I am genuinely not surprised what a giant pile of shit Kotaku is. It was started under Gawker, so it should have surprised no one. But every time I see their articles I am reminded of all the bad things about modern “games journalism.” It’s a joke, and the punch like is that someone, somewhere, takes this shit seriously. Who this person is and why is a complete mystery to me. So when I saw an article with the title “Let Queer Characters Be Happy,” my groaning senses immediately were blaring. I thought for a while I’d just let this stupid shit lie, because it’s more click-bait for SJWs so they can be reaffirmed why video games are awful. Even though I guarantee that almost nobody who reads this shit and takes it seriously has ever actually played on. Here’s a link to this bullshit article, now let’s get started.
When The Last Of Us Part II’s new trailer debuted at this year’s E3, protagonist Ellie enjoyed a slow dance and kiss with another woman. My queer friends and I confessed to one another that we were assuming the worst. That happy girl will probably die, because while games allow us to be many things—space marines, mages, and tenacious heroes—they rarely allow queer people to be happy.
Assuming the worst was a safe assumption. That was mine as well. I figure that the motivation behind Ellie being willing to go down the violent path that I get the feeling she has tried to escape is the death of India lesbian.
Oh, and boo-fucking-hoo about “they rarely allow queer people to be happy.” Yeah, because Joel was SO happy in the last game. Seeing his daughter die in front of him, scared and crying, which broke him inside to the point that he locked his humanity away for fear of being hurt like that again. Yeah, he had a great time. Life was all buttercups and rainbows for that mother-fucker. If I didn’t know that all of this crap was just to get SJW brownie points for how “woke” you are, I’d think you are idiots.
Queer people struggle, as do our intersectional allies. The news is full of horrible daily reminders to all marginalized people that their lives and comfort exist largely at the whim of the privileged. That means bakeries refusing to make your wedding cake or laws meant to keep you out of restrooms.
That struggle has been fetishized by media and is one of the defining traits for queer characters in media. Video games have included more queer characters in recent years—Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Ellie in The Last of Us, Veronica Santangelo in Fallout: New Vegas and countless others—but all of their stories are tragic. Their partners and lovers are killed. Their families disown or shun them. They seem to be magnets for catastrophe. Rarely do their stories end in comfort, either from others or the larger world in which they live. We have more gays, trans-people, bisexuals, and others games than ever before. Yet we, comparatively, also have more of their corpses.
Fetishized? What bullshit. In all of those games that you list, the death or tragedy of their lives is painted as a bad thing. When it it ever meant to be literal or emotional wank-material? I hated the death of Riley in the DLC to The Last of Us, but that’s because when you listen to Ellie explain it, it wasn’t some big uplifting speech. It was two girls who didn’t know what to do. Ironically enough, I liked the original game’s portrayal of her dying better. Because it felt like a real kid. These girls are 13-14 years old. They are NOT some big uplifting heroes. The game painted Ellie as a normal teenage girl stuck in incredibly difficult circumstances. It’s part of why I like her.
In that DLC, Riley is this amazing MLK-esque character who turns what should have been the tragedy that set Ellie on the path of self-destruction and watching the people she cares for die into a big “it’s gonna be okay” moment. I hated that. Meanwhile, in the actual game, Ellie paints the story as two girls in a place confused, scared, resigned to their fate. They were going to “just lose our minds together.” It’s tragic and depressing. So yeah, Riley died, but if you go off the DLC, it was a magical and uplifting moment. What are you bitching about?
It’s interesting that you complain about real life having reminders of things being difficult for LGBT people. I don’t know if you were aware of this, but art mimics life, despite what Anita Sarkeesian likes to believe about it being the other way around. So, since the real world has hurdles for them to overcome, so it is in the gaming world. What a shock!
Not to mention that, once-again, this is another instance of me saying that if you want a game that is buttercups and rainbows for gay people, what’s stopping you from making it? Do tell, what is preventing you from doing it? Don’t know how to make games? Learn. Don’t know how to publish games? Learn that Steam exists. You all were able to get a house-cleaning simulator out to market, so one of you SJW fucks should be able to do this. You want a game where it’s a magical utopia where Sarkeesian is on a pedestal and LGBT people are treated like they are princes among men? Go out and make it, you complaining fuck!
They go on and on with example of how sad stories are represented with LGBT characters, so I’m going to jump back to where they make a point. If you want to go through every example, you can read the article. I have the same refutation for all of them, so it will make this simple for you here.
Tragedy often serves as a backstory for straight characters in role playing games, too. Party members of all backgrounds hide hidden pasts and personal struggles that the player can learn about and solve. But where the mighty Krogan warrior Wrex might rise to lead his species, and the dwarf Varric Thetras ascend to nobility, queer characters’ happy endings often end up being as romance options for the player. We are, more often than not, unsaveable unless we are fuckable, and even that is up to the player.
