the games press has been really excited about this game called a closed world, a game about the experience of being “LGBTQ” and dealing with oppression! of course, christine love, robert yang, stephen lavelle and i have been making games about being queer for YEARS. why does a closed world get the big press?
because it’s not challenging. i’m not referring to the game’s difficulty, although you can’t ever lose the game. what i’m talking about is that in a closed world, homophobia is an rpg monster that you defeat using skills like ETHICS and PASSION. it’s not a complex system of interwoven and often subtle oppressions. it’s not the reason most of the trans women i know are on food stamps. it’s a bad guy, and you kill it, and you win.
it doesn’t ask straight people to acknowledge their own privilege. at the end it gives you some shallow, non-threatening message about how WE’RE ALL THE SAME (so the next time some queer is complaining about how she can be fired from her job with no legal repercussions because she identifies as a gender other than the one her boss decided she was, feel free to ignore her UNIQUE-SNOWFLAKE whining). a site like gamasutra can post about this game, then rest its little head and drift off to the sound sleep of one who has done their duty to ensure that videogame culture is a safer, more inclusive place to be lesbian gay bisexual transgendered queer, instead of having to think about the ways in which the corporate and player cultures of videogames are hostile to queers, to take any responsibility for trying to change that, or to acknowledge or give press time to the incredibly personal works that queer game designers are making every day.