Gaymer Communities: WOW

With the invention and prevalence of multiplayer and online gaming, there has been an increased importance of community in game worlds. Communities are essential to MMO’s and shooter titles, as their online features mean that player participation and interaction is paramount to player experience. But unfortunately, these communities can seem gated to others, as the stereotypical cisgendered white male seems to at least from an outside view laid claim to such territories.

It is open knowledge that genuine and thoughtful gender representation in video games has been lacking, and diverse examples of sexuality almost non existent. There are games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age that give the player the option of sexual encounters with same sex characters, but these are never presented as the norm, instead they must be obtained with prior in game knowledge. While we are saturated with male-female love stories in games, we rarely are ever presented with same sex couples without specific pre requisitions, even in online games.

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Online communities are important, even more so for Gaymers, as representation and general awareness seems to be an ongoing issue in the gaming world. Interestingly, it seems though that gamers have been playing around with ideas of gender since early RPG days, with proportions of male gamers playing a female character at one point or another in fantasy worlds. ““Gender-bending” isn’t solely performed by (some) of the women in the guild; you can often find the men in the guild, both straight and homosexual, acting more traditionally feminine.” (Zorrilla, 2011).

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Creating the opportunity for less gender specific environments is important, such as the case of Sarah Andrews’ World of Warcraft LGBQT friendly guild, and the fight for its legitimacy.  “Public outrage and support from Lambda Legal, a gay and lesbian advocacy organization, forced the company to overturn Andrews’s suspension. Press articles announced it demonstrated that homophobia and heterosexism are real concerns in virtual worlds, disproving assumptions that they disappear in fantasy environments.” (Shaw, 2012). The importance of participating and protecting online communities is more and more important to getting female and LGBQT gamers involved with FPS, MMO’s and games in general.

References:

‘A Survey of First-person Shooters and their Avatars’, 2011, Game Studies, vol.11, no. 3.

Shaw, M. 2012, ‘Talking to Gaymers’, Westmeister Papers, vol: 9, issue: 1,  https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/345420/mod_resource/content/1/005.-Talking-to-Gaymers-Adrienne-Shaw.pdf.

Phan, M. H. 2012, Males Prefer Violence while Females Prefer Social, SURL, http://usabilitynews.org/video-games-males-prefer-violence-while-females-prefer-social/.

Zorrilla, M. 2011, Video Games and Gender, http://radford.edu/~mzorrilla2/thesis/index.html.

 

Zorrilla, M. 2011, Video Games and Gender, http://radford.edu/~mzorrilla2/thesis/index.html.

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