  are turned on by it! They assume because they are, everyone is tempted by such imagery

              Because almost all of the most virulent gay-bashers are themselves gay or bisexual, but in denial.

              We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

              by ScrewySquirrel on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:59:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Quite often in these RPG/FPS combo games.... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, Dirtandiron, mythatsme, ferment, kyril

   get the consequences of your actions shoved into your face much more directly than with the average FPS. You'll be told that you hurt someone or did something wrong, and in the broader sense, that it's impossible to ever have clean hands. In Skyrim, for example, there is no right side to be on: the Empire is corrupt, but the rebelling Nords are racist and nativist.

            The best example of this is the slide show and narrative at the end of Fallout: New Vegas, where the game goes back to each of the major characters and places and tells you how your actions affected it, for good or for ill. And no matter how much good you manage to do by the end, you'll always end up shafting someone. There are no right answers, only righter ones.

            When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

            by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:46:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, elmo, kyril

          The first does kinda sound like whole Republican philosophy to me.

        •  Poor Tony Perkins is cowering in the Closet. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revsue, sagesource, ER Doc, kyril

          Oh he's a jerk.

          But he's a pathetic one.

          Poverty = politics.

          by Renee on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:37:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You might think (17+ / 0-)

    After all the "straight" characters I've played in various games over the past twenty years, they would have exorcised the gay demons out of me by now.

    Perhaps Tony could get Marcus to work on developing an RPG that will disengay the LGBT community?

    Ratings privileges revoked without explanation during the Great Purge. So, consider yourself recommended or hidden as you think you should be.

    by banjolele on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:13:36 AM PST

    •  I really miss Star Wars Galaxies (7+ / 0-)

      I hot a neon hot-pink skinned well-muscled twi'lek who ran around in hot pink short shorts and boots with a vest that V-ed open all the way to his waist, from about 20 paces he looked like he was running around nude, since the colors matched so well.

      If the 'entertainer' class wasn't so boring to play, I could have had him gyrating around in spaceports for tips...

    •  It doesn't work quite that way (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferment, kyril, Calamity Jean

      I would think that all gay persons have been repeatedly induced to consider whether or not they are really straight, but only a minority of straight persons have given much thought to whether they are really gay. That last question isn't one that Mr. Perkins wants to become popular..... don't think about Teh Gay and maybe it will just go away is his approach, I suppose.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:30:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is what makes this a weird "family" issue... (4+ / 0-)

        Is it really better to push people into a heterosexual marriage who aren't really straight?  It's not exactly unheard of for partners to be tempted to cheat or divorce under these circumstances.

        Or what's even more troubling to me, kids that have to deal with shunning from their own family because of this kind of rhetoric.  To save the family values, the kid must suffer, any siblings must suffer, the parents themselves must suffer, because someone in a position of trust has told them they've done something wrong for this to happen in their house.  Doesn't make a lot of sense.

  •  Ok, first, most MMO's already have LGBT kins (11+ / 0-)

    (or guilds, or whatever the nomenclature is in that particular game for groups who band together for long periods) and animations of affection that don't bother to check 'gender' of avatars.  Heck, last I looked you could wear dresses and other 'gendered' clothes as a male in Lord of the Rings Online.

    Rick Santorum and his buddies out to be even more worried at 'man on hobbit' love or 'dwarf on elf love' anyway ;)

  •  The more they talk the more they embarass themselv (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, tytalus, mungley, ER Doc, ferment, kyril

    (seriously the title box is always always one or two letters short... It's really annoying)

    The 'romances' and various flings in TOR amount to some awkward lines, a fade to black and then some really awkward lines. They make the Mass Effects and Dragon Ages look like porn-- which, btw, are about on par with what you can see in a PBS mini-series.

    They just hear that there are 'romances' in a game and build up what that means until it means the worst possible thing. Then they hear gay, an already worst possible thing, added to it then they have a free pass to not think or look into it any more.

    "...So the world might be mended"

    by Cofcos on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:32:18 AM PST

    •  *so* awkward (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cofcos, mungley, ER Doc, ferment, kyril

      Companion Corso Riggs tells my smuggler um, I'm gonna go outside and count the raghouls, while I'm busy flirting with our contact on Taris. The fade to black is something of a mercy.  :)

      The next time it was my Wookiee friend telling me he wanted to go climb a tree while I was chatting up an Alderaanian noble.

      George Lucas would be proud.

      There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. -- Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 07:15:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is A Guild Like A Union? :) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cofcos, mungley, ferment, kyril

    I am joking of course, since I am a pretty avid gamer. Not very profound I know. But reading your Diary I kind of just thought of that.

    BTW: Keep them away from Second Life if they are having a problem with Star Wars: The Old Republic (which I hear is about the best game out there right now). Second Life would fucking blow their small minds. I mean I think at one time I ran into a transsexual, Asian, centaur. You know, just saying.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:45:39 AM PST

  •  Conservatives do have some (8+ / 0-)

    characteristics which account for their behaviors and concerns.

    1) They are instinct-driven people, which means that they behave in response (are responsible) to external and internal prompts, of which they are, however, not aware and not able to distinguish.  Something moves them, but they don't know what. This is a precarious state of affairs and, likely, makes them feel insecure.

