Put on your thievin’ boots and get ready to ride shotgun in The Ballad of Gay Tony, boys! That’s the title that Rockstar has just announced for the second episode of Grand Theft Auto IV. The sequel to The Lost and Damned is the tale of Tony "Gay Tony" Prince, a nightclub impresario whose nickname may or may not be based upon his actual sexual proclivities. Playing as Tony’s bodyguard Luis Lopez, players will "struggle with the competing loyalties of family and friends, and with the uncertainty about who is real and who is fake in a world in which everyone has a price." Read more…
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Gaming companies are struggling with the issue of how to control the content in their games, without silencing a vocal minority of gamers. In many states, gay and lesbian couples can now marry, but they can’t talk about it online if publishers censor the very words used to describe their sexual orientation.
Why is the issue of sexual orientation so explosive that the very act of saying the word "gay" or "lesbian" is sometimes against the rules? Bioware found itself on the wrong end of this controversy when a community manager gracelessly began locking threads that discussed the issue, and then claimed that there simply were no gay or lesbian characters in Star Wars. Maybe those words don’t exist in galaxies far, far, away, but the characters often do: Bioware themselves created a game with a character who laid down with another woman as with a man. Sony was a part of a similar controversy after the words "gay" and "Jew" were edited out of Home, the company’s social online service for PS3 owners. And Microsoft made headlines when the company banned a player who self-identified as a lesbian, claiming any notice of sexual orientation was against the terms of service.
In some ways it’s unfair to take the world of gaming to task for its immature handling of gay and lesbian issues. After all, it’s hard to find a game that takes any kind of relationship seriously. This is an art form that knows how to show two people killing each other nearly perfectly, but seems to turn into a bunch of fifth-graders when dealing with a kiss, much less when that kiss is between two men or two women. It’s clear that something has to give, although companies only seem to pay attention after receiving the wrong kind of attention for their policies.
Photo by Robert Maxwell | Text by Ryan Krogh/Outside | Found by pinkneptune
When his brother bought him a skateboard for Christmas in 1999, Siljeg, then just five years old, vowed he’d practice every day until he turned pro. It didn’t take long. The Bothell, Washington–based wunderkind won his first competition less than a year later and scored a sponsorship with Jones Soda. Competing against pros twice his age, he finished 29th in the 2006 World Cup Pro Bowl North American rankings. Now 13, Siljeg has a license to distribute his Sky skate brand worldwide and serves as a consultant for Scholastic.com. "I don’t think of skateboarding as a sport," he says. "It’s more like art to me. It will be the same trick, but everyone has their own style."