Gaming In Color Takes A Look At The Queer Side Of Gaming
The stereotype of 'gamers' as straight men is just plain wrong.
Gaming in Color
If you asked the average gamer or game developer why there aren't more female characters in video games, the classic answer is because women just don't play video games. These days we know that's not true — nearly half of all gamers are women — but the excuse persists, propped up with arguments about how adding female character options would burden a game's budget or alienate a primarily male audience. But if you imagine gamers as a group that doesn't venture beyond the straight male stereotype, how do you explain hit games like Mass Effect, where you not only have the option to play as a woman, but you can also choose your sexual orientation? Games like this are still in the minority, but they're already paving the way for a future generation of games with more queer sensibilities.
Successes like this help prove that age-old gamer stereotypes don't hold water: women and lesbians play games, too, and we want to see characters we relate to populating these virtual worlds. Still, there's plenty of people in the community that cling to the idea that gaming is a boys' club, complete with a "No Girls Allowed" sign. Despite taking huge strides forward in representation, sexist and homophobic comments are rampant on gaming forums and chat channels, where gender identity is often used as an insult.
This is where the documentary Gaming in Color comes in. Started as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, Gaming in Color is a full-length documentary that focuses on the experiences of LGBT gamers and game developers — and it’s finally ready for prime time with the film’s online release on April 22nd. Directed by Philip Jones, Gaming in Color documents the rise of the LGBT gaming community and features interviews with Professor Colleen Macklin, GaymerX founder Mat Conn, game designer Naomi Clark, game engineer George Skleres, Geeks OUT founder Joey Stern, writer Jessica Vazquez, NYC Gaymers promoter Shane Cherry, and The Tester star Matthew Michael Brown.
By putting gay gaming in the spotlight, Gaming in Color pushes back against the stereotypes to say that, yes, gays and lesbians are part of the gaming community — and we’re not going anywhere. Though it’s the first documentary we’ve seen that focuses on LGBT culture in gaming, Gaming in Color isn’t the only interesting gamer documentary on the horizon. LGBT gamers may also be interested in checking out GTFO the Movie and She Got Game, both of which discuss women in gaming; and Trans*Geek Movie, which discusses transgender geek culture. If you’re looking for something you can watch right now, there’s Feminist Frequency’s excellent Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, currently available on YouTube.
Gaming in Color will be available on April 22nd at gamingincolor.vhx.tv, where you’ll be able to stream or download a DRM-free copy of the film in full 1080p HD. You’ll be able to watch it on most media players, including your iPad, Xbox, PlayStation, or any other device that plays MP4 files.