Video Games That Don’t Discriminate

7 Apr

Inclusive Video Games

Another fabulous article by TSM contributor, James Queale. It’s heartening to see how much more inclusive the video game industry has become since our first look at inclusive gaming last year.

I have loved video games since I was a child, though I have not kept up with games as much lately. As time has gone on video games have become more popular and genres have grown with the diversity of the population playing. In the last few years video games have started to introduce gay characters and in some games you have the ability to marry someone of the same sex.
The first time I saw a huge step for LGBT gamers (or gaymers) was with the game Fable. You could fall in love and marry someone of the same sex. My teen self was thrilled! I got to see my dreams come true in a video game.
In the last few years this has been integrated more and more. And, as you can imagine Christian Conservative groups are not happy about inclusive video games. Groups like the American Family Association and Family Research Council are claiming that these games are harmful to children and that game companies are giving into pressure from the LGBT community.
One company that has been inundated with letters is Electronic Arts (EA). Anti-gay groups are unhappy with their LGBT inclusive games like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3. Despite demands from anti-gay groups, EA is staying strong and the vice president even commented about the situation:
Every one of EA’s games includes ESRB content descriptors so it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment…EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.
What I find amusing is that Star Wars: TOR is rated T for teen and Mass Effect is rated M for mature (17+). So, the complaints about children playing these games are not valid because the ratings are not suitable for children. All of that aside, children should not be banned from experiencing or playing LGBT characters. Bigotry is not innate but learned. I am glad that companies like EA stand up to prejudice and do the right thing.
Submitted by TSM Contributor James Queale

19 Responses to “Video Games That Don’t Discriminate”

  1. Jani April 7, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    My son plays a lot of games and always points out the ones that are LGBT friendly. To your list I add “Saints row”, a game kinda like grand theft auto but character driven allows same sex relationships and “Skyrim” which allows same sex marriages.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Speaks volumes to what a good parent you are! Thanks for adding “Saints Row” and “Skyrim.”

      • Jani April 7, 2012 at 9:03 am #

        Thanks! He just read over my shoulder and said that Fable 3 too. GTA 4 characters have the abilities to “be gay” but he found it sort of offensive because its only sex at gay bars 🙂
        Apparently, the gaming industry is really onboard with making it acceptable 🙂 That is good for the youth!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 9:07 am #

        Very cool comment! Your son gives me hope about American culture.

      • Jani April 7, 2012 at 9:05 am #

        “that Fable 3 too, allows same sex marriages.”

  2. Nancy Campbell Mead April 7, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I’m not a video game player, but many, many kudos to Electronic Arts!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      I’m not a game player either, but I was grateful to learn this information from Jamie.

      • James Queale April 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

        Thanks Michael, I’m glad that I could bring a fresh perspective to this topic.

        I started playing video games when I was 4 (1994). My first system was the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). My dad would always get the latest system for my siblings and I. Since my parents were strict religious types (my dad was a pastor) TV and Books were limited. Thankfully, most video games did not fall into the “inappropriate” zone. A lot of my childhood memories are of playing games. We would compete against each other sometimes in multi-player games. I was an avid gamer until a few years ago because of being financially strained, I haven’t gotten some of the newer systems.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

        Thank you for sharing a whole new world with TSM and for making us aware of social justice themes within the “Gaming” world.

  3. nevercontrary April 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I know nothing about video games. I can’t even play mario brothers.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      I don’t even know how to turn our tv on.

      • nevercontrary April 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

        How do you watch true blood?

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

        I fear I will disappoint you, but I have never seen True Blood. Do I need to start watching it?

      • nevercontrary April 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

        Holy hell Michael.
        Read the books first.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

        I shall go to the library tomorrow. I trust your recommendations, Bonnie.

      • nevercontrary April 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

        That is risky because I could be some crazy internet person.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 8, 2012 at 7:58 am #

        Oh goodness! I do hope not! 🙂

      • nevercontrary April 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

        Nope I’m afraid I am sweet as can be, except of course I’m packing a wicked ability to kick peoples asses if they are mean to me.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

        Good talent to have! I have that ability when people are mean to people I love.

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