September 16, 2020
Electronic Arts (EA) Games recently confirmed that SIMS 4’s official poster will be featuring a same-sex couple. The SIMS franchise has always featured Queer characters in its games. However, it is not the only or the first game to ever feature LGTBQ characters as part of its game-play. Similarly, the role of video games in the LGTBQ community has finally started to gain recognition.
GLAAD, a leading institution for LGBTQ visibility in media, has been honouring TV shows that positively showcase the community, for the past 30 years. Along the way GLAAD has widened its genres to include English language films and theatre, to name a few. This year, finally, GLAAD Media Awards 2019, will be recognising video games that have LGBTQ characters. This has been long-awaited. But better late than never, right?
In honour of LGBTQ characters being recognised within Video Games, here are a few Video Game characters who are actually LGBTQ. And, some of these games are rooted in history.
So here is our list of LGBTQ characters in Video Games you need to know about:
1. Birdo From Super Mario Bros
Didn’t expect that right? Introduced in Super Mario Bros 2 over 30 years ago, Birdo is one of the very first transgender characters in the world of video games. Ever since her debut in 1988, this magenta egg-spitting character has been described as a boy who thinks he’s a girl. Furthermore, according to Nintendo’s in-game description, Birdo preferred being called ‘Birdettta’. In the Japanese version of the games, Birdo is referred to as Yoshi’s girlfriend. But she “is actually his boyfriend”.
2. Eleonor Kliesen a.k.a Leo from Tekken
Tekken is a favourite for those who love playing fighting video and arcade game. So when the franchise introduces an LGBTQ character, it has to be mentioned. Leo first appeared in Tekken 6, in 2009. However, questions were raised about the characters sexual identity. This was because Leo had the ability to use both male as well as female player items. Additionally, the game always referred to the character in a gender-neutral way. This along with Leo’s unrevealing clothing adds mystery to the gender of the character.
However, in 2011, the game revealed the full name of the character as Eleonor Kliensen, making her female. According to Out Magazine, Leo was deliberately created with an androgynous gender by the Bandai-Namco team as they wanted a character that can be loved by all fans regardless of gender. This makes Leo ‘trans-friendly’.
3. Anthony Prince a.k.a Gay Tony from GTA
Grand Theft Auto has always had Queer characters in its series. However, one character that cannot be ignored is Gay Tony. He made his first appearance in GTA IV, in 2009. As the name suggests, the character is gay. Who is Gay Tony? A night-club owner in Liberty City. He also has his own extension to GTA IV game known as ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’. The character partly based in gay co-proprietor of Studio 54, Steve Rubell. Portraying the king of nightlife as gay, gave his character depth, beyond his villain-ish motives and outlandish back-story.
4. Assassins Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a game that showcases everything queer. In the world of LGBTQ video games, Odyssey can be considered as a holy grail. Gamers get to play either Alexios or Kassandra. These protagonists can have a romantic relationship with a whole array of characters, and gender isn’t a barrier. Set in Ancient Greece, players get introduced to other LGBTQ+ characters and their relationships. Supposedly, Aveline de Grandpre, the protagonist of Assassins Creed IV: Black flag, is also an LGBTQ character. The character’s orientation is interesting and open for players interpretation. Most of the assassin usually wear the “tricorne hat, shirt, and trousers”. However, Aveline wore a gender-neutral robe and hood.
5. Poison from Street Fighter and Final Fight
Originally introduced as a Female Villan in 1989, Poison is a fighter in the arcade game Final Fight. She is, however, often regarded as the first transgender character in the history of gaming. While the fighter originally assumed a cis-gender female role, publisher Capcom changed their identity to “shemales”. This was because of the concerns about violence against women. The character fought alongside her accomplice Roxy, who was also trans, in the Japanese version of Final Fight. To avoid the depiction of violence against women, Capcom replaced the two characters with male villains in the North America versions of the game. Since then, Poison has become a part of the legendary game franchise ‘Street Fighter’. According to Yoshinori Ono, producer of Street Fight IV, Poison is a post-op transsexual woman in the North American game.
It is interesting to see that LGBTQ characters have always existed in Video games. Hopefully, the next time you play any of these iconic games you will remember that they have featured LGBTQ characters.
Related Reading: Barbie and Sims 4 take on a new update for Inclusivity!!