Queer Gamers Seize Controller

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Queer gamers have made a name for themselves by forming groups in popular Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) such as World of Warcraft and City of Heroes and by creating content using existing games (such as the “Gay Marriage level” built in LittleBigPlanet) that speaks directly to the queer experience.

“In The Sims franchise, people have the option of playing who they want to play,” Whitelaw noted, touching upon one of the longest-running communities of lesbian gamers around Sims players.

There are “skins” available that allow fans to create characters out about every fandom with a strong lesbian following — including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The L Word, Star Trek Voyager and Xena, allowing players to create their own fantasy storylines with famous lesbian characters — or to make up their own entirely.

(Check out AfterEllen contributing writer Sharon Hadrian’s excellent Welcome to the (Lesbian) Dollhouse for a primer.)

The ladies of LG are certainly the most visible force working towards a better virtual world for queer women. “Gaming should be about living in reality while escaping it at the same time — give people more choice and let their minds run wild,” said Whitelaw, when asked what a better tomorrow should look like. “That’s what makes a great game, and choosing your sexual orientation in a game rather than being forced into a heterosexual relationship (should there be this element) should be a thing of the past.”

She also called out the need for a stronger female presence in the industry, not only on development teams, but in terms of better, stronger representation. “We need female characters who are strong and can play the lead roles just as the butch, masculine male characters currently do.”

Video games are still an evolving media form, and their roots as a dorky boy’s hobby still haven’t completely disappeared. But if lesbian gamers can unite and get their voices heard across the world, we’re on the path to a much more appealing variety of choices when we choose to game.

Watch Tracy and Angela discuss and review the latest games each Tuesday in their video blog Gay Girls Who Game, read the latest gaming news on the blog every Friday, and visit LesbianGamers.com.

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