    2) Prompted behavior tends to be episodic.  That is, if an individual has to be "turned on" to act, the actions are likely to be perceived as distinct, rather than continuous.  Though the length of the action may vary, it's still separate and disconnected.

    3) Conservatives feel isolated.  Their vaunted support for independence is akin to making lemonade out of lemons or virtue out of vice.  Because their sense of isolation does not feel good.  It is, after all, abnormal.  But, they don't know how to overcome it.  Indeed, relationships present a threat because they don't know what a relationship is.  At most, conservatives are into ownership--the acquisition of another person as if the other person were a distinct thing.  Consensual relationships are a no-no, not because they're consensual, but because they are relationships.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:55:47 AM PST

    •  meanwhile, liberals are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, ferment, kyril

      ...i'm not going to bother with copypasting a rant here.  Stereotyping and demonizing the other team is so easy, and conservatives don't understand how it cuts them off from the world.  Listen to Barack Obama.  He tells us to listen to people and respect them.

      Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

      by eigenlambda on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 08:59:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  SIms was a biggie for their attention. nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, mungley, ferment, kyril

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21

    by Thousandwatts on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 07:03:52 AM PST

  •  Heh, I got "gay married" in Skyrim last month (12+ / 0-)

    The gaming community has long ago issued a collective "ho hum" on gay characters. I think the comic's community as well. When the latest Batwoman was shown to be a lesbian it was practically a non-event.

    "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

    From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

    by ontheleftcoast on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 08:35:42 AM PST

  •  Online games have highest incidence of gay bashing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, vacantlook, ferment

    I've ever seen.  I've been in too many guilds or witnessed too many chat sessions where everything was "gay"  It gets annoying.  

    Also, how do they feel about boys being able to play female characters?


    They're gender bending OMFG send in the purity police, or maybe these adolescent boys just play female characters b/c they like watching their cartoon asses running across the screen.  

    What do you think is more likely, boys becoming gay b/c of this, or a bunch of adolescents playing a girl and having girl on girl romances?  These people obviously have no clear idea what goes on in these online games.

    Granted, i know a lot more women play online games, but it is still heavily male dominated.

    Personally, I applaud Bioware's decision, b/c it allows the gay players out there the opportunity to have "Romance" interactions more comfortable to them, while projecting a more LGBT positive game situation.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 08:48:10 AM PST

    •  I'm not sure that's true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sixeight120bpm, ferment

      While I've seen a lot of the "that's so gay" talk in MMORPGs, I've rarely seen anything more severe than that.  And those who do that really do tend to think it's not homophobic, they don't think using "gay" that way is pejorative against gay people.  Of course I don't agree with that, but I do think their intent makes a difference.

      My guess is online action gaming is more of a problem, as taunts of "fag" and "faggot" are common with those.  But by and large, those games are played by teenaged boys and adult males who haven't really grown up much, anyway.

      •  Guess I'm not a grown-up, but (7+ / 0-)

        I take offense when I hear someone say that grown men who play video games "haven't really grown up much." Before you talk about the demographics of gamers, try doing a little research. This study by the Pew research group in 2007 (And you can bet your ass that these numbers have grown over the years) a survey found that 53% of all adults (not just males, but all adults) played video games on a regular basis. While the highest percentage (81%) Were in the 18-29 age group and the numbers declined from then on, they remained high in the 30-49 and 50-64 age groups (60% and 40% respectively), and some of this age-related decline can probably be linked to lack of exposure at an earlier age. In addition, people with a higher education level are more likely to play games (57% of college/graduate vs 40% of high school).

        So please, before you declare that people who play video games are a bunch of immature man-children, please keep in mind that there are a LOT of us, and those of us who aren't idiots who like to spew invective are just as tired of those who do as you are. Judging gamers by the loudest and most offensive of us is like judging America based solely on the Tea Party.

        •  I get what you're saying (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, SoCaliana

          And I guess it's a bit of a gripe I share.  But I think he wasn't making a broad generalization about the gaming community, just one about the online action gaming community, so it's alright.  He's clearly an MMORPGer so even if it was a broader brush he got a bit of paint on himself.

          Every hobby is looked at as a little silly by somebody anyway.  Model trains, stamp collecting, crafting, comic books, whatever.  Once I heard about these I instantly wanted to check one out, and I also realized that none of my generation ever really left Chuck E Cheese.

        •  You're misconstruing what I said. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferment, SoCaliana

          I was talking about a very specific type of online gamers, not everyone who plays games.  I play video games, for pete's sake.

    •  the use of "gay" as an epithet... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, ferment, kyril

      is an issue the gaming community has long struggled with. its not unique to MMOs, thought it may be more visible there thanks to the more social nature of the games. It is also something that I think a lot of progress has been made through awareness.

      as far as demographics go, last numbers I saw had it at about 60/40 males/females in MMOs, so its not as one sided as a lot of people think.

      And there are more factors to choosing when gender your character is than just boys watching lady butts. In SW:TOR, for example, my Agent is a lady (I am a straight male in real life) because i think the voice actress did a much better job than the fellow who did the male Agent's voice. My Jedi Knight is male because again, I chose the voice actor I liked best. Its personal preference, its not really even gender bending. you are not your character, and your character is not you. I'v never really understood that stigma.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:58:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's used to shock and impress peers. (0+ / 0-)

        Like much of the vocabulary of young online gamers.  I've never read too much into it, but it's unpleasant to be around.  Which, now that I think about it, might be the point at some subconscious level of theirs...

