The Games [4Diversity] Jam explores ways to incorporate feminine and LGBT aspects to games in a constructive way: creating games. Hereby the 24-hour development session will show that female, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender perspectives can enrich games in an innovative and positive manner. So let’s jam! And diversify the game industry content now!
Why are we doing it? The game industry is changing. A growing amount of women work in the industry and more and more individuals openly express their sexuality at work. However, the diversity found on the work floor poorly reflects in the games produced. Women in games are too often portrayed as mere sex objects. Characters like Lara Croft and Princess Peach are characterized by stereotypical (and rather old-fashioned) thoughts on femininity. Lara sports an oversized bosom and Peach’s special power is… crying (e.g. getting emotional). Although the latest installment of Tomb Raider portrays Lara in a less sexualized manner, today’s games appear colored to suit a white straight male audience of 25 years old.
What’s more, same sex romances are scarcely found in games. Games seldom portray homosexual protagonists, and when they do, the characters are either extravert comedians or disposable sidekicks. Notable expectations are the Fable, The Sims and Mass Effect series. Players of these games can romance same sex characters in a meaningful way. Still, these games are far and few found.
Same-sex romance in Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, 2012)
The game industry needs more diverse content. However, the incorporation of feminine aspects or LGBT content can lead to public controversy. When Mass Effect players could romance same sex characters in its first installment, blogger Kevin McCullough falsely accused BioWare for creating a game containing ‘rape and sodomy’. Fox News picked up and headlined the item: ‘full graphic sex’. Hereby portraying LGBT content as vulgar and repulsive. Amongst others, this may be a reason for game companies to be hesitant towards incorporating LGBT content in games. It's time to show them wrong, and show how a feminine and/or LGBT perspective of life may elicit innovative and new games!
Lara Croft as a strong and individual woman in Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics & Eidos Montreal, 2013)