ShockCast Ep. 181 – “Much Gay, Very Controversy”

Compared to other forms of media (books, film, television), video games are relatively young. It has only been a few decades since the world first saw pixels simulate a game of ping pong. Since that time, graphical power and storytelling have improved considerably and now the gaming industry is one of the biggest forms of entertainment on Earth. Despite all of these advances, the medium still hasn’t (metaphorically speaking) hit puberty yet and still has a ways to go before it fully matures.

This was brought to light recently when Bioware announced that its upcoming title, Dragon Age: Inquisition, would feature the company’s first “fully gay” playable character. Some people who are against gays being in video games (and even some gay supporters) took offense to this and a mini-controversy ensued.

Frustrated over the fact that people were discussing the character’s sexual orientation and not his in-game country of origin (the Tevinter Imperium), I decided to channel that anger into something positive. With the help of some gay friends (Emily Lemay, Johnathan Gibbs and Ryan Bates), I wrote an editorial which talked about why many in this industry still get offended when a company creates openly gay characters.

This editorial and the comments it fostered are the basis for this episode’s main topic. Jorge Jimenez and I discuss the actual controversy about Dorian’s sexual orientation and how the video game community as a whole deals with subjects which are controversial. We also get into how pleased we were that this subject sparked a healthy debate in the comment and how it didn’t devolve into the usual name calling which (unfortunately) is what usually happens. While some ignorant things were said, the discourse was mostly pretty civil and we were quite proud of this.

Since this is the fourth of July we also talked about some games which have something meaningful to say about the United States of America. In particular we bring up how games such as the Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto series show us things about this country which are true even if they present them in a satirical or extreme way.

We also discuss some of our reviews which we posted this week including my review of Battle Princess of Arcadias and Jorge’s review of Spoiler Alert. As always, we run down the games which were released this past week as well as talk about what games we’ve been playing recently. Thanks as always to Shawn Daley for our custom intro and outro tracks.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend everyone!

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Join the Discussion

  • Victor Lavon Richardson

    Here’s the thing.. we have had many protagonists in video games who don’t express their sexuality whatsoever.. so how do we know that we don’t already have gay protagonists?

    • Tony Polanco

      I like the way you think.

  • Reign SUPREEM

    I personally don’t see a problem with this shit. There’s way too many problems in the world to be upset or outraged at stuff like this. This is just as stupid as being disliked because of the color of your skin. I play games for enjoyment and if the game is good I don’t have a problem playing as a gay person,a woman,an animal,a man or some other damn character. It is what it is…..and if you don’t like what’s in it don’t buy it,as easy as that.

    • MetalSpartan

      well then again why is everything making it on the news

  • Raptor150

    Although i find this interesting, ppl fail to realize that everybody is not going accept that! why? simple, it’s their decision! you cannot force anybody to accept something because you like it.This world will be so boring if every human being will like the same thing as the next did! it’s wrong and it’s disrespectful towards other ppl.

    • Reign SUPREEM

      Exactly,if they don’t accept it don’t buy it. Like you said, its their decision.

    • albatrosMyster

      That excuse “but many will not accept it” is used to defend so much wrong in this world!

      • Raptor150

        Get over it! it’s not wrong at all, peasant! you can’t just go walking around telling ppl what they need to accept. Ppl like you will absolutely want to make this world boring i see. You do that and don’t see that if you tell the wrong person that and get hurt by it because you are forcing something that they don’t want to accept. Goodbye pest!

        • albatrosMyster

          So be more accepting of the bigots? Good solution!

          There are obviously a lot of things you don’t understand if you really think the way you do, in this case the people who are not accepting a fictional character are not just not buying the game, they go out and claim all “heroes” should be a certain way… Thus forcing every one to be some variant of a space marine I guess.

  • Ace TheFlame

    I don’t care about openly gay characters, but I do care depending on how far they go with it. Will there be a scene where the guy is all over another guy in a sexual manner(think about what you would expect from The Witcher)? I don’t want to see that. I’m not even entirely comfortable with different sex encounters if they go too far with it. Reason being is I just feel weird about the whole ordeal…I’m playing a game. I just want to blow off people’s heads and summon or slay terrifying beasts of unworldly proportion. I don’t need half naked pixels on my screen to accomplish that.

    • MetalSpartan

      EXACTLY Would the WITCHER series be succesfull if Garrett was gay and was openly having sex with male characters during the game? I would be grossed out!
      I just can’t imagine….

    • Reign SUPREEM

      Although gay characters in a game does not bother me at all this would bother me since I’m not gay myself, so I do agree with this comment fully. It also wouldn’t bother me if they had options for the gay gaming community to have that character have their choice of romance just as long as it doesn’t degrade the quality of the the regular story line for the rest of us who are not gay.

    • albatrosMyster

      I think sex in games has never been portrayed in a comfortable/meaningful manner, no matter who was involved with who (or even what in some cases).

      However I did see some real tenderness in some cut scenes in Uncharted 3 and TLoU… everything else just seems like blow up dolls going at each other.

      But hey, nothing will ever be as gay as Ai Choaniki! But this one remained in Japan for some reason… in occident people care way too much about these things.

  • themugen

    Don’t see any problem with this. Going to be a great game and Dorian is going to be an awesome character.

  • Why So Serious?

    I could care less if you put a gay person in my game but do not force me to watch gay scenes or throw homosexual hints and flirting in my face constantly like in DA:2. It should be a choice rather to have that content or not.

    • OneFlyness

      *couldn’t care less

  • Human@Play

    I love what I have seen so far from DA3. Im willing to open my mind to a gay character so long as its not all he is. Is he funny, smart, interesting, deep etc? Thats what should matter, his sexuality won’t bother me so long as he’s interesting.