        Video games have done themselves a disservice by forcing players into a male role for so long.  I'm sure manufacturers were worried they'd lose chunks of their traditional fan base, especially in the arcades, but instead they mostly alienated an entire potential female audience for a generation.

        I've never actually played a female character online, though.  If it was purely about playing a game, which is all I'm about when I play games, it wouldn't really matter to me (though my reflex is still to choose a male character for myself.)  Some folks still get downright creepy towards women online.

    •  As A Wowhead Of Many Years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mythatsme, ferment, kyril

      I've noticed a promising trend in that regard. A couple years back, on WoW chat channels, what you're talking about was indeed the case. This kind of bs was heard every now and again and went unchallenged.

      From what I have seen this has started to change significantly, nowadays most times when someone says "oh that's gay." that person will be met with "what's wrong with being gay, bigot?". And others will say the same.

      Not much but a little.

      Wakeful people make better democracy. Anybody else want some coffee?

      by Hammerhand on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 04:01:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  mass effect lacks a gay male option. which is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, jethrock, ferment, kyril

    realistic, because with so few characters, there's not much chance of finding a gay guy.  Not having as many gay options is just a fact of life...

    Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

    by eigenlambda on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 08:54:11 AM PST

    •  I didn't have a problem with that because (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, ferment, kyril

      unlike a lot of RPGs, ME is basically telling the story of a specific character (Shepard), and if their invisioning of the character is that he's heterosexual, then that's a valid character choice, just as much as making him a member of the Alliance military.

      But then I learned that they do allow for same-sex relationships if you play Shepard as a female.  While the explanation is that the story is just accomodating romances with specific characters, regardless of your gender, that's clearly not true, since as a female you can romance male characters, but as a male you can't.  

      Why couldn't male Shepard romance Aleko in ME1, or Garrus?  And there's Jacob in ME2.  Not having that option strikes me as a bit of homophobia on the part of the game designers who I expect thought having gay options for females was only ok because it's "hot."

      •  There's that subtle tilt elsewhere.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boris Godunov, Remillard, ferment, kyril

        For instance, as my bi friend pointed out, although there is one major gay non-player character in Fallout: New Vegas, Arcade Gannon, and one major lesbian NPC, Veronica Santiago, poor Arcade is hidden in a compound and takes some doing to find, while Veronica is literally standing in the middle of one of the main roads and is impossible to miss. Again, the only NPC who will actively hit on you same-sex if you're playing as a woman is Corporal Betty from First Recon. I don't think any of the male gay characters are anything but very passive.

        When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

        by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:52:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  not really (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        garrus and alenko aren't gay, and that's just the most likely way for two random men to be: gay men just don't have as many options.  the player character being gay or not is up to the person playing, if the player wants to be exclusively gay he can reject the advances of the female npc's

        Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

        by eigenlambda on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:53:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, that's a cop out (0+ / 0-)

          Because the female romance options will be gay if you want them to be.  Gay women don't have any more options than gay men, yet they're included.  

          Having a game take place centuries in the future where male homosexuality is not even mentioned and where female homosexuality is basically treated as something that's OK because men would find it titillating is a bit unsettling.

          •  only one of them (0+ / 0-)

            and statistically, yes they do

            Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

            by eigenlambda on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:52:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Say what? (0+ / 0-)

              Statistically, gay women have more options than gay men?  How the hell does that work?

              You're stretching really hard to defend something via one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen.  If you're suggesting that women are more likely to engage in gay relationships than men, I'd need a hefty amount of evidence to support that assertion.

              •  i was under the impression that the kinsey study (0+ / 0-)

                showed that bisexuality was more common among women than men.

                all i know is, as as bisexual, it's harder to find men to hook up with than women

                shrug ymmv

                Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

                by eigenlambda on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:35:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  ME3 will have a gay male option. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eigenlambda, ferment, kyril

      and if you want to get technical, I don't think ME has had a lesbian option, since Liara was an alien who's species has neither male nor female sexes. BECAUSE SCIENCE THATS WHY.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:01:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah yes... the Discount Lesbian... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, ferment

        She's Hot, she talks like a woman, acts like a woman, but she's an ALIEN...

        So, you know, it's not gay if you sleep with her if you're a woman.  Just HOT!


        One of these days, I'm gonna learn that I'm only really good at convincing people when I'm being a wiseass.

        by detroitmechworks on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:11:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mordin turns Male Shep down in ME2 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  From what I read... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethrock, ferment, kyril

      ...on the Mass Effect wiki:

      At some point in the game's development, it was also possible for a female Shepard to romance Ashley Williams or a male Shepard to romance Kaidan Alenko. This was later removed, although the voiced conversations for them remain in the game.
    •  Their other big title Dragon Age... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mythatsme, ferment, kyril

      In Dragon Age pretty much anyone can hook up with anyone else.  I've heard in DA2 there's even some rare way to manage a 3-way with Isabella and someone else, but I've not actually done this myself.

