Some weeks back, I participated in a brief discussion on a forum that I’ve been a part of for quite a long time. This discussion revolved around the role of sex in games, specifically the role of homosexual content in gaming. The forum is a Christian site dedicated to games. I’m not really a driving force behind the site anymore; I was, at one point, and the evidence can be seen in this Kotaku article. That wasn’t so long ago. Months have gone by, and perspectives have changed, and I’m no longer as much a part of the site now as I was then, though I will never deny the influence that I’ve taken from there as I’ve grown as a writer.
That said, the focus of the thread in question was a response to an IGN article, discussing the history of sex in gaming. In the tradition of every IGN article ever, it was poorly written, but raised some pretty good points. (On another note, would it be too much to ask for IGN to hire a decent editing staff, or to at least proofread their content? That’d be great…) It was, ultimately, a justification for the place of sex in gaming, and my goal here is not to justify. In fact, I want to explain: Why do we need sex in games? Why do we need characters with defined sexual orientations? I’m not gay; why would I care if a game presented a character as gay or straight?
The easy answer is that art reflects life. Easy answers aren’t what discourse deals in, and it’s not how understanding is reached. The “easy answer” would assume that games are art (which is a pretty big assumption to make, given some of my past thoughts on the concept), but it would also equate gaming with film and literature. Is that incorrect?