Wow. So much to talk about here. For starters, you talk about the shuttle pilot Cortez and how his story is focused around the death of his husband. I actually despise the romance option for male Shepherd because he goes form grieving husband to immediately wanting to jump your bones. Instead, let’s take a look at the story with Femshep. There, you have a diligent Commander (which I most-assuredly am) working to help an ally and new friend get through his grief for his lost spouse. In the end, it solidifies their relationship, both as commander and subordinate, and friends. Plus, you helping him get through his personal issues saves his life on the final mission. And my hatred of everything after the Victory Fleet goes to Earth aside, that seems like a damn good end to a story where they are “unsaveable unless we are fuckable”. Fuck this smug hipster who wrote this shit.
What are you looking for? A character who is an idyllic monarch of gay pride who leads the gay people on a gay as fuck revolution to glory? It’s ironic that you list Wrex from Mass Effect on there, since him rising to glory is also something that depends entirely on the player! You could have killed him when you have a standoff during the Virmire mission. You could have destroyed the data on the Genophage cure in Mordin’s loyalty mission, which would lead to Eve’s death, which is crucial to him becoming a savior as she helps to rally the other clans under Wrex’s banner. You also could kill Mordin, sabotaging the Genophage cure that is what saves the Krogan people from destruction. All of his rise to glory is on you! The player! So what’s that bitching about all of this being at the mercy of the player?! Pure bullshit? That’s what I thought.
Games that include queer romance sometimes even place the success of that romance in competition with the success of society as a whole. In Life is Strange, teenager Max Caulfield saves her childhood friend Chloe after unlocking the ability to manipulate time. Throughout the rest of the game’s episodes, the two women get closer and closer, and the budding seeds of romance bloom between them. But Chloe already has lost one lover before the game even begins. Life Is Strange revolves around the search for Chloe’s missing girlfriend Rachel Amber. That search uncovers a string of sexual abuse and murder in the town of Arcadia Bay, with Rachel as one of the victims. After uncovering her body, Chloe gets killed by the culprit. That’s two dead gays for the price of one.
Oh fuck off! Leaving aside that Max’s ENTIRE GOAL for the latter portion of Episode 5 is to save Chloe’s life (they ignore context like it’s the plague. The Kotaku formula), this is just like that fucking “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” video that BuzzFeed made. Yeah, Rachel Amber was dead. It is tragic. But you ignore several crucial facts leading up to this. First, we never definitively know that the two of them were a thing. It’s implied, heavily, but you never know. Not to mention, we find out in Episode 3 that if they were a thing, Rachel Amber was cheating on her with the drug dealer, Frank. And lying to her about it. Oh wait, can’t talk about that. Then you have a character who has flaws and shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. My bad.
Yet, even when Max alters reality to save her friend or bring her happiness, Chloe suffers. In an alternate timeline where Max prevents Chloe’s father from dying, Chloe ends up in a car crash and is paraplegic. In this timeline, Chloe begs Max to euthanize her; the story shuts down both disabled and queer people’s right to happiness in one fell swoop.
Fuck this stupid article. What a way to miss the fucking point! The point of what made the death of Chloe in the alternate timeline Max created tragic. This wasn’t about LGBT romance, you fuckers! It was about Max fucking up her friend’s life again and again. It’s talked about in Episode 5. See, Max has fucked up Chloe’s life a lot. She watches her die at the very beginning of Episode 1. It’s what sets off her powers. In Episode 2, you can have her shoot the bumper of a car, which causes her to shoot herself, forcing you to go back in time to save her again. In that same episode, you have to stop a train from hitting her. Which leads us to Episode 4, where she has created an entirely new timeline, specifically to make Chloe happy by not having her dad die, and finds out that this fucked up either her friend or her budding romantic partner’s life even more! The tragedy in having to help Chloe die is in Max realizing that she has destroyed this girl’s life over and over again, only to go back to try and fix it. In the end, she realizes that she can’t save keep doing this. That all of these trips back through time are destroying her.
Just once, I wish that Kotaku would actually pay attention. But no. They have to get their talking points down so that they can stand in judgement over us EVIL gamers and the games we play. I just know they’re going to talk about the ending, so let’s get to it. Here I might find at least SOME common ground with them.
In a timeline in which Max prevents Chloe’s murder, a massive hurricane barrels down on Arcadia Bay instead. The pair conclude that the storm is an anomaly created in response to Max’s time-traveling. The final choice is to either sacrifice the town or to travel back in time and allow Chloe to die.
