I want to discuss with you about a topic, maybe not everyone will agree with or some people even will misunderstand it. I want to clear one thing first: I do not demand any changes or force anything on players. I just want to share my perspective and experience with the game and talk about an honest wish.
In my time at university I learned many things about gender and how different gender are in terms of stress management. There is of course not the “all females act like this, and all males act like that”, there is just a template to try to reach as many people as possible. So if I talk about “Females” or “Males”, I mean the average. Some Males use female stress management strategies and vice versa.
While Females tend to act more self-destructive and blame themselves for the mistakes, males tend to be more external. They tend to be more aggressive or more likely to use an addiction in compensation. For example: Drugs, gambling or Videogames.
And this is why I want to talk with you about this topic. Videogames are used as a stress management method. So people that has troubles in real life, can’t find understanding or have a rough time, use videogames to “survive” that time. In Videogames you can be whatever you want. You can create a character that fits to you. A Character you can identify with. Someone you want to be, or you wish to be. A super strong Warrior, a super smart Mage, a sneaky Assassin or a helping Supporter. While this game decided to have a gender lock, they messed this identify stuff up a little bit, since Gender is a main topic that is necessary to identify with. It’s hard to identify yourself as a male with your female mage and vice versa.
Yet there is also a thing that is probably overlooked. Its sexuality. Yes, I know, it’s a game. Sexuality has nothing to do In it and yet here we are, be able to sexualize our characters pretty hard, letting all those female Characters in Nia village (or even around the world) flirt with you, or even have sex with Sasha. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame this. No, actually I think it is totally fine and we don’t need to change it, because there are many straight boys/man that wants to see that and also need to see that.
But what I want to talk about is more diversity and decision making. I finished the Rapport Quest with Sasha and wanted to 1800g … yet it felt insanely weird for me – as a gay man – to let my character sleep with a girl. I had no options to just deny it. Even though I didn’t see it, the hints were pretty obvious. Also I think it weird that my character has to play with all those flirting. It forces MY character into heteronormativity and makes him straight even though I would love him to not be.
Like I said: I don’t want the flirt part to leave, nor I want that we only can flirt as male chars with males, and as female chars with female. I just want to say, that I would love if there is the option for me, as a gay person with a male char, to actually flirt with the male chars in game and reject the females.
Why is this actually important?
Like I said, Boys tend to use Video games as a stress management. There are many gay boys out in this world, and some play this game. Yet they see, that their love doesn’t fit in Arkesia. Only if you play female chars and let female chars have a crush on you. It makes it very hard for gay boys/man to identify with their characters and will leave a weird feeling. “Even here, I don’t fit.” But I doubt that this is true. I think that Arkesia is a world for everyone and everyone will be accepted and loved here, right?
There was a moment I had a bit hope about that topic, but in the end, it actually hurt a bit:
I finished rapport with Zinnervale and in the last Quest he asked me, why I do care so much about him. I had the possibility to “confess him my love”, and he – obviously – rejected me, told me he is not into man, but if he would, he would probably date me.
That’s pretty cute and well managed, yet it hurts since this answer is not the first many of us got. Its always the same. We like someone and they reject us because they are not gay. It opens a fresh wound. So I wished in a videogame, this would change.
But how I said: I won’t force them to make Zinnervale or Thirain or anyone else gay, I just would wish for more diversity.
I also wanted to point out that creating a bit gay romance, does have a good influence on the self-identification stuff. Also I wanted to point out, that Videogames does have impact into our lives and that they should take sensitive topics very serious. You don’t know how much you can help people with such simple stuff.