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Nerd’s Corner: Gamers acceptance

14 November 2012 By Brent Girard, Columnist One Comment

Maryland’s voters recently approved a same-sex marriage referendum, the first state in our nation’s history to do so.

Of course, video games had already legalized same-sex marriage.

We’ve been censoring video games in America ever since 1988’s “Super Mario Bros. 2,” where the mini-boss Birdo wanted to be Birdetta—at least in Japan.

We also edited out the gay bar in “Dragon Warrior III” and removed the campy leather-strapped Ash as a boss from “Streets of Rage 3” (though that one’s probably for the best…).

This censoring process was a central tenet of Nintendo and Sega’s family-friendly marketing campaign.

It wasn’t until PlayStation came along that games like “Persona 2” in 1999 were allowed to feature homosexual relationships on a console system in its dating simulation.

PC’s were a bit more lenient. “Fallout” (1997) and “Fallout 2” (1998) featured gay marriage. “Temple of Elemental Evil” (2003) also included the option to free a pirate slave and have him marry one of your male party members. Though we were making progress as a video-gaming society, same-sex marriage was still something of an oddity.

It wasn’t until “The Sims 2” for PC in 2004 that a player was actually able to have a romantic ceremony with rings and tuxes and rose petals.

(Nintendo didn’t port it to the GameCube until a year later).

“Fable” was actually released for Microsoft’s Xbox on the same exact day as “The Sims 2.” “Fable” let you marry anyone you wanted, regardless of gender, and let you do so as many times as you wanted.

“Fable’s” creator Peter Molyneux said of the new feature, “I didn’t want it to be just a joke. It’s all about giving people the ability to choose in a game. That is part of the choice.”

“Fable” is a role-playing game after all.

Too many people think RPG means leveling up and picking stats, but the best role-playing games allow you to truly become the protagonist.

To accomplish this, inclusion and variety is absolutely necessary. And from an economic standpoint, it just makes sense for developers to offer that commitment to tap into the gay demographic.

Mainstream games are taking up this forward-thinking ideology more and more. The widely successful “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” gives players the option to marry the same gender. (“Skyrim” was actually made by Maryland’s own Bethesda Softworks.)We have come a long way from the Draconian policies of early Nintendon’t.

As we move forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more inclusive options for players who are transsexual, queer and of other gender identities.

Just another reason why video games are better than studying for finals.

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