Gaming In Color is a full length feature documentary on one of the fastest growing communities in the fastest growing entertainment sector in the world: Gaming. For too long gamers have been painted in a very specific light, and the mosaic of gamers have lacked the diversity of minorities, queers, women, and members of LGBT communities. We want to create this film in order to take a closer look at the challenges and the growth of these communities in the gaming world.
If you’re playing Team Fortress 2 you can join me and some other milkies on our very own server now! It’s located in Stockholm so your ping should be fine if you’re connecting from Europe. We’re playing mostly Medieval Mode with some little surprises (but nothing annoying or game-breaking).
Server: Finn’s Fortress [24/7 DeGroot Keep // No Random Crits] (IP 18.104.22.168:27015)
You can also join us in our Steam Group by the way to connect to other gayming milkies!
Only a handful of scripted role playing games offers players the option to experience a same-sex romance if they so choose, the Dragon Age series from BioWare is one of them. Set in a mythical land ravaged by war, the recently released Dragon Age 2 follows a young hero trying to escort their family to safety, only to find themselves caught up in the political intrigues and dangers of the city they seek refuge in. Over the course of the story, the player acquires a handful of travel companions, each with their own personalities and back stories, four of whom (two female, two male) are also potential romantic companions if you play your cards right.
As in the previous game, the player has the option of choosing the main character’s gender. Though in Dragon Age 2, it no longer has any bearing on who you can start a relationship with. In a true gesture of equality, the game’s developers have tweaked the script so that any of the four companions in question can be romanced regardless of whom you choose to play as. You can watch a scene from one of these scripted encounters here.
There is a male character in Dragon Age 2 who will make advances towards your own male character. If you spurn those advances, you will receive rivalry points. This makes sense; after all, who likes being rejected? But this also means that people who dislike gay characters in games are upset because of his existence, and a group of gay gamers are upset over how the character is portrayed.
This debate continues to be played out across the Internet, and the biggest takeaway appears to be that it remains incredibly difficult to portray characters that seem both real and human. It’s doubly so when they belong to a group that inspires so many strong feelings
Ars Technica has more about the debates going on.
When the Prince of Albion isn’t battling reanimated corpses, searching for mystical medallions or attempting to overthrow his tyrannical brother, he has a pretty nice life at home with his husband, Kyle the Blacksmith, and their two adopted sons, Alex and Tim. It’s just one path players can go down as the heroic protagonist of Fable III.
While the fight for gay rights remains heated in the United States, same-sex marriage and gays in the military have never been issues in Albion, the virtual nation where Fable players battle bandits and other baddies. Though not integral to the plot, gamers have been able to woo characters of the same sex since the sweeping saga launched in 2004.
“We don’t require you to be of a certain type to get married,” said Peter Molyneux, creative director at Microsoft Game Studios Europe. “You can be gay. You can be bisexual. You can get married as many times as you like. It’s up to you. My fascination is with what that means to people. It means they can be who they are rather than who I require them to be.” Molyneux and his team at British developer Lionhead Studios are adding another way to play as gay – or otherwise – in the franchise’s epic third instalment, which tasks players with leading a revolution in the newly industrialized Albion. For the first time in the series, a player’s character, regardless of their sexual orientation, can adopt children.
It’s the latest example of how game makers are giving players methods of portraying gay characters in role-playing games, the genre that bestows gamers with the power to customize characters from the outset. Unlike the static storylines of a TV show or film, role-playing games offer an individualized experience that’s usually defined by a player’s choices.
I wrote about Milo, an upcoming game for the Xbox 360 (based on Microsoft’s Project Natal) developed by Lionhead Studios in London to demonstrate their progress on the field of Artificial Intelligence a while ago and many people were quite sceptical about the project itself and to what extend the video which was shown at the E3 was scripted or not. These people might be interested in the first hand experiences of one of the guys from the GayGamer blog :)
“I had many golden moments at E3, but none so golden as running in to Peter Molyneux in the Valve meeting room. He enthusiastically greeted me and invited me to come up and check out Milo, Lionhead’s application developed for Microsoft’s Project Natal controller. As you doubtless know by now, Project Natal is Microsoft’s entry into the motion controller scene. The catch being that there actually is no physical controller and through the use of cameras, the player himself/herself becomes the controller.
Milo is an ingenious use of Project Natal, utilizing the voice and face recognition features of the device as well as the motion control. Upon entering the room, Molyneux talked a little bit about the project and then allowed me to give it a try. I stood in front of the screen and saw a serene Fable like environment with a young boy (Milo) swinging on a swing. As I moved towards the screen, the scene in turn moved closer. As I backed up, the scene moved further away leaning forward and to the side, I was able to look at the peripheral views of the scene. Kneeling down afforded me a look up in to the tree. Pretty impressive so far.
The next thing I knew, Milo realized I was there and hopped off his swing to come and greet me. He recognized that I was wearing black and nodded with empathy when I described how my day was. I could see the word recognition coming in to play: when I said the words good or happy, Milo would smile and nod. Eventually he tossed me a pair of goggles which I "put on." This basically consisted of me circling my eyes with my fingers to simulate goggles. Once they were on, I was able to jump in the nearby water and do a little splashing around. The water was very responsive to my movements and was definitely an amazing display.
At this point, another journalist insisted that he get an on camera interview with Peter, thus ending my time with Milo. However, I left with the feeling that I had just witnessed something miraculous. I am well aware that there were some "tricks" and scripted moments employed in the demo I saw, but for software this early on in the process it’s understandable. It did give me an idea what the years ahead will hold for video games and I will admit that it was in turns fascinating and just a little creepy, If Molyneux and Microsoft can pull this off, we will all be looking at the future of gaming. A future where we will no longer be tethered to a controller and our in game companions will be as real as our family and friends.”
Some people were not as impressed by yesterday featured virtual boy Milo as I was. So let’s get into the details a bit more here The technology behind Milo is Microsofts Project Natal which is an effort to make gaming more natural by getting rid of the controller element completely. Do you remember the furore the Wii made a while ago with its innovative controller system? Natal took this concept just a step further by using the human playing the game in front of the TV as the 3D motion sensing and facial and voice recognizing controller. The video below shows a few examples of what you can do with it. I’m not sure about the race driving without a steering wheel and I despise the gender cliché part with the “Ow, what dress should I wear for prom?” but the fighting, the soccer game and the skating are looking like good fun to me.
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While many of us rush out today to get a new dose of virtual reality with the just released Sims 3 others are already a step ahead. Yesterday during Microsofts E3 press conference, jaws hit the floor when Peter Molyneux, lead designer of the Lionhead Studios and responsible for innovative games like Dungeon Keeper, Populous, and Black & White, introduced Project Milo. A virtual AI in the form of a boy, who you can interact with anyway you want. Milo will react, even emotionally, on what you say and do. The project is realised with Natal, Microsoft’s new hands-free controller for the Xbox. But just see for yourself:
Download this video in HD
Of course, the pedo potential for this is HUGE. Everyone can have their own virtual boy and of course, the internet is already swarming with ‘Milo, take down your pants’, ‘I’d masturbate with him’ and ‘I’d show him my penis’. – Kahran
Another valid aspect was mentioned by cosmicbus: Peter Molyneux love to talk about huge things but every so often the actual game turns out to contain only half of his ideas ‘cause the rest was just to ambitious for the reality of tech today. Some people have even suggested that the demo in the video above was manipulated by someone controlling the boy. However, it will defiantly take a while until we will be able to interact in such a way with an AI but at least we have something to look forward to.
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…
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.