      It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~~ Douglas Adams

      by Remillard on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 03:44:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That boat left the harbor last century (6+ / 0-)

    with the introduction of The Sims (v. 1 and all versions since). Sims can be attracted to either or both sexes, and they also seem to be at least a bit polyamorous (they will, if the opportunity presents itself, flirt with anyone they are attracted to regardless of whether they or the other Sim are in a relationship or not). This requires some careful management to avoid slaps, mood crashes, and possibly even fights. Or not, if you LIKE mood crashes and fights.

    Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur

    by TheOtherMaven on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 08:59:54 AM PST

  •  And let's not even get into the fanfic community (4+ / 0-)

    for games...

    I mean, I read my share of fic based on anime and such, but trying to find out how to evolve one of my Pokemon led to scariness.

    I did not want to know that people did lemons with Pokemon/Trainers.

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:08:54 AM PST

  •  They've never heard of The Sims (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, ferment

    Which allowed same sex characters to kiss and cohabitate, but not marry.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:31:43 AM PST

    •  In Sims 3 they can marry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      just like "straight" Sims -- and you can have some very creative arrangements that can't be discussed on official forums because they'd raise the game level above T (teen). ;-)

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:38:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is Skyrim as awesome (6+ / 0-)

    as it looks?  I loved Morrowind and Oblivion but this PC isn't powerful enough to play Skyrim: I'd need an XBox or something, so no Skyrim for me (for now).

    •  it really is that good. (4+ / 0-)

      and if your PC could play oblivion, then I'd imagine it could handle skyrim on low settings. don't quote me on that, but since the Xbox has been holding back PC graphical advancement for a good long time now, and both games were designed with the Xbox as lead platform, it should work. double check system requirements to be sure and don't hate me if im wrong :D

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:03:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you have a few hundred hours to spare.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remillard, mythatsme, ferment, Youffraita

      I've played two characters now and have about 150 hours on each. The two games have been totally different, with even the places I've gone to differing in about 50% of the times. I swear Skyrim has "dungeons" that are bigger than whole games from other companies. And it can be breathtakingly beautiful, though without modding the textures aren't as good as they could be to accommodate medieval YecchBox and Pathetic3 architectural limitations.

      When you're there, check out Blackreach -- but only if sober.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:00:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Skyrim is the best computer game made to (5+ / 0-)

      date, and I've been playing nonstop for more than 25 years.  It is a HUGE game.  There are thousands of locations. Hundreds of dungeons. Thousands of quests.

      It's the most nonlinear big RPG ever made.  You can charge right out and get to the end of the main quest at level 9 (there's a Youtube video of some guy beating the final foozle at that level).

      Or you can noodle around, explore, do crafting of numerous varities, and hit level 50 without touching the main quest.

      I've been playing it every day since it was released in mid-November, and I'll probably still be playing four months from now.  I got near the end with a High Elf fire wizard, and have just switched to a Breton barbarian, who doesn't use offensive magic at all but instead swings a giant warhammer.

      It's worth buying a new computer for.

      •  I certainly agree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, Timaeus, ferment, SoCaliana

        I only stopped playing because my character got to the point where he could kill anything he didn't have to fight, but because i'd focused so much on crafting and stealth, I couldn't win a stand up fight with a footstool at that level.

        mod tools are coming out soon, I'll give it a couple more weeks or a month past that for the creative people to go to town, then start a new game :D

        "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

        by sixeight120bpm on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 02:36:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I stopped my first character for the opposite (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sixeight120bpm, Youffraita

          reason.  He was at Destruction 100, with enchanted glass armor that gave him 100% cost reduction on Destruction spells--so he could stand and throw master-level Destruction spells forever without losing any mana at all. It was cool to be able to one-shot just about anything, but not very challenging.

          Now with my new character--a non-magic barbarian, with no ranged weapons, going up against a group of spellcasters--that's challenging.

          •  hahaha (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I played Oblivion with a bunch of different characters: played it out to the end with several of them.

            Y'know who my fave was?  Oh -- and the social skills were TOTALLY in the toilet -- but I had more fun with my female Orc than anybody else.

            Taught her to sneak (taught all my characters to sneak) through the opening sequence.

            But damn, she could carry a ton of loot, and wield a sword or an axe (more fun with an axe, actually) than any other character I played.

            And she was really pretty -- by Orc standards. LOLOLOLOL.

      •  Timaeus, I can't afford a new computer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No. Fucking. Way.

        But maybe I can afford an XBox with tax refund...maybe.

        I WANT to play this game.  A former coworker came in right after the first previews were YT'd and asked, "Did you see...?" and I said It looks AWESOME and meant every capital letter.

        Oh, I want to play this game.  I wish I could afford to get my old (friend-constructed) computer an overhaul...but the one I"m blogging on now probably couldn't even support the sound, much less the graphics.  And this computer is too stupid to download the whole thing, and too slow to let it run.

        No.  Can't play on this machine.

    •  Better than Oblivion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, sagesource

      I like it as much as Morrowind.

      Some of the things have been streamlined out.  You don't have to repair items anymore.  You don't choose a class, but every skill increase contributes to a level increase.  You can hire a mercenary or have a companion that joins you on request.  You can get married, apparently, with different benefits depending on the partner.  You can craft weapons and armor as well as improve them physically and with enchantments.

