Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Diamond in the Rough Column: Nervousness

Posted by deckard47 on December 12, 2009

My latest GSW article is up right here. It’s the second part in a soon-to-be three part series of articles on sexuality in games, but specifically in the not-so-new Prince of Persia and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This one serves as a bridge between the first and third articles (oddly enough) and focuses more generally on sex in games. For a lot of you readers, it may seem kind of unambitious and obvious, but it felt like it belonged in this series, so that’s that. Here is an excerpt from the article, as always, to entice those not already convinced of the article’s excellence by its Aladdin-based moniker. Enjoy:

Video game designers, PR companies, and gamers are deeply worried about sex.

Now hear me out: the average “mainstream” game is both obsessed with a peculiarly fragmented (but extremely popular in mainstream culture) version of hypersexuality, and deathly afraid of more realistic, meaningful sexual connection. There’s a reason our games are filled with snarling, emotionless (aside from their totally straight love for their buddies) bros and women being crushed under the weight of their hypersexualized characterization.

People are very worried about sex. The worry may vary in its shape, orientation, and direction, but it is still something that makes a lot of people very nervous. They’re very worried about thinking about sex. They’re worried that thinking about sex, or consuming certain representations of sex will show them to be any of a number of deviant, unpopular, stigmatized representations of sexuality (or worse, to be party to those sexualities themselves).

Video games culture (at its most “hardcore”) is, after all, already a shunned, de-masculinized (in the public eye) subset of white guy culture. White men who are dorks or gamers have struggled to build up some new brand of masculinity (which will never be as good, white, and manly as proper mainstream masculinity, and white guy geeks know this) around their deplored hobby, and, as always, once they solidified that identity, they needed a new Other, a new group to define as being less than and harmful to the grand, old tradition of white male gaming. In the kingdom of the white gamer, anyone obviously not white and/or male, or anyone professing to enjoy sexuality not strictly in line with white heterosexuality is both a worry and a threat.

Already I see things I wish I’d written differently or changed (for instance, “anyone professing to enjoy sexuality” should be “anyone professing to enjoy or regularly partake in,” or anyone who is suspected of enjoying and partaking in,” obviously), so forgive me if it fails in places. I am ever endeavoring to mend my ways. Until the next post.

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