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Are We Paving the Way for Inclusivity In Video Games?

Contributor Jim Bong shares his thoughts on just how inclusive modern day video games are.

Social change cannot take place without proper representation. LGBTQ+ characters have only recently started to get diverse representation in movies and television, slowly edging out stereotypes and creating characters that are genuine and relatable.

While this progress has been slow on the uptake, it is, nonetheless, progress. More exposure to members of the community has been shown to increase acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, and goes a long way in increasing confidence in younger people in the community.

In fact, a recent survey by researchers from the University of Southern California found that having transgender characters in television shows, such as the likes of Orange Is The New Black, can have a huge influence on changing negative public perceptions.

One medium that has lagged behind, though, is video games. Video games are a huge money-making market, loved and played by individuals in every ring of the societal spectrum. Why then, is there such a lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the gaming world? Luckily, many video game producers are starting to catch up. Better late than never, right? Let’s take a look at what’s on the horizon for gaming representation in 2018.

Over the last few years, several indie video games have been working hard to increase LGBTQ+ representation. While not terribly mainstream, they’ve helped set the bar for more mass-produced games. In 2013, Gone Home had a queer love story as a central focus in this heart-warming game. Dragon Age: Inquisition, released in 2014, allows players to choose their character’s sexuality, and also features a story-line that confronts homophobia.

For horror game fanatics, The Last of Us had an exciting story-line featuring a gay main character. With 2015 came the release of an episodic game centring around a gay college student with the ability to manipulate time.

2018 is promising to bring sequels to some of our favourites, as well as new games embracing an inclusive approach.

For everyone who loves The Last of Us, a sequel is on the way. Set to release in late 2018, this Naughty Dog production promises further character development for Ellie and Joel, as well as an introduction of new characters trying to navigate this post-apocalyptic world. Setting, characters, and official release date are still uncertain. What is almost definitely certain, though, is this will be a game you won’t want to miss. If it’s anything like the original 2013 The Last of Us, this game’s compelling story-line, realistic graphics, and unmatched character development will make it worth the wait.

This next one is for you sports lovers out there: Football Manager 2018. Soccer is arguably the world’s biggest sport. Many players decide to wait until their career is over to come out as gay, while others are taking action now, creating opportunities for more openly gay players on the field. Football Manager has been wildly popular since its initial release in the early 90’s, collecting a loyal following and cult-like status.

Football Manager 2018 has all the same great features you loved before, but now with one added bonus: virtual players can come out as gay. If they do, they get a monetary boost because of support gained by the LGBTQ+ community. This new feature has been making headlines, as Football Manager is one of the most widely-played video games around. Indie games may have paved the way, but mainstream is starting to catch up.

We just need the bigger mainstream games, such as Call of Duty and FIFA, to catch up with the rest of us.

What are your thoughts on LGBTQ+ representation in video games? Make your voice heard in the comments section below or tweet us your thoughts.

Written by Jim Bong

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