      Basically, it leaves you a bit freer to customize your character as the game progresses, rather than locking you in at the start.  The story has been good so far, too.  The only awkward thing has been the user interface, which doesn't work so well with the mouse in the menus, but the gameplay is great.

  •  Die hard LOTRO player here. But some of my (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, Youffraita, wsexson, ferment

    guild mates have mentioned interest in Star Wars.

    Two things: 1.) Sometimes when my pet bog monster helps me kill and orc, I feel all tingly inside. I think this might be some kind of elf on bog monster conditioning that Turbine and Warner Brothers are using to corrupt me. Better tell Senator Santorum.

    2.) In one of the precursors to Skyrim (Elder Scrolls 3) There were two Non player characters who would hit on the player character based on gender.  I was playing a male character, so the one guy had me disrobing more and more each time I finished a task. I believe female characters went through the same thing. (The flying rates were so annoying - ok; drakes- that replayability was sort of low. Awesome series though)

    3.) (I know) Has Mr. Perkins taken into account that one can choose the gender of his character? Let's say a male player chooses to play a female Jedi. That player then can choose a male or female companion.  Which is more amoral?
    Male player > female character > female companion: Where player can project his feelings  into the female cartoon.


    Male player > female character > male companion: Where player would have to role play as a person who likes men. (but it would look more holy to Mr. Perkins)

    Please Vote for the Democratic nominee for President in 2012.

    by mungley on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:40:21 AM PST

  •  They're stupid to think this is something new. (5+ / 0-)

    Gay relationships/encounters have been in games for quite a while.

    I remember being able to employ the services of a male prostitute in Ultima VI and VII.

    Of course, there's the Sims, where any character is capable of engaging in a same-sex coupling.

    I've gotten gay married in each of the three Fable games, which are among the most popular RPGs made.

    And of course there were the Dragon Age games, which had several same-sex options.

    Of course, the players in MMORPGs have been engaging in same-sex relationships since the beginning.  It's a bit silly to bemoan the ability of someone to romance a computer graphic AI that represents someone of the same gender while there's otherwise two real people engaged in such, albeit virtually.

  •  +1 For the Andre the Giant Paragraph (6+ / 0-)

    A very entertaining diary, I must say.  I am a bit concerned that Skyrim can turn you French, however.  Good thing I stopped playing it before that happened to me.  I mean, mon Dieu!

  •  in "the sims" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, Cali Scribe, ferment

    When there is only one bed and two characters who need to sleep, they will not sleep in the same bed together if both are of the same gender. Go figure.

    Unmarried Sims of the opposite sex can slut around together in the same bed if they want - but 2 guys or 2 girls - who could be having a slumber party for all the game-makers know - won't share a bed.

    •  Sims won't share a bed until they're "in like" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, ferment

      They have to be at least "friends", and as far as I know this is true regardless of gender.

      In the older versions, visitors would just go home rather than staying overnight, unless there were facilities on the lot that had been "hacked" for visitors to use.

      Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur

      by TheOtherMaven on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:16:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the relationship is high enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, ferment

      they'll share a bed, and even WooHoo (Sim sex -- and not necessarily in bed; shower and haystack are two of my favorite fun spots). And unlike most US states, you can even get them married. Thanks to some very creative mod designers, you can also have same-sex pregnancies and adjust the percentage of random Sims in the game being gay; still playing around with that feature.

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:36:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bioware got some (undeserved) flak from those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sources over their game Mass Effect, for having a romance sub-plot. Some conservative columnist went off on a wild tear and started calling the game a "rape simulator", despite there being no rape in the game and only a tiny amount of sexually suggestive content that one would have to play through the game for several hours to ever see.

    The criticism got so bad, and so inappropriately applied, that Jack Thompson -- yes, that Jack Thompson -- showed that even anti-video-game nuts are capable of embarrassment when he declared the game to be basically unobjectionable and the criticism misplaced.

    I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

    by eataTREE on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:55:17 AM PST

  •  Damn You! How could you so blatantly reveal the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    secrets of Our Big Gay Agenda so publicly!  I will have to bring this before the Rainbow Overlords at our next meeting.  Seriously, thank you for exposing such ludicrous insanity!  Well done!

    "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

    by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:59:46 AM PST

  •  Bible video game w/ "Song of Solomon" quest (4+ / 0-)

    I'd love to see someone do a Bible-themed video game that would get rated "'M' for Mature" because of sexual content ... and no-one can complain because it's true to the Bible!  If Wal-Mart doesn't carry it, they piss off their consumer base by "censoring" Christianity.

    Never attribute to stupidity what can be adequately explained by malice; stupid people couldn't hurt us so effectively.

    by Visceral on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:37:25 AM PST

  •  I can't wait for Mass Effect 3. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Um..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, mythatsme, ferment

    Actually, you can't get married that casually in Skyrim. You have to visit the Temple of Mara, goddess of love, and talk with one of the priests, and then get and wear a special amulet. So I think you are trying to conceal your own complicity in the affair, eh?

    For myself, my female Breton character ended up marrying a female Argonian (lizard person) named Shahvee, who is one of the most charming characters in the game. We met on the docks in Windhelm, the only place that Argonians are allowed (there's a good deal of racial prejudice in Skyrim, especially against "non-humans" like orcs, Argonians, and Khajiit [cat people]), and live together in Whiterun now. Here's a picture of our wedding in the Temple of Mara in Riften, and here's one of her working at home as an alchemist. She isn't a questing character, but that's just as well; one person in the family trying to get killed is good enough, and she's a merchant as well as an alchemist. I'm sure our religious friends would appreciate her line of goods, especially this example.

