video games

Dragon Age 2 Lets Players Go Gay, But Is It Making Us Look Like Sex Predators?

It’s not just breeders who have a problem with Dragon Age 2‘s man-on-man action: some gay gamers also think the BioWare title is not only stereotyping homos, but making us out to be predators.

If you’ve been following along at home, Dragon Age 2 follows its predecessor in allowing players to make their characters gay, and even lie down in bed with members of the same sex. It had at least one schmuck calling for a “no homosexuality” option — which drew a rebuke from the title’s senior writer David Gaider.

But Gaider isn’t just making enemies with bigoted straight players. He’s also drawn the ire of The Gays for the way Dragon Age 2 can, supposedly make us look bad. Writes one gay gamer in a petition to have Gaider fired:

As a homosexual playing Dragon Age 2, I’ve witnessed the worst stereotype homosexual characters in this game. If you refused to make your moves on a gay character then you are received rivalry points for not wanting to be gay for the character. This is completely wrong, homosexuals do not approach people and force them to kiss us, the person that wrote this game should be fired for stereotyping homosexuals in such a disrespectful way, as well as creating the worst writing in characters, plot and everything else in DA2.

It felt very odd that my male companions kept making passes at me, when I never found any interest or even flirted with them. This sort of thing shows that gays are unable to be normal people and think nothing about sex. This is the type of garbage that has people believe that gays shouldn’t serve in the military. We are human beings that are the same as everyone else! Please sign this petition if you wish that Dragon Age senior writer David Gaider should be fired.

That assertion has been rejected by GayGamer‘s VorpalBunny, who writes, “In my estimation, considering one male companion does this (Anders) and yet another does not (Fenris), this shows that the ‘gays’ in the game are capable of being normal people after all. They are capable of flirting and not flirting. You know, as people do.”

Continues VorpalBunny:

As regards the portion about the military, let’s look at it this way: the stereotype of homosexuality needing to be something that is shoved back into a closet because it makes other people uncomfortable is one about being tolerated on other peoples’ terms. It is not about being accepted, and politely denied. It also mistakes that all gay men want to have sex with straight men, and cannot take no for an answer–an erroneous assumption, and it is that assumption that should be combated, which Dragon Age 2 does not perpetuate.

The petition writer does bring up the fact that the in-game mechanics do have Anders gaining rivalry points if you rebuff his advances. There are two ways I would like to respond to this. The first, from yesterday’s post on such, is directly from David Gaider himself: “I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part.” Second, from the demo of the game, we already knew Isabela would shamelessly flirt with us.

Some have made the point that the self-proclaimed straight male gamer to whom David Gaider responded now knows what it’s like to be a woman in our society: someone who receives unwanted and unsolicited passes. This is only partially true, and only on the most surface level. Anders might earn rivalry points, but one can earn friendship points afterward. Had he been overjoyed at rejection, I would likely be in a more critical mindset (if anything, the time details of losing his lover and not really addressing his grieving would bother me more…). After that rejection, Anders does not call you a ‘whore,’ ‘slut,’ or any other colorful epithets women in our society can expect from turning down an advance. Even rivals in the game respect Hawke.

Therefore, while I doubt the internet petition would really gain much traction, I did wish to offer an opposing viewpoint. There are many things to criticize in the game, but a game that solely depends on stereotypes to conduct its same-sex relationships? With that I will strongly disagree.

There’s a big difference between a video game pretending to embrace sexuality — as Heroes Of Newerth did with its faggy voice pack — and what Dragon Age 2 offers, which is the ability to assume a character with a certain sexuality and then act like a regular person. Do some gays try to make moves on “straight” dudes? Sure. But most of us stick to down own kind, and we’ll flag down another player that plays for our team. And, perhaps, even a larger portion of gay gamers will play the game to play the game, not have weird virtual sex with a CGI representation of a human being.