Gaymer Culture’s Development
Supposedly, society is reflected in art.
Video games have also recently been particularly indicative of shifting cultural norms. The demographics of those who play the games have also changed, with the emergence of the gaymer subculture being one such change.
The phrase is exactly what it sounds like, but it’s frequently used to refer to all gamers in the LGBTQ+ communities.
The gaymer market, which was once restricted to small internet discussion forums, is now just as significant as any other market.
The Gaymer’s Birth
Usenet message boards from the late 1990s are where the word was first used. In the early to mid-2000s, the word’s use increased along with the general acceptance of both gaming and gay culture, but also bonusuri casino.
Due to this, in 2006 and 2009, respectively, the University of Illinois and the game design school Full Sail University carried out the first-ever surveys of the gaymer communities. These studies made significant revelations about the preferences and tastes of the niche, the prejudices they encountered, and their support for the usage of the term itself.
In more detail, the 17,000 respondents told game developers and the general public that gay gamers were underrepresented in both existing video game culture and the games themselves.
Innovation with The Sims
The debut of The Sims in 2000 marked a turning point for gay gamers. The game company Maxis (famous for SimCity) wasn’t convinced that this digital rendition of “play house” would succeed at this point because gaming was primarily viewed as an activity for young, male, and heterosexual boys.
However, the game’s widespread success and the fact that players could date characters of any gender suggested to its developers that there was untapped demand for non-heteronormative products.
This type of relationship freedom (as well as the game’s advertisement, which depicts two male characters flirting in a nightclub) caused little to no real controversy but is now recognized as a crucial time for the general public to gauge its mood.
The Game Boy Advance and DS versions only permitted heterosexual relationships, so not everyone liked the game as is.
As a result, the original Sims became the best-selling PC game of all time in less than two years, proving to game designers and the rest of the world that gamers would not only accept same-sex relationships in video games but also buy them in large quantities.
An Overview of LGBT Video Game Characters
More queer characters are needed to play as because there are more gay gamers. The first gay and lesbian video game characters, however, appeared in games from the 1980s, before the movement (and The Sims).
The first (and still one of the most notable) major game to feature a homosexual character was Super Mario Bros. 2 for the original NES. There had been a few smaller instances of homosexual characters in games before.
In the game’s instruction manual, Birdo is referred to as a boy who “thinks he is a girl and likes to be called Birdetta.” Birdo is a pink dinosaur with a bow and done-up eyelashes. He enjoys using his mouth to fire eggs while wearing a bow on his head.
This transgender reference was removed from later versions of the manual.
Numerous LGBTQ+ characters have since been portrayed in video games, though many of these have done so in stereotypical ways.
Curtis from 1996’s Phantasmagoria 2 is thought to be the first playable non-heterosexual character in a video game. Curtis is infatuated with the flamboyant non-playable Trevor.
Fallout 2, the first video game to support same-sex unions, made history two years later.
After that, gay, bi, trans, and pansexual characters appeared in even more widely watched series like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and Star Wars.
New fighter Kung Jin makes reference to being gay in Mortal Kombat X (2015), which was later confirmed by the game’s director.
Players can dress and style their hair however they like in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which was created by occasionally gay-averse Nintendo, and they can also interact with Gracie, a feminine giraffe who is referred to as male. Both Overwatch and Animal Crossing: New Leaf feature LGBT characters.
Gaymers have had to deal with some off-color, crude, or ignored representations of themselves in addition to characters being misrepresented (or removed entirely, as in the case of Vivian, a trans character in the English version of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for the GameCube).
Tomodachi Life, a 2014 Nintendo 3DS game, featured one of the more recent ones.
The option to date characters of the same gender was absent from the game, which lets players’ avatars establish relationships with one another.
An online game called Kill the Faggot, which is exactly what it sounds like, was briefly made available on Steam a year later. Within two hours, it had been taken down.
Gaymers were even temporarily prohibited from gathering early on in the World of Warcraft heyday.
After gay community and public outrage, Blizzard eventually issued an official apology for the error after player Sara Andrews’ account was flagged for trying to recruit people to her gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual friendly guild.
The way the term was used itself generated one of the biggest debates in the community.
Although the term can be found in online communities dating back to the early 1990s, Gaymer.org founder Chris Vizzini faced significant opposition when he attempted to trademark the phrase in 2007.
Vizzini shut down his website and abandoned the trademark claim in 2013 after a protracted legal battle that included denial of service attacks on his website and cease and desist orders. The significant victory served as a rallying point for the community, which saw the action as analogous to trying to register the term “LGBTQ” as a trademark.
The Present Situation with Gaymer
The gaymer community has expanded from online to offline communities in the present. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the inaugural GaymerX conference for LGBT gamers took place in 2013. Later iterations of GX have taken place all over the world, attracting over 2,000 attendees as well as celebrity guests of honor from the gaming and geek communities.
Gay gamers have stated that they are present, that they identify as queer, and that they prefer to play inclusive video games. So far, game developers have been paying attention.
The gay community now has purchasing power in the United States worth an estimated $1 trillion dollars as a result of rising acceptance and inclusion.
As gay characters transition from being quirky NPCs to heroic playable characters, restrictions on what genders players can interact with in relationships are being removed from more and more popular video games.
Given the greater diversity of representation in most other forms of art and media, it’s not difficult to picture a time in the not-too-distant future where young gamers and gaymers alike don’t give these issues much thought.
PPhoto by christian buehner on Unsplash