    Racial prejudice in Skyrim is a defining part of the game -- the Nord majority who are rebelling from the Empire are mostly ardent racists, which makes it a lot more difficult to sympathize with their cause. However, gender prejudice of any kind simply doesn't exist: even blacksmiths and generals are as likely to be women as men. This produces a bit of an unreal effect; as one bi friend of mine said, all those racists and not a single homophobe? But I guess they wanted to take on their hot-button issues one at a time, and there's other implicit social commentary scattered through the game, such as your encounter with this homeless veteran living in a sewer.

    When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

    by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:42:16 AM PST

    •  Heh. Greater Soul Gem for 666. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, ferment

      The worst quest I've seen so far in Skyrim is a Daedric Lord's demand that, in exchange for a suit of heavy ebony armor, I should deceive my companion into accompanying me to a remote mountain peak, where I was supposed to magically trap her, torture her, and then kill her, just to show how ruthless and evil I was.

      I passed on that one!  I like to play goody-goody characters.  But in Skyrim, the factions are all so murky and dark, that you can't help doing things that are ethically questionable.  It's for the greater good, I always tell myself, as I kill the 100th idealistic Stormcloak soldier with a big hammer blow to the nose.

      •  And there's the Vigilants of Stendarr.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, ferment

        A set of royal pains in the ass with totally black and white world views, running around trying to eliminate every trace of Daedric influence, completely forgetting that some of the Daedra are "good" in human terms (such as Azura, Queen of Dawn and Twilight) and that few are absolutely evil. Though Boethiah, the Lord whose quest you are describing, is certainly an unpleasant one....

        The nasties sometimes ask things of you that aren't too repulsive, though. I didn't mind offing this rather unpleasant character to get the Mace of Molag Bal, for instance. And Sanguine's quest, where you get into a drinking contest with him in disguise and wake up on the other side of Skyrim, finding out gradually that you've done a whole series of, er, questionable things while drunk (including proposing marriage to... well, you'll see), is a hilarious production. Though it's not quite as hilarious as his task for you in Oblivion, where you had to infiltrate what he considered a very boring party and liven it up a bit by casting a spell that stripped everyone naked....

        The thing that I'd like to see gone from this and other games, though, is the assumption that beating the truth out of someone is 100% effective and an efficient way of gathering information. I think that's far more corrupting that swords and sorcery, since it plays into a common misconception that has very serious consequences.

        When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

        by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:24:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've just completed that Oblivion Quest: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's a very conservative version - and very, very short time - of "nakedness" untill the damned guard storms in and arrests you ...

          "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

          by mythatsme on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 05:17:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I did Azura's quest for the Black Star, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sanguine's quest for the Sanguine Rose (in my opinion the best weapon in the game), and the quest for the Mace of Molag Bal.

          But not the Boethiah one. I have SOME standards.

          I hear you about beating the truth out of someone.  FWIW, I never use that option.  I always max out speech early and persuade people.

          •  I take the 1% route... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I just bribe them. It usually costs a fair bit less than the equivalent of what you get from killing one dragon, and lord knows, there are enough of them around.

            Another useful Daedric weapon is the shield Spellbreaker, which you get as a reward from Peyite's quest, again involving attacking some people who you would fight anyway if you happened upon them by chance. I also got the Mask of Clavicus Vile, which is not worth much, to be quite frank, but the quest itself is very funny. Vile and his pet dog, Barbas, have had a fight and it's your job to reunite dog and master. It's worth it for the voice acting alone; Vile sounds like a lager lout half-seas over.

            When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

            by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:43:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Have you played Fallout: New Vegas? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sagesource, Timaeus, ferment

        What impressed me most about the game was how it dealt with the issue of communities reassembling during a power vacuum: some people fight for power, others have it thrust on them, and sometimes the best people are the most ill-equipped to rule.  It's a fascinating study in politics, and my favorite game to date.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:35:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That game is virtually inexhaustable.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, Timaeus, ferment

          I have over 1500 hours on it to date, with minimal repetition, and I've never completed the game for the Legion because they're such a pack of sh*ts. It's become a little dull now.... a little. Give it a couple of months, and I'll be back, or I'll start to mod it, a temptation I've resisted because of witnessing my partner's struggles to shape the game the way she wants it to be.

          I particularly like the review at the end of the game, where you get to learn that you blew it here and there and caused a bunch of unnecessary pain.... though in fact there is no way you can contrive an ending that's all good news.

          (PS: I get all that time to play by having a job that entails sitting at the computer waiting for something to happen for most of the day. And no, I'm not safety officer at a nuclear plant, so you can stop worrying....)

          When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

          by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 03:58:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm. That's such an incredible short review (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferment, pico, sagesource

          that I'll have to try it.

          I really love most Bethesda games, especially Morrowind (my #1 favorite) and Skyrim.

          But I never got into the Fallout series. Never could finish 1, 2 or 3.  I started 3 several times, after a friend of mine went on and on about how good it was, but I just could never get into it, even though I was born and live in the Washington, D.C. area and the idea is really cool to explore real geography.

