Shack Chat: Which video game character for you embodies the representation of pride?
With Pride Month here, it’s a good time to watch the performance in video games. Video games haven’t always done their best with LGBTQIA + characters, and sometimes they can miss the mark, intentionally or not. Having said that, the representation is there and sometimes it is quite meaningful and well done. With that in mind, the team discussed the video game characters who embody LGBTQIA + representation to them.
(Design of the LGBTQIA + flag by Daniel Quasar)
Question: Which video game character for you embodies the representation of pride?
Tracer – Ozzie Mejia, celebrating pride
One of Overwatch’s greatest strengths has been its diversity of characters, ranging from a hyper-intelligent gorilla to a professional gamer in a mechanical suit. On the surface, none of these characters have anything in common and should be a motley crew at best. Instead, people see Overwatch as the world’s greatest hero, and Tracer is arguably the face of the team.
When you meet characters in shooting games, they are often gruff, edgy, over the top, or over the top caricatures. Tracer, on the other hand, comes across as the friendliest human being. When Blizzard finally confirmed the character’s sexuality in 2016, Tracer became more than the face of Blizzard’s shooter. She became a gay icon, someone who would proudly wave the flag of pride and someone who would also encourage others like her to do so.
Ellie – Donovan Erskine, Editor-in-Chief
I know Ellie isn’t exactly the “role model” type, especially after her actions in The Last of Us Part 2. That said, I want to focus more on the young Ellie that we get in Game 1. I appreciate it when LGBTQIA + characters are not defined by their sexual orientation, gender or preferences. Instead, it’s more like a natural part of who they are.
In The Last of Us, Ellie is a hopeful young girl forced to grow up and mature far too early. While her sexuality doesn’t really show up during the main game, it is revealed in the Left Behind DLC, when we see her with Riley. While Ellie is far from the first LGBTQIA + character in games, she is one of the few to feature in a hit game of the caliber of The Last of Us.
Birdo – Blake Morse, Co-EIC
While some may see this as a sort of evasion, I can assure you that I am 100% sincere in choosing Birdo. For starters, it’s more than likely to be the first example of a transgender character in the video game. Second, Birdo came from a family Nintendo game, and even beyond, a character in the company’s flagship franchise, Super Mario Bros. Even though it started out as Doki Doki Panic in Japan, Nintendo has officially adapted these characters for other Super Mario games and the universe as a whole. Throughout, Birdo does not apply a negative stereotype or is done in an exploitative manner. They are simply who they are.
I loved Super Mario Bros. 2 when I was a kid and Birdo was one of my favorite characters even before I was aware of the concept of gender identity. I even feel like Birdo’s explanation of they trying out a bow and feeling like the right thing for them is an endearing and empowering concept. Everyone should be able to do what makes them feel good and comfortable in their own skin and if we can accept that for an imaginary character like Birdo, we should be able to accept it and respect the decisions and identities of real people. in our lives too. .
Osiris and Saint-14 – Sam Chandler, The Love of Time Travel
Osiris and Saint-14… two characters that Destiny fans have longed to see since they were first introduced in the history of the original Destiny. We read all about their escapades, their travels, the tribulations and the battles they experienced against the Darkness.
But it wasn’t until Destiny 2 that we started to have a different understanding of their relationship. Osiris, obsessed with the Vex, and Saint-14, a fallen killer hero defeated by the Vex, were those legendary characters we could only imagine. When we finally met Osiris, we started to learn more about his love for the Saint. And when we found the Saint’s tomb, it was a bittersweet moment. We were finally able to “meet” this character, albeit in a way we never anticipated.
Players thought this might be the end, but Bungie had other plans. Players were truly able to time travel and save Saint-14 from his fate. We must bring him back to the Last City, to reunite him with Osiris.
From that point on, we learned more about their relationship. We learned of Saint’s recommendation that Osiris pursue poetry, Saint-14’s acceptance to oversee the precious trials of his loved one and the bond they share.
And finally, the community received the most important information: the writer for Osiris and Saint confirmed the two were gay. These characters are fantastic, and I’m so happy to be able to fight alongside them in Destiny 2. I loved their stories before I knew their own love, and I will love their stories long after Destiny’s servers have closed. . For those interested, there is a Google document which describes some of the traditions that showcase their relationship. I like everything.