Narratively, the choice feels empty. Max’s personal growth up to this point revolved around a growing understanding of her place in society and learning to accept consequences for her actions.
I could not agree more! I do hate the ending to Episode 5. It is worse than the ending to Mass Effect 3. None of your choices matter in the slightest, because either you negate ALL of them by having Chloe die, or they don’t matter because everyone is dead. It was the laziest fucking way to end a choice-based game since Mass Effect 3. Hell, it was lazier than that. At least that game gave you 3 nonsensical choices that throw all your choices in the trash. This game gave you two. I wrote an entire post about how I would have ended things (link here), and while it isn’t perfect, at least I included SOME kind of choice-based resolution to the game.
The Last of Us focuses on the frailty of society and individuals, both morally and in the flesh. It makes sense that the characters would endure loss. Joel copes with the death of his daughter and his grief over his inability to protect her; he gravitates to Ellie, who serves as a surrogate child and a bittersweet balm for his prior loss. In the end, he gets what he wants — to serve the Hero Dad role — although it comes at the expense of many lives and lies.
What a way to miss the point. Miss EVERYTHING that made the ending to The Last of Us so powerful. The ending to that game isn’t some happy ending for him. It’s bittersweet as fuck. If you can’t see why, I shall explain. Joel sold humanity up the river to save the only person left who matters to him. His connection to the human condition. You saw how his own brother and him are so estranged. This one life, this one little life who has become his connection to the human condition, is worth selling all of humanity up the river to maintain.
In the end, he had to lie to Ellie about why he left the Fireflies base, because he knew that Marlene was right. Ellie would want to give her life to save humanity. What made their final conversation so powerful was in him accepting his cost, that last of his vestige of humanity, to preserve this relationship. But it was also about Ellie accepting her cost. She chose to accept his lie, knowing that it was a lie. She could see all over his face that he was lying to her, but chose to accept that because she wasn’t just his surrogate daughter. He is her surrogate father. The one relationship that will last. Because she found what Joel had back in the diner. When she hacked David to pieces, she found that darkness that Joel had embraced, and since now she couldn’t give her life to escape it, she had to live with it.
I love the end of that game so much because of the moral and philosophical implications, and you just sweep it under the fucking rug as a story of Joel being the “hero dad.” Fuck you, you single-digit IQ hipster.
I want these queer characters to have happy endings, or at least different ones. Hell, I’d settle for kisses that don’t portend death. And I still love the stories that I have, imperfect and tragic though they may be. BioWare’s cast of heroes provide examples of bravery and humility that I strive to emulate. Life is Strange’s tender romance captures a sense of early sexual awakening. The Last of Us’ Ellie is a goddamn survivor. All of that is fantastic, but it comes at a price. That price, often, is the agency and happiness of queer characters.
Does the writer of this article not know that these people aren’t real? This is why I said that this feels like the video from BuzzFeed. Because it reads like this person can’t separate fiction from reality in her mind. Want these characters to have a happy ending? Fantastic, there’s millions of fan-fiction sites that I’m sure have some happy endings for them. Hell, read my post about how I would have ended Life is Strange. There’s a happy ending for ya! Instead of respecting the artistic integrity of those who create fiction, you have to bitch about it not being happy enough for you. Well guess what, sugar-tits, you can go and find your happy ending or make it yourself on you Fanfiction.net or your Deviant Art page.
But why do we have to pay that price, and so often? I’m not suggesting that the queers should always get to dance in a field of gumdrops at the end of every game in which they appears, but considering the real world’s continued eagerness to trample the marginalized, one of the most radical things art could do right now would be to show us a world in which we are more than our suffering.
“More than our suffering”?! Are you fucking kidding me?! Is that all you see them as?! You only see Chloe Price as suffering because her *potential* girlfriend died? You only see Ellie as sad because of her dead girlfriend? Wow. What an insult to all the character traits that they had. If that is all you see them as, that’s on you, honey. I see Chloe Price as a tragic character, to be sure, but that’s because she’s had a rough life. Her father died. Her best friend deserted her. The girl that she cared for more than any other and saved her potentially from suicide disappeared. It’s what makes the dynamic better and her and Max reconnect and awaken new feelings into each other. It’s why I hate the bullshit ending to the game so much because the choices make no difference.
But all of this comes right back to what I said before – if you want gay happy endings for characters, then go out and make it. Make a game with a Star Trek utopia where gay people are treated as absolutely perfect because of their gayness. I don’t fucking care. But STOP bitching about things that you clearly only see as “there’s dead characters in the group I like!” There is NOTHING stopping you from making the games you want to see. How about you quit bitching on this SJW rag and get to work?
Until next time, a quote,
“Those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach teach gym.” – Dewey Finn, School of Rock