          But maybe I'll try New Vegas.

          •  I preferred New Vegas to 3, in large part (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            because the world was just as large, but more coherent.  It feels less like scattered collection of quests, because everything you do affects the dynamics between some dozen groups of people and their shaky alignments.  I've never been so absorbed in a game, and I really started caring about how things would turn out, trying to weigh things as justly as possible.  

            It is a little glitchy, though, and I think they overestimated how much players would be willing to put up with the cazadors (wasp-things) that are a huge pain in the ass and literally everywhere.  

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 12:39:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A little glitchy is putting it mildly.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I've never seen such a beautifully imagined and written game so carelessly put together. The number of map glitches alone -- places where you fall into, or through, the scenery -- is infuriating. Either quality control was very lax or, more likely, they just didn't pay much attention to their testing team.

              I've had things happen like cazadors get stuck UNDER the map, which drives the NPCs absolutely nuts.

              As for the cazadors, the problem with them is not really that they're hard to kill. Once you know what weapons to use, they really aren't that hard (hint: 22 caliber SMG + hollow point ammo). It's that they strain credibility so badly. I can tolerate being run down and et up by a Deathclaw, since those babies are fourteen feet high with the skins of a rhino. It doesn't offend reason that a few bullets or some flame won't stop them in their tracks. But I found it an insult to my credibility that a cazador can fly right up the stream of fire from a flamethrower without a qualm. They should have made them smaller and more numerous, and much easier to kill, to retain credibility.

              When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

              by sagesource on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 01:30:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  For me it wasn't even that, it was the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                lack of preparation in game design that made it impossible for NPCs to take antivenom, so the only way to prevent them from dying after one hit was to send them home.  Maybe it was fixed on a later patch, but when I was playing that was an unbelievably frustrating issue, given that it made it impossible to travel some parts of the map with a companion at all.

                I also ended up unable to complete one quest, because the person I needed to talk to was off the map.  

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 01:00:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The karma/reputation split... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  ....was also very badly implemented. You could kill someone under circumstances where it would be utterly impossible for anyone to know you did it (no witnesses, or very long range) and the game would dump on your reputation as well as your karma, and it would do it instantly, as if someone had put out an all-points alert on you. Skyrim does this much better.... if you eliminate all the witnesses, it will cancel your bounty, sensibly enough. I've wiped out several Thalmar Justicator patrols, and the entire guard staff of their embassy, by taking advantage of that out.

                  When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

                  by sagesource on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 02:54:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I've been playing The Sims for 11 years. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ferment

    I have lurked in their online forums for years. The only thing they care about is the game. They don't fuck around with politics or ethics. The only ethics they care about is whether or not EA games is screwing around with their freedom to modify the game (which they have done with the latest version, The Sims 3, and it really pissed off the modding community. They vowed never to buy the new game. A lot of them still play The Sims 2 because of it).

    This customer base is the most faithful and dependable. They buy all the expansions and they give valuable feedback where improving the overall quality of the game is concerned. It's come a long way in 11 years because of the freelance modding community.

    There are two factions. Mod-makers who charge money for their virtual creations (which is against EA's policy, btw) and the mod-makers who don't believe in charging for virtual hairstyles for a game you already PAYED for. They call themselves pirates because they will undermine the for-money creators, buy their mod once and spread the file to thousands of people.

    The head of the pirates is the smartest and best mod-maker in the community. Nobody can do anything about him. He's too awesome. He's ethically correct. EA games doesn't permit these people to gouge their customers for mods and profit on their product without permission or endorsement from EA of some sort.

    NOT ONCE, NOT ONCE, NOT ONCE have I ever heard anyone with an issue about the same sex relationships from either side of the faction split.

    In fact, if you start some crap like that in the sims community, you'll get flamed, cat-macroed, blasted, ridiculed and flagged. They are ecstatic about the mod that the best modder created that actually allows same sex couples to produce offspring together, which the vanilla game doesn't allow.

    Let somebody try to start some shit about The Sims, at least. There will be war. You do not fuck with these people and their ability to mod The Sims. That would be a serious imposition and violation. lol The mods allow more freedom than the vanilla game. There's no way anyone who loves this game would want the vanilla game over their own, cool customized one.

    That's what conservatives want for us. A vanilla game.

    Not to mention, simmers aren't into politics directly but they aren't they kind of gamers that would indulge anyone's bigotry. That would be like trying to make the game vanilla. lol

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:16:01 PM PST

  •  Keep those Christian assclowns away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ferment

    from my video games. It's bad enough they are in my government, pushing their agenda for thier faux-god and controlling one of the most powerful and wealthy political parties in this country.

    I'm just glad Jack Thomspon was disbarred.

    One of my friends who is gay is playing SWTOR with me and a few other friends, and he's looking forward to being able to hit on a guy character for a change.

  •  In honor of this topic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    here's a cute (and frustrating, as it should be) free game called "FlirtOff" that the AVClub reviewed this month.  You get to pick both your gender and the gender of the person you flirt with, so it's equal opportunity across the board.