Ellie – Bill Lavoy, Co-EIC
For me, Ellie embodies the representation of pride. What I really like about Ellie is that her life in The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 is so much more than her sexual orientation. Ellie gives players plenty of reasons to connect with her, from her resilience as a child, her need for revenge as a young adult, or her journey as a person in love.
While there are other games that have beautifully written and playable LGBTQIA + characters, The Last of US and The Last of US Part 2 are massive games that have reached huge audiences, and within that audience, from many people could benefit from it. to spend time with Ellie. Some of these gamers are LGBTQIA + and need to connect with a video game character that looks like them in some ways, and some just need more exposure to various characters to help them become better, more tolerant people. Ellie is a meaningful and identifiable character, amazing in every way.
Madeline – TJ Denzer, appreciates who you are and the courage it takes to be you
Getting out is fucking hard and scary. As a bisexual, I know that. As the proud wife of a recently released trans partner, it’s still a process that me and I go through. It’s not just the fear of accepting others, but all the confusion and uncertainty within yourself that you face when you accept it. Maybe that’s why when it comes to this topic, Celeste’s Madeline isn’t just a great portrayal of LGBTQIA + identity, but a heartwarming portrayal that we’re not alone in our struggles.
When Celeste creator Maddy Thorson not only confirmed Madeline’s trans identity, but shared the story of how Madeline’s story was an extension of their own feelings upon dating, I felt intensely connected to this. Throughout Celeste, there are themes of fear, insecurity, body dysmorphia, battling with an unknown self, doubt and… well… acceptance.
Not only do I think Madeline’s story and the entirety of Celeste is an amazing game, but I also think it’s one of the most real and thoughtful representations of the trans and queer identity that I have ever seen. I’ve never seen it in video games. If you’re going through this struggle, if you’ve been through this struggle and / or want to understand this struggle, I feel like this game is required reading.
Ellie – Greg Burke, Head of Video
I really liked the story arc and Ellie’s relationship throughout The Last of Us Part II. It felt real, organic, and unforced. Everything went well, and it was really down to earth. Hope we will see more in the future.
Birdo – Steve Tyminski, host of the show Stevetendo
This week’s question is “Which video game character embodies the representation of pride?” If I had to pick one, I think I would go with the first time I remember hearing something like that, Super Mario’s Birdo. For those who ignore him, Birdo is a male enemy convinced to be a girl. This was a big deal in the ’80s, as portrayal was not as accepted as it is now. Nintendo never really cared how they are viewed and doing something like that with Birdo is completely normal for them, as you can also check out Paper Mario: The Gate of 1000 Years for a similar situation with Vivian. .
Tingle the fairy reincarnated – Bryan Lefler is proud of his differences
Granted, I haven’t played a lot of games lately with LGBTQIA + representations, but the first and most important character I remember celebrating their differences is Tingle from the Zelda franchise. When you first meet Tingle at the start of Majora’s Mask, you are greeted by a cheerful man in his 30s who angered his father by pretending to be a reincarnated fairy and acting much younger than his age. Tingle grew more and more flamboyant with each appearance and was not very well received in the West at first.
As a bisexual teenager, I hadn’t come out at all for fear of being ostracized, and Tingle was the first time I could remember interacting with a character who was so comfortable with it. ‘to be different. Most of my friends couldn’t take it back then, but I was immediately drawn to his cheerful insistence on celebrating nonconformity. The characters would eventually get a lot more nuanced and complex as the technology and game design changed over the years, but Tingle was there at the start of the 3D game to show me that being different has to be praised and appreciated.
Riley from The Last of Us – Dennis White, Community Manager
I really enjoyed the way Ellie and Riley’s story was told in The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC. I connected with the character of Riley and the angst of feeling that the situation you find yourself in is somewhat out of your control. The playfulness of the previous segments of the mall scene reminded me a lot of one of my favorite Moonlight movies: A movie that includes a similar coming-of-age story and a very sweet moment the two teenagers spend. an intimate moment together.
The fact that Riley has agency in that part of the game even as a supporting character is what makes her cool to me. She loves Ellie very much, but she also has aspirations with The Fireflies that she’s ready to go for. Even though the ending is bittersweet in this case, I appreciate that Riley was the key to Ellie’s journey and it’s a touching display of a budding romance between queer characters that really stood out to me afterward. .
These are our favorite representations of LGBTQIA + pride and community in video games. Who are yours? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty section below!