    It is really frustrating, though, and painfully like real life in some respects.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:37:03 PM PST

  •  I think Kos and Liberal gamers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mythatsme, ferment

    should support Bioware when we are deciding which games to purchase in our daily lives.  I'll never forget my first time being given choice for romance in a Bioware game...  My character in Dragon Age had just subdued an assassin who tried to kill me in the wilderness.  He offered to join my team if I saved his life and, against my better judgement, I let him live.  As I talked with him in the course of the game our friendship blossomed until one night in camp, one of the options with the assassin was to start a romance in some way I can't remember at this time... like kissing him or flirting or whatever.  

    As I was carrying on a rather tawdry affair with a witch in my party at the time I chose not to go down that path,  but in real life I was immediately impressed that Bioware was giving this type of choice to people who bought their games and I've always been inclined to buy from them.  

    I am the neo-con nightmare, I am a liberal with the facts.

    by bhfrik on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:53:28 PM PST

    •  They're still figuring out romance in video games. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCaliana, bhfrik

      I think the first I saw it was Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, from 2003 apparently.  It's never been not awkward through both Star Wars games and both Mass Effect games, and Mass Effect 2 even found a way to throw humor into the mix.

      I guess in the Harvest Moon series they all involve a wooing process where the farmer brings produce, dairy and flowers to his girlfriend until she marries him and they have a kid.  Sounds about right.

      Then you've got Grand Theft Auto, where you bring the girl out for a pizza or a burger then hook up until you reach the level of trust in the relationship for her to let you drive her car.

      But yeah, this was the type of issue game developers have shied away from for a very long time because of the age of their audience.  Now that adults are a meaningful target market we'll hopefully see games evolve their storytelling to incorporate themes that better resonate with the life experiences of a mature audience.

  •  Don’t have to be a fundie to hate trash culture (0+ / 0-)

    You don’t have to be a fundie to hate trash culture...
    You just need to not be trash...

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 02:09:18 PM PST

  •  I wonder if Perkins & ilk ever realize ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie, sagesource, ferment

    ... just how pathetic they are? How empty their lives must be, to get their panties in a twist over an effing GAME!

    A tumbrel remark is an unguarded comment by an uncontrollably rich person, of such crass insensitivity that it makes the workers and peasants think of lampposts and guillotines. ~ Christopher Hitchens

    by The Werewolf Prophet on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 02:29:59 PM PST

  •  Hmph. J'zargo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ferment

    has been looking for a fine male khajiit to spend time with. Lots more pockets to hold many things. But there seem to be none! J'zargo finds only strange lizards and far too overt Nords. Nothing they own can be secreted away in my Robe of a Thousand Pockets. Ah, and it seems they do not like mages much.

    J'zargo will continue his efforts to snatch up a heart. Those Bosmer seem pretty small, that should make things easier...

    Skulls are not supposed to jump around!

    by kamrom on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 03:25:20 PM PST

    •  Alas.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...for some reason there are no marriageable male Khajiit at all, and no marriageable male Bosmer. You'll have to settle for an orc.... a bit rough around the edges, but no one better to have your back in a fight.

      When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

      by sagesource on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 04:13:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your companion in FFXI.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ferment

    ... has always had a "same sex" component.  Although there isn't any romancing going on in canon.  Just straight fighting and question together.

    My personal NPC is a six foot tall male Elvaan (elf, pretty much.)  I play a three foot high female Tarutaru (gnome like thing.)

    I'm sort of glad there is no "romance" between you and your adventuring fellow!

    Keep your religion out of my government.

    by catwho on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 03:28:31 PM PST

  •  I hope they don't find out about our LGBT group... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferment City of Heroes .

    And for those of you who play the game, feel free to join the Pride global chat channel.  It crosses all servers and has been around now for around six years:

    "/chanjoin Pride"

    It's an open channel, and we've never had any trouble with fundies.  Typically, there are about 35-50 people on at any given time.

    And, for what it's worth, City of Heroes is maybe the gayest MMO out there.  We have freakin' rainbow trail auras and tight leather pants, for cryin' out loud.

    A couple of years ago, Cryptic Studios and NCSoft did an article about the game in and specifically courted LGBT players.  "Ex Libris", their main official message board's moderator for a few years, came out as lesbian.

    That was about six months after Blizzard's World of Warcraft LGBT guild fiasco, when a Blizzard employee shut down an LGBT guild and Blizzard's higher-ups backed their employee's decision for a couple of days.  The heat they got from the LGBT press was intense, and they relented.

    Come join us.  We won't bite.

  •  Is there any free MMORPG played by us? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are a lot of free ones out there, but most of them are not that great. But having one with mind-like fellows would certainly be great, especially if it would be friendly to people like me (liking the genre, but not too good at it).

    "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

    by mythatsme on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 06:59:49 PM PST

  •  Can I just say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferment, SoCaliana

    I was a late beta tester of SWTOR and it ROCKS! Seriously rocks.  Most gay guilds are on a single server, so the idea "bad gay" is, to be blunt, anathama on the server.  In our guild we talk about, well, anything and everything we want to, including who we had sex with while playing the game (yes Virginia, it does happen).

    Whatever bioware does can't hold a candle to what we already do.

    Besides, ingame "hookups" are just a "fade-to-black".  Who the hell cares?

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:40:59 PM PST

  •  Thanks for a great post, ferment! /nